You must not have a black praying grandmother if you’ve never sat in front of the tv, gaped in suspense at the on-goings in the rural town of Sparta, Mississippi. Based on the critically-acclaimed film and novel, In the Heat of the Night took the epic clash of race and class from Sidney Portier’s movie to television in the latter 80s and mid 90s. Poriter’s Tibbs was played by the late, great Howard Rollins, with All in the Family’s Carol O’Connor as white Chief Gillespie.
The crime procedural tackled the still very relevant issues of race in the South. From interracial relationships, to the then burgeoning drug epidemic – which sadly hit close to home as it took Rollins from us too early. This series was the predecessor to a series like The Wire and even American Crime.