The brother of a man imprisoned for murder kidnaps and holds Betty hostage. In exchange for her release he demands that Barnaby finds enough evidence to clear his brother of the murder he did not commit.



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Episode cast overview:
Cory Doyle
George Harper
James Luisi ...
Joe Doyle
Shannon Nelson
Nora Marlowe ...
Mother McCoy
Hank Brandt ...
Norm Stevens
John Carter ...
Madelyn Cain ...
Ellen Stevens
Rod Browning ...
John Gilgreen ...
Harbor Master


The brother of a man imprisoned for murder kidnaps and holds Betty hostage. In exchange for her release he demands that Barnaby finds enough evidence to clear his brother of the murder he did not commit.

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Crime | Drama | Mystery




Release Date:

15 January 1976 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

A Villain You'll Love to Hate
25 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Although dated, this show provides plenty of nail-biting tension, and at the end, an unexpected twist.

The story begins on a country road at night, as Betty Jones (Barnaby Jones's secretary and daughter-in-law) is leaving a friend's house after a dinner engagement.

Unobtrusively, another car is parked by the roadside. Its occupant (a scruffy young man) has been watching her, and as she drives off, the man follows Betty. He crowds her off the road into a culvert, then smashes the window of her car with a tree branch. Injured and frightened, Betty runs, but is overtaken by the man who pulls a gun and blindfolds her. He is Cory Doyle, the brother of a former client now convicted of his wife's murder.

The next day, Barnaby Jones receives a call from Doyle, who informs Jones that unless he reopens his brother's case, the kidnapped Betty will die within 48 hours.

Barnaby visits Joe Doyle (Cory's older brother) in prison. Doyle insists he's innocent of his wife's murder, although he fought with her earlier. He learned his wife had been murdered when the police found her beaten body floating in the ocean.

Betty tries to persuade Cory to free her, promising that Barnaby will investigate a "mystery man" suspect. Cory smashes his fist against the table violently, and wild-eyed, yells that his brother saved him from the orphanage when their parents died; now, Cory wants to return the favor.

Cory runs outside to meet his girlfriend who has driven up. Betty removes a piece of jagged quartz from a table, and saws on the rope binding her wrists.

Cory argues with his girlfriend (who planned to flee), reminding her that she is an accessory to kidnapping. Her adoration turns to fear when Cory admits he plans to kill Betty and hide her body in the woods.

As Barnaby searches Joe Doyle's apartment, Cory confronts Jones, giving him cards with fancy initials "JD," possibly indicating the "mystery man."

Barnaby then visits the dock, meeting with an informant, "Mother McCoy." she tells Jones that Cory has a girlfriend who waitressed at the yacht club.

Cory's girlfriend brings a salad to(a now free)Betty, who slams the plate in the girl's face, stunning her. Betty escapes to the highway, flags down a car - but Cory Doyle's the driver!

Terrified, Betty flees. Cory spins out 180-degrees, and tears after Betty in an off-the-road pursuit that ends at a bluff. Cory re-kidnaps Betty.

At the yacht club, the bartender tells Barnaby Cory's girlfriend is Shannon Nelson. Barnaby sees a picture of a tugboat "Davey Jones," and recognizing the fancy capital letters from the cards.

Barnaby confronts George Harper, the tugboat skipper, who confesses to an affair with Wanda Jean Doyle, but - they had been previously married.

Barnaby notices an incongruous coil of white rope on the tug which Harper swears isn't his. Barnaby realizes somebody is trying to frame Harper.

Barnaby returns to prison and shows Joe Doyle the rope, with amateurishly spliced ends - just as he found it on Joe's boat. Joe's face falls as he realizes, sickeningly, that Cory is the culprit. Joe tells Barnaby Cory's location.

At the hideout, the police wait as Barnaby goes to the door. an armed Cory demands to know the killer's identity, and when Barnaby identifies Cory - he laughs derisively.

When pressed, though, Cory sneers that "Wanda Jean was a tramp, man!" having seen her enter a motel with Harper. Later, Cory went to Joe's apartment, made a pass at Wanda Jean, and when she threatened to tell Joe - Cory attempted to force himself on her. Wanda Jean fought and screamed - so Cory beat her to death.

Hearing the disgusting admission from Cory, the heartbroken Shannon moans. Cory's attention is diverted, and Jones knocks the gun from Cory's hand, forcing him to the ground. The police move in, arresting Cory and Shannon, and Barnaby rescues Betty.

At the dock afterward, a grateful Joe Doyle expresses ambivalence over turning his brother in, but is gratified Betty was saved, and his sick, twisted brother cannot harm anyone else.

Besides the regular cast of Buddy Ebsen (Barnaby Jones) and Lee Merriwether (Betty Jones), the guest stars all excelled in their respective roles. James Luisi (Joe Doyle) was perfect as the wrongly-convicted widower, who realizes belatedly that his "altruistic" baby brother was actually the author of his misfortune.

Really a sympathetic character, William Smith (George Harper) was so menacing as to appear, initially, a convincing suspect.

Hilary Thompson (Shannon Nelson) was especially realistic as Cory Doyle's masochistic girlfriend.

Top honors go to the villain of the piece, the late Barry Brown (Cory Doyle).

This versatile actor (who co-starred in "Bad Company" and "Daisy Miller," and who even played a lovable, naive young monk on the Emmy Award-winning series "Insight") once complained he felt typecast in "sensitive" and "gentle" roles, rarely playing a villain.

Well, as Cory Doyle - Barry Brown outdid himself. Doyle, an odious sociopath who wavered between a counterfeit geniality and flash-point violence, had no redeeming features. Granted, he felt compunction over his brother's wrongful conviction and wanted to free him from prison, but at a heavy price: Doyle planned to implicate another innocent man (the tugboat skipper, Harper), and frame him for the murder Doyle himself had committed.

After Brown's tragic death at age 27 in 1978, no less than a noted film critic wrote (in a memorial tribute) that had he lived, Barry Brown would have ultimately been "Academy Award material." The characterization of Cory Doyle certainly substantiates this.

Watch this episode to see a highly talented, sensitive actor convincingly play an extremely insensitive, nasty guy; it's an hour of taut, tense entertainment.

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