My favorite episode of Matlock is clearly The Dare (S9/E4, Episode #180) guest-starring Terry O’Quinn as the murderous philanthropist, Malcolm Engle. Terry O’Quinn is probably better known for his more recent role as John Locke on the TV show LOST. His character, Malcolm Engle, dares Matlock to catch him after disclosing when and where he will soon commit murder. He even boasts that the victim will be someone close to Matlock.
Ben soon finds out that the victim is his old pal, Lieutenant Bob Brooks (David Froman) who turns up dead in the park from a stab wound while the gang is at softball practice nearby. Yes, they all casually go to softball practice at the time and place of the murder warning. Forget about it.
Using a pre-recorded message to deliver a long voicemail and a cat to confuse a motion detector, Malcolm Engle would have pulled it off if it weren’t for a meddling Matlock.
Throughout the episode Engle has a mysterious desire to humiliate Matlock. He toys with him and says very dry, insulting things repeatedly. We eventually learn that Engle’s wife was murdered by a psycho that Matlock defended (not guilty by reason of insanity, institutionalized) and he has held a bitter grudge ever since.
In his undoing, Engle is ultimately humiliated on the stand for having a toupée. He lost his hair from chemotherapy treatments for terminal cancer for which he has secretly been seeking treatment in Costa Rica. After nearly being proven guilty of murder by a defense attorney, Engle asks him, “What are you gonna do Ben? Get me the death sentence?”