While walking down the street, Korean war veteran Arthur Poe is shocked to see a book about the war displayed written by Ben Sutton who was with him in the war. The book is a bestseller but is actually based on a diary Poe kept in the war.
Arthur Poe, Ben Sutton and Harry Wilson were comrades in a North Korean prison camp in the Korean War. Poe, Sutton and Wilson escaped, thinking Poe was killed during the escape, but he survived and spent several years in POW camps. Returning home, Poe finds that Sutton had stolen his war diary and published it as a best seller. Poe presses Sutton for money, but the writer is broke from paying blackmail. Gilbert Ames or his wife Marian ran over Alan Kirby's wife, leaving her permanently paralyzed. The Ameses have paid thousands of dollars to the Kirbys, mostly extorted from Ben Sutton. Sylvia Sutton, Ben's wife, contacts Perry Mason about dealing with blackmail. Marian tells Sylvia that Gilbert has killed Ben with a fireplace poker, at which Sylvia runs home and finds her husband dead, and the room a shambles. She dashes out of the house, runs into Poe and flees. Sylvia is arrested later and calls on Perry to defend her. Written by
The "Veterans Administration" building from which guest star Marshall Thompson exits at the beginning of this episode is actually the Irving Thalberg building on the M-G-M backlot, which houses the studio's executive offices. See more »
An exterior shot in front of the Sutton house is supposed to be at ten o'clock in the evening, but it is full daylight outside. See more »
Clerk - Bookstore:
Help you, sir? Oh, 'Ordeal.' It's phenomenal, isn't it?
Yes. Staying number one on the bestseller list for so long now. I understand they've sold it for pictures, and they're going to adapt it for a play. It's a story about three American prisoners in a Korean prison camp.
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This episode of the original series varies from the formula that became too often a staple in the series. Too often, the killer confesses in court to get Masons client off. In this one, while Mason gets his client off in the trial sequence, he does it without revealing who the killer is.
The plot is well set up and there a a few things dangled for the viewer that lead you off the track for a while. Overall, this is a good episode and it is always a pleasure to see this cast at work. This 1960 show is very much in the groove. The story line is a Korea vet showing up years after the conflict after being released from a Chinese POW camp. He finds out one of his fellow officers thought he was dead, and stole his diary and published it as The Ordeal. Now it is a best seller and he wants his name credited for it.
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