DA Brander Harris is investigating graft in a hospital project. He meets with Leora Matthews to obtain proof. Leora disrobes and kisses Harris as a photographer takes a picture. It goes to political fixer Marshall Scott who is murdered.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Brander Harris
Leora Mathews
Wilton Graff ...
Cleveland Blake
June Clayworth ...
Eva Scott
James Castleton
Marshall Scott
Carol Nugent ...
Helen Preston
Peter Brocco ...
Theophile Duclerc
Judge (as Kenneth R. MacDonald)
Eugene Milton


The District Attorney in Waring City, Brander Harris, hires Perry Mason to help him out after a crude attempt at blackmailing him begins to interfere with his investigation into corruption around a hospital construction. Harris was called to a meeting by Leora Matthews who offered him information. Once there however, she puts him in a comprising position and a photographer snaps a photo. Matthews was working for Marshall Scott and when he's found dead, Brander Harris is the prime suspect. Perry tells him he must surrender to the police and he soon finds himself the acting DA running the grand jury on his client's behalf. The grand jury room serves as the ideal setting for Perry to get information on those who took kickbacks on the hospital deal. Information that comes in handy at Brander Harris' preliminary hearing. At the Harris trial the people involved in the graft make it appear that Harris himself was involved by overseeing the graft. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

7 February 1959 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The main title shows this episode as "The Case of the Fraudulent Foto" -- not "Photo". See more »


Paul Drake buys a newspaper in the hotel lobby and sits down to read it. But when he holds it up, it is plainly a single sheet of large paper with a banner headline on one side and is blank on the other. See more »


Lt. Tragg: [at the murder scene] What brings you here?
Perry Mason: I wanted to have a little talk with Marshall Scott.
Perry Mason: Murder?
Lt. Tragg: That's right. What was the little talk about?
Perry Mason: That's confidential, Lieutenant. That bookend the murder weapon?
Lt. Tragg: That's confidential, Counselor.
See more »

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User Reviews

Nice and big and fat and clear
5 April 2016 | by (Bigtown, Montana USA) – See all my reviews

First, let's get the title straight. The IMDb corrects it to "Photo" but that isn't right. The TV header is spelled "Foto," old newspaper slang. The more you know…

Opening shot gives us a busy hotel lobby in Waring City, about 45 minutes from Los Angeles as we later learn. I think this is where wares come from, like Waring blenders. They're gone now.

In skulks a Man In Hat (MIH) who sneaks up the stairs. Why it's our old chum Hugh Marlowe. He meets and greets Babe 1, Leora Mathews, played by Carole Mathews, so her name is her role, kinda. The Babe gives him a packet of pictures to peruse, and as he innocently gloms them up, she's behind a curtain taking it off. She slips out of her dress into a silky robe, plops down beside Brander Harris (Hugh) on the couch and smooches him a good one. He doesn't seem to mind. Just then the door bursts open and there's Weegee the 1940s flashbulb photographer. Say cheese and blackmail Hugh! It's the old badger game, again.

After Hugh hightails it out of there, we cut to Villain 1, Mr. Marshall Scott, a mustachioed fink who coos and bills with the Babe over the phone even as his roosterpecked wife glumly looks on. Good job baby, he snorts, thanks for the photos. I'll see to it they get to the newspaper, talk to ya later, baby, I gotta drop outta sight for a while.

Scott was the foreman for building the New Hospital in town, the one that mysteriously fell down, a habit to be discouraged for buildings that have people inside them. Harris is the nosy district attorney, who's looking into the graft that was grifted around town. He's a crusading young prosecutor at 48.

Next we move to a swanky L.A. restaurant. Head swanker is Cleveland Blake, innocent big businessman and a champion of progress for the Waring City community. Why look at these dirty photos I've got of you and some hussy he tells Harris. It's a good thing the newspaper didn't get them. Say, Harris says, isn't the newspaper editor your pal? He's the one I'm thinking engineered the graft.

Too bad says Blake, but the paper needs some pepper and your spicy photos are the meatball to put on the platter. And he sends his flunky off to deliver the foto. Say goodbye to your career Mr District Attorney!

On his way out the devastated Harris meets Della and Perry. Help me Mason he says. So Perry helps out a D.A. You know how all those lawyers stick together. Mason grabs Paul Drake and he confronts the hussy in her hotel room. "What is this, a badger game?" sneers the Babe, which is ironic since she's the playa. Perry puts her on notice then leaves.

Now she must alert her sweet baboo, the villainous Scott, but her phone doesn't work. Drake has bribed the hotel operator to unplug it. She goes downstairs to a pay phone and dials his number – while Drake watches. Pretty slick. It's a good thing nobody talks over their phone in public anymore. Now that he knows who the schemer is, Perry heads out to cut him off at the pass, but who does he find instead but Lieutenant Tragg of Homicide. He's toweling off Scott, who has passed from being the episode's head villain to its Dead Body. Are Harris's fingerprints on the murder weapon? "Nice and big and fat and clear," grins the lieutenant.

A warrant is out for Harris's arrest and where is he? He's hiding in Perry Mason's car, that's where! Look at the fins on that thing, a 1959 Caddy convertible. You gotta give up and trust me Perry says as he drives Harris to the police department. As Hamilton Burger mocks his defense of a DA, Perry defends the Brotherhood of the Law. Even prosecutors have the right not to be persecuted declaims Mason. Nevertheless, "It embarrasses me that I have to pull your chestnuts out of the fire." Ouch!

There are several other fun factors in this episode. Three Stooges foil Kenneth MacDonald does the judging. It's always fun to hear him issue commands that don't involve a guy in a gorilla costume. As he defends his client, Mason brings up the legal concept of "res gestae," things done, which allows evidence that might otherwise be dismissed as hearsay. Watching Perry Mason is not for sissies folks. I was flabbergasted by this show's final confession and I don't flab my gast easily.

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