Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 3, Episode 17

The Motive (26 Jan. 1958)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 156 users  
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Tommy Greer is a crime buff who decides to commit a motiveless murder in order to confuse the police. He selects his victim from a phone book at random. He tracks him down and kills him but... See full summary »



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Title: The Motive (26 Jan 1958)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Himself - Host
Skip Homeier ...
Tommy Greer
William Redfield ...
Carl Betz ...
Jerome Stanton
Kay Stewart ...
Plain Clothes Policeman
Tharon Crigler ...
Woman Near Phone Books
Jim Johnson ...
Uniformed Police Officer
Gary Clarke ...


Tommy Greer is a crime buff who decides to commit a motiveless murder in order to confuse the police. He selects his victim from a phone book at random. He tracks him down and kills him but his "perfect crime" is unraveled by modern crime-fighting techniques. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

26 January 1958 (USA)  »

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Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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This was Carmen Phillips first role of her 11 year career ending in 1969 with a role in Easy Rider. See more »

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User Reviews

The Motive
8 December 2010 | by (Out There in the Dark) – See all my reviews

In agreement with the other comment, this is a superior episode of AHP. Simply and perfectly titled, "The Motive" has so much in it that it seems longer than it is, but in a good way because it's so interesting.

The plot setup, while preposterous, is well handled and convincing. And the actors are well cast, giving energetic performances. Skip Homeier (Tommy) never achieved real stardom, but he made an impression every time he appeared on screen, in films such as "The Gunfighter" (where he plays a young gunslinger lacking common sense) and especially in "Tomorrow the World!" (in which he plays a former Hitler Youth, with chilling realism). TV stalwarts William Redfield and Carl Betz (soon to play Donna Reed's husband on her sitcom) bring plenty of life to their characters, and we even get Gary Clarke as a bellboy for one scene.

What makes this episode so memorable is the well-played, cold calculation of the characters, and the brilliant twist ending, which wraps things up, yet leaves the viewer thinking. "The Motive" is a like a good short story come to life. Is Rose Simon Kohn's original story comparable? It may be worth seeking out.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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