'Matlock: Greatest Cases'
(Andy Griffith, et al / 3-DVD / NR / 2015 / CBS)
Overview: Matlock makes a case for flawless television in a collection of twelve all-time favorite episodes. Andy Griffith stars as famed criminal defense attorney Ben Matlock, as he takes on some of his most memorable cases and unforgettable opponents.
DVD Verdict: Years after his run as Sheriff Andy Taylor, Andy Griffith finally got another regular job. This time he is playing Ben Matlock, an Atlanta lawyer who talks like Sheriff Andy. It's a comfortable role in a tried and true format; a mix of "Perry Mason" and "Columbo". "Columbo" veteran Dean Hargrove dreamed up the series and shared executive producer duties with Fred Silverman.
The focus is on the title character and Griffith is great fun to watch. He charms and sweet talks his way through each case, getting everyone to let down their guard because they underestimate this good old boy as much as they did the seemingly scatterbrained "Columbo". Both series revolved around the main character's ability discern something incriminating in seemingly innocent little things and to pick up on a guilty party's casual slip of the tongue.
In the "Perry Mason" tradition Matlock is not bound by the conventional rules of evidence or procedural requirements once he gets into a courtroom. He can say anything and introduce any sort of evidence simply by reassuring the judge that his line or questioning will eventually become relevant. Be prepared for the obligatory breakdowns and confessions on the witness stand. The prosecutors can only shake their heads and bluster helplessly in the face of Matlock's cunning strategy.
Matlock is assisted by the show's version of Perry Mason's Paul and Della. In season one these are his daughter and partner Charlene Matlock (Lori Lethin in the pilot-Linda Purl in the regular episodes) and his investigator Tyler Hudson (Kene Holliday). His junior partner Michele Thomas (Nancy Stafford) would not join the team as a regular until the nest season and it wasn't until 1988 that Don Knotts reprises his Barney role as Ben's neighbor Les "Ace" Calhoun.
And so, boasting an all-star roster of guest stars, many named above, others including Dick Van Dyke, Bryan Cranston and Scott Bakula, CBS has now brought out this delightful 'Matlock: Greatest Cases' DVD. The twelve landmark episodes included are: The Judge, The Sisters, The Power Brokers: Part 1, The Power Brokers: Part 2, The Lemon, The Talk Show, The Brothers, The Marriage Counselor, The Big Payoff, The Debt, The Last Laugh, and The Dare.
From shady siblings to an eccentric millionaire to a killer comic, life is just a mystery waiting to be solved. Luckily, Ben Matlock is on the case and with a show that exudes so much charm and sophistication, could anyone have wished for anything much sweeter than this wonderful 3-DVD collection of his greatest courtroom outings. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and Beautifully Restored!
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