Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of Paul Drake's Dilemma 

Perry Mason finds himself defending his private investigator Paul Drake against a charge of murder. It all began when Frank Thatcher hit a pedestrian walking on the side of the road and kills him. He hires Paul to payoff the widow.


William D. Russell


Erle Stanley Gardner (characters created by), Jackson Gillis (teleplay) | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Raymond Burr ... Perry Mason
Barbara Hale ... Della Street
William Hopper ... Paul Drake
William Talman ... Hamilton Burger
Ray Collins ... Lt. Tragg
Vanessa Brown ... Donna Kress
Basil Ruysdael ... Henry W. Dameron
Bruce Gordon ... Frank Thatcher
Dean Harens ... Tad Dameron
Simon Scott Simon Scott ... Charles Dameron
Jennifer Howard Jennifer Howard ... Judith Thatcher
Sheila Bromley ... Mrs. Colin
Robert P. Lieb Robert P. Lieb ... Joe Marsden (as Robert Lieb)
Robert Cornthwaite ... Anders
Kenneth MacDonald ... Judge


Donna Kress and Frank Thatcher have a spat. He will not divorce his wife. Driving home that night, Frank runs over and kills a pedestrian, Alexander Collins, in the road. Under direction of old Henry Dameron, Frank's father-in-law, Tad Dameron, Frank's brother-in-law, takes care of the body. Frank, as "Danko" hires Paul Drake to deliver $25,000 to Collins' widow, but Paul finds out the gift is a payoff after learning her husband was killed in an accident due to typo on his drivers license causing "Danko" to give Paul erroneous information. Paul contacts "Danko" and meets him at "Danko's" girlfriend's apartment. Paul fights with "Danko" and is knocked out. When Paul revives after the clerk and police enter the apartment, he finds Thatcher/Danko is dead, shot with Paul's gun. Paul calls Perry Mason and is charged with murder. He is further accused of blackmailing Thatcher with the hit-and-run incident. Perry fights Dameron money and influence in defending Drake. Written by richardann

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

14 November 1959 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was the first episode of the show that didn't have "the case of THE..." in the title.There would be three more. See more »


In the early scene where Frank Thatcher is driving his 59 Lincoln and is nodding off just before he runs down the pedestrian you can see that the gear shift for the automatic transmission is way up in view over the dashboard because the car is still in park even though he is supposedly driving down the road. See more »


Paul Drake: Perry... isn't there anything else you want to ask me?
Perry Mason: Paul... the only real doubt I have about you is what you're gonna to say when you see my bill.
See more »

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User Reviews

Perry defends Paul for murder charges.
14 May 2012 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

This episode turns out to be a refreshing change of pace from the regular 'Perry Mason' mystery. The writers came up with a new way for Perry to defend a client who is accused of murder, even if the client is his old friend, Paul Drake.

The episode centers around a middle-aged wealthy man named Frank Thatcher. He has been having an affair with a saucy singer named Donna Kress. On a way back from one of their rendezvous, he kills a pedestrian and flees the scene.

He then hires Paul Drake, under false pretenses, to delivery money, under the disguise of winnings, to the widow of the dead man. It is not long until Paul realizes that he is being played and goes to confront Mr Thatcher.

A fight breaks out between the two men and Paul is knocked unconscious. When he awakes the police are at the door and Mr Thatcher has been shot. To make matters worse, the murder weapon was a gun that belonged to Paul.

From the jail house Paul calls Perry to defend him for charges brought by Hamilton Burger's office. So Paul is now the middle man in court sitting beside Paul and Della. Only bad thing is that he is charged with the murder.

The key to the case comes in a different situation from other Perry shows. It becomes a refreshing change from the other rehashed tales from other stories. The writers find another way to bring the case to an end while maintaining the series classic courtroom confession. -- A good episode to watch and enjoy. A good show from season three.

PS- make sure you watch the ending of this episode. After the trial Perry has some strong words for one character of the cast.

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