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Matlock is an American legal procedural about a widowed criminal defense attorney in Atlanta. The series aired on two U.S. networks from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. The series' protagonist is lawyer Ben Matlock, played by TV veteran Andy Griffith. A Harvard Law School graduate, the crusty Matlock lives in a renovated farmhouse in the suburbs of Atlanta, but spends most of his time in his office within the city. A criminal defense attorney, Matlock's responsibility is to have his clients acquitted of the crimes they are accused of.

Most episodes of this 60-minutes drama showed Matlock's hands-on approach to defending his clients. This included visiting the scene of the crime to get a handle of the environment and enlisting the services of a number of private investigators employed by his firm. The second half of each episode took place in the courtroom, where the actual perpetrator of the crime would be tripped up by Matlock while they were on the witness stand.

Matlock had a rotating group of lawyers and private investigators who assisted him during the show's run. In the first season, Matlock worked with his prosecuting attorney daughter Charlene (Linda Purl). When she left at the end of the first season, Matlock replaced her with lawyer Michelle Thomas (Nancy Stafford). In later seasons she was joined by Matlock's other daughter Leanne, a prosecuting attorney from Philadelphia.

Private investigators assisting Matlock in his cases included Tyler Hudson (Kene Holliday), who remained with the show for the first three seasons, and former sheriff Conrad McMasters (Clarence Gilyard, Jr.), who was Hudson's replacement. In later seasons, McMasters was joined by Cliff Lewis (Daniel Roebuck) as a second investigator. He eventually became the prime investigator when McMasters left the series.

Created by Dean Hargrove, Matlock premiered on the American television network NBC in September of 1986. In 1992, the series moved to ABC, where it completed its run in May of 1995 after 195 episodes.

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NBC
1 Season, 23 Episodes
Crime, Drama, Mystery
8.2/10
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Matlock Full Episode Guide

  • Matlock defends young, streetwise Amy Adler when she's accused of killing her boss, a photographer whose beautiful, well-known patrons harbor secret motives for murder. Matlock discovers a web of blackmail involving old racy photos of prominent women in the community.

  • Matlock takes on the defense of Gerald O'Hara, president of a builders union, who has been framed for murder. The sizzling trial is brought to a screeching halt when mild-mannered witness Harry Craven claims that Matlock offered him a bribe to lie on the witness stand. Julie March, the case's tough prosecutor and long-time friend and admirer of Matlock, is so sure of her opponent's integrity that she quits her job to defend Matlock, in a sensational turn of events.

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