The Fugitive

Question: When Kimball's dying wife calls 999, why does she say "Richard is trying to kill me?"

Answer: She said "Richard, he's trying to kill me" refering to the one armed man. It sounded like "Richard is trying to kill me".


But why would she call 911 and then say, "Richard, he's trying to kill me?" She called the emergency, not her husband's cellphone.

Answer: Because she heard her husband enter the apartment, she's either acknowledging his presence or trying to call out to him before referring to the one-armed man by saying, "He's trying to kill me."

Jukka Nurmi

Question: Right after Richard shaves his beard off, he runs into a cop who shows him his own photo, and he asks if Richard ever saw that face. Richard then says, "Every time I look in a mirror. Except the beard." Why would Richard say that? Isn't that him practically confessing he's the guy they're looking for?

Answer: He's being flagrant, so he'll be the last person the cop suspects. The officer is assuming his man will be nervous and would run like hell when he saw a cop. By being friendly and playing up his resemblance to the suspect, Richard looks like a guy who has no reason to be afraid.

Brian Katcher

Question: Wouldn't Dr. Kimball lose his medical license for changing the boy's orders in the hospital and signing the form, forging someone else's identity?

Answer: He's a convicted murderer, he's already lost his license. If you mean after he's been exonerated, the other doctor admitted he saved the boy's life. I doubt the AMA would prosecute him for doing that.

Brian Katcher

Also, as he was wrongly convicted of murder, he was wrongly deprived of his medical license.


Assuming he gets exonerated for the murder charge (I'm not a lawyer but I assume, in the messed up US legal system, this still takes evidence even though the actual murderer is in custody), he would still technically be guilty of breaking out of prison and fleeing police. It would be very interesting to hear the end of the story - everyone assumes they just let him go but in reality, it wouldn't be that simple and again, even if you are wrongly convicted, it's against the law to escape prison.


Question: Why wouldn't Nichols just alert authorities right away if he was behind this whole thing the whole time? Made no sense. Good plot twist, but in real life, you would think the mastermind would get Kimball tossed in jail ASAP to avoid being revealed like he was.

Israel Joffe

Answer: One, the authorities are already on Kimball's trail, literally one step behind him the entire film, so Nichols wouldn't gain much by alerting them. Two, he knows that if Kimball finds out he (Nichols) alerted the police, it would pretty much prove to Kimball that Nichols was the one behind everything; safer for Nichols to appear innocent and, more important, cooperative, so that if and when Kimball is recaptured and tells his story, he has nothing on Nichols to tell the authorities. This backfires, of course, but it is the most logical course of action.

Question: If they were after Kimble, why did they kill his wife? She wasn't in the way because he wasn't in the house.

Answer: Kimble was called at the last minute for an operation at the hospital unbeknownst to Sykes and Nichols. Even so, it was likely that they would kill his wife to tie up loose ends. Their plan was to kill Kimble, possibly his wife, and stage the crime as a robbery.

The only reasonable answer is that the wife found this guy's hiding spot, and that left him no choice but to act. Otherwise, he would have simply stayed in hiding until Richard came home and killed the both (while sleeping most likely, but by surprise certainly).


Question: When Dr. Kimball gets his foot stuck in the security door, the Marshal looks at him and mouths the words "Tilt it" to Kimball. Does the Marshall want Kimball to get away?

Answer: He does not want Kimball to get away. Although you can't know for sure what Gerard is saying, it looks like he may be mouthing a silent expletive because he knows Kimball is escaping.


Answer: It looks to me like Gerard is saying, "Son of a..." because he's just realised that the glass is bulletproof and his shots are having no effect.

Question: Since Lentz was really the mastermind behind the entire thing, why did Nichols have him killed?

Answer: Lentz was not the mastermind, Nichols was. Nichols had Lentz killed to tie up a loose end.


Question: How did Charles Nichols borrow Richard's car in the first place? Didn't Richard have his keys with him?

Answer: Near the start, the detectives escort Richard to the police car. Then it cuts to flashbacks of the fund-raiser at the Four Seasons Hotel (Charles Nichols had already borrowed Richard Kimble's car earlier, offscreen). At timecode 00:04:20, Charles thanks Richard for loaning him the car earlier, then he hands Richard the parking garage valet ticket, and Charles tells Richard that Richard's keys are downstairs (with valet parking attendants). So at this point within the flashback, Charles had already used Richard's keys to also unlock Richard's home, enabling Sykes to enter and wait for Kimble, who was the intended target. When Richard and Helen leave the fund-raiser, they retrieve Richard's keys from valet parking, then drive home.

