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USM Professor Releases New Book About the TV series, “The Fugitive”

Cover of the book, "The Fugitive."

Nostalgia buffs and avid TV viewers who recall watching the record-breaking, two-part finale of “The Fugitive” in August 1967 will be eager to crack open David Pierson’s new book, “The Fugitive,” which takes a fresh look at the show and how it echoes the socio-cultural anxieties of the 1960s. The book is also titled “The Fugitive” and is part of the TV Milestones Series. 

“The Fugitive,” TV’s longest-running chase story, aired on ABC from 1963 through 1967. The show tells the story of Richard Kimble, an innocent doctor from Indiana, who is convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to death. The story picks up just as Kimble escapes en route to prison, and follows his travels across the country as he attempts to find the one-armed man responsible for his wife’s death.

In “The Fugitive,” Pierson offers an analysis of the major themes represented throughout the show’s four-year run -- the innocent, convicted man taps into the country’s cold war paranoia and McCarthyism. Pierson draws a parallel between the character of Richard Kimble and many individuals in the 1960s counterculture and today’s Occupy movement. Pierson writes, “Kimble’s victimized outsider status ... associates him with scores of reformers bent on challenging the dominance of established institutions and their drive for greater profits ...”

Pierson, a resident of Westbrook, is associate professor of media studies at USM. He is the author of book chapters and journal articles on “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Mad Men” and “Seinfeld.”