Favorite TV Episodes: "The Fugitive" May God Have Mercy


Bored Historian
Aug 26, 2011
THE FUGITIVE 3/16/65 “May God Have Mercy”

Now we get the return of Telly Savalas, (last in “Where the Action Is”). Here he plays Victor Leonetti, owner of a construction firm that built the Kimble’s house back in Stafford. He’s also the father of a young girl with a heart condition who died in Dr. Kimble’s care. Now he’s dying himself and is full of anger- especially when he sees Kimble working as an orderly in the hospital, (in Michigan) where he is a patient. He calls the police. His wife, (played by Carol Rossen, who had a very different role in “Tiger Left, Tiger Right”), warns Kimble, who she doesn’t blame for her daughter’s death. He gets wounded trying to escape and winds up a patient in the hospital. The local police lieutenant, (Norman Fell, who must have set a record for the number of cops he played), sends for Gerard and it appears Kimble’s goose is finally cooked.

The reason why Leonetti blamed Kimble for his daughter’s death is that Kimble was out of town when she had her attack. Kimble explains that he was in New York convincing the top heart surgeon in the country to take the case but they got back to late. Mrs. Leonetti makes a comment that “no one in Stafford thought he was guilty”, which obviously was not quite true but Leonetti gets convinced that the good Doctor is innocent of both deaths. He now feels guilty for the positon he’s put Kimble in and his solution, since he’s dying anyway, is to confess to the murder of Helen Kimble. He knows all the details of the crime- and of the house he built - and convinces Fell but not Gerard. Leonetti, (ironically, he’s dressed exactly like Kojak), dodges all the verbal traps Gerard sets for him. He even says he saw the one-armed man! His motivation was his hatred of Kimble. But could it be true? Could both Kimble and the One-Armed Man be innocent?

It results in another discussion between Gerard and Kimble. Gerard isn’t convinced, although he seems to be at least confused. He plays on Kimble’s conscience, suggesting that he won’t want Leonetti to take the blame for a crime Kimble committed. That doesn’t work-precisely because Kimble is innocent- and you wonder if some doubts are starting to worm their way into Gerard’s mind. He’s introduced into the episode when he gets the call from Fell in the middle of the night and he seems reluctant go on another wild goose chase. Is he getting tired of this? But they’ve still got two seasons to go!

I watch a lot of 60’s shows and Dr. Kildare and Ben Casey are two of my favorites. Casey was an ABC show. A cross-over might have been fun and this episode could have been it. Jud Taylor, who plays the snarky intern who resents Kimble for blowing him in for spending too much time with a pretty nurse, played Doctor Thomas Gerson, a member of the staff on Dr. Kildare, 17 times in this period.

IMDB: "The Fugitive" May God Have Mercy (TV Episode 1965) - IMDb

You-Tube: Despite the title, this is “May God Have Mercy”, not “Runner in the Dark:


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