In the Heat of the Night is a television series based on the motion picture and novel of the same name. The series debuted as a midseason replacement for the short-lived NBC series J.J. Starbuck, premiering on March 6, 1988. The series ran on the network until May 19, 1992. October 28, 1992 saw In the Heat of the Night premiere its sixth season on CBS, where the series would remain until the series finale to conclude the eighth season aired on May 16, 1995.
Heat starred Carroll O'Connor as William Gillespie and Howard Rollins as Virgil Tibbs. In the premiere episode, Tibbs had traveled to Sparta, Mississippi for his mother's funeral. He was persuaded to remain by the city government, which wanted to make its police department more diverse.