The BEST episodes of Matlock season 1

Every episode of Matlock season 1, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of Matlock season 1!

Ben Matlock is a very expensive criminal defense attorney who charges $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.

Last Updated: 4/29/2024Network: ABC (US)Status: Ended
The Don (1)
85 votes

#1 - The Don (1)

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired 10/28/1986

When Nicholas Baron, a well known mobster, is accused of murdering one of his rivals, he asks Ben Matlock to represent him. Ben initially refuses, but agrees to represent Baron despite threats on his own life. He soon meets the entire family, and realises that despite what Baron has always done for a living, at heart he's a worried father who wants to clear his name.

Writer: Anne Collins
Watch Now:Amazon
The Professor
42 votes

#2 - The Professor

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired 12/2/1986

Professor Erskine Tate wakes from a drunken stupor behind the wheel of his car. He doesn't know how he got there or what happened. When he's accused of having hit a mailman during his drunken joyride, he goes to a former student, Ben Matlock, for help, and Ben investigates two students and a teaching assistant.

Directors: Bill Duke
Writer: Donald Ross
Watch Now:Amazon
The People vs. Matlock
55 votes

#3 - The People vs. Matlock

Season 1 - Episode 20 - Aired 3/24/1987

While defending union boss Gerald O'Hara, who has been accused of murdering his chief rival for his seat (Dan Keaton), Matlock is furious when juror number seven (Harry Craven) comes forward to announce that he was paid off by Matlock to vote a certain way. Luckily for Matlock, Julie knows him well enough to know he would never take a bribe, and she helps him prove that he's innocent, and that his client was railroaded by the same man who tried to bring down Ben.

Directors: Charles S. Dubin
Watch Now:Amazon
The Rat Pack
62 votes

#4 - The Rat Pack

Season 1 - Episode 14 - Aired 1/20/1987

When Beverly Hills cookie entrepreneur Adam Gardner's girlfriend is found dead in his hot tub, the case against him looks bleak, especially when an eye witness points the finger at him. After his corporate lawyers advise him to plead guilty, Gardner hires Ben Matlock to defend him. While Matlock believes in his client's innocence, the more he learns about the victim, the greater the motive his client has, especially once love letters turn up that were exchanged between the victim and Josh Sinclair, Adam's supposed best friend.

Writer: Anne Collins
Watch Now:Amazon
The Sisters
99 votes

#5 - The Sisters

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired 11/11/1986

Harold Scully is a boring man. But at least he knows that. When he begs old acquaintance Ben Matlock to defend him on charges of murdering his wealthy wife Esther, Matlock reluctantly agrees. The more investigating he does, the more he realises that there is something seriously wrong with Harold's two nieces, sisters Julia and Emily.

Directors: Alan Cooke
Writer: Doc Barnett
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The Therapist
54 votes

#6 - The Therapist

Season 1 - Episode 19 - Aired 3/3/1987

Matlock is hired to defend a popular actor when he's accused of killing the man who ran the sex-therapy clinic where he was staying, ostensibly for releasing his name to the press. He's got a temporary thorn in his side, though, in the form of Cassie Phillips, a law student he once made an off-hand comment to about looking him up for a job...she took him a lot more seriously than he had intended.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Angel
90 votes

#7 - The Angel

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired 11/25/1986

Matlock reluctantly agrees to hire free-spirited rock star Angel after Charlene reveals she's already taken the job for them. Angel has been accused of killing her manager, and due to an alcohol induced black-out, can't even offer herself an alibi for the night. Matlock gets more and more angry when Angel continues to ignore his suggestions at toning down her life-style, but luckily he's able to get through to her before her attitude gets her convicted of murder.

Directors: Larry Elikann
Watch Now:Amazon
The Seduction
92 votes

#8 - The Seduction

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired 10/14/1986

Matlock is hired to defend Brad Bingham, an aging football star with a reputation as a womanizer who was about to be cut from the team. Charlene is resistant to Ben's choice, as she believes everything the tabloids have to say about Brad...not only that, but years earlier, he'd had a brief relationship with her friend Ellen Hawley, who had tried to kill herself after they broke up. As the case continues, Charlene realises that not everything that's printed in the papers is true and that maybe Ellen wasn't quite honest with her, even though a call girl (Caryn Nelson) hired to make Brad look guilty almost convinces her that he is.

Directors: Nick Sgarro
Writer: Anne Collins
Watch Now:Amazon
The Judge
151 votes

#9 - The Judge

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired 9/23/1986

Ben Matlock accepts the pro bono case of Kevin Meredith, a young man accused of murdering his lover, whom Ben soon realises had a much more powerful lover.

The Court-Martial (2)
59 votes

#10 - The Court-Martial (2)

Season 1 - Episode 18 - Aired 2/24/1987

As the case progresses, Ben discovers that the lieutenant and four other officers may have been involved in some kind of illegal activities. Charlene who has been working undercover and gets close to one of those officers, examines him on the stand and he reveals that they have been smuggling drugs. Ben then examines one of the officers and has him reveal to the court the scar that the lieutenant left on him after he killed him. He then reveals that he and the other two officers drew straws on who would kill him cause, an investigation might reveal their activities.

