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Premiere pilot
March 3, 1986
September 23, 1986
Finale May 7, 1995
Airs Weekdays at 10 a.m. on MeTV
Creator Dean Hargrove
Network NBC (season 1-6)
ABC (seasons 7-9)
Style 60-minute crime drama
Company Dean Hargrove Productions,
The Fred Silverman Company,
The Matlock Company,
Viacom Productions
Distributor Viacom Enterprises (until 1995)
Paramount Domestic Television (1995–2006)
CBS Paramount Television (2006–2007)
CBS Television Distribution (2007– )
Seasons 9
Episodes 195
Origin USA

Matlock is a crime drama that aired on NBC for six seasons and ABC for three seasons.

The show centers on widower Benjamin Leighton "Ben" Matlock, a renowned, folksy and popular though cantankerous attorney. Usually, at the end of the case, the person who is on the stand being questioned by Matlock is the actual perpetrator, and Matlock will expose him, despite making clear that his one goal is to prove reasonable doubt in the case of his client's guilt or to prove his client's innocence.

Matlock studied law at Harvard, and after several years as a public defender, established his law practice in Atlanta, living in a modest farmhouse in a neighboring suburb. He is known to visit crime scenes to discover clues otherwise overlooked and come up with viable, alternative theories of the crime in question (usually murder). Matlock also has conspicuously finicky fashion sense; he generally appears in court wearing a trademark light gray suit and, over the series' entire run, owned three generations of the Ford Crown Victoria—always an all-gray model (Griffith's character had always driven Ford products in his 1960s series, The Andy Griffith Show). Some Mayberry alumni—Don Knotts, Aneta Corsaut, Betty Lynn, Jack Dodson and Arlene Golonka—made guest appearances on Matlock.

Matlock is noted for his thrift and a fondness for hot dogs. After the series ended, his penchant for hot dogs was explained in the 1997 episode "Murder Two" of Joyce Burditt's Diagnosis Murder. Matlock blames Dr. Mark Sloan (Dick Van Dyke) for recommending a disastrous investment in 8-track cartridges, in which he lost his savings of $5,000 in 1969, while he survived by wearing cheap suits and living on hot dogs. Despite his thrift, Matlock's standard fee is $100,000, usually paid up front, but if he or his staff believe strongly enough in the innocence of a client, or if the client is unable to pay immediately (if at all), he will have them pay over time, or will reduce the fee significantly or waive it entirely, albeit reluctantly in some cases. He will also, reluctantly, take a pro bono case occasionally, and at least on one occasion, he has worked as the prosecuting attorney in a trial.

These traits, and the demands he placed upon his investigators, were often points of comic relief in the series. Andy Griffith's prior career as a comic often showed through in things Matlock did or said.

Matlock generally defended his clients in the Fulton County Courthouse, which was actually the Second Church of Christ, Scientist located at 948 West Adams Boulevard in Los Angeles.



Actor Character Duration
Main Cast
Andy Griffith Benjamin "Ben" Matlock 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Linda Purl Charlene Matlock 1
Nancy Stafford Michelle Thomas 2 3 4 5 6
Kari Lizer Cassie Phillips 2
Julie Sommars Asst. DA Julie March 1 2 3 4 5 6 9
Brynn Thayer Leanne McIntyre 7 8
Daniel Roebuck Cliff Lewis 7 8 9
Carol Huston Jerri Stone 9
Kene Holliday Tyler Hudson 1 2 3
Clarence Gilyard, Jr. Conrad McMaster 4 5 6 7
Season numbers in red indicate a recurring or guest role in that season.
Supporting/Recurring Cast
David Froman Lt. Bob Brooks 1 2 3 4 5 6 9
Richard Newton Judge Richard Cooksey 1 2 3 4 5 6
Michael Durrell DA Lloyd Burgess 1 2 3 4 5 6
Lucille Meredith Judge Irene Sawyer 1 2 3 4
Don Knotts Les Calhoun 3 4 5 6
Warren Frost Billy Lewis 6 7 8 9
Al Wiggins Judge Clagett 7 8 9


Season Premiere Finale #
Season One September 23, 1986 May 12, 1987 23 + 1
Season Two September 22, 1987 May 3, 1988 24
Season Three November 29, 1988 May 16, 1989 20
Season Four September 19, 1989 May 8, 1990 24
Season Five September 18, 1990 April 30, 1991 22
Season Six October 18, 1991 May 8, 1992 22
Season Seven November 5, 1992 May 6, 1993 18
Season Eight September 23, 1993 May 19, 1994 22
Season Nine October 13, 1994 May 7, 1995 18


DVD Releases

Title Release Date #
Season Sets
The First Season April 8, 2008 7


The Second Season January 13, 2009 6


The Third Season July 7, 2009 5


The Fourth Season March 2, 2010 6


The Fifth Season July 20, 2010 6


The Sixth Season January 25, 2011 6


The Seventh Season February 21, 2012 3


The Eighth Season February 12, 2013 6


The Ninth and Final Season July 16, 2013 5


Complete Series
The Complete Series April 7, 2015

External Sites