Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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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.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Perry Mason
... Della Street
... Paul Drake
... Lt Tragg (credit only)
... Hamilton Burger (credit only)
... Major Lewis
... Walter Haskell
... Helen Lessing
... Major Frank Lessing
Harry Jackson ... M Sgt. William Smith (as Larry Jackson)
... Capt. Kennedy
... Sgt. Joseph Dexter
Wendell Holmes ... Howard Evans
... Rikki Stevens (as Barbara Luna)
... 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)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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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 »


The MP captain testified that the typist using the defendant's typewriter was a touch typist because of the equally strong key indentations left on the typewriter ribbon. This is untrue; a touch typist leaves fainter indentations with the outer keys because he is typing with his little fingers. 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 »

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User Reviews

Perry defends a Army Sergeant on charges of murder
16 April 2013 | by See all my reviews

In this episode we get a little twist to the regular court proceedings as this case will lead us to an Army base in front of a court-martial system. When a man is accused of murder, Perry will need all his skill to clear his client of a mound of evidence on the grounds of Camp Grace.

The entire case hinges on some money from WW2 that was suppose to have been burned at Corregidor Philippines but now has been turned up on the grounds of the Camp. It seems that the money is traced to the payroll office on the grounds that Major Frank Lessing is in charge.

Major Lessing has had trouble in the office and when Sgt. Joseph Dexter discovers some odd bills he believes that it is some of the stolen money. Major Lessings asks Sgt Dexter to transfer immediately, which he does. That evening Major Lessings is found, by his wife, dead in his office. It appeared to be a suicide and in desperation the wife makes it look like a murder. That is before Sgt Dexter is arrested for the murder and asks Perry for help. When the wife confesses to the suicide everything looks like it will end nicely but the trial will continue when there is even more evidence that Sgt Dexter had the stolen money and set up the room to look like a suicide. Perry will have to be on his toes on this mystery.

With many suspects working in the payroll office, Perry will have to search each person for suspicious activity. It will come down to someone that seemed like the least likely suspect before Perry finally digs in the right area and bring the true murderer to justice. There is a lot going on in this episode and some of the names may get confusing but watch to the end and you will be rewarded for the action. Good Watch.

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