Sep. 23, 1986
60 min.
ABC TV Network

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Matlock tv show photo


Ben Matlock is a VERY expensive criminal defense attorney who charges a $100,000 to take a case. Fortunately, he's worth every penny as he and his associates defend his clients by finding the REAL killer.

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Trivia Facts | Top Quotes | Goofs/Mistakes
  • Nancy Stafford, Kari Lizer, Daniel Roebuck and Brynn Thayer all had guest appearances on the show before taking the roles of Michelle, Cassie, Cliff, and Leanne, respectively.
  • Besides Don Knotts, other former cast members of the The Andy Griffith Show to appear were Aneta Corsaut, Jack Dodson, Betty Lynn, and Arlene Golonka.
  • In a couple of flashback episodes that looked at Ben's early career, Andy Griffith played Ben's father.
  • Daniel Roebuck played three different roles on Matlock before finally getting cast as Cliff Lewis in season seven.
  • Nancy Stafford chose to leave the series after season six. She had just gotten married, filming was moving to North Carolina, and she did not wish to relocate.
  • Although Charlene and Leanne were supposed to be sisters, no mention is ever made of their connection during the series.
  • Clarence Gilyard Jr. appeared in almost every episode of the NBC edition of the show, after he joined the cast, before production moved to North Carolina for the series seventh year. He was about to co-star in Walker, Texas Ranger, which made Gilyard's scheduling more difficult.
  • Kene Holiday was fired after the third season, due to his ongoing battle with drugs and alcohol.
  • Clarence Gilyard Jr. and Daniel Roebuck were series regulars together for all of season 7 and a few episodes of season 8 (when Gilyard left), but due to one or both not making an appearance in a given episode, they were only in two together.
  • In 1997, two years after the end of the series, Andy Griffith reprised the role of Matlock on a two part episode of Diagnosis Murder. This would mark his final appearance in the role, and the only time the Matlock character was seen on CBS. In the episode, it is explained that Dr. Mark Sloan, played by Dick Van Dyke, advised Ben in 1969 to invest his life savings, $5000, in the 8-Track Tape industry. When Ben lost all his money, he began buying cheap suits off the rack and eating hot dogs because they were all he could afford. By the time he had money again, it was a habit.
  • Long before Nancy Stafford and Clarence Gilyard Jr. joined the cast together, they were both lifelong fans of Andy Griffith. Stafford replaced Linda Purl in season 2, and Gilyard replaced Kene Holiday in season 4.
  • During the third season, Kene Holiday missed a total of 7 episodes because he was in rehab for drug and alcohol abuse. By the time he was 3 months sober, he had been fired from the show.
  • Ben Matlock is based on an attorney in High Point, North Carolina.
  • Beginning with Nancy Stafford's second season in 1988, she missed several episodes, due to her busy scheduling. She left the show in 1992.
  • Linda Purl left the show near the end of the first season, after disputes about her character and castmates.
  • Andy Griffith was only 59 years old when he first played Ben Matlock, despite numerous stereotypes that this show was targeted toward the elderly demographic.
  • Billy Zane and Frances Fisher both appeared on "Matlock" years before their respective roles as the fiancé and mother of Rose (Kate Winslet/Gloria Stuart), the main character of the 1997 blockbuster "Titanic."
  • Clarence Gilyard Jr. and Daniel Roebuck, who played Matlock's private investigators, also appeared in movies featuring Paul Gleason as an officer of the L.A.P.D. Gilyard appeared in "Die Hard" (1988), and Roebuck appeared in "Money Talks" (1997).
  • Bill Mumy - who played in 2 episodes of Night Gallery - and Lost in Space TV series and a cameo in the Lost in space movie plays Ben Matlock nephew in one episode
  • Whenever Ben became irritated with someone, he called them a "jackass". This was one of his favorite expressions with Billy (Warren Frost) who was Cliff's dad. He got on Ben's nerves quite often.
  • His fee is $100,000 but told a client once that a pro bono case once in a while is good for the soul.
  • SPOILER: This was written by Dean Hargrove and is basically a remake of "Etude in Black", a 1972 "Columbo" movie that was produced by Hargrove. In "Etude in Black", John Cassavetes' character retrieves a carnation that fell off while he was murdering his lover.
  • Originally produced as a television movie, this pilot aired in March 1986 as an NBC movie of the week. It was later broken into two episodes (parts 1 & 2) for the regular series.
  • Actor Lori Lethin plays Ben's daughter, Charlene, in the first two episodes (originally filmed as a single television movie). After that, Lethin was replaced in the role of Charlene by Linda Purl, who lasted just one season. After Purl was fired (or quit, depending on whom you ask), at the end of season one, Matlock's daughter was never referred to again, until the end of season six. His daughter's name was changed to Leanne McIntyre, and played by Brynn Thayer.
  • Actor Linda Purl replaces Lori Lethin (who appeared only in the pilot) as Ben's daughter, Charlene.
  • This episode takes place in Rhode Island.
  • This episode includes Nancy Stafford as a character - well before her becoming Ben's associate.
  • This episode was a kind of back door pilot for the TV show Jake and the Fatman which would premiere a year after this. Both William Conrad and Joe Penny appear in this one, and while Conrad has a similar role as the Fatman (with a slightly different name), Penny plays a different type of character. Both shows were created by Dean Hargrove.
  • First appearance of Kari Lizer who plays Angel. She would guest star at the end of season one as Cassie Phillips before becoming a regular cast member during the second season before she would also depart and never return to the show.
  • Final appearance of Betty Lynn as Sarah, Matlock's secretary.

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