In the Heat of the Night

Character: WPMM Reporter
Directed by: Russ Mayberry
Episodes: Episodes 7x23-7x24
Original airdate: May 11, 1994
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery

Part 1

Chief Hampton Forbes is concerned when a county child services worker visits the Church of the Celestial Influence and is unsettled by the appearance of a girl she sees there. When the Chief sends Capt. Bubba Skinner and Sgt. Parker Williams out to the church to investigate further, they come across the same girl in which they notice she has bruises on herself. After the girl has been taken to the hospital, Chief Hampton learns that the girl, Clarice Finch, has been sexually abused while at the church. Clarice later informs the doctor at the hospital that she is not the only one being abused at the church. Meanwhile, a break comes in the investigation when a member of the church is apprehended at the Sparta airport receiving a shipment of boxes filled with downers that are used on the Celestials. When the leader of the Church of the Celestial Influence, Marcantony Appfel, refuses to allow the Sparta P.D. to check on the rest of the children inside his church, Chief Hampton realizes he has a perilous hostage situation on his hands. Back from his honeymoon in New Orleans with Harriet DeLong, Sheriff Bill Gillespie gives the Chief some assistance in dealing with this serious matter. Chief Hampton Forbes decides that the only viable option left to save the children inside the church is to attempt a dangerous rescue mission.

Part 2

The investigation uncovers evidence of statutory rape and drug dealing within the cult. It is further complicated by the actions of an overly aggressive newspaper reporter, as well as the discovery of school age children being members of the cult. But in the end, teamwork pays off and everyone is driven out.