James Stewart as Hawkins - now available on DVD

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Billy Jim Hawkins is a defense attorney who investigates his own cases as he prepares for his defense of those accused of serious crimes.

While James Stewart is great to watch - and this character seems to be the wiser of most gumshoe types we've seen on television, I get a kick out of the court scenes where jurisprudence is thrown out the window in favor of someone's heartfelt testimony.

Additionally, where else, but on television, can someone observing the trial stand up and make a remark without the judge banging their gavel at them and demanding order in the courtroom? AND, where else, but on tv, can such an action lead to questioning and testimony from the "audience" area instead of the witness stand, which still has a witness on it?

Where, but on tv, can "new evidence" be entered at the last minute without the prosecution (or the defense, depending on who is entering the new evidence) having a chance to go over it, as per the rules of evidence and discovery? Funnier still - there are usually no objections.

Crimial investigations and justice in "tv land" are always fun to watch - they never convict the wrong party, the judge is always complaint with the defense. Best yet, though, the guilty party is usually sitting in the audience and is so moved by the testimony on the witness stand that he just can't help but stand up and admit to their crime, and instantly the wrongly accused is exonerated and all is well that ends well.

Wouldn't it be nice if that's how it was in real life?

Hawkins' episodes aren't a whole lot different, but they're fun to watch. They all contain a crime scene, they all contain an investigation, and they all contain a melodramatic court scene where the really guilty party is brought to justice while the wrongly accused is suddenly off the hook.

They all seem to make it look like the wrongly accused may really be innocent - then suddenly the real perp is revealed, as is typical of the mystery shows of the 1970's.

Definitely a must-have for the collection of James Stewart fans, this four-disc set contains the complete tv movie collection of all eight Hawkins movies, and is available at wbshop.com.

Here's what you'll get:

  • Disc 1: Death and the Maiden & Murder in Movieland
  • Disc 2: Die, Darling, Die & A Life for a Life
  • Disc 3: Blood Feud & Murder and the Slave Trade
  • Disc 4: Murder on the 13th Floor & Candidate for Murder