Super Grover

Question: When Kimble goes to the jail before the St Patrick's Day parade, whose license would he have used at the sign in? Not the old man's whose clothes and breakfast he took.

Answer: Security wasn't as tight in the 1990's as it is today. He could have had several I.D.'s made or just lied about his name.

But it sure looked like he was holding an ID in a wallet for her to see when she was writing something and telling him his conversation could be recorded.

In one scene in the movie, Richard is making fake ID's. He was showing a fake ID to the officer.

Answer: The lady signing in puts her thumb over the picture and just writes the name. The ID is probably of the man who got his clothes stolen by Kimble in the hospital very early in the movie. Or possibly the "Men Only" Kimble is exiting.

Question: Where does Kimble's money come from? We only see him get whatever pocket money Nichols had on him at the time, but the next thing we see, he's renting an apartment and living his life and starting his investigation. Is the assumption that the wealthy doctor had a stash of cash at home or something?


Answer: The assumption is actually that Nichols gave him quite a bit of money. When asked about how much money he gave Kimble, Nichols downplays the amount as just "pocket change, whatever I had on me" but in reality it was probably a few hundred dollars. Renting the room was probably only a few dollars a day, it was in an un-finished basement in a bad neighborhood. He also didn't live there for very long.


Question: Who was the man shot by Gerrard in the house after Richard went in the woman's car for a ride?

Answer: That's Copeland, the other fugitive besides Richard Kimble.

Question: I am curious why Helen was killed when the doctor was the target. Harrison Ford (the doctor) said he found out why Helen was killed - he said on the phone and stated the reason was "they were after me." So - someone goes to kill him and kills his wife instead? Was it to frame him and if so, wouldn't it have been easier to kill him instead?

Answer: The one-armed man was there to kill Richard, but Helen was the one at home. Sending him to prison would have discredited him enough to satisfy the pharmaceutical company.

Captain Defenestrator

And don't forget, Kimble wasn't just sentenced to prison - he was sentenced to death. Nichols probably thought he'd seen the last of him.

Question: Kimble's wife suffered from severe head trauma. Wouldn't his defense attorney demand her 911 transcript be stricken, as her serious brain damage could have caused her to say anything?

Brian Katcher

Answer: His attorney could have done that, but I doubt such a strategy would have been successful, for two reasons. First, proving that she was just "saying anything" would be difficult at best, given that she wasn't just spouting random nonsense...she was speaking directly about what had happened. The prosecutor would have pointed out that she had been coherent (i.e., in control of her thoughts/speech) enough to a) dial 911, b) stay on topic, c) relay information, and d) name her killer (or so they believe). And second, given this high burden of proof, going with "this murder victim was just babbling as a result of the brain damage she suffered when she was brutally clubbed to death" probably wouldn't have gone over well with a jury.

Answer: I'd say this was a definite plot hole. Basing Kimble's guilt on a dying, brain-damaged woman's incoherent mumbling was unrealistic. His guilty verdict in real life would never have happened this way.


Question: How did the Marshalls figure out that Dr Nichols was in Kimble's car?

Answer: Kimble mentioned in his police interview that he loaned Nichols his car the night of the murder. This part of his interview actually wasn't shown on screen. It is mentioned by Gerard's team as they attempt to piece together the crime and catch Kimble.


Question: Where does Richard come up with the "Atlas of Limb Prostheses" that he's studying at the Polish woman's house? You don't just go to the library and find that, and you need a library card if they had it. Probably an expensive book and his funds are limited.

Answer: In addition, if it was outdated he could have found it at a used book store for nothing. Medical libraries and college bookstores only keep the most updated books on hand and sell old versions cheap.

Brian Katcher

Answer: He may not have a library card, but he could have smuggled the book out of a library. Being that Richard is a doctor, he'd know where to find medical books, including used ones, that he could access. There are several medical schools in Chicago which would naturally have extensive libraries. There would also be bookstores near those universities that sell new and used textbooks. Richard could have taken the book from one of those.


