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Series / Chiefs

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Chiefs is a 1983 miniseries starring Charlton Heston, Keith Carradine, Stephen Collins, Danny Glover, Wayne Rogers, and Billy Dee Williams. It takes place in a small town in the deep south between 1924 and 1963, and follows three generations of police chiefs. During this 40 year period, there is a series of murders of young boys that each police chief attempts to solve, against the backdrop of the deep racial tensions of that time.


Chiefs contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: In Part 1, Sonny Butts' father regularly got drunk and beat his mother. Plays a significant role in Part 2.
  • Corrupt Hick: Sheriff Skeeter Willis, Sonny Butts, and the various sheriffs of the neighboring county. Averted in the case of the Mayor Hugh Holmes.
  • The Klan: Plays a prominent role in the series. All of the villains seem to be members.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Foxy does not get the job as police chief because he is a loner and nobody trusts him. It turns out, they were right not to trust him.
  • Mugging the Monster: In Part 3, a racist "cowboy cop" pulls over a black motorist and threatens and harasses him for no good reason. The victim of his harassment turned out to be the new Chief of Police.
  • Oppressed Minority Veteran: Several of the black characters who are targets of harassment and lynchings are war heros.
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  • Permanent Elected Official: No matter how oppressive and corrupt is may be, Sheriff Skeeter Willis keeps getting re-elected over the decades. As does the benevolent Mayor Hugh Holmes.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The villains are all racists, members of the KKK, and liberal users of the N-word.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sheriff Willis delivers one to Chief Lee shortly after he is appointed.


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