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The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night

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Updated May 15, 2020 12 votes 10 voters 30.1k views 145 items

In the Heat of the Night follows a white police chief and black chief of detectives as they solve crimes and navigate racial divides in Mississippi. The best episodes of In the Heat of the Night often feature examinations of hate crimes, drug addiction, corruption, capital punishment and more issues. Some good episodes of In the Heat of the Night also find the characters addressing their pasts.

What are the best episodes of In the Heat of the Night? “Family Secret,” from season two is a fan favorite as it finds Bill Gillespie and Virgil Tibbs discovering a secret about the family of a murdered man. “Intruders” has law enforcement searching for a burglar who targets elderly women.

“Fairest of Them All” is another good episode from In the Heat of the Night as is “Epitaph for a Lady,” which finds Gillespie investigating an old friend.

Do you have a favorite In the Heat of the Night episode? Give the best episodes a vote up and vote down any episodes you may not have liked.

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1
Accused is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Accused Episode: 218, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: April 4, 1989

2
...And Then You Die is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Episode: 8, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 1

Original Airing: May 03 1988

The Sparta police search for a killer and his girlfriend.But the case becomes personal when they take Althea and the grandson of one of the victims hostage.
3
A.k.a. Kelly Kay is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Ladybug, Ladybug Episode: 20, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: May 02 1989

With the Chief in Quantico Bubba and Virgil try to catch a serial arsonist.Things get complicated after a man dies in one of the fires.And Councilwoman White stirs things up by appointing Tom ...more
4
A Necessary Evil is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
A Necessary Evil Episode: 7, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 1

Original Airing: Apr 12 1988

In this humorous episode Virgil and the Chief arrest a man for bigamy.It soon becomes a polygamy case after an endless parade of wives come to visit their husband.
5
Country Mouse, City Mous... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Sister, Sister Episode: 16, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: Mar 21 1989

A vivacious socialites return to Sparta delights her ailing father and childhood friend Virgil, but her sister is less than thrilled at her homecoming.After their father is poisoned the jealous ...more
6
Gunshots is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
The Creek Episode: 15, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: Mar 14 1989

The investigation of a possible assault brings back nightmarish and confusing childhood memories for Virgil.
7
Hot Nights is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Episode: 13, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: Dec 27 1988

Bubba is seduced by an alluring writer who has more on her mind than romance.Bill and Virgil worry that he is in over his head.Bubba tries to protect her from her estranged husband, but things ...more
8
Tear Down the Walls is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Tear Down the Walls Episode: 18, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: Apr 04 1989

Bubba tries to rescue a woman from a rapist, but she mistakes him for her attacker.Gillespie tangles with an ambitious district attorney who plans to use the case to further his career.
9
These Things Take Time ... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
The Pig Woman of Sparta Episode: 21, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: May 09 1989

It seems that a serial killer has been burying his victims in a wooded area owned by a wealthy hermit that Virgil refers to as ""Sparta's Howard Hughes"". Suspicion ...more
10
The Hammer and the Glove... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
A.k.a. Kelly Kay Episode: 12, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: Feb 14 1988

The past comes back to haunt JoAnn in the form of an escaped convict.
11
Fate is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Fate Episode: 3, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 1

Original Airing: Mar 15 1988

The affair between the husband of a wealthy woman and her distant cousin leads to her murder. Virgil immediately suspects the pair.But he has a difficult time persuading Gillespie, who is a long ...more
12
Prisoners is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
These Things Take Time Episode: 13, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: Feb 21 1989

A teenage mother from an impoverished family is arrested for murder after her infant is found dead, but Virgil believes there is more to the case than meets the eye.Meanwhile Althea believes the ...more
13
Road Kill is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Road Kill Episode: 2, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 1

Original Airing: Mar 06 1988

The investigation into the brutal murders of a young girl and the suspect in her death, leads Tibbs and Gillespie to the son of one of Sparta's wealthiest and most influential citizens.As they ...more
14
Stranger in Town is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Walkout Episode: 17, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: Mar 28 1989

A bitter strike leads to a murder investigation on a snowy day in Sparta.
15
Intruders is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Missing Episode: 22, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: May 16 1989

Gillespie is kidnapped and Virgil believes that Tom Dugan is involved.
16
Pilot (1) is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Pilot (1) Episode: 1, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 1

Original Airing: Mar 06 1988

Virgil Tibbs returns to Sparta and joins the police force as chief of detectives.His arrival is met with resistance from police chief Bill Gillespie - who resents having an officer hired without ...more
17
Blind Spot (1) is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Blind Spot (1) Episode: 5, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 1

Original Airing: Mar 29 1988

Virgil refuses to let go of a grudge against a wealthy former classmate who cheated him out of a scholarship.The man has promised city leaders that he will move his business to Sparta,but not ...more
18
Blind Spot (2) is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Blind Spot (2) Episode: 6, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 1

Original Airing: Apr 05 1988

An angry Gillespie seeks answers when an old friend is shot.And Virgil narrowly escapes death after trying to ascertain the real reason behind an old adversary's return to Sparta.Nan finds ...more
19
Don't Look Back (1) is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Don't Look Back (1) Episode: 1, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: Dec 04 1988

A copycat recreates a shocking unsolved murder from the past.Gillespie feels threatened after Ted Marcus suggests that Virgil should become the Chief.The situation becomes more tense after ...more
20
Don't Look Back (2) is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Don't Look Back (2) Episode: 2, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: Dec 04 1988

Tibbs,Gillespie and Bubba pursue different leads in a bizarre murder case and the Chief realizes that the killer has plans for him.
21
Family Secret is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Family Secret Episode: 3, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 2

Original Airing: Dec 06 1988

A family secret is a secret kept within a family. Most families have secrets, but the kind and importance vary. Family secrets can be shared by the whole family, by some family members or kept ...more
22
Rape is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Rape Episode: 1, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 3

Original Airing: Oct 24 1989

After being released by his captors, the chief discovers that his abduction is part of a plot to assassinate a visiting civil rights leader.
23
Fairest of Them All is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Fairest of Them All Episode: 2, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 3

Original Airing: Oct 31 1989

Virgil struggles to help Althea after she is raped by a fellow teacher.Darnell does not think they can get a conviction because the man's wife has given him an alibi.Virgil tries to control his ...more
24
Murder Most Ancient is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Murder Most Ancient Episode: 3, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 3

Original Airing: Nov 07 1989

A beauty contest is marred by blackmail and the ambitious mother of a contestant.
25
First Girl is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Episodes of In the Heat of the Night
Episode: 4, Season: In the Heat of the Night - Season 3

Original Airing: Nov 14 1989

An unhappy wife asks her lover to place a bomb in her abusive husband's truck.