LAZY WRITINGThe writers on this show are getting very lazy. Detaining Paul and accusing Perry of trying to retrieve a possible murder weapon and hide it from the police? He has never ever done a thing like that. Burger, Andy, and Tragg must know that because when their friends or family need legal help, they call Perry. It makes very little sense that Burger would order Paul's arrest/detention instead of simply asking what happened and taking it at face value. These are not strangers. In fact, they have worked together for years. Perry and Paul are always very careful not to lie to cops or do anything illegal. The writers are being very lazy by relying upon the age old trope of prosecutors and defense attorneys being enemies. Particularly knowing what we know about their long history of seeing that justice is done.
And then there's the ludicrous scenario about how Mrs Leyton incriminated herself. They asked us to believe that this woman brought a gun to her ex-husband's home, shot him with it, put the gun in her purse, and then left her purse right next to the body. I've heard of stupid criminals, but this is just stupid writing. Not to mention a very lazy way to point to Perry's client as the murderer. How would that have gone exactly? Did she shoot him and then hang around for so long that she had to put her purse down from the fatigue of holding onto it for so long? SMH
Even Harris' future plan to publish a sequel book using real names did not seem realistic. He would be slapped with a Cease & Desist order so fast his head would spin. That's the reason books like that are never published. Too many people can and do sue. The whole thing just seemed deliberately designed to be shocking and make us believe everyone is a suspect. Submitted by DellaMason
Is it just me, or is it odd that there are two walls of rifles for sale at the office supply store? Or is that a California thing? (At least Mason was puzzled by it, too.) Submitted by gracenote, 1/8/2011.
+ Near the end of the episode Mr. Collins acknowledges it is unusual to sell guns in an office supply store. He states is an expert and collector of firearms. It gives him an “excuse” to further indulge in his hobby. Submitted by Mason Jar, 9/19/2011.
And another thing, why is a policeman (Lt. Anderson) present while Perry is conferring with his client? (This occurs during a court recess.) It moves the plot along, but it’s highly irregular. Submitted by gracenote, 1/8/2011.
Having Paul present is also odd. Although private secretaries can have confidentiality umbrella (as do court-approved interpreters), private investigators do not. cgraul 10.5.12
Golly! Anyone know where I can get a copy of “Dishonored”? - bet it’s just chock full of “Spicy Bits”! DOD 02/04/22
Tragg allows Paul to use the phone in the ‘murder room’ - then moments later we see the phone being dusted for fingerprints. Odd that Harris apparently keeps nothing in his desk drawers. In McCann’s office we get a glimpse of the same ceiling fixture in Perry’s office, but in chrome. DOD 01/07/20
Hopefully the Laytons (despite a recent large expense) can profit from the publicity and can afford to buy at least a second dress for each of their two daughters. And, speaking of the Sentinel, how often has it changed its content in the past 30 or so years? The article above the photo mentions that “Scott-Paine would make a definite decision” about the trophy race “not later than Thursday of the present week.” Maybe that is not the Hubert Scott-Paine who died in 1954! Submitted by masonite, 12/02/2011.
Odd, how that actor who played the judge seems to have disappeared into the mists of time .. I was able to find out that there were protests (probably letters) about his appearance (as there were against Nat King Cole's variety show, and later, against Nichelle Nichols' role in Star Trek, years later) but no information on him .. perhaps the experience soured him on acting? Also notice his similarity to real Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (?) Submitted by MikeReese, 7/29/2013.
