8.2/10
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Chiefs 

Three generations of police chiefs for a southern town go about their jobs while a serial murderer operates.
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1  
1983  
Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Charlton Heston ...  Hugh Holmes 3 episodes, 1983
Keith Carradine ...  Foxy Funderburke 3 episodes, 1983
Stephen Collins ...  Billy Lee 3 episodes, 1983
Brad Davis ...  Sonny Butts 3 episodes, 1983
Tess Harper ...  Carrie Lee 3 episodes, 1983
Wayne Rogers ...  Will Henry Lee 3 episodes, 1983
Paul Sorvino ...  Sheriff Skeeter Willis 3 episodes, 1983
Victoria Tennant ...  Trish Lee 3 episodes, 1983
Billy Dee Williams ...  Tyler Watts (aka Joshua Cole) 3 episodes, 1983
Lane Smith ...  Hoss Spence 3 episodes, 1983
Leo Burmester ...  Emmett Spence 2 episodes, 1983
Kaiulani Lee Kaiulani Lee ...  Mrs. Butts 2 episodes, 1983
Novella Nelson ...  Nellie Cole 2 episodes, 1983
J. Kenneth Campbell ...  Dr. Tom Manton 2 episodes, 1983
James Brown Henderson James Brown Henderson ...  Pieback Johnson 2 episodes, 1983
Leon Rippy ...  Tommy Allen 2 episodes, 1983
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Storyline

This series tells the story of a southern town's police chiefs and the serial murderer who confounds them. Will Henry Lee is the first chief, an easygoing man who works to establish the position while the murderer begins his havoc. The second is a violent racist who stumbles about his job as the murderer continues his. Tyler Watts is the final chief in the story, an African-American cop who must deal with the virulent racism of his community while he puts together the pieces to finally bring the murderer to justice. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An epic adventure seeming with power, love and hatred.


Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 November 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chefia See more »

Filming Locations:

Chester, South Carolina, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Highgate Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(video) | (3 parts)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The book indicates that the story took place in Georgia. The book also indicates that Delano is a fictitious town. See more »

Goofs

The hair on Billy Dee Williams's character, Chief Watts, temple and mustache change from gray and black to just black, and then back again. See more »

Quotes

Charlie Ward: [Putting his arm around Sonny] Sonny, it's gonna be great having you on the Force. Believe you me. We'll snatch some folks heads sideways around this town.
Sonny Butts: [Grabbing Charlie's wrist] Just don't you ever grab a hold of me, Charlie, and we'll get along just fine.
Charlie Ward: [Shaking] Sure, Sonny, sure.
See more »

Alternate Versions

There is a video version that sometimes shows up on cable. It cuts the running time from six to four hours and mainly skims the middle story of Sonny Butts. See more »

Connections

Remade as Chiefs (2018) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Stuart Woods's best book and film!
17 February 2004 | by AbeStreetSee all my reviews

This film was made at a time when the big networks, in this case CBS, took pride in making tv movies and mini-series. Excellent attention to detail in just about every aspect of this 3 part movies. As the film movies from the 1920's to the 1940's and eventually the 1960's the viewer gets to see the town of Delano Georgia grow and change. It almost seems as though Delano is a real town. The costumes, settings and props for each time setting are well done.

This mini-series stick very close to the original story written by Stuart Woods. During a 40 year time frame 3 different police chiefs try to solve the various and ongoing murders that are taking place in the vicinity of Delano. Young male transients are being kidnapped and sexually assaulted before they are murdered. Racial tensions run high in Delano and add to the difficulty in solving the murders. Good acting by all who participated. Charlton Heston, Paul Sorvino, Brad Davis and Billy Dee Williams were at the top of their acting game in this mini-Series.

I was able to tape the original 3 part mini-series when it was first aired and despite some drop in quality due to age this mini-series is a favorite of mine and viewed at least once a year. For those who enjoyed the film they may want to read and or watch the story and film GRASS ROOTS. This story continues to follow the Lee family as one of their members attempts to become a U.S. Senator. During the race another racially motivated murder in Delano complicates matters.


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