I was recently asked what signature ingredients make up a stereotypical Matlock episode. In my opinion, Matlock’s signature is in his finishing move. As a defense attorney, Matlock must provide reasonable doubt that a defendant is guilty. Most of his clients have been framed for murder, so he often runs into obstacles finding this doubt when focusing on the defendant’s alibis.
Matlock takes a different approach to the traditional method of providing reasonable doubt. Rather than proving that the defendant is innocent, Matlock usually provides the jury with the real perpetrator as well as proof of guilt. Essentially, Ben Matlock ends up defending his client while simultaneously working as a prosecutor. I do believe this to be a unique angle in the tired and saturated genre of legal dramas and murder mysteries.
I have always been disturbed by the fact that Ben has been one or two degrees separated from so many people accused of and framed for murder. He definitely found his calling.