Friday, May 14, 2010

The Canon Review of two Matlock Episodes

So yesterday at work, I had the theme to Matlock stuck in my head for some reason, which I found very odd because I haven't watched that show in at least 10 years, and I never was a regular viewer of that show in the first place. Heck, I'm surprised I even remember it. But it did give me an idea for a review, so here we are. I'm going to watch two episodes of Matlock and review them. For those of you that don't know or don't care, Matlock was a TV series that was on the air from 1986-1995, starring Andy Griffith as the titular character, Ben Matlock. Matlock is an Atlanta, Georgia attorney known for his folksy ways. Also, the show starred Clarance Gilyard Jr. (a.k.a. Chuck Norris's partner in Walker Texas Ranger) as Matlock's investigator. Well, on with the show.

Episode 1: The Con Man

 This episode was originally aired in 1989, and starts with a woman jogging, and goes downhill from there. The woman fakes being abducted in order to lure in the guy jogging behind her, Brain Davis (played by James Eckhouse, who would later play Jim Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210). Davis rescues the woman, and as a thank you of sorts, she sets him up insider trading secrets from her ex-boyfriend. After making a profit, Davis decides to invest $25,000 in a new takeover, but is shocked to find that the ex, Jason Edmonds, is dead. Davis and the woman (Madeline Medford) dump the money filled briefcase in a trash can. But Davis eventually learns that it was a con and that Jason faked his death, and he's out $25,000. To get revenge, Brian intercepts another briefcase filled with cash, but Madeline catches him and to make matters worse, this time Jason is actually dead and Brian is being charged with the murder. Luckily, he has Ben Matlock on his side. The rest of the episode focuses mainly on the man that took the first briefcase, Jack McCarthy, a conman that's a real charmer. He even goes out on a date with Matlock's assistant attorney. Eventually, the real murderer is revealed, but I'm not telling who it is.

The acting is all over the place in this episode. One minute Madeline has a southern accent, and the next minute she's talking with a French accent. The guy playing Jack McCarthy seems to have no business playing a con man, as he's not very convincing. Plus, there's a couple of sub-plots that really go nowhere, and there's little explanation to how Matlock was able to crack the case open. I mean, one minute he's confused, and when we get back from commercial, he suddenly knows all the answers. I'm usually a fan of crime dramas like these, but this episode was kind of boring and dumb. I'll give it a 3 out of 10 and hope that the next one is better.

 Episode 2: The Marriage Counselor

This episode was originally shown in 1991. In this episode, an annoying insurance salesman named Alan, who had just sold Matlock some insurance, finds out that his wife Laura has been cheating on him with his marriage counselor, Harding Fletcher (played by Bryan Cranston, who also played Hal in Malcolm in the Middle and recently won an Emmy for his work in Breaking Bad as Walter White). Alan confronts the marriage counselor, and is somehow convinced to see him again later in the week to talk about this. When Alan gets there, Fletcher is dead. Alan is thought to be the prime suspect and hires Matlock to defend him. Matlock and his investigator Conrad investigate the case, and find that Laura was not the only patient that was having an affair with Dr. Fletcher. Eventually, the murder is solved and Alan goes back to being his annoying self again.

This was a slightly better episode than the last one, although still the guest actors could have done a better job, particularly the other ladies found out to have an affair with Dr. Fletcher. I will say that Cranston was quite convincing as a scummy marriage counselor, and that it was good to see Conrad in this episode for longer than 30 seconds. Plus, the show did a much better job of explaining how Matlock was able to crack the case. One thing I will say is that it doesn't speak well of the Atlanta Police Department if a defense attorney is solving all of their cases during the trail of a suspect. Maybe Matlock should have been a detective instead. Just an observation, nothing more. Overall, I'll give this episode a 5.4 out of 10.

Well, thanks for reading about two episodes of Matlock. Hopefully, I'll have two posts in the next 24 hours, but we shall see. Remember, if you have any ideas for future posts at the Canon Review, than send them to me either by leaving a comment, by e-mail at, or by telling me if you happen to find yourself talking to me. As a bonus, here's Matlock's theme song.

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