In the Heat of the Night

The BEST episodes of In the Heat of the Night

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Based on the critically acclaimed novel and film of the same name, this series provides a hopeful, yet honest look at life in the new South. Set in the fictional Sparta, Mississippi, the show is a blend of heartfelt drama and folksy humor, portraying both the professional and personal pursuits of Sparta P.D's officers. Series star Carroll O'Connor, in a role far removed from Archie Bunker, served as executive producer. Using the pen name Matt Harris, O'Connor was also the story editor and wrote many of the episodes.

Last Updated: 4/20/2022Network: CBS
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Missing
star
8.86
14 votes

#1 - Missing

Season 2 - Episode 22 - Aired 5/16/1989

Gillespie is kidnapped and Virgil believes that Tom Dugan is involved.

Directors: Alexander Singer
Watch Now:Amazon
The Hammer and the Glove
star
8.32
25 votes

#2 - The Hammer and the Glove

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired 12/13/1988

Virgil is delighted when Matthew his former partner from Philidelphia comes to visit.But he soon learns his friend has another purpose for coming to Sparta.Althea is uncomfortable because she and Matthew were romantically involved before she met Virgil and she realizes that he is unwilling to accept the fact that she chose Virgil over him.Meanwhile the F.B.I. enlist Sparta P.D.'s aid in hiding a witness.

Pilot (2)
star
8.00
41 votes

#3 - Pilot (2)

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired 3/6/1988

The investigation into the brutal murders of a young girl and the suspect in her death, leads Tibbs and Gillespie to the son of one of Sparta's wealthiest and most influential citizens.As they come closer to the truth things become dangerous for Virgil.

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Sweet, Sweet Blues
star
8.00
9 votes

#4 - Sweet, Sweet Blues

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired 11/26/1991

The lyrics to a blues song recall a murder that happened 50 years earlier.The victim - Sweet's grandfather.And the only people left with the answers are the bluesman who wrote the song and a retired sheriff.

Directors: Vincent McEveety
Watch Now:Amazon
Pilot (1)
star
7.99
73 votes

#5 - Pilot (1)

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired 3/6/1988

Virgil Tibbs returns to Sparta and joins the police force as chief of detectives.His arrival is met with resistance from police chief Bill Gillespie - who resents having an officer hired without his approval.Virgil has trouble adjusting to the small, antiquated police force.Tibbs' first case is a racially charged murder case that is soon complicated when the suspect is murdered in his cell.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Citizen Trundel (1)
star
7.89
9 votes

#6 - Citizen Trundel (1)

Season 3 - Episode 21 - Aired 5/1/1990

Harriet's sister is murdered on the orders of the wealthy white man who fathered her child.

Directors: Leo Penn
Watch Now:Amazon
Blind Spot (2)
star
7.89
35 votes

#7 - Blind Spot (2)

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired 4/5/1988

An angry Gillespie seeks answers when an old friend is shot.And Virgil narrowly escapes death after trying to ascertain the real reason behind an old adversary's return to Sparta.Nan finds herself in danger after she finds out the truth about her new love.

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The Pig Woman of Sparta
star
7.79
14 votes

#8 - The Pig Woman of Sparta

Season 2 - Episode 21 - Aired 5/9/1989

It seems that a serial killer has been burying his victims in a wooded area owned by a wealthy hermit that Virgil refers to as ""Sparta's Howard Hughes"". Suspicion immediately falls on an eccentric woman who lives in the woods with her pigs and chases away trespassers with a shotgun.The officers ask the landowner's disturbed son for help and Bubba is surprised to find that a woman he attended high school with is working as the man's ""nurse"".Also Parker and Sweet compete with one another to solve the case.

Watch Now:Amazon
Fate
star
7.72
43 votes

#9 - Fate

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired 3/22/1988

Racial tensions run high when a married white woman has an affair with a black businessman from New York.Meanwhile Virgil is not happy when the Chief enlists his aid in tracking down Bubba's cousin, a suspected moonshiner.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Tear Down the Walls
star
7.71
17 votes

#10 - Tear Down the Walls

Season 2 - Episode 10 - Aired 1/31/1989

A minister who was integrating his church(by inviting Virgil and Althea to attend services)is poisoned.

Watch Now:Amazon
Prisoners
star
7.69
29 votes

#11 - Prisoners

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired 12/20/1988

Sweet risks his life to prove that the Sheriff of a neighboring county is guilty of the racially motivated murder of a young man that Sweet was friends with in high school.

