Sam Woods is a very important character in the novel In the heat of the night. He is a racist, and throughout the novel you will notice many changes in his attitude towards Negro's. Sam Woods is a middle-aged man, who works for the city of Well's police department. Until Chief Gillespie had arrived in town, Sam Wood had been rated as a big man, but Bill Gillespie's towering size, made Sam look a normal size.

Sam takes a lot of pride into his work, and has read up on everything you need to no about being a police officer. Sam takes his job very seriously, and dislikes being told what to do by everyone and anyone, especially when it comes to Bill Gillespie. Sam dislikes Negro's. He thinks that they are very dirty compared to his race.

It is not only black people who are dirty, there are many different races whom are dirty, and that has nothing to do with color, but self-induced. Also, he thinks that all Negro's are poor criminals, and also, he thinks that they have big butts, and they stink terribly when they sweat, and that they are stupid. But like I said, everyone is the same, being stupid has nothing to do with color, and having a big butt has to do with your genes and not color, and everyone's sweat is the same, and it is not like black peoples sweat is like acid. Sam Wood's opinion on Italians was that they married too early, and all got fat. But very many people do that, not just Italians, but white, black, yellow etc.

But his opinion changed when he first met Due na Mantoli, was it her short-cropped hair that appealed to Sam, or was it that she was not fat, and looked that she would never be? When Virgil Tibbs had come into the novel, Sam Wood's perspective on Negro's had suddenly changed more and more every day, and had started to diminish. It therefore confused him for a moment when he discovered within himself a stab of admiration for the slender man who stood beside him. Virgil Tibbs is a slender Negro, who is a detective in homicide for the Pasadena Police Department. He was helping the Well's police department, after he had been arrested for being accused for the murder of Mantoli. He takes matters into his hands very calmly, and is very patient. He is very smart and intelligent and hardworking.

He goes about his work very professionally. He has very good manners, and ignores racial comments very well. Virgil is a pretty fancy name for a black boy like you. What do they call you around home where you come from? They call me Mr. Tibbs. In the novel, Virgil Tibbs proves Sam Wood innocent of the murder.

And also, Virgil Tibbs proved Sam Wood innocent on not getting Delores Purdy into trouble, and by this, Sam Wood realized that Virgil Tibbs was not that bad of a guy, and judged him as a normal human being, and stuck up for him in many situations. Virgil isn't a nigger. He's colored, he's black and he's a negro, but he isn't a nigger. I've known a lot of white men who wern't as smart as he is.

And by that, Sam Wood seen Virgil not only as a black boy, but also as a friend.