Perry Mason (1957–1966)
10 user

The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece 

A woman is divorcing her husband after she catches him sleepwalking near her bed with a knife. When his stepbrother is found dead, stabbed with the knife, he's charged with the murder and accused of using his sleepwalking as a cover-up.


William D. Russell


Erle Stanley Gardner (based on the novel by), Laurence Marks (teleplay) | 1 more credit »




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
John McNamara John McNamara ... Peter Cole
Hillary Brooke ... Doris Cole
John Archer ... Frank Maddox
Nancy Hadley Nancy Hadley ... Edna Hammar
Darryl Hickman ... Steve Harris
Helen Mowery ... Lucille Mays
Thomas Browne Henry Thomas Browne Henry ... Ralph Duncan (as Thomas B. Henry)
Harry Hickox ... Phillip Kendall
Kenneth MacDonald ... Judge
Tony Michaels Tony Michaels ... Jackson


Unhappily-married Doris Cole finds her husband Peter sleepwalking near her bed with a knife in his hand; Doris accuses him of trying to kill her and decides to divorce him. A year later, one day before the divorce is to be finalized, Peter's business partner Frank Maddox visits Doris and offers her $100,000 to hold off on the divorce. Then Maddox and his attorney Ralph Duncan visit Peter and his stepbrother Phillip Kendall. Maddox wants $500,000 for his share of their company, which is about the worth of the whole company, or Doris will not grant the divorce. Peter's niece and secretary Edna Hammar calls Perry Mason to help her uncle, who is engaged to remarry. Perry intervenes, suggesting Maddox and Duncan stay at Phillip's home that night. Phillip is found stabbed to death the next morning after he and Maddox had traded rooms. Peter is arrested for the murder with the belief he stabbed Philip expecting Maddox to be in the bed. Edna's boyfriend Steve helps Perry by delivering papers ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery



Did You Know?


In this episode, Kenneth MacDonald makes the first of 32 Perry Mason (1957) appearances as a judge. In almost all of his appearances he was usually unnamed, with two exceptions. In the episodes Perry Mason: The Case of the Jilted Jockey (1958) and Perry Mason: The Case of the Silent Six (1965) he is credited as "Judge Carter". See more »


In their first scene in the Cole house, Frank Maddox addressed Ralph Duncan as "Mister Reynolds". See more »


[last lines]
Perry Mason: Nice people.
Della Street: Mm-hm. They deserve a wonderful honeymoon.
Perry Mason: I hope he doesn't walk in his sleep.
Della Street: After waiting 15 years?
See more »

User Reviews

An Early Gem
31 March 2013 | by lewis-51See all my reviews

I have long been a fan of Perry Mason, both the books and the TV series. I remember the TV series fondly when I saw it in reruns as a young adult, and the books were my introduction to the mystery genre.

As others have written, this was the second filmed episode. It is closer to the early books in mood than most of the TV episodes. Della looks especially young and attractive. She playfully massages Perry's neck. Mason is himself playful, almost flirting, with one the the female leads whom he needs to get on his side. He almost playfully traps the murderer on the witness stand. You don't see that sort of thing (especially Mason smiling so much) later in the TV series, after it became a huge hit, and a bit formal, if not stodgy.

The early books have a pronounced film noir flavor, and this book is no exception. The TV episode is a very good representation of the book. Of course they had to abridge it somewhat, to make it fit into 53 minutes. They've left out some of the material about the niece, which makes one wonder, who has seen only the TV episode, why the title is the way is it. My major criticism of the TV episode is that the actor who portrays the murderer doesn't fit the part; it's poor casting. The result is a person who is hard to imagine as a murderer.

Still, a great 53 minutes of television.

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Release Date:

28 September 1957 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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