Directors: Russ Mayberry
Watch Now:Amazon
Road Kill
star
7.67
49 votes

#12 - Road Kill

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired 3/15/1988

The affair between the husband of a wealthy woman and her distant cousin leads to her murder. Virgil immediately suspects the pair.But he has a difficult time persuading Gillespie, who is a long time friend of the man and Bubba, who has been seeing the cousin.Bubba and Virgil clash again and Virgil is frustrated when the Chief rejects his theory about the crime.

Directors: Leo Penn
Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Don't Look Back (1)
star
7.66
38 votes

#13 - Don't Look Back (1)

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired 12/4/1988

A copycat recreates a shocking unsolved murder from the past.Gillespie feels threatened after Ted Marcus suggests that Virgil should become the Chief.The situation becomes more tense after Virgil criticizes Parker and Bubba's actions.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Family Secret
star
7.66
35 votes

#14 - The Family Secret

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired 12/6/1988

The murder of well respected man turns up a shocking secret about his family.

Directors: Lee H. Katzin
Watch Now:Amazon
...And Then You Die
star
7.65
37 votes

#15 - ...And Then You Die

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired 5/3/1988

The Sparta police search for a killer and his girlfriend.But the case becomes personal when they take Althea and the grandson of one of the victims hostage.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
A Trip Upstate
star
7.60
20 votes

#16 - A Trip Upstate

Season 2 - Episode 11 - Aired 2/7/1989

In this thought provoking episode.Gillespie is surprised when a man he arrested asks to see him on the eve of his execution.He must confront his feelings about the death penalty when the prisoner asks him to witness his death.

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A.k.a. Kelly Kay
star
7.60
15 votes

#17 - A.k.a. Kelly Kay

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired 2/14/1989

The past comes back to haunt JoAnn in the form of an escaped convict.

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Fifteen, Forever
star
7.59
17 votes

#18 - Fifteen, Forever

Season 2 - Episode 19 - Aired 4/25/1989

Sparta grieves after a drunk driver causes a fatal crash with high school cheerleaders on their way home from a game.While the officers try to find other driver, Althea tries to help the victim's families deal with their loss. The accident brings back painful memories for retired officer Tom Dugan.Meanwhile, district attorney Dutton accuses the department of being inadequate.

Watch Now:Amazon
Time of the Stranger
star
7.56
16 votes

#19 - Time of the Stranger

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired 12/5/1989

After a private investigator searching for a missing child is found dead, the evidence points to a local dance teacher - a neighbor that Parker has become very fond of.

Directors: Ivan Dixon
Watch Now:Amazon
Blind Spot (1)
star
7.55
40 votes

#20 - Blind Spot (1)

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired 3/29/1988

Virgil refuses to let go of a grudge against a wealthy former classmate who cheated him out of a scholarship.The man has promised city leaders that he will move his business to Sparta,but not all of his business interests are legal.The nephew of an old friend of Gillespie's finds his life in danger after he steals drugs stored in the businessman's mansion.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Don't Look Back (2)
star
7.54
28 votes

#21 - Don't Look Back (2)

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired 12/4/1988

Tibbs,Gillespie and Bubba pursue different leads in a bizarre murder case and the Chief realizes that the killer has plans for him.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Walkout
star
7.53
17 votes

#22 - Walkout

Season 2 - Episode 17 - Aired 3/28/1989

A bitter strike leads to a murder investigation on a snowy day in Sparta.

Watch Now:Amazon
Fairest of Them All
star
7.53
17 votes

#23 - Fairest of Them All

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired 10/31/1989

A beauty contest is marred by blackmail and the ambitious mother of a contestant.

Directors: Mario Azzopardi
Watch Now:Amazon
First Girl
star
7.53
17 votes

#24 - First Girl

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired 11/14/1989

Sparta P.D. gets it's first black policewoman.

Directors: Gene Reynolds
Watch Now:Amazon
Hot Nights
star
7.50
30 votes

#25 - Hot Nights

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired 12/27/1988

Bubba is seduced by an alluring writer who has more on her mind than romance.Bill and Virgil worry that he is in over his head.Bubba tries to protect her from her estranged husband, but things get complicated after she shoots someone.

Directors: Harry Harris
Watch Now:AmazoniTunes