Jerry Griffin signs onto a freighter that nearly sinks in a storm until he takes command when the captain is hurt. The captain is furious with him for dumping the cargo. When the captain is found murdered, Jerry is charged with it.
In a bad storm, First Officer Jerry Griffin takes command of their cargo ship from Capt. Bancroft who has taken a severe blow to the head. To the captain's later dismay and the hesitation of the crew, Griffin orders the crew to throw the cargo overboard. Griffin's older brother, Charles, was shipping cargo aboard the vessel and now he has lost everything. Based on the maritime General Averaging Clause, the loss may be divided into thirds between the insurance company, ship's owner and the cargo owner. A ruling on Jerry's actions at sea will determine who is ultimately responsible so Jerry hires Perry Mason to defend him in the matter. Capt. Bancroft advises Griffin that he will support him at the upcoming inquiry but, when he is found dead, Jerry is charged with murder. When a salvage crew recovers the abandoned cargo, they find the crates contained scrap iron, not high-end machinery and Perry is convinced that insurance fraud is at the root of the matter. Written by
Lee Farr who saved a tramp freighter from going down only by jettisoning the cargo is Raymond Burr's client when Farr asks Perry Mason to represent him before a Coast Guard hearing. Of course he later needs Burr as his attorney to defend on the charge of murdering the captain of the vessel where Farr was the first mate and who pulled a mutiny as the ship was foundering in a storm. Sounds familiar doesn't it, but at least Captain Robert Armstrong wasn't rolling any ball bearings.
This was an episode where the writers got a little too complex with the plot. Just so happens that the cargo jettisoned was some factory equipment that Farr's brother Edward Binns was shipping from Japan to the USA. It also turns out that William Hopper has to go all the way to Japan to salvage the cargo and finds out it's just scrap iron. Who pilfered the cargo then?
And on that score there are a couple of frauds being perpetrated by people both against the insurance settlement and against each other. Don't doze off or you'll miss something and the whole thing won't make sense.
At the criminal trial and the Coast Guard hearing Perry Mason is worth every dime you pay him.
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