+ Also odd that he wasn't identified in the credits. He had no lines and most on-screen nonspeaking parts are uncredited. The Norma Weaver character did not speak but was in the credits. Added by H. Mason 2/10/15
Also a rare episode with an African-American couple among the spectators. Perhaps the producers were quietly doing what they could to integrate television.\\
Perhaps the judge did not speak because they did not want to put his name in the credits, because they knew it might cause some complaints from viewers (and wanted to protect him?). By not speaking, he could be considered an 'extra'. Just a guess. -yelocab 12MAR18
+ Genesis of Courtroom Script I have questions regarding how the actor was selected for the role of judge. Was the script deliberately written for a black judge? Or was it afterwards the PM production thought this script could be amended for a non-speaking black judge? Almost all of the 270 PM episodes have a courtroom scene, and almost all include rulings from the judge. This script was assiduously written to exclude any response from the judge. Burger never objects like he normally does so there are no rulings. At 45 minutes in Mason addresses the judge as "Your Honor" to ask about some evidence,but the judge does not explicitly respond; rather we deduce the judge ruled affirmatively. PM therefore acknowledged the authority of the black judge, but good grief the extremes they went to. Interesting to think how things were about to change regarding TV - Star Trek was about to be broadcast, and for instance Law & Order was first broadcast in just 22 years from this PM episode.
Regardless you have to feel sorry for this actor: "Good news, you were selected to play the judge! However ..."
BTW there is an excellent article in Smithsonian Magazine about the social impact of PM, including discussion of this episode. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/moral-order-perry-masons-universe-180975140 Rick P 12/20/21
Although Tragg is in on the initial investigation, it is Anderson who testifies and gets to say "It has my mark."
Who, me biased?: When one of the prosecution's witnesses is a serviceman with the Cliffside Heights Water and Power Company, I expect testimony something like, "I turned on the power at 5:13, yes sir." "No further questions." When Dabbs Greer is the serviceman, I expect testimony that is more voluble, and he entertains us yet again with the not-quite-simple description of a day in his life. During the cross examination, Perry asks Mr. Tabor, "Tell me, Mr. Tabor, if you were biased, fanatically righteous let us assume, would you permit that prejudice to affect your objectivity, your ability to see and tell the truth?" "Why not at all!" Mr. Tabor answers. Perry then reads back some of his testimony and, as in #29 TCOT Hesitant Hostess, the read-back is less than accurate. The original testimony (starting at 35:11 on the 2011 Paramount DVD): "There was a woman. Stiff. She was leaning forward, her hands flat on a desk, as she was looking down over the desk to the floor, to something on the other side of the desk. Now she never moved, not once, not an inch. It was almost as though she were hypnotized." Perry's read-back, at 40:12: "It was strange. A woman. Stiff. She never moved, not once, not an inch. Almost as if she were hypnotized." I guess that the gist is good enough when you are on trial for your life. lowercase masonite, 3/5/16.
+ Goof: With his back turned to the witness, Burger asks him to "point to" the woman he saw. Mr. Tabor points to the defendant, and, still with his back to the witness, Burger looks toward Mrs. Layton. jfh 20Jan2021
TIME TUNNEL Perspective: Original viewers of TCOTSC would have heard these Top 5 Hits on MAY 2, 1963: 1: "He's So Fine [Chiffons]" 2: "I Will Follow Him [Little Peggy March]" 3: "If You Wanna Be Happy [Jimmy Soul]" 4: "Can't Get Used To Losing You [Andy Williams]" 5: "Puff (The Magic Dragon) [Peter, Paul & Mary]" takemeback.to Mike Bedard 2.18.15.
TCOT Patently Obvious Perpetrator I love this episode. The characters are well done, their interactions are convincing, and the writer included plenty of humorous touches. This is, however, the only episode where I found the murderer obvious from their first scene! Usually, I can't remember whodunnit even when I've seen the episode before, so this was a unique experience. It actually added to the fun for me! Submitted by JazzBaby, 04/06/2019.
TCOT Lurid Literary Phenomenon It seems to me that writer Sam Neuman was inspired by the sensationalistic novel Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious. Published in 1956, the book drew on real-life small-town lurid crimes including incest and murder, and was an outrageous, so to speak, success. It was meant to expose the seamy underside of respectable small communities. Metalious, suddenly wealthy and promoted as "Pandora in Blue Jeans," took to drinking and died in 1964 of cirrhosis of the liver. The legacy of her one bestseller lived on in film and TV. At the time this PM episode aired, I doubt any viewer would have missed the connection. Even the title may have been a nod to Metalious, who said in an interview that small towns are "where the people try to hide all the skeletons in their closets." Submitted by JazzBaby, 04/06/2019.