Question: Why is Dr Nichols helping Dr Richard Kimble? Why would he give him money? Why would Nichols give Kimble an opportunity at the hospital to investigate the drug, when he himself is in on the conspiracy?

Answer: Two answers. One, Nichols pretends to support Kimble and say he is innocent (knowing he really is) and otherwise avoids interfering to divert suspicion away from himself. He presumes Kimble will be captured before he figures everything out. Secondly, it's a plot device so the audience believes he is Kimble's ally and will be unaware until the end that Nichols was involved in the conspiracy.


Question: So the original plan was to kill Kimble and not his wife (or her too, but he was meant to be the main target). However, if I'm not mistaken, Sykes didn't break into the apartment but was granted access instead, probably by Nichols. If the plan wouldn't have gone wrong and Kimble had been killed, would Sykes had forged a breaking in?


Answer: It's unlikely he would have made it look like a break in. He would make it look like an accident, or even something like a heart attack. Sykes killed Lentz by making it look like an accident.


Answer: It's unknown what Sykes' exact plan was. Any answer is mere speculation though his plan would have to somehow include both Kimble and his wife as Sykes would apparently expect both to be at home late at night. Leaving the wife alive would be a liability. It would be difficult to make two deaths look accidental or a result of natural causes.


Question: Gerard already must have doubts as to Richard's guilt because Richard is investigating the one-armed man. Since there is that doubt, why would Gerard try to shoot Kimball in the chest to kill him?

Answer: Simply having doubts does not lessen Gerard's duty to apprehend Kimble. He does not know whether or not Kimble is guilty, if he is armed, or how dangerous he is. As a U.S. Marshal, Gerard's sole duty is to capture a fugitive and return him to custody, using force as necessary.


Answer: Yeah, Gerard's doubts aren't enough to change the course of his expected actions as U.S. marshal when Kimble is a fugitive who was officially found guilty in the murder trial. The only thing which would grant Gerard the ability to get away with not trying to capture Kimble would be if Kimble had a whole new trial and was now found innocent, which obviously didn't happen yet. So until then, Gerard would be shirking his duties if he decided to not capture Kimble just because of doubts and there being no new innocent verdict, and that would even possibly cost him his job.

Question: Could Kimball really survive that fall at the dam? It looks impossible.

Answer: From the height shown, it would be virtually impossible to survive the fall. Even if someone managed to survive, their body would be horribly damaged.


Question: I don't think this was ever addressed. Sykes had an alibi, that several people could vouch for him. Not that it's really important to the main story, but did the police ever find a hole in it or disprove it? Was it ever checked out, or is it just assumed that he lied?

Answer: It was never specified. Gerard, based on his years of experience, just had a gut feeling from Sykes' behavior that his story was not legitimate. He already suspected that he worked for corrupt medical executives.


Answer: I find it more of interest that Sykes said the police 'questioned him about the whole thing' during the initial investigations into the murder, presumably during Kimble's trial and before he was convicted. That was when Sykes said he was never in town that night and that 'at least fifteen people verified it'. Why would the police have been questioning Sykes in the first place when he was never a person of interest until Kimble broke into his apartment? That should have set off alarm bells for Gerard right then and there.

Kimble gave the police a description of the one armed man immediately after the murder. I'm guessing that description was pretty close to what Sykes looked like. The movie, during the scene when Sykes returns to his apartment after Kimble has been there, strongly implies that Sykes was a former Chicago cop who lost his arm in the line of duty. So, if you connect the dots, some of the Chicago cops would have at least known about Sykes' existence. Add in the fact that Sykes worked for a health care-related company, and that's more than enough to at least question him in my opinion. Now, when Sykes tells the cops that he was on a business trip and 15 people could verify he wasn't in Chicago, well, that pretty much ended any consideration of him being considered as the potential murderer at the time of Kimble's trial. The next assumption that has to be made is the Chicago police then questioned some of those 15 people, they confirmed the alibi, and that was it.

Character mistake: Kimble has just finished talking on the phone with his lawyer when the cops hear the noise in the background. They figure out the sound is that of an El-Train. They then start to list the different places that have an El. One of the cities they name is Milwaukee - there has never been an El-Train there.

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Trivia: After his escape, it shows Harrison getting on a train marked with the name "Kimball" and then in the next shot, a helicopter flies over a hotel called "Harrison".

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