The Plainclothesman (1949–1954)

TV Series  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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A crime program, with a twist - The Lieutenant (Ken Lynch) was never seen on camera, as the program used the subjective first-person camera technique as did the 1947 film "Lady in the Lake".

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Episodes

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2   1  
1950   1949  
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Cast

Series cast summary:
Jack Orrison ...
 Sgt Brady / ... (6 episodes, 1950)
...
 Lieutenant (5 episodes, 1950)
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A crime program, with a twist - The Lieutenant (Ken Lynch) was never seen on camera, as the program used the subjective first-person camera technique as did the 1947 film "Lady in the Lake".

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12 October 1949 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Only four of the live telecasts of this series are known to survive. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pounding The Beat and Getting the Clues to Arrest the Bad Guys in a City that looks remarkably like the inside and exterior of DuMont Network's New York Studios!
26 August 2009 | by (Chicago, Illinois, United States) – See all my reviews

THE FAITHFUL viewing of this early Dumont Television series is a very vivid memory in the now 60+ year old's mind. If memory serves me correctly' it came on Sunday Evenings; either before or after ROCKY KING DETECTIVE, which starred veteran screen character comedian, Roscoe Karns, in the title role.

BACK TO back half hours of Cop Show was certainly that the Genre was to be a staple of TV Land for years to come; eventually supplanting the Horse Opera (That's smart Alec talk for Westerns, Schultz!), which came out to be the favourite Programming Category throughout the l950's and most of the 1960's.

THE SERIES had a simple, yet well thought out format. A particular crime or series of crimes (See: "Crime Pattern" in your Gumshoes' Handbook.)is the subject of the show's half hour with the tea, of Detectives traveling around the City's various locations, both shady and opulent, with everything in between, in order to catch the Baddies and clear the pattern. In the oft used words of many a Big City Police Captain, they were to "Eliminate the need of further complaint."

THE TEAM of "Dicks" always featured were one Sergeant Brady (Jack Orrison); who looked to be 40-ish, had been around the block once or twice and could still take care of things and himself, when necessary. His partner and the lead of the pair was The Lieutennant portrayed by Ken Lynch. He wasn't given a name and we couldn't tell you what he looked like, for you never saw him. Never Saw Him, you say. How's that possible?

WELL IT seems that the production team was looking for a different sort of twist to make THE PLAINCLOTHESMAN memorable and just a trifle unique. They used the ploy of the "Subjective Camera" to give us a view of everything that was happening on the screen (at least when it involved the Detective team). It was a well conceived contrivance, which added a touch of class to offset any budgetary considerations that had to be overcome.

AS TESTIMANT to the close kinship that early television series bore to their Radio counterparts, accompanying music, theme and incidental, were provided by the old reliable, the organ; which also was an integral part of the Silent Pictiure Era from inception, right up to the coming of Sound and "the Talkies".

IN THAT era of close identification of Sponsor with Program, it was customary for the players to do at least some of the advertising messages, now called 'commercials', for their sponsor. Hence, we had such in show occurrences such as: THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM'S built in Lucky Strike or Jello ads with Don Wilson and The Sportsmen's Quartet, Warner Anderson (as Lt. Guthrie) on THE LINEUP holding his pack of Viceroys (Cigarettes, Schultz!) up to the camera in near-closeup and June Erwin on TROUBLE WITH FATHER (THE STU ERWIN SHOW)sending daughter Jackie(Sheila James Kuehl)to the store for a bag of Gold Medal Flour. They were all their sponsors; but how would DuMont's Detective Show bring it off for their sponsor, Edgeworth Pipe Tobacco?

WELL NOW, a show with the use of the "Subjective Lense" would not let this get them down. So, what was done was a very simple solution to the problem. At about midway into the 30 minutes of Cop Show, the unseen Lieutennant would apparently get the old 'stomach growls' and say something like, "Brady, it's about time for lunch. Let's go to Millie's." Thew two would always go to the same place, Millie's (I think that was the name) and as part of their usual noontime ritual, the Waitress, Annie or Millie or someone, would always talk of how the Lieutennant's Edgeworth Pipe Tobacco filled the air with such a beautiful fragrance (better than saying 'smell')*.

POST LUNCH period found the pair catching up with the wanted thugs and their arrest. They did have some incidental gun play and Sergeant Brady had a talent for opening locks by firing his .38 caliber snub nose pistol at them point blank.

ALL THINGS considered, THE PLAINCLOTHESMAN and its fellow Cops & Robbers Dramas of the period were entertaining, informative and evidence of the prevailing mood of the times. That being that the Police were there to do a job, a necessary and often dirty and dangerous one. Let them do it and not be always second guessing and playing Monday Morning Quarterback as we all too often do nowadays.

NOTE: * The waitress was right, the pipe tobacco smelled good. As for the Lieutennant, Actor Ken Lynch was fine for the part, with or without the "Subjective Lense" previously used in the Robert Montgomery (as Phillip Marlowe) in LADY IN THE LAKE (MGM, 1947). Ken Lych along with Patrick McVey were the two Chicago Uniformed Cops in Hitchcock's NORTH BY NORTHWEST (MGM, 1959). So, that's what he looks like, Schultz!


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