Matlock is an American television legal drama, starring Andy Griffith in the title role of criminal-defense attorney Ben Matlock. The main character widower Ben Matlock, a renowned, folksy and popular though cantankerous attorney. In most cases the person on stand being questioned by Matlock is the actual perpetrator, and Matlock will expose him, despite saying that his goal is to prove reasonable doubt in the case of his client’s guilt or to prove his client’s innocence.
Matlock having studied law at Harvard, after a few years as a public defender, establishes himself in a law practice in Atlanta, living in a simply farmhouse in a neighboring suburb. Matlock often finds him visiting crime scenes to discover clues, which may have been overlooked and attempts to come up with viable, alternative theories for the crime being investigated. Matlock also has conspicuously finicky fashion sense; he tends to appear in court wearing a trademark light gray suit and, over the series’ entire run, owned three generations of the Ford Crown Victoria—always an all-gray model.
Matlock was known for his fondness for hot dogs. During episode 158 (“The diner”) we find out that hot dogs have been his most favourite dish since he was a young man. Matlock blames Dr. Mark Sloan (Dick Van Dyke) for suggesting he make a disastrous investment in 8-track cartridges, in which he lost his savings of $5,000 in 1969, resulting in him having to wear cheap suits and live on hot dogs. Despite his thrift, Matlock’s standard fee is $100,000, and this is usually paid up front, although if he or his staff believe strongly in the innocence of a client, or if the client is unable to pay immediately, he will create a payment plan, or siginifically reduce the fee or waive it entirely, sometimes reluctantly. These traits, and the demands he placed upon his investigators, offering comic relief during the series.