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Matlock Has Hard Time Rescuing ‘Diagnosis’

John Martin New York Times Syndicate

NBC has “Friends” at 8 and so does CBS old friends, that is.

On CBS’ “Diagnosis Murder” at 8 Andy Griffith reprises his role as wily Atlanta attorney Ben Matlock, who comes to Los Angeles to help out his old friend Mark Sloan (Dick Van Dyke).

This two-part episode features a typically implausible “Diagnosis” plot.

When Dr. Jesse Travis (Charlie Schlatter) is sued for malpractice he runs to Sloan for help. So Sloan calls on Matlock.

It’s an odd choice because Matlock is a country lawyer who generally handles murder cases, not complex medical suits. (How come, in the past, Sloan has never tapped Matlock when he’s been asked to help someone charged with murder?)

More odd, the malpractice case goes to trial seemingly the next day. What the heck this is television.

Actually, Travis becomes a murder suspect when a doctor (Mark Kiely) who testified against him is killed.

As unlikely as it all may seem, Griffith is entertaining. But the script is so muddled that the real mystery is how to keep track of the characters who had a reason to off the deceased doc.


“High Incident,” ABC at 8: Your worst fears are exploited in this frightening episode in which El Camino is hit by a string of home invasions in which the thieves not only rob but torture their victims.

“Friends,” NBC at 8: Tom Selleck returns to the series as Monica’s (Courteney Cox) ex-lover Richard. It’s one of those “we’ll see each other but just as friends” arrangements that always ends up being more than friendly.

Also, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) trade favorite books.

“Living Single,” FOX at 8:30: Evander Holyfield, Kareem Abdul-Jabar and Estelle Harris guest-star in the series’ 100th episode. When Flavor wins an award, Khadijah (Queen Latifah) reflects back on the past five years.

Holyfield also guest-stars at 9 on “New York Undercover.”

He appears as himself in both shows.

“Mystery!” KSPS at 8: In two-part “The Way Through the Woods,” Chief Inspector Morse (John Thaw) suspects that a murdered inmate’s confessions are protecting the real “Lovers Lane Killer.”

“Freejack” (1992), ABC at 9: This box-office dud stars Emilio Estevez as a race-car driver who, after dying in a crash, awakens in the year 2009, where a dying tycoon (Anthony Hopkins) plans to use his body to harbor his evil mind. Mick Jagger co-stars as a bounty hunter.

“48 Hours,” CBS at 10: A report profiles Rosemary Heather Miller and Michelle Mize, real-life versions of Thelma and Louise, on the run after escaping from a Texas prison.

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