Writer: Anne Collins
The Author
85 votes

#11 - The Author

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired 1/13/1987

Mary Ann Newton has written a book (Secret Confessions) that purports to be fiction, but upon a deeper look, it seems to be an expose on the citizens of a small town. When an attempt made on her life gets a local reverend instead, Matlock is called in to defend the suspected killer. As the case goes on, Matlock realises that Ms. Newton may not be the right target for the would-be killer.

The Cop
68 votes

#12 - The Cop

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired 11/18/1986

Detective Joe Peters has been accused of taking bribes and murdering a fence, and also suspected in the death of a fellow cop. When it comes right down to it, one of the other cops on the force was more involved than they should have been.

The Affair
136 votes

#13 - The Affair

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired 10/7/1986

Matlock represents the a maid accused of killing her employer, at the request of the man's widow. The request is a little odd, but it seems Christina Ward wants people to know exactly what kind of man her husband was. Matlock is more than a little uncomfortable when it seems Charlene is developing a tendre for the woman's son Clark, an old college chum of Charlene's.

Writer: Paul Savage
The Nurse
81 votes

#14 - The Nurse

Season 1 - Episode 15 - Aired 2/3/1987

Kathy Warren was a private nurse working for the St. Johns. One night while she was out, Peter St. John died, and when it was determined to be murder, she was the prime suspect. She hired Matlock to defend her, offering her engagement ring as a fee. After Lacey St. John told A.D.A. Julie March that the ring had been stolen from their home, Matlock realised that something wasn't right in the St. John house, and that someone was lying to him.

Directors: Charles S. Dubin
The Stripper
58 votes

#15 - The Stripper

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired 9/30/1986

Years ago, Ben represented Jason Hardiman in his divorce proceedings, and upon his instructions, offered Carla a small fortune to relinquish custody of their son. She refused, and eventually won. Now Carla can only find work as a stripper. Jason goes to her work and again threatens to take their son Jimmy from her. When he is found at the edge of death, Carla is the immediate suspect. He is murdered while in the hospital, and Carla is the prime suspect. Ben's suspicions soon turn to a woman named Helen Shelly, but unfortunately, it's hard to find her. Doug Templitt seems to be the only one who knows where she is.

The Doctors
51 votes

#16 - The Doctors

Season 1 - Episode 23 - Aired 5/12/1987

Dr. David Westlake was a nasty piece of work who had a reputation for making trouble for his medical students. Any one of four men had a motive to kill Westlake, but suspicion lands on Dr. Jacobs, who was seen fleeing the scene of the crime.

Directors: Tony Mordente
The Convict
89 votes

#17 - The Convict

Season 1 - Episode 16 - Aired 2/10/1987

Seven years ago Ben defended Les Matthews, who was accused of killing his friend and business partner and Ben lost. Today Matthews has been granted parole. While working in the library, Wayne Lashley enters with his two goons, Lipton and Foley. While Lipton and Foley keep watch, Lashley tries to kill Les, but in the struggle, it's Lashley who ends up dead, and Les who ends up looking guilty. Matthews is charged with Lashley's murder and Ben wants to defend him. He sends Tyler undercover in the prison and places him with the cellmate of the man who was killed. He gives Ben evidence that not only proves Matthews is telling the truth but also who was responsible for the murder that Matthews was convicted of seven years ago.

Directors: Daniel Haller
The Don (2)
109 votes

#18 - The Don (2)

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired 11/4/1986

Even though they've lost a key witness, Matlock keeps defending Nicholas Baron. Daniel tries to convince Matlock that his father just can't handle any stress due to his heart condition, but Nicholas continues to beg Matlock to clear his name. While Matlock investigates a suspect closer to home than Baron would want, Charlene blows her chance at a relationship with Paul when she can't separate the man from the legend.

Writer: Anne Collins
Santa Claus
82 votes

#19 - Santa Claus

Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired 12/9/1986

When a down-on-his luck Santa Claus (Tom McCabe) is accused of killing the landlord who was about to evict not only him but everyone else in the apartment complex, the people in his building take up a collection and come to Matlock to ask him to defend him. They may not like Tom, but none of them believe him guilty of murder. Matlock ignores his own misgivings about a man he can't help but dislike and agrees to defend Tom.

The Reporter
57 votes

#20 - The Reporter

Season 1 - Episode 22 - Aired 5/5/1987

When Laurie Palmer is arrested for killing her husband, the reporter covering the case is convinced of her innocence, and goes to Ben Matlock looking for help.

Directors: Charles S. Dubin
The Chef
88 votes

#21 - The Chef

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired 1/6/1987

Michael and Victoria Edwards may be divorced, but unfortunately, she couldn't keep him from being a guest on her show. When Michael dies after testing out the dish they were cooking, Victoria is immediately charged with his murder. Matlock agrees to defend her, and gets some good home cooking in the bargain.

Writer: Anne Collins
The Photographer
51 votes

#22 - The Photographer

Season 1 - Episode 21 - Aired 3/31/1987

Amy Adler had a juvenile record before becoming a photographer's assistant. When the photographer she works for is murdered, she begs Matlock to help her out. While pro bono cases aren't usually his style, something about the feisty young woman catches his interest, and he agrees to help her out.

Directors: Bob Sweeney
The Court-Martial (1)
61 votes

#23 - The Court-Martial (1)

Season 1 - Episode 17 - Aired 2/17/1987

Ben is hired by a friend to defend his son, who is in the army, who's been charged with killing the sadistic lieutenant, whose mistreatment of his men led to the death of his friend.

Writer: Anne Collins