Based on the critically acclaimed novel of the same name, this series provided a hopeful, yet honest look at life in the new South. Set in the fictional Sparta, Mississippi, the show was a marvelous blend of heartfelt drama and folksy humor. It portrayed both the professional and personal pursuits of Sparta P.D's officers.
Runtime: 60 minutes
In the Heat of the Night - Night Heat - Netflix
Night Heat was a Canadian police drama series, which aired on both CTV in Canada and CBS in the United States. Original episodes were broadcast from 1985 to 1989 in the United States, and until 1990 in Canada. Night Heat was the first Canadian-produced drama series to air on an American network. CBS aired the series as part of CBS Late Night, a late night block of drama programming. Despite its late hour, Night Heat received good ratings for CBS, sometimes even beating NBC's Johnny Carson Show. After it was canceled, reruns continued to air on CBS for another two years, and on Canadian TV well into the early 2000s. Night Heat reruns were available on Showcase, TVtropolis and DejaView. The show starred Allan Royal as journalist Tom Kirkwood, who chronicled the nightly police beat of detectives Kevin O'Brien (Scott Hylands) and Frank Giambone (Jeff Wincott). For Hylands, a 21-year veteran actor, frequently seen playing villains in U.S. TV shows during the 1970s and early 1980s, this was the first time he had been given a leading role, or the role of a “good guy.” The Kevin O'Brien character was described as “a somewhat cynical, hardened hero.” The cast also included Susan Hogan, Wendy Crewson, Sean McCann, Louise Vallance, Stephen Mendel, Eugene Clark, and Clark Johnson. Featured early in the show's run, Vallance left the show to focus on her role as Whazzat Kangaroo in the American live-action children's series Zoobilee Zoo.
In the Heat of the Night - History of Night Heat - Netflix
The show was conceived by former New York police detective Sonny Grosso, a 25-year veteran with expertise in undercover work. He had an idea for a police show specifically designed for a late night audience, that would feature a realistic look at police work. The show, which featured an all-Canadian cast and crew, was produced in and around Toronto, but the majority of it was shot at the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, described as a “grim and forbidding setting,” that fit in with the gritty look that the show's producer, Robert Lantos wanted. All shooting was done at night, to accurately depict police officers who worked the night shift; sometimes, shooting did not end until 3 AM. Night Heat was also produced using “grainy hand-held 16mm film instead of the Hollywood-standard 35 mm,” further making each episode seem more realistic. Critics in Canada were generally enthusiastic about Night Heat, and they were proud of the series for getting on the air in the United States. The one complaint was that the show hid or downplayed the fact that it was Canadian, in order to appeal to US audiences: “they never say it's Toronto,” observed one critic. “It's just the city.” As another critic explained, this was intentional: executives at CBS believed if the show were “too Canadian,” American audiences would not be able to relate to it. Thus, the script-writers were advised to avoid specific mentions of Canadian culture, such as showing Canadian money or the Canadian flag. Even the language spoken by the actors had to be neutral: “When the demands of drama made specific references unavoidable, U.S. culture predominated. The cops didn't work in divisions but in precincts, and the police hierarchy featured officers, detectives and lieutenants instead of constables, sergeants and inspectors.” But Canadian audiences did not seem as concerned as the critics: proof of Night Heat's popularity in Canada was the fact that the show won a Gemini award in 1986 for Best Continuing Drama Series.
After getting solid ratings in the US in its late-night spot, 11:30 pm on Thursdays, during its first two seasons, CBS gave Night Heat an opportunity to be seen in a prime-time slot, as a six-episode summer replacement series in 1987. But the show did not get good enough ratings to be given a regular prime-time slot, and it returned to its late-night time period in the fall. Meanwhile, CBS had decided that it could get bigger ratings in late-nights with another talk show, and it recruited Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak to host one. Many affiliates expressed more interest in running the Sajak program than in continuing to run Night Heat. In early 1989, CBS announced it had officially canceled Night Heat. Night Heat aired a total of 96 original episodes. Ironically, The Pat Sajak Show did poorly in the ratings, and was canceled after a year; it frequently received lower ratings than Night Heat had gotten. A popular urban legend surrounds the filming of an episode featuring scenes set in New York City but filmed in Toronto. It is said that garbage was strewn around on the scene, to mimic New York's less clean appearance than Toronto. However, while the cast and crew were on a lunch break, a City of Toronto Sanitation official 'cleaned' the street, believing it to be genuinely dirty. This story has been associated with various films, but is thought most likely to have occurred during the filming of Night Heat, if at all. However, it is worth noting that several members of the cast, including the show's creator Sonny Grosso, insisted the story was true. As Grosso explained it to a reporter, the crew tried to imitate the dirty and gritty streets of a typical city by "... burning cars on the streets, spray-painting graffiti on buildings and using prop garbage. On one occasion, “[w]e put garbage down on the street for a shootout and chase scene. Then we had our lunch break and, when we came back to work, Toronto's very efficient sanitation department had come along and cleaned the street up.”