Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Wayward Wife 

While walking down the street, Korean war veteran Arthur Poe is shocked to see a book about the war displayed written by Ben Sutton who was with him in the war. The book is a bestseller but is actually based on a diary Poe kept in the war.


Walter Grauman


Erle Stanley Gardner (characters created by), William O'Farrell


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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
Marshall Thompson ... Arthur Poe
Bethel Leslie ... Sylvia Sutton
Frank Maxwell ... Harry Scott Wilson
Madlyn Rhue ... Marian Ames
Alexander Davion ... Gilbert Ames (as Alex Davion)
Richard Shannon ... Ben Sutton
I. Stanford Jolley ... Alan Kirby
Kenneth MacDonald ... Judge (as Kenneth R. MacDonald)
Kathleen Mulqueen ... Miss Croft
Lawrence Green Lawrence Green ... Autopsy Surgeon (as Law Green)


Arthur Poe, Ben Sutton and Harry Wilson were comrades in a North Korean prison camp in the Korean War. Poe, Sutton and Wilson escaped, thinking Poe was killed during the escape, but he survived and spent several years in POW camps. Returning home, Poe finds that Sutton had stolen his war diary and published it as a best seller. Poe presses Sutton for money, but the writer is broke from paying blackmail. Gilbert Ames or his wife Marian ran over Alan Kirby's wife, leaving her permanently paralyzed. The Ameses have paid thousands of dollars to the Kirbys, mostly extorted from Ben Sutton. Sylvia Sutton, Ben's wife, contacts Perry Mason about dealing with blackmail. Marian tells Sylvia that Gilbert has killed Ben with a fireplace poker, at which Sylvia runs home and finds her husband dead, and the room a shambles. She dashes out of the house, runs into Poe and flees. Sylvia is arrested later and calls on Perry to defend her. Written by richardann

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Crime | Drama | Mystery



Did You Know?


[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »


While Marian Ames is testifying on the stand, we momentarily see the defendant with Marian Ames sitting behind her. See more »


[first lines]
Clerk - Bookstore: Help you, sir? Oh, 'Ordeal.' It's phenomenal, isn't it?
Arthur Poe: Phenomenal?
Arthur Poe: Yes. Staying number one on the bestseller list for so long now. I understand they've sold it for pictures, and they're going to adapt it for a play. It's a story about three American prisoners in a Korean prison camp.
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User Reviews

There's too much going on in this show- but somehow it worked.
10 June 2013 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

This episode could have been a mini-series. From a man claiming that his diary of life in a prison camp stolen, to a hit and run accident leaving a woman paralyzed, to blackmail about the accident and then a husband blackmailing his own wife - this episode has so much working against each other that at times it was difficult to keep all the situation separate.

The main jest of the story involves a man named Ben Sutton that had been murdered. Ben had published a best selling book about his life in a prison camp. But it turns out that the book was actually a diary of another man named Artie Poe who was thought dead. But when Poe returns he wants his name on the book and the money that Sutton received. But Ben tells Poe that he has no money that he has been playing blackmail to keep his brother-in-law's accident quiet that paralyzed a woman.

When Ben's wife, Sylvia, gets a call that her husband had been killed, instead of calling the police, she goes to the crime scene and leaves evidence. Needless to say it will not be long before Lt Tragg will issue a warrant on Sylvia and Perry will defend her.

There's a lot going on in this episode. In fact way too much that tend to take away from the mystery but somehow it works. Just remember to keep your eyes on the diary it will lead to the end of the show.

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Release Date:

23 January 1960 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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