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Tales of the Unexpected: The Final Chapter

Roy Thinnes plays a reporter going undercover as a prison inmate.

Episode Info

Episode number: 1x1
Airdate: Wednesday February 02nd, 1977

Director: Richard Lang
Story: Richard O. Lewis
Teleplay: John Wilder

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Guest Stars
Brendan Dillon
As Chaplain
Don Calfa
As Unknown
Hank Brandt
As Unknown
Ned Beatty
As McClaskey
Neva Patterson
As Unknown
R.G. Armstrong
As Unknown
Rafael Campos
As Unknown
Ramon Bieri
As Warden Greer
Roy Thinnes
As Frank Harris
Ted Gehring
As Unknown
Tim O'Connor
As Zimmerman
Main Cast
William Conrad
voiced narrator


The episode shows a realistic, frightening depiction of the last moments of a condemned man before he's strapped into a prison's electric chair. Reporter Frank Harris ( Roy Thinnes) is there to witness the execution. He believes and has written that the terrified wretch is innocent, the victim of a botched, hurried investigation by McClaskey, a police detective played by Ned Beatty. He can't bring himself to watch them throw the switch.
He steps out of the death chamber, as does McClaskey, whom he bitterly assails for causing, as later proved, the death of an innocent man. Ten years pass. Capital punishment is gone. But a recent Supreme Court decision paves the way for its resumption, a prospect that deeply disturbs the crusading reporter. So, with the support of his editor and a sympathetic warden, he's booked into death row, posing as a convicted murderer, to truly experience life there, to rouse public opinion against capital punishment.
Only the, the warden and the editor know of the plan. Unfortunately, the "keeper" of death row turns out to be McClaskey, who look the job after the reporter's attacks on him ruined his police career.

Read the full recap
Warning: Tales of the Unexpected season 1 episode 1 guide may contain spoilers
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