Perry Mason: Season 1, Episode 18

The Case of the Cautious Coquette (18 Jan. 1958)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 101 users  
Reviews: 2 user

Elaine is being threatened and blackmailed by her husband, Harry Pitkin, so she consults Perry. In a complex series of moves, Perry is sent on a wild goose chase to Elaine's apartment, Harry ends up dead, and Elaine is charged with murder.



(based on the novel by), (teleplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Case of the Cautious Coquette (18 Jan 1958)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Sheila Cromwell
Donald Randolph ...
Stephen Argyle
Kipp Hamilton ...
Elaine Pitkin
Harry Jackson ...
Harry Pitkin
Chet Stratton ...
Bates (as Chester Stratton)
Sidney Clute ...
Frederick Arms (as Sid Clute)
James Seay ...
Ross Hollister
Sydney Smith ...
Judge Osborn
K.L. Smith ...
Joe Raymond
Robert Finchley


Elaine Barton is being blackmailed by her husband Harry Pitkin. He is threatening to tell her boyfriend Ross Hollister who wants to marry her she is married but Hollister is having a private detective agency investigate her. Hollister's partner Sheila Cromwell stops by to pick up financial papers Hollister is supposed to check out but he hasn't finished the task. He agrees to drop them at Elaine's apartment with a key under the mat so Cromwell can pick them up the next morning as Hollister is going on a business trip. Perry receives a note in the mail with a key to Elaine's apartment indicating he would find a witness to a hit and run accident he is handling. He finds Elaine asleep but after waking her he discovers a license number and a small gun. Elaine asks him to help her with the blackmail but Perry doesn't believe her. The license number takes Perry to Stephen Argyle who employs Pitkin as a driver. He denies the charges even though his car shows damage. Perry receives a call ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

courtroom spectator | See All (1) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

18 January 1958 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Harry Pitkin is still breathing after he has supposedly been shot dead. See more »


Elaine Pitkin: When you die, Harry, I know exactly who'll be at your funeral - you!
Harry Pitkin: Well, I guess I never did win any popularity contests.
See more »

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User Reviews

Blackmail, marriage, divorce, murder---it has to be good
3 November 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In this episode we get a beautiful Elaine Barton (Kipp Hamilton) that falls in love with business man named Ross Hollister. The only problem is that Elaine is already married to a really peachy person named Harry Pitkin. He is refusing to give Elaine a divorce so that she can marry Ross. Harry is blackmailing Elaine and states many times that he will get a divorce if only she provided enough money.

Ross also has a business partner named Shelia Cromwell (Virginia Gregg) that is in love with him from afar and does not seem to happy with the idea of Ross and Elaine possibly getting married.

Anyway the cad Harry Pitkin ends up dead in Elaine's apartment and was killed by a gun owned by Elaine. She just happened to meet Perry when he was investigating a hit-and-run case and calls him for help. Thus we go to the courtroom with Perry defending Elaine for the murder of Harry Pitkin, her estranged husband.

There are a couple of sub-plots that are keen to the story like the hit-and-run investigation. And we also have a problem with the books at Ross and Shelia's company. This will prove most helpful in finding the actual killer.

Even though this show was interesting and I considered a good watch, there is so over-acting in the show that could have been turned down a few notches. In one scene a person is on the witness stand and was asked a simple question. The next thing I know is that person is so upset that they cannot continue and court is postpone till the next day. I am sure that was written in the script but the actor seems to be taking it to new heights with the long shaking and crying.

One scene I thought was funny was when Elaine is waiting for Perry to come to her apartment. Perry asks why she feels the need to talk with him. Elaine says, "I'm in trouble". To which Perry says, "What do you call trouble?" Then she opens her bedroom door to reveal the dead body of Harry. Folks, that is trouble.

I considered this a good watch for everything that a Perry fan wants in an episode. Interesting story and a need to watch the entire episode because of the interest in the characters.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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