Superb first episode of a forgotten TV masterpiece.
I will be candid. Even though there are copies of this episode at the Museum Of Broadcasting in Chicago and the Smithsonian, I have never actually seen it. Fortunately, the whole script can be found in an excellent book by Coles Trapnell called Teleplay: Writing For Television. Based on the script alone, I will say that this was very fine Televiosn indeed. Veteran scriptwriter James ( Ben Casey/Medic) Moser spent nine months researching the California state legislature, and it shows. the script does an excellent job of introducing all of the characters and portraying the day to day realities of politics. Jim Slattery,(Richard Crenna) eight year veteran of the state house of representatives, and leader of the minority party, is confronted by a very difficult political and moral dilemma. An ambitious-and very unpleasant- young state senator has brought sensational charges against one of Slattery's best friends,, another veteran legislator, Harry Sanborn ( the great James Whitmore). House Speaker Bert Metcalfe( Tol Avery) gives Crenna the unpleasant, but necessary , task of investigating the charges. Then Slattery discovers that the charges might be in fact true. Does he uphold the integrity of the legislative process, even at the risk of endangering his friends career? Democracy is ultimately affirmed, but at a tragic price. It is absurd that this terrific show is not available on DVD. please, CBS, stop being stubborn and stupid and release this magnificent show from the vaults!
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