Soemone makes the murder of wealthy George Sherman look like a ritualistic killing, hanging his corpse from a Cersis tree (aka a Judas tree, after the one Judas Iscariot supposedly hanged ... See full summary »



(characters created by) (as Ellery Queen), (characters created by) (as Ellery Queen) | 3 more credits »

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Episode cast overview:
Lewis Marshall
Salvatore Mercadonte
Father Terrence Devlin / Captain Thomas G. Horton
Gunther Starr
Dr. Anthony Bender
Paulette Sherman
Stephen Yang
Ted Gehring ...
Sgt. Buford
Al Russo
Peter Hobbs ...
Medical Examiner, Dr. Steiner
Nina Roman ...


Soemone makes the murder of wealthy George Sherman look like a ritualistic killing, hanging his corpse from a Cersis tree (aka a Judas tree, after the one Judas Iscariot supposedly hanged himself from) and adorning it with branches. When George is found to be far less wealthy than thought (he had given everything away except a huge life insurance policy), suspicion turns to his wife Paulette, who already has a boyfriend on the side. Written by Peter Harris

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Crime | Drama | Family | Mystery





Release Date:

1 February 1976 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In most episodes you are shown the victim and told that they will die. In the beginning of this one, and "The Adventure of Veronica's Veils", the victim is already dead. See more »


Father Devlin, a Catholic priest, admits to Ellery and Inspector Queen that Sherman did not make a formal confession, and Inspector Queen mentions that Sherman was not a Catholic. Therefore, under New York State law in the 1940s (and today), nothing said between the two would be covered by confessional privilege, but neither Queen mentions this. See more »


Ellery Queen: Now I know who killed George Sherman-the one person who had something to gain from it. You're probably way ahead of me; you've got all the clues: the inkstains on George's hand, the alibis, the motive. Put them all together and what have you got? Well, Dr. Tony Bender? The not-so-grieving widow, Paulette Sherman? Oh, and don't forget Stephen Yang, or the phony Father Devlin. Or maybe it was somebody else. Maybe somebody you haven't considered. Let's find out.
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User Reviews

Ellery's plumbing problems
31 October 2009 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

Episode 16, "The Adventure of the Judas Tree," begins with the hanging of the late George Sherman by person or persons unknown, wearing a crown of thorns to indicate betrayal. One of Sherman's visitors that day was an Asian gentleman, Stephen Yang (James Shigeta), whose rebel forces in China were betrayed to the Japanese by Sherman, a war profiteer. The dead man's wife, Paulette (Diana Muldaur), spent an evening on the town with her husband's doctor, Anthony Bender (George Maharis), who diagnosed his client's terminal illness the year before, yet gave him a clean bill of health for insurance purposes. Insurance investigator Al Russo (Michael Pataki) reports Sherman's selling his share of his construction company (at a loss) to his business partner, Gunther Starr (Jack Kruschen), conducted by attorney Lewis Marshall (Dana Andrews), without informing Gunther of his illness. Trying to make amends for his past misdeeds, Sherman also donates vast sums of money to a Chinese mission fronted by Father Terrence Devlin (Clu Gulager), as well as to the aforementioned Stephen Yang. Even his groundskeeper, Salvatore Mercadonte (Bill Dana) receives payment in advance for an entire year. Peter Hobbs (previously seen as the doctor who diagnoses cyanide poisoning in episode 9) appears briefly as the Medical Examiner at the crime scene, who determines that Sherman was already dead when he was hung from a beam, killed by a stab wound in the stomach. Finally, Nina Roman returns as Grace, Inspector Queen's secretary, this time aiding poor Ellery's request to find a plumber due to his demolition of the kitchen sink, which yields some amusing byplay between the sleuth and his exasperated father.

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