- One of Gillespie's suspects, Harvey, is as racist as the other townsfolk and treats Virgil with disdain. When Virgil starts making it clear he's trying to clear him of murder - and then does it! - Harvey treats him with appropriate respect and friendliness.
- Packy, Harvey's friend, treats Tibbs with proper reverence. After an entire movie in which every white Sparta resident with a line of dialogue shows racist disdain for Tibbs, it comes as a relief that there's at least one person in town who doesn't.
- Gillespie's last words to Tibbs at the end, showing his newfound respect for the cop he'd been racially dismissive of at first.
Gillespie: Virgil?... You take care, y'hear?