Perry Mason (1957–1966)
4 user

The Case of the Sardonic Sergeant 

Major Frank Lessing, an Army payroll officer, is found murdered and Sgt. Joseph Dexter is charged with the crime. The case hinges on a payroll robbery committed in the Phillippines years before but the bills are now appearing on base.


William D. Russell


Erle Stanley Gardner (characters created by), Sam Neuman

Watch Now

With Prime Video



Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Raymond Burr ... Perry Mason
Barbara Hale ... Della Street
William Hopper ... Paul Drake
Ray Collins ... Police Lt. Arthur Tragg (credit only)
William Talman ... Hamilton Burger (credit only)
John Dehner ... Major Lewis
Robert Armstrong ... Walter Haskell
Lori March ... Helen Lessing
John Archer ... Major Frank Lessing
Harry Jackson Harry Jackson ... M Sgt. William Smith (as Larry Jackson)
Grant Richards ... Capt. Kennedy
Paul Picerni ... Sgt. Joseph Dexter
Wendell Holmes Wendell Holmes ... Howard Evans
BarBara Luna ... Rikki Stevens (as Barbara Luna)
Kevin Hagen ... Sgt. Burke


An investigation is launched when U.S. currency that was supposed to have been destroyed in the Philippines during World War II starts to appear in circulation in the vicinity of an Army base. The officer in charge of the base cashiers office, Major Frank Lessing, has been acting odd lately and his senior Sergeant Joseph Dexter has just about had it. He asks for a transfer which Lessing approves. When his wife Helen Lessing goes to the office late one night she finds him dead at his desk with a gun in one hand and a suicide note in the other. She quickly covers up the suicide to make it look like a murder. Perry Mason shows up at the base that morning as Maj. Lessing had requested the previous evening. Mrs. Lessing eventually tells him of the cover-up and offers to pay for Sgt. Dexter's defense now that he has been charged with her husband's murder. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery








Release Date:

11 October 1958 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The unit patch seen on the left sleeve (current unit patch, previous unit patch is worn on the right sleeve) on most of the active-duty soldiers in this story, is that of the United States 6th Army. This works with the story-line. Since the 6th and 8th Armies were both involved in taking Manila back from the Japanese in1944/45. And the 6th was also involved in the occupation of Manila to enforce the law and protect the civilians immediately after the war. That also fits the story-line. The unit was temporarily disbanded in the middle 90's. But, was reactivated and is currently (2017) based at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX, as part of the Southern Command. See more »


In an atmosphere of spit-and-polish, squared away soldiering, Major Lewis, Captain Kennedy and Sergeant McKnight all cite the time of former events using non-military vocabulary (e.g., "10:15 p.m." instead of "22:15 hours"). See more »


[last lines]
Paul Drake: I suppose so. Well, I'd better shove off. I don't want to keep the little lady waiting.
Perry Mason: What's the matter, Paul? Your money burning a hole in your pocket?
[Paul pulls out some money that has been burnt]
Della Street: Where did you get that?
Paul Drake: Don't worry. It isn't Corregidor money. I put a cigarette down on my money clip this morning. So, I figured it was just the thing to spend on a hot date.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Corregidor Money
12 August 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

It's quite a tale that Army Major Frank Archer tells Perr Mason one night as he drops $1500.00 in cash on Raymond Burr's desk for a retainer. Later on that night Archer is found shot to death with a suicide note. But he's found by his widow Lori March who destroys the note and then it looks like murder. And it's Sergeant Paul Picerni who worked in the finance office who looks good. But the widow March thinks there's no way Picerni could have done the deed and she insists that Burr keep the money and defend Picerni.

What this is all about is money that should have been burned before the surrender at Corregidor is showing up and being circulated. It's not counterfeiting as such, but it still brings the Treasury Department to investigate. Several people in the cast were at the island fortress in the Phillipines when General Wainwright surrendered. Makes for an interesting pool of suspects.

John Dehner plays the army prosecutor at the court martial. He fares no better than Hamilton Burger.

Interesting, but a bit too far fetched.

6 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 4 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed