In the Heat of the Night

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In the Heat of the Night (1967) is a murder mystery with an undercurrent of racism set in Mississippi. Rod Steiger got top billing for his role as police chief Gillespie, but the real star was Sidney Poitier, as homicide expert Virgil Tibbs from Philadelphia. While Tibbs was passing through, a man is found dead in Sparta, Miss. Tibbs is picked up as a suspicious character, and Gillespie questions him as a suspect. After the police pick up another man, they charge him instead of Tibbs. Tibbs reveals he is a cop, chief Gillespie checks his credentials, and Tibb's boss asks him to help with the investigation.

Through good detective work, Tibbs clears the first suspect. Then Gillespie charges one of his own cops, but Tibbs discovers exculpatory evidence for him, too. Meanwhile, the white townspeople want the Negro cop out of town. Four thugs come to beat him up.