A confrontation concerning nonpayment between young subcontractor Brian Meeker and general contractor Arthur Morgan comes to blows and Morgan is knocked unconscious. Preston (Morgan's foreman) arrives as Meeker is leaving the scene and takes advantage of the opportunity to steal $12,000 from Morgan's open wall safe. Dan Mathews moves quickly to apprehend Meeker based on an assault charge, but finds that physical evidence implicates Preston as the thief. Morgan is initially dubious, but is ultimately convinced of Preston's guilt and withdraws all charges against Meeker. Dan and his officers travel to the construction yard to arrest Preston and find themselves in a tense confrontation high above a cement mixer. Written by
Temptation is yet another solid entry from the Highway Patrol series, featuring a story that's more human interest than most concerning a young man just getting started in the contracting business who, after a dispute over wages he believes are coming to him and his men for a job he just finished, drives to the home of the head of the company that hired him, punches him out but does not steal any money. The head of the company, tight-fisted but essentially honest, had taken some money out of his safe, offered the young man less than he felt he deserved and the the young man refused.
Hot tempered fellow he may be, a criminal he is not, the young man leaves the house, which the company foreman enters a few minutes later and, finding his boss unconscious on the floor and the safe wide open, takes the money for himself, knowing that the young men who had gone to see his boss was in a nasty mood, he lies to the police, which in turn implicates the young man, who is arrested for assault (but not theft) shortly thereafter. Agitated yet lucid, the young man tells his side of the story, and veteran cop Dan Mathews, an old hand at dealing with all kinds of people, sensing a sincerity in the man he now has under arrest, decides the pursue the matter further. A broken watch and pair of glasses figure in the investigation.
Highway Patrol episodes are short,--less than a full half-hour--and while they never leave any loose ends as to the guilt or innocent of suspects, yet sometimes the viewer, this viewer, yearns for just a little more; closure is one way to put it. There's seldom time for that. This is an episode that would have benefited from just a minute or so more. Still, it was, overall, satisfying and suspenseful, and Charles Maxwell's performance as the duplicitous foreman was outstanding.
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