The Prestons defend a man charged with murdering a storekeeper during a robbery, but they strongly disagree over his guilt. The drug-addicted client was found unconscious at the scene with ... See full summary »

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Henry Schell
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D.A. John McGuire
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Helen Donaldson
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Tom Clinton
Barbara Turner ...
Mrs. Clinton
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Painter
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Policeman
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Dr. Bell
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Lampi (as Larry Blake)
Raymond Greenleaf ...
Judge Mervin Gray
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Court Clerk
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Storyline

The Prestons defend a man charged with murdering a storekeeper during a robbery, but they strongly disagree over his guilt. The drug-addicted client was found unconscious at the scene with the murder weapon in his hand. Lawrence believes he definitely committed the act and only hopes to plead for a lesser sentence, but Kenneth believes the man may be completely innocent of the murder. Written by rbecker28

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Drama

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30 September 1961 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Over-wrought
13 September 2016 | by (N Syracuse NY) – See all my reviews

The third episode of the series hearkens back to the 1957 pilot with father and son arguing about how best to pursue justice. A drug- addled man, (Clu Gulager), has robbed a store and killed the proprietor before being knocked unconscious by the deceased's long- time partner. The Prestons are assigned the case. Lawrence can see their client is an addict. He feels somewhat sorry for him because he became addicted to morphine in the military service. But he's obviously guilty so Lawrence feels the best he can do for his client is to work to get him a reduced sentence.

Kenneth does some digging because he "feels" that the client isn't guilty. he doesn't have anything to go on besides a feeling at first and doesn't wind up with much, either. it turns out the partner gets $10,000 form an insurance policy and is having the ceiling repainted even though that was done only months before. Kenneth believes they should try to get an acquittal.

he and his father have a running argument about this which gets into the issue of how to best serve their client, the theme in the pilot, where the issue was whether to work to get him off by using a courtroom trick to discredit a witness or to try to get him a reduced sentence based on circumstances and sympathy.

The problem here is that the arguments between father and son seem forced, (at one point Lawrence says he might "slap you around").And in the end, Lawrence comes over to Ken's point of view for no apparent reason other than his idealism, which Lawrence says he once had. He then elicits a Perry Mason-like confession from the partner in the courtroom and father and son smile contentedly at each other.

It's a poor execution of a worthy theme.

One other note: The IMDb entry for their episode says it was filmed entirely in New York. I find it interesting that so many actors who were doing episodic television on the west coast appear in this: Gulager, McHugh, Harry Townes as the DA, J. Pat O'Malley, etc. Where are the "new York actors" we later saw all the time in Law & Order? Is it possible this was really shot in LA with some exteriors, (like the opening credit sequence) done in New York?

Check the message board, ("The Real Pilot") for an updated opinion on this episode.


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