Review of "James Stewart is Hawkins! The Complete TV Movie Collection" From The TV MegaSite

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James Stewart is Hawkins! The Complete TV Movie Collection

 Review by Suzanne Lanoue 11/20/12

I can't imagine anyone not loving this TV show (really, it was a series of movies). Jimmy Stewart is great in anything. This is a good show, though, not just because of him starring in it. The dialogue is amazing, and it's got great character development. The mysteries will also surprise you.  Even though it's from 1973, I don't think it's too dated for anyone to enjoy. Unfortunately, it did not last very long on TV. Yes, even back then, good shows often got canceled too quickly. Maybe they didn't like how modern it was. It has gay people in it, for instance, which was rare in the early 70's.

It was one of those murder mystery revolving shows, like Columbo and McMillan & Wife, but less successful. It alternated on Tuesday nights with "Shaft", which also didn't last very long.

Someone who didn't grow up back in 60's or 70's might think that shows back then are very slow and talky. Compared to today's shows, they are. But they did not waste time. All of the talking was character development. There are only 8 movies here, but they are stellar. Stewart is fabulous as Billy Jim Hawkins, a great defense lawyer. People hire him from around the country because he's the best, so he is seen in different cities, hired by rich people or those who are really fortunate to be able to hire him.

His cousin R.J. (Strother Martin, who's wonderful) helps him out, and he has lots of relatives who show up from time to time.  You'll recognize many great guest-stars, such as Robert Wagner and Bonnie Bedelia. If you love "Matlock", then you should love this show, which is even better. It's really more like "Perry Mason" in quality, but not quite as old or dated as that show.

I'm glad they finally came out with show on DVD. It's a shame that there are no features or extras, but I'm guessing that most people associated with the show are dead and gone. Also, for some weird reason, it's not available on! You can buy it at Warnerarchive. Make sure to check it out and you won't be sorry.

More info:

Warner Archive is releasing Hawkins on DVD- the Complete TV movie collection at


A decade before TV saw another silver-haired, slow-drawling Southern shyster with a knack for sleuthing out the truth, M-G-M welcomed back two titanic talents, TV producer Norman Felton and screen legend Jimmy Stewart, for Hawkins. Stewart played Billy Jim Hawkins in rotation with the Shaft TV movies (Talk about Country Mouse and City Mouse!), solving crimes alongside his cousin RJ (Strother Martin) and a bevy of sensational costars. Bonnie Bedelia plays a troubled young woman accused of familicide, Cameron Mitchell plays a tinseltown spouse facing murder charges, Julie Harris plays an accused mercy killer, William Windom plays a parent with a vendetta, Lew Ayres and James Best play folk caught up in a deadly Civil War re-enactment, James Luisi plays a football pro caught up in foul play, Teresa Wright plays an ex-amour of Billy Jimís, and Paul Burke and Pernell Roberts play a senator and aide caught up in a slaying.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Page update 11/20/12

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