When perennial loser Wally Gardner is identified as the perpetrator of a robbery-murder, he tells police unique details of a stranger he met miles away at the time of the crime. But when ... See full summary »
When perennial loser Wally Gardner is identified as the perpetrator of a robbery-murder, he tells police unique details of a stranger he met miles away at the time of the crime. But when that stranger is found, he says he can prove that HE was miles from where Gardner says they met at the time of the crime. Lt. Frank Ballinger must determine who's lying. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Trying To Help Out A Guy Who Gets No Family Loyalty
"Wally Gardner" has an alibi, a man who lit a cigarette for him miles away from a crime scene, can prove he's innocent by just telling the cops that. Wally is being fingered for a robbery which turned into a homicide. Wally has a rap sheet a mile long since he was a young kid. Edward Binns plays "Wally." Once again, Mr. Binns is an example of an actor you've seen a million times on TV but can't name him. Binn, not just a TV actor, he played roles in "Patton," "The Verdict," "Fail-Safe," "North By Northwest," "Twelve Angry Men" and a bunch of other big-name feature films. This guy did a lot of acting and many of his roles were playing intense characters.
In this episode we find out once again (see the last episode) that our tough M Squad hero, "Det. Lt. Frank Ballinger," (Lee Marvin) is a softie underneath. He admits he's "always sympathetic to the guy who never got a break," so instead of letting Wally or his lawyer worry about finding that "alibi witness," Frank goes searching for him, himself. His boss gives him several days, and that's it.
Frank runs into some real characters, like Wally's mother who is miserable beyond belief, and Wally's ultra-platinum blond bimbo with a deep smoker's voice. She's no help, either.
After visiting his unsympathetic mom and girlfriend, Ballinger says, "I can't help feeling sorry for Wally; even a snake deserves family loyalty."
Anyway, a few interesting developments occur in the case and the ending of a surprise. I won't give any of that away but this was good episode. After a slow start, this Season One has really picked up a little steam. There is not a lot of action in these stories but the suspense is increasing with each story and the narration and dialog by Marvin is superb - true film-noir material.
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