The Marshal

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The Marshal
Format Action / Crime / Drama
Created by Daniel Pyne
John Mankiewicz
Starring Jeff Fahey
Patricia Harras
Brion James
Kristina Lewis
Carly McKillip
Country of origin USA
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 25 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Don Johnson
Aaron Lipstadt
John Mankiewicz
Daniel Pyne
Running time 60 min.
Production company(s) Buffalo Wallet Productions
Western Sandblast
Paramount Television
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Original run January 31, 1995 (1995-01-31) – December 25, 1995 (1995-12-25)

The Marshal is an American action-drama television series that aired on ABC for two brief seasons in 1995. The show starred Jeff Fahey as the title character, a United States Marshal charged with pursuing fugitives across the nation. In 1995, the episode "Hitwoman" was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Editing for a Series.

Background[edit]

The idea for the program came when producer Carole Myers [1] and a former law enforcement officer obtained a formal letter from the U.S. Marshals Service in Washington, D.C. and Myers presented the idea for a series based on the Marshals to Paramount Television, the TV arm of Paramount Pictures. After gaining Paramount's interest, Myers, who was formerly a special projects producer and publicist for Miami Vice, presented the project to Don Johnson's production company on the Paramount lot.

The project originally was set up with the American Broadcasting Company (which had a long relationship with Paramount that in the past spawned such hit series as The Brady Bunch, Happy Days and its spin-offs, and MacGyver) as a reality series, however the pilot shoot was halted and the project stalled following a law enforcement incident in Waco, Texas. Myers then went back to Johnson's company with the concept of a dramatic series based on a U.S. Marshal.

Johnson realized that no television series had specifically targeted the U.S. Marshals, the nation's oldest law enforcement agency, dating back more than 200 years. Johnson chose Jeff Fahey to play Deputy U.S. Marshal Winston MacBride. Fahey had been a friend of Johnson's for years and guest-starred in the Miami Vice third season premiere "When Irish Eyes Are Crying." This casting was considered particularly crucial since MacBride would have no sidekick or other regular supporting characters to interact with. Not since The Fugitive had a crime drama focused so tightly on a single character. Guest stars were a regular part of the program's formula; the episode "Bounty Hunter," directed by Johnson, featured his former Miami Vice cast mate John Diehl as a fugitive serial killer.

Due to the low shooting expense, The Marshal was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia and Calgary, Alberta which would double as "Anytown, U.S.A."; due to the manhunt nature of the series, they would serve as a variety of cities. The show cost $1.5 million per episode which, rather than going to high salaries, went "directly onto the screen, making The Marshal look much more like a movie than a TV series."[1]

The Marshal debuted on Tuesday, January 31, 1995, as a midseason replacement. It then aired regularly on Saturdays opposite CBS' Walker, Texas Ranger and performed well enough in the ratings to be the only new ABC show to be renewed for the fall.[2] In September 1995, The Marshal was moved to Monday night to serve as the lead-in for Monday Night Football (just like fellow Paramount series MacGyver and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles did in recent years), but the show was not renewed for the next season. ABC canceled The Marshal shortly before football season ended. Its final episode aired on Christmas Day 1995, the same day as the Monday Night Football season finale.

Plot[edit]

Winston MacBride (Jeff Fahey) is a family man and fugitive-chasing Deputy U.S. Marshal who has never let a criminal get away. By tracking and guarding criminals, he wanders all over the country, meeting different people along the way. The wisecracking MacBride relies largely on his quirky sense of humor and intellect to fulfill his duties.[3]

Episodes[edit]

Season 1[edit]

