Jan. 25, 2017

Season 3 – Episode 6: Anniversary

I’ve recently began binging on the TV series, “In the Heat of the Night.” I’ve faced the realization that I do not like what today’s TV line up has to offer. I am watching the heck out of reruns from series in television’s past. The more I learn about actor and Executive Producer, Carroll O’Connor, the more I respect him.

When Mr. O’Connor took over as Executive Producer in Season 3 of this series, he made certain that pertinent social issues were addressed in each show. The series hit racial tensions in the south head on showing the struggle that all sides experienced as people learned to live together and respect one another.

Season 3 featured an episode entitled, “Anniversary,” which was based on a flash back of Chief Gillespie’s release from kidnappers and the investigation of a white supremacist terrorist group. I was somewhat surprised that the word, “terrorist” was used in 1989. Apparently, O’Connor and his staff writers were ahead of their time.

The story builds on the racial war and a certain group’s refusal to move forward towards a more progressive and embracing American society.  Historically, the south seemed to take a little longer managing change. History has shown a pattern of delay for the south when it came to social paradigm shifts. In this episode, the terrorist group recruited a high-school boy to participate in the kidnapping and murder plans in the town of Sparta, Mississippi. I realize you can go online or “On Demand” (if you have the capabilities) and watch the full episode, so allow me to get to my point.

An assassination attempt was made against a black civil rights leader in this episode. The Sparta Police Department paired up with the FBI as they attempted to shut down the terrorist group and capture its leader. Of course, as is typical, just when you think you’ve distinguished the good guys from the bad guys, you find out that someone you thought was a good guy was really awful. Hopefully, you’re keeping up with me. I realize I have a tendency to ramble

When the Chief of Police and Chief Detective interviewed the boy after he became a victim to a sniper’s shot, they asked him how he could be so easily misled by a hate group.  The boy’s lines in the show were interesting. Now remember, this was 1989. He explained, “They told me it would make us stronger. They said it would make us great again in the eyes of the world.” (Paraphrased)

And that’s all I am going to say about that.