|Index||4 reviews in total|
In today's world, where the term "lawyer" is unfairly synonymous with
"ambulance chaser" or "political player", we could use a guy like
Herbert L. Maris. Thankfully, there are a few lawyers like Maris still
around today, and for that, we have TV series like this to thank.
For the uninitiated, Herbert L. Maris is an LA attorney whose specialty is defending the unjustly accused in situations where no one else can or will help. He usually is aided by police lieutenant Weston, who ironically is the cop who has his clients tossed in the clink. There isn't that much antagonism between the two, and Weston usually sees the light in the nick of time, particularly when Maris is in over his head... for instance, when he is held captive by a group of thugs (led by a pre-Spock Leonard Nimoy!!) who framed a rookie cop (James "The Virginian" Drury) for murder.
As is the case with 50's series, many young up-and-comers bit their teeth into some episodes, such as Mary Tyler Moore, Robert Conrad, Burt Reynolds, Sally Kellerman, and others. Maris himself is portrayed brilliantly by a young Macdonald Carey, six years before he found his calling in daytime TV as the kindly Dr. Horton on "Days Of Our Lives". And it wasn't the first time Carey played a doc, either; three years before "Lock Up", he took on the role as radio's beloved "Dr. Christian", or rather, Dr. Christian's nephew. Carey has the knack of playing people who you would kill to have on your side; in this case, some people are accused of taking it quite literally.
"Lock Up" is a Fred Ziv-United Artists Television Production, based on the life of Herbert L. Maris (yes, he was a real-life defense lawyer). 78 episodes were made between 1959 and 1961.
Herbert L. Maris was a real corporate attorney in Philadelphia who
devoted his spare time helping wrongly accused persons. Maris strongly
believed in the fundamental canon of English/U.S. law: a person is
innocent until proved guilty. The 78 episodes in the Ziv syndicated
series are each based on a case history from the personal files of Herb
Maris, who is played by MacDonald Carey.
This series is more police investigation like Dragnet than Perry Mason as there is little courtroom drama. Circumstantial evidence is the key element in each story and is used to discredit a suspect. But, Herb Maris always triumphs because as he says "this case is about justice." Each episode has a strong moral message but they are not obtrusive or offensive. Lock Up is a window into America before the 60s cultural revolution. This is America in the late 1950s before Viet-Nam, the Summer of Love, and the beginning of FM radio stations playing rock 'n' roll.
If you like programs with simple story lines and actors who can act, then you will enjoy Lock Up. If you like unscripted television programs without actors, then just keep watching American Idol, the Great Race, or poker games.
I have to admit, the first time I saw LOCK UP I had to laugh but I truly enjoyed it. This syndicated show, first aired in 1959, is based on a real-life Philadelphia lawyer, Herbert L. Maris which was played by MacDonald Carey. Maris was devoting his career to defending the wrongly accused. What I found so humorous is his relation to his friend; police detective Weston, played brilliantly by John Doucette. Doucette puts the bad guys behind bars and Carey uses him to find the same guys innocent. I really doubt that Barry Scheck goes to the police or the prosecutors for assistance in freeing an innocent person. Doucette lets Carey walk in at anytime and goes through his files; all this makes the show fun to watch. It's like Perry Mason asking Lt. Tragg for help in finding his client innocent! How would it look if a LAW & ORDER defense attorney were to walk in on Briscoe and Green? Carey finds the bad guy on his own while Doucette is there by his side to make the arrest. And get this, Carey's character is a corporate not a criminal lawyer. He seems to have more than one secretary, all blonde and dumb, and he drives some cool wheels, usually a Dodge. Carey has the same long, sad face as John Kerry! All in all, LOCK UP is enjoyable. These days, with our rights being trampled on, society needs people like Scheck and Carey's character to protect the innocent from over-zealous prosecutors ..Richard
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I thought, from the episodes I have seen, that this was an excellent
series that took a more compassionate look and tried to show how
innocent people could look guilty when circumstantial evidence was all
the police had. John Douchette played Lt. Jim Weston, a tough no
nonsense policeman who, every episode, is forced to eat his words when
when attorney Herbert L. Maris (played by Macdonald Carey) shows him
that the person he has usually pounced on as being guilty in the first
five minutes is really an innocent bystander. Based on the case
histories of a prominent attorney, every episode Herbert L. Maris is
drawn into a criminal case because of his uncanny ability of character
reading and knowing when a person is telling the truth. His creed is "a
person is innocent until proved guilty" and even though I haven't seen
a lot of episodes, I have seen enough to know that this is an above
average crime series. Most of the episodes I have seen have been
written by Robert Bloch, author of "Psycho".
Another big plus are the guest stars, they are a mix of up and coming stars (Mary Tyler Moore), old timers (Jackie Coogan) and others who should have had bigger careers than they did (Wanda Hendrix and June Vincent who was memorable in 1946's "Black Angel" and then just seemed to disappear). "The Case of Nan Havens" featured Mary Tyler Moore as an innocent young girl caught up in her sleazy boyfriend's espionage activities, "Society Doctor" was about the death of a doctor's wife and focused on his receptionist who had an unhealthy hero worship of the doctor - the surprise was that she was not the killer!!!
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