# Title Original airdate
1 "Pilot" January 31, 1995 (1995-01-31)
2 "Grab the Money and Run" February 4, 1995 (1995-02-04)
3 "The Great Train Robbery" February 11, 1995 (1995-02-11)
4 "The Ballad of Lucas Burke" February 18, 1995 (1995-02-18)
5 "Hitwoman" February 25, 1995 (1995-02-25)
6 "Protection" March 4, 1995 (1995-03-04)
7 "The Bounty Hunter" March 11, 1995 (1995-03-11)
8 "Twoslip" March 25, 1995 (1995-03-25)
9 "Little Odessa" April 1, 1995 (1995-04-01)
10 "Snow Orchid" April 8, 1995 (1995-04-08)
11 "Natural Law" April 15, 1995 (1995-04-15)
12 "Unprotected Witness" April 17, 1995 (1995-04-17)
13 "Rainbow Comix" September 11, 1995 (1995-09-11)

Season 2[edit]

# Title Original airdate
1 "Buy Hard" September 18, 1995 (1995-09-18)
2 "The New Marshal" September 25, 1995 (1995-09-25)
3 "The Heartbreak Kid" October 2, 1995 (1995-10-02)
4 "Gone Fishing" October 9, 1995 (1995-10-09)
5 "Land of Opportunity" October 16, 1995 (1995-10-16)
6 "Pass the Gemelli" October 23, 1995 (1995-10-23)
7 "The Show" November 6, 1995 (1995-11-06)
8 "Love is Strange" November 13, 1995 (1995-11-13)
9 "Kissing Cousins" November 20, 1995 (1995-11-20)
10 "'65-'95" December 4, 1995 (1995-12-04)
11 "These Foolish Things" December 11, 1995 (1995-12-11)
12 "Time Off for Clever Behavior" December 25, 1995 (1995-12-25)

Critical reception[edit]

Todd Everett gave a mediocre review of the series pilot and expected the series to "fade quickly from public consciousness." He also noted one humorous reference but described it as "fleeting" and expressed that the series could benefit from more of such humor. Everett added that "Fahey could turn into an appealing lead if given more opportunity to loosen up."[4]

However, having seen multiple episodes, Ken Trucker of Entertainment Weekly gave the series a B+ and encouraged TV viewers to watch it. He noted that despite the "perfectly suited" Fahey's handsome looks, MacBride's best quality is his "air of fallibility" which offers an eccentric spoofing of the macho, heroic archetype. Trucker summed by stating: "At once true to action- show rules and properly parodic about the role of good guys in the late 20th century, The Marshal is an underrated pleasure."[5]

David Kronke of the Los Angeles Times titled his review, "'Marshal' Shows Promise With Smart, Arresting Wit" http://articles.latimes.com/1995-01-31/entertainment/ca-26255_1_smart-wit

When the series was renewed for a second season, on 5/29/1995, John J. O'Connor of the New York Times wrote, ""The Marshal" is joining a select group of television series. The ABC show, which began with a "preview" in late January, is one of the few that have been renewed for next season. Furthermore, although its ratings were hardly sensational, "The Marshall" is going into the strong 8 P.M. time slot just before "Monday Night Football." Meanwhile, the original run is being repeated on Mondays, beginning tonight." http://www.nytimes.com/1995/05/29/arts/television-review-marshal-renewed-is-repeated.html

When ABC cancelled the show, Entertainment Weekly wrote in their Best and Worst 1995 article, "Best 'Melrose Place' Alternative The Marshal (ABC): On Mondays, this now-cancelled Jeff Fahey actioner was funnier and more exciting than Melrose. All this and music by Van Dyke Parks, one of the year's more discreet pop secrets." http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,300164,00.html

References[edit]

  1. ^ Smith, Steven Cole 'Marshal' Puts Fahey Back in Saddle Fort Worth Star-Telegram (February 25, 1995). Retrieved on 4-25-10.
  2. ^ O'Connor, John J. TELEVISION REVIEW; 'Marshal,' Renewed, Is Repeated New York Times (May 29, 1995). Retrieved on 4-25-10.
  3. ^ Top 100 Best TV Series Of The 20th Century Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot (September 12, 2007). Retrieved on 4-25-10.
  4. ^ Everett, Todd The Marshal Variety (February 1, 1995). Retrieved on 4-25-10.
  5. ^ Trucker, Ken The Marshal Entertainment Weekly (March 31, 1995). Retrieved on 4-25-10.

External links[edit]