Andy Griffith's death July 3 brings to mind not only TV's most beloved Southern sheriff, but memorable others in his wake: One bumbling fool, one con man, one comical redneck, one evolving redneck -- and could it be . . . Satan?
VICTOR FRENCH Police Chief Roy Mobey ("Carter Country," ABC 1977-1979)
During the Jimmy Carter years, in the town of Clinton Corners, Ga., Chief Mobey reminisced about the good ol' (boy) days while coming to grips with his new citified, college-educated, African-American police sergeant (Kene Holliday).
CLAUDE AKINS Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo ("B. J. and the Bear," "The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo," NBC 1979-1981)
The Sgt. Bilko of Orly County, Ga., was hungry like the wolf when it came to money, but always devising harebrained schemes.
JAMES BEST Sheriff Rosco Coltrane ("The Dukes of Hazzard," CBS 1979-1985)
And right about then, them Duke boys started hightailing it across Hazzard County, with ol' Rosco chasing the General Lee till he up and scuffed his patrol car in a stand of Georgia oak. Oh, that Rosco!
CARROLL O'CONNOR Police Chief/Sheriff Bill Gillespie ("In the Heat of the Night," NBC/CBS 1988-1995)
In the TV spinoff of the 1967 movie for which Rod Steiger won an Academy Award, O'Connor essentially played an evolving Archie Bunker in the New South. His Sparta, Miss., lawman reflected changing attitudes toward race, with Gillespie eventually marrying an African-American councilwoman (Denise Nicholas) -- with job-ending consequences.
GARY COLE Sheriff Lucas Buck ("American Gothic," CBS 1995-1996) "Rosemary's Baby" whistles Dixie.
In Trinity, S.C., the local law appears to be backed up by a higher authority -- or, well, a lower one. Ten-year-old Caleb Temple (played by Lucas Black) is the progeny of Buck's rape of the boy's now-dead mother. And the satanic sheriff killed Caleb's sister (Sarah Paulson) -- who is now a ghost trying to keep her brother from the brimstone path. Maybe one of Aunt Bee's casseroles would help?