Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Malicious Mariner 

Jerry Griffin signs onto a freighter that nearly sinks in a storm until he takes command when the captain is hurt. The captain is furious with him for dumping the cargo. When the captain is found murdered, Jerry is charged with it.


Christian Nyby


Robert Leslie Bellem, Erle Stanley Gardner (characters created by)

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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 ... Police Lt. Arthur Tragg (credit only)
Sean McClory ... Fred Wenzel
Edward Binns ... Charles Griffin
Roy Roberts ... Arthur Janeel
Lee Farr Lee Farr ... Jerry Griffin
Karl Held Karl Held ... David Gideon
Max Showalter ... Frank Logan (as Casey Adams)
Wesley Lau ... Police Lt. Andy Anderson
Penny Edwards ... Julie Abbott
Robert Armstrong ... Capt. Bancroft
Victor Sen Yung ... Sheng


In a bad storm, First Officer Jerry Griffin takes command of their cargo ship from Capt. Bancroft who has taken a severe blow to the head. To the captain's later dismay and the hesitation of the crew, Griffin orders the crew to throw the cargo overboard. Griffin's older brother, Charles, was shipping cargo aboard the vessel and now he has lost everything. Based on the maritime General Averaging Clause, the loss may be divided into thirds between the insurance company, ship's owner and the cargo owner. A ruling on Jerry's actions at sea will determine who is ultimately responsible so Jerry hires Perry Mason to defend him in the matter. Capt. Bancroft advises Griffin that he will support him at the upcoming inquiry but, when he is found dead, Jerry is charged with murder. When a salvage crew recovers the abandoned cargo, they find the crates contained scrap iron, not high-end machinery and Perry is convinced that insurance fraud is at the root of the matter. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

7 October 1961 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This marked Wesley Lau's debut as Lt. Andy Anderson. Two episodes earlier, he had actually appeared as Perry's client Amory Fallon in Perry Mason: The Case of the Impatient Partner (1961). See more »


After Griffin comes onto the bridge of the Janeel Trader, he stumbles on his line to the Captain saying, "As of now sir. Look, Pat, Captain Bancroft, this shiny new coat of paint..." The "Pat" appears to be spoken in error. See more »


[first lines]
Jerry Griffin: Panjong, I think...
Capt. Bancroft: Cargo secure, Mister?
Jerry Griffin: As of now, sir.
See more »


References Perry Mason: The Case of the Torrid Tapestry (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

Mutiny in the Merchant Marine
12 November 2012 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Lee Farr who saved a tramp freighter from going down only by jettisoning the cargo is Raymond Burr's client when Farr asks Perry Mason to represent him before a Coast Guard hearing. Of course he later needs Burr as his attorney to defend on the charge of murdering the captain of the vessel where Farr was the first mate and who pulled a mutiny as the ship was foundering in a storm. Sounds familiar doesn't it, but at least Captain Robert Armstrong wasn't rolling any ball bearings.

This was an episode where the writers got a little too complex with the plot. Just so happens that the cargo jettisoned was some factory equipment that Farr's brother Edward Binns was shipping from Japan to the USA. It also turns out that William Hopper has to go all the way to Japan to salvage the cargo and finds out it's just scrap iron. Who pilfered the cargo then?

And on that score there are a couple of frauds being perpetrated by people both against the insurance settlement and against each other. Don't doze off or you'll miss something and the whole thing won't make sense.

At the criminal trial and the Coast Guard hearing Perry Mason is worth every dime you pay him.

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