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Sam as prison escapee Chance Cole in "Unchained".

Sam as prison escapee Chance Cole in "Unchained".

Episode No.   Season
63 4x10 Four
Episode Information
Original Broadcast Date November 27, 1991
IMDB: IMDb logo.png Unchained
Written by: Paris Qualles
Directed by: Michael Watkins
Leap Information
Leap Date: November 2, 1956
Place: Talawaga County, Mississippi
Leapee: Chance Clarence Cole (leapee)
Chronological Information
Preceded by: "A Single Drop of Rain"
Followed by: "The Play's The Thing"

Unchained was the tenth episode of Season 4 of Quantum Leap, also the 63rd overall series episode. Written by Paris Qualles, the episode, directed by Michael Watkins, premiered on NBC-TV on November 27, 1991. The premise for the episode is based on the 1958 film "The Defiant Ones" starring Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier.



Sam and fellow convict Boone are the defiant ones when Sam has to rescue his companion from a fifteen-year sentence on a chain gang.


November 2, 1956: Sam leaps into Chance Terence Cole (leapee played by Mark Kemble), inmate at Talawaga County Prison, in Mississippi, doing nine months for petty theft. He is on a truck, being carried somewhere. There are many prisoners in the truck, and he is handcuffed into a black man, Jasper "Jazz" Boone (played by Basil Wallace), a black man doing 15 years for armed robbery who, according to Al, has been unjustly imprisoned after a jewelry store robbery. Boone and Cole had planned an escape, forcing Sam to go along with it and attempting to find a way to keep them hidden and Boone alive, being that he died in the original escape attempt. Boss Cooley, (played by J.C. Quinn) the corrupt prison guard, is in hot pursuit and due to Boone's claustrophobia, the two are eventually recaptured.

Back in custody, Boone finds himself in the punishment pit. Sam tries to explain to him that it was Jake Wiles (played by Don Sparks) that was the culprit in the rash of robberies that had been occurring, posing as a black man which resulted in Boone being accused and convicted wrongfully.

Later the next morning, Cooley is under orders of the Warden, Captain Elias (played by Claude Earl Jones), to have the prisoners on a road work detail. Sam, tries to explain to him that Wiles is the culprit in the rash of robberies that have been occurring, but he won't listen, as Wiles defensively, and adamantly denies involvement in the robberies, saying to Elias, "Are you gonna listen to him!?".

Some time later, when Wiles's body is found nearby, murdered, and a bag with $4000 is also found nearby, Cooley prepares to have the two square off in what they call in prison terms a "cockfight", meaning a fight to the death, of two inmates. Cooley, in trying to figure how Cole could know about the robberies, had a stake in them, as he suspected moments earlier when he sees Sam "talking to himself", as he's really conversing with Al about the possibility of him having killed Wiles, whom they would soon moments later, be found dead near the area where the cockfight was to take place.

This is when Sam asks Cooley, as he asks the two "You two got any last words?", "is that what you said to Jake Wiles before you shot him?". Cooley responds "Too bad you're not gonna live to regret what you just said, boy!"

It turns out that indeed, Cooley was the one who murdered Wiles, so that he would not be exposed as a profiteering partner in the rash of robberies that had been occurring, as he had confronted Wiles the night before, as he made another grocery delivery to the camp.

Anyhow, just as Cooley gets the two to square off, Sam gets Boone to go along with his plan to cause a distraction so that they could try still another escape attempt, as he finds a snake in the pond which they were tussling in and tossing it on another inmate, causing an uproar which the other inmates disperse, as they are able to sneak off to where the prison trucks are located, and start a fire by igniting the gas tank of one of trucks and slip just ahead of his search team and dogs, as Al is able to mislead them completely off the trail of Sam and Boone, but, eventually, minutes later, Cooley, with his dog, manages to catch up with them in a wooded area, just minutes away from the prison camp border line.

Fortunately, unknown to Cooley, the convicts have one thing to their advantage, Al. As a holographic guide, he is able to agitate the Cooley's search dog, which can see him, as he shouts, "Hey, you stupid mutt!" The dog lunges toward Al, causing Cooley to lose grip of the leash and his shotgun, which fires accidentally. He falls several feet into a nearby ditch, killing him instantly, which helps Sam and Boone to escape easily from the camp and over to the Louisiana border, about 20 miles away. As Boone heads over a hilltop out of the state scott free, Sam then leaps to his next mission.

Characters in this episode[]