'Virgil Tibbs is a fictional character who is one of the two leading male characters in John Ball's 1965 novel In the Heat of the Night. He is also the protagonist in six sequels to that novel, the Oscar-winning 1967 film of the same name based on the original novel, the sequel films They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! (1970) and The Organization (1971), and the subsequent 1988-1995 television series derived from the film.
In the novels, Tibbs works for the police force of Pasadena, California
. In the films, portrayed by Academy Award
winner Sidney Poitier
, he first works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
, but in later sequels, he is shown to be working for the San Francisco Police
. In an unusual step, the Tibbs films are themselves mentioned in the sequel novels: when asked about the movies, Tibbs emphasizes that he's from Pasadena, not Philadelphia. He also comments positively on Poitier's looks and acting ability. In a short story (see below), Ball wrote of a meeting that his counterpart in Tibbs' universe had with Tibbs.
In the novels, Tibbs returns to Pasadena as a police officer. In the films, Tibbs also returns to his law enforcement career, in Philadelphia and subsequently in San Francisco
. In the television series, set a few years after the first film, Tibbs returns to Sparta where he becomes the Chief of Detectives under Gillespie.
Tibbs has a black belt in karate
and a brown belt in aikido
, is highly observant, and like many fictional detectives is something of a......