Mitch Heller is having emotional problems doing his job as a test astronaut at a private company. The problems become worse when a new man taking over is the general who fired Heller from the Mercury program. Heller is charged with murder.
Mitch Heller is the test astronaut in the human factors division for the Moonstone project. He's recently suffered from disorientation and the head of the division, Matthew Owen, has requested a delay in finalizing their test results. In fact the entire Moonstone project is now several months behind schedule, something that displeases the new program head, retired General Addison Brand. In fact, Brand and Heller have a history together and it's no surprise when Brand fires him. Mitch hires Paul Drake to look for missing plans to a new valve he had worked on earlier. He can't find the plans which are in a manila envelope with his name on it. During their first meeting Paul notices Mitch is given an injection of saline solution. Mitch reacts as if it was a drug which makes Paul question the reliability of Mitch. Mitch is subsequently asked to meet Brand at his home and when the police find the general dead, Mitch is charged with murder and Perry Mason defends him at the request of Paul. Written by
Robert Bray is both Perry Mason's client and cast in the title role in this episode. Bray works for an aeronautical firm as a test subject and the head of the aerospace division is James Coburn. Bray and Coburn have some nasty history together going all the way back to the Korean War. So Coburn is later shot to death and Bray arrested.
On this episode the key here is that Bray is a fall guy for someone who also had it in for Coburn. In fact a rather elaborate deception is used to frame Bray. You don't have much sympathy with the perpetrator because of that.
But what gets me is that Raymond Burr points out in some crime scene photographs that it has to be a ruse of some kind. That that fact escaped Ray Collins, Wesley Lau, and William Talman was a bit much to swallow. From there we unmask the real killer.
The writers were slipping with this one.
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