The Defenders (1961–1965)
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The Benefactor 

The Prestons defend a doctor arrested by the police for performing illegal abortions.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lawrence Preston
Kenneth Preston
Dr. Ernest Montgomery (as Robert Simon)
Judson Laire ...
Judge Burton Henshaw
Elinor Stafford (as Collin Wilcox)
Kathleen Widdoes ...
Sandra Mason
Helen Donaldson
Kermit Murdock ...
D.A. Frank Larkin
Margaret Barker ...
Dr. Susan Phillips
Augusta Dabney ...
Mrs. Stafford
Will Hare ...
Mr. Mason
Audrey Gunther
Sergeant Rogers
Mr. Patterson
Frank Daly ...


The Prestons defend a doctor arrested by the police for performing illegal abortions.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis






Release Date:

28 April 1962 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The program's sponsors refused to advertise on this episode, necessitating a last-minute replacement, because it was so controversial. See more »


Featured in Mad Men: The Benefactor (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Oh pardon me thou bleeding piece of earth
10 October 2016 | by See all my reviews

This is one of those episodes that made this show famous. They take on abortion, which was illegal at the time except where the mother's life was in danger. It's surprisingly sympathetic for the time toward the abortionist and his 'victims'. (Compare this episode to Detective Story 1951). Robert F. Simon, who normally plays garrulous types, is a gentle, idealistic surgeon motivated by the death of his own daughter, whose epitaph is in my title. We are also provided with some amazing statistics: in 1962, (when this was shown), per a witness, 1 in 10 unmarried women were becoming pregnant. There were 6000,000 unmarried pregnant women each year and 9 of 10 got illegal abortions! 175,000 such abortions were done on teenagers.The show makes a strong case that these women would be better off having legal abortions with good doctors in the best of circumstances.

Simon's character makes two claims I disagreed with, one of which I had never heard before. he alleges that the life of an aborted child would be inevitably so unpleasant that it would not be worth living, (so it's OK- even good- that they aren't born), and that it's crueler to have women give birth and then give their babies up for adoption than it to abort them so that they never see the baby to begin with. Maybe it is but there's a lot of assumptions there.

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