Perry Mason: Season 1, Episode 2

The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece (28 Sep. 1957)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 138 users  
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A man's wife is divorcing him after he is caught sleep walking with a knife near her bed. When his stepbrother is found dead stabbed with the knife, he is charged with murder and is accused of using his sleepwalking as a cover-up.

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Title: The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece (28 Sep 1957)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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John McNamara ...
Peter Cole
Hillary Brooke ...
Doris Cole
John Archer ...
Frank Maddox
Nancy Hadley ...
Edna Hammar - Secretary
...
Steve Harris
Helen Mowery ...
Lucille Mays Cole
Thomas Browne Henry ...
Attorney Ralph Duncan (as Thomas B. Henry)
Harry Hickox ...
Phillip Kendall
Kenneth MacDonald ...
Judge Carter
Tony Michaels ...
Jackson - Perry Mason's assistant
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Storyline

During an unhappy marriage, Peter Cole is found near his wife Doris' bed with a knife in his hand sleep walking. Doris accusing him of trying to kill her decides to divorce him. A year later one day before the divorce is to be finalized, Peter's business partner Frank Maddox visits Doris asking her to hold off on the divorce offering her $100,000. Maddox and his attorney Ralph Duncan visit Peter and his step-brother Phillip Kendall. Maddox wants $500,000 for his share of their company which is about the worth of the whole company or Doris will not grant the divorce. Peter's niece and secretary Edna Hammar calls Perry Mason to help her uncle who is engaged to remarry. Perry intervenes suggesting Maddox and Duncan stay at Phillips home that night. Phillip is found stabbed to death the next morning after he and Maddox had traded rooms. Peter is arrested for the murder with the belief he stabbed Phillip expecting Maddox to be in the bed. Edna's boyfriend Steve helps Perry by delivering ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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courtroom spectator | See All (1) »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Release Date:

28 September 1957 (USA)  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
An Early Gem
31 March 2013 | by (New York, United States) – See all my reviews

I have long been a fan of Perry Mason, both the books and the TV series. I remember the TV series fondly when I saw it in reruns as a young adult, and the books were my introduction to the mystery genre.

As others have written, this was the second filmed episode. It is closer to the early books in mood than most of the TV episodes. Della looks especially young and attractive. She playfully massages Perry's neck. Mason is himself playful, almost flirting, with one the the female leads whom he needs to get on his side. He almost playfully traps the murderer on the witness stand. You don't see that sort of thing (especially Mason smiling so much) later in the TV series, after it became a huge hit, and a bit formal, if not stodgy.

The early books have a pronounced film noir flavor, and this book is no exception. The TV episode is a very good representation of the book. Of course they had to abridge it somewhat, to make it fit into 53 minutes. They've left out some of the material about the niece, which makes one wonder, who has seen only the TV episode, why the title is the way is it. My major criticism of the TV episode is that the actor who portrays the murderer doesn't fit the part; it's poor casting. The result is a person who is hard to imagine as a murderer.

Still, a great 53 minutes of television.


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