Janice Wainwright is a dedicated secretary to Morley Theilman who becomes concerned when she learns he is being blackmailed. Perry advises her to follow through with her instructions but it results in her being charged with his murder.
Janice Wainwright has been Morley Theilman's secretary for several years now and when she finds a blackmail note in his waste paper basket, she seeks Perry's advice. Theilman asked her to put a locked suitcase in a locker at the bus station and she wants to know if she can open it to confirm her suspicions. Perry agrees and they find $100,000 in $20 bills inside. The case eventually disappears from the locker and Theilman is found dead in a subdivision he had been building with business partner Cole Troy. When Perry tries to find Janice it appears that she disappeared. Paul finds her in Las Vegas where they find her meeting Theilman's first wife and her brother at the rail station. Cole says he saw a shapely woman following Morley near his office who could be Janice, Morley's wife Agnes, or even his ex-wife Carlotta who has changed her appearance. Janice is charged with his murder and Perry defends her but her defense is extremely weak. Written by
Final appearance by film actress Barbara Lawrence, who appeared in four Perry Mason episodes between 1958 and 1962. This appearance aired in January, just months before she retired from acting altogether. (Her final appearance was in an episode of The Tall Man called "Trial by Fury." It aired in April 1962.) See more »
During Hamilton Burger's closing argument to the jury, there are several shots of Perry with the courtroom wall close behind him. At that point in the trial, Perry should have been seated at the defense counsel's table. See more »
I found myself doing something during the courtroom scenes in this episode that I haven't done to date - laugh out loud at Mr. Burger's absolute apoplexia realizing he's been played by his nemesis (Mason). In a rare episode in which the case had gone to jury, and in which the DA's office had a solid but circumstantial case against Mason's defendant, Mason realized Burger was holding his ace-in-the-hole for the jury summation. He therefore decided to rest his case with no defense presentation, knowing that would shut down the prosecution's ability to introduce new evidence.
Burger starts to lose it, at this gambit. He sputters, "WHAT??" and decides to play Mason's chess game by deferring the prosecution's privilege to present closing arguments first. Mason presents a perfectly plausible rationale for the series of events which led to the death of the decedent and rests his case.
Burger now walks into Mason's trap, by presenting the closing argument he had planned to give but including information not hitherto introduced as evidence by either side - therefore polluting the entire testimony the jury has to consider in order to render their verdict. Mason catches Burger doing so, objects claiming prosecutorial misconduct and demanding a mistrial! The judge is inclined to agree with Mason, and for good reason - Burger played loose with proper jurisprudence to make this circumstantial evidence stick in the first place, and he sees his case unraveling thanks to Mason's masterful court procedure.
Burger is so angry he can't even see straight by now. He protests to the judge that he can have a witness on the stand within the hour who will prove Mason's been bluffing; the judge (Willis Bouchey, who over the previous four seasons has come to realize Mason is no ambulance-chaser and usually gives him slack to flesh out his arguments) seems to stifle a laugh as Mason smoothly agrees to the admission of the new witness and offers to withdraw his motion for mistrial. Of course, by the introduction of a new witness by the prosecution Mason will get to introduce exculpatory evidence through Burger's OWN witness (asking Burger's witness a question Burger never thought to ask as he'd never considered an alternative series of events) thanks to Burger's blind stumbling through Mason's mine field.
Thoroughly enjoyable. I loved it!
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