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Mason Plays Burger like a Fiddle!
Frank Alexander30 September 2015
I found myself doing something during the courtroom scenes in this episode that I haven't done to date - laugh out loud at Mr. Burger's absolute apoplexia realizing he's been played by his nemesis (Mason). In a rare episode in which the case had gone to jury, and in which the DA's office had a solid but circumstantial case against Mason's defendant, Mason realized Burger was holding his ace-in-the-hole for the jury summation. He therefore decided to rest his case with no defense presentation, knowing that would shut down the prosecution's ability to introduce new evidence.

Burger starts to lose it, at this gambit. He sputters, "WHAT??" and decides to play Mason's chess game by deferring the prosecution's privilege to present closing arguments first. Mason presents a perfectly plausible rationale for the series of events which led to the death of the decedent and rests his case.

Burger now walks into Mason's trap, by presenting the closing argument he had planned to give but including information not hitherto introduced as evidence by either side - therefore polluting the entire testimony the jury has to consider in order to render their verdict. Mason catches Burger doing so, objects claiming prosecutorial misconduct and demanding a mistrial! The judge is inclined to agree with Mason, and for good reason - Burger played loose with proper jurisprudence to make this circumstantial evidence stick in the first place, and he sees his case unraveling thanks to Mason's masterful court procedure.

Burger is so angry he can't even see straight by now. He protests to the judge that he can have a witness on the stand within the hour who will prove Mason's been bluffing; the judge (Willis Bouchey, who over the previous four seasons has come to realize Mason is no ambulance-chaser and usually gives him slack to flesh out his arguments) seems to stifle a laugh as Mason smoothly agrees to the admission of the new witness and offers to withdraw his motion for mistrial. Of course, by the introduction of a new witness by the prosecution Mason will get to introduce exculpatory evidence through Burger's OWN witness (asking Burger's witness a question Burger never thought to ask as he'd never considered an alternative series of events) thanks to Burger's blind stumbling through Mason's mine field.

Thoroughly enjoyable. I loved it!
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A unique episode that is a treat for viewers
kfo949410 August 2012
In a unique episode, the viewer will be treated to many aspects that are rare in 'Perry Mason' regular shows. Instead of a preliminary hearing this case will be heard in front of a jury. Perry rest the defensive side of the hearing without presenting any evidence. And we get to hear closing arguments present to the jury. This is unusual in most regular episodes from the series.

When a homely secretary, Janice Wainwright, becomes suspicious about her boss, Morley Theilman, being blackmailed she goes to see Perry for advice. Seems that she is to leave a suitcase filled with money in the a Union Station locker and mail the key to an person only known by a general address.

When her boss, Theilman, disappears she becomes even more suspicious when the police visit her apartment asking about his whereabouts. Seems even his wife of four years believes that that her husband may be having an affair with his secretary, Ms Wainwright.

Perry becomes suspicious of Ms Wainwrights actions when she quickly takes a train to Las Vegas. When the train arrives in Vegas, Perry is waiting on the platform (having taken a plane) and instead of meeting the homely Ms Wainwright- she is now stunning with a new make-over. And not only that, she is meeting her bosses ex-wife in Vegas.

It is not long before Morley Theilman's body is discovered at a vacant house owned by his company. And through circumstantial evidence the entire murder points to the lovely Ms Wainwright. But Perry does not lose faith and will defend her in court against Hamilton Burger's claims of murder for money. Perry will have to gamble in the courtroom as he does his best to defend Ms Wainwright on the mounds of evidence presented.

A very good story with an interesting mystery. Perry is at the top on his game in this episode.
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Gardner Proves Who Created Perry Mason
DKosty12319 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This episode proves that the strongest shows come from using Erle's scripts as this one is one of his. The story is strong, the young secretary gets Mason involved with a set up of her boss who is trying to avoid a power struggle for his company involving his ex-wife. He uses his second wife & the secretary as pawns in his plot until the boss is found dead.

