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 works for the city of Well's police department. Until Chief Gillespie had arrived in town, Sam Wood had been considered a great officer, but Bill Gillespie overpowered Sam, being the chief and all. Sam takes a lot of pride into his work, and has read up on everything you need to know 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 and they have and aren’t considered human. Also, he thinks that all Negro's are criminals. But it’s not only black people who he thinks are dirty, there are many different races who he considers dirty, pretty much every race but his own. When Virgil Tibbs, a Negro investigator from California, had come into the novel, Sam Wood's perspective on Negro's had suddenly changed, and had started to fade. It confused him when he discovered an admiration for Virgil and his work. This whole journey of how Sam’s ignorance starts to fade when he discovers the wealthy music director's body on the street, and so a murder investigation begins. Since Sam is racist and all the first person he suspects of course is the Negro man all alone at the train station. This man turned out to be Virgil Tibbs, a homicide investigator, and that’s how it all begins.