October 02, 2000 12:00 PM

CBS (Fridays, 8 p.m. ET)

Show of the week

The basic story of The Fugitive, a TV sensation from 1963 to ’67 and then a hit movie with Harrison Ford in 1993, has such clear, direct narrative power it might as well be a Joseph Campbell myth. Dr. Richard Kimble, wrongly convicted of killing his wealthy wife, escapes from custody and goes off in pursuit of the one-armed man he saw at the murder scene. Meanwhile, police Lt. Philip Gerard tracks him down. It’s a game of dog, cat and mouse, and it can go on and on, building and building. (The finale of the original series won a 72 percent share of the audience.) You could cast David, Patrick and Shaun Cassidy in the main roles, and the thing probably would still work. Maybe they’d sing occasionally.

In fact, this new Fugitive has a very good Kimble in Tim Daly. As a doctor and man on the run, Kimble analyzes his situation and calculates his next move from second to second. Daly has the right face—sharp, foxlike—and eyes that deepen into a soulful stare in rare moments of repose. (Somewhere out on the road, he should be able to find a fugitivette.) Mykelti Williamson plays the lieutenant as both cool and coolheaded. As the one-armed man, seen boarding a bus at the end of the Oct. 6 premiere, Stephen Lang slowly turns his head and, in that brief glimpse, seems sinister yet haunted.

Bottom Line: Off and running

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