The real strength of this episode besides the plot is the great court sequence which has Burger & Perry playing off each other well. Mason does a rare pitch to a jury & yet there is still more. This is an episode no to be missed as Talman's Burger gets really involved in heated exchanges with Mason.
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A crackerjack episode of Perry Mason
pc-privconfounder21 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Perry Mason fans usually select their favorite episode from the first season, but I submit there is no episode better than "The Case of the Shapely Shadow" from the fifth season. A realtor is murdered and his secretary is accused. There is a mountain of physical and circumstantial evidence connecting her with the crime, as well as one eyewitness account, and the young lady is too terrified to defend herself on the witness stand. But Perry tricks Hamilton Burger into allowing new testimony--after arguments to the jury!--that establishes the guilt of someone who was never accused.

Everything works in this episode: a marvelously sinuous script from the Gardner novel, first-rate scoring, excellent acting (you have never seen Burger so flustered) and pitch-perfect direction by Christian Nyby. Best of all, "Shapely Shadow" has the transparency of an Ellery Queen mystery. The viewer is presented with all of the evidence necessary to guess the identity of the murderer...but it is doubtful that many viewers actually will.
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Hamilton Burger sputtering
bkoganbing13 December 2013
Although the naiveté of Elaine Devry's character was a bit much to swallow and Perry Mason goes to great lengths to keep her off the stand this episode this episode is historic for one reason. Poor Hamilton Burger is left sputtering over the Mason trickery more than usual.

Devry comes to Raymond Burr with a suitcase that her boss gave her to deliver to some party. And she also has a blackmail note retrieved from her boss's trash. Afterward however boss George Neisse is murdered and the cops are looking at her.

There's a good collection of alternative suspects as Neisse was involved in a proxy fight to retain control of his company. But in the end William Talman is forced to call a witness that Burr wanted on the stand. This was after Talman was led into blurting out evidence not introduced in a summation and Burr motions for a mistrial.

The sight of a sputtering William Talman makes this episode memorable. Although Burr could easily have just called that witness for a defense he didn't present. But it wouldn't have been any fun.
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darbski18 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILERS** I'd give this one a "12", if I could. Now, we all knew that the secretary was an ugly duckling, didn't we? And even if his first wife lost forty pounds, she still wasn't in Barbara Lawrence's league; they even tried to dowdy her down with an unflattering wardrobe. All for naught, she's a serious fox.

All the tricks that Morley and Janice tried, failed for a very good reason. That had to be what Perry finally settled on. How did the murderer KNOW what was happening? Perry disassembled the circumstantial evidence one piece at a time, and my question is this: why not attack the tire tracks? Oh. I'm not talking about the wetting down of the ground, and then driving Janice's car over it; although that makes a good closer for the REAL deal buster. I'm talking about WHAT tires were on her car? Perry was driving a nice 1959 Ford Fairlane, so why not stick with the brand and say that Janice had a four year old Ford Sunliner, okay? She drives a normal amount each day, but she didn't buy it new, did she? On a secretary's wages? So, I'll bet, that the tires had to be changed out, and fairly recently, too. What could she afford? Well, how about a popular and cost effective brand? Goodrich Silvertowns, how about that? There are over Two Million people living in L.A. in 1960, so, how many Goodrich Silvertowns were sold in just the last two years? Good-bye tire evidence.

Ask yourself a question: How can anyone get clear tire tracks if the car wearing them is going straight forward? The car in question MUST have been turning, if only slightly. I say then that the front tires would leave tracks that were not as clear as the rears; so, just how much of the area did the killer wet down? The prosecution sez it rained. All well and good. Rain falls EVERYWHERE - not just ahead of the car. Where were the footprints that MUST have been left by the killer at? How did the killer get into the car without leaving their own prints? How did the killer get the new hose out to the development? Perry set a sweet trap for Burger, and it was beautiful watching him just screw himself down, step by methodical step.. A GREAT episode. Despite the very lovely ladies in the courtroom and jury, Della was clearly the most beautiful. Janice should have gone out with Paul, and not the drugstore cowboy.
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