This, the First episode of "Perry Mason," was a real cliff-hanger. Perry drives to the scene of a shooting and finds the police recovering the body of Harry Merrill from a car that went over the side of a mountain. MerriIl has a bullet in his body and a pillowcase over his head. This is a coincidence, because Perry's client Evelyn Bagby, claims she was chased by a hooded man in a car near the same cliff that day. She fired two shots at the man's car to scare him off, and now the police want her for murder.
Peter Cole is caught one night sleepwalking with a letter opener and standing over his wife's bed. His wife Doris is afraid and decides the next day to file for divorce. Exactly one year later, when the divorce is to be finalized, Frank Maddox, Peter's business partner, meets with Doris Cole. Together they arrange to force Peter Cole to pay Frank Maddox $500K to buy his share of the business or Doris will stop the divorce that Peter wants. That night Frank Maddox spends the night at Peter Cole's house and exchanges bedrooms with Phillip Kendall, Peter's stepbrother. The next morning Phillip Kendall is found dead in bed and Peter Cole is accused of murder due to his known sleepwalking.
Sybil Granger hires Perry to help her buy stock in her estranged husband's oil company on the sly. By this, Sybil hopes to force her husband's latest girlfriend, Roxy Howard, out of the company and his life altogether. Things get complicated when George Lutz enters the picture and gets shot to death.
Donald Briggs is an unscrupulous private investigator hired by Clyde Waters to uncover information about Marv Adams, his daughter's fiance. Briggs learned that Marv Adams' father was Ben Devereaux who was convicted of murder 18 years ago. Donald Briggs is trying to blackmail Clyde Waters and Martha Norris in return for keeping silent about certain facts regarding the Devereaux case. The next evening Donald Briggs is found dead in his motel room and Marv Adams is accused of the murder because he had a fight with Donald Briggs the previous morning.
Fran Celane feels her uncle, Edward Norton, is too restrictive as the executor of her father's spendthrift trust. He also wants her to wait 18 months until her 25th birthday before she gets married. Arthur Crinston, Edward Norton's attorney, arrives to meet with Mr. Norton but is told to return at 11pm. When he returns, they meet for a few minutes and as he is leaving, Mr. Norton asks him to take his secretary, Donald Graves, to pick up some papers. As they drive away, Mr. Graves looks back at the house and sees someone attack Edward Norton. They return to find Edward Norton dead and Rodney Gleason, Fran's fiance, is identified as the assailant. Rodney Gleason is accused of the murder.
Harry Marlow owns a florist business and wants to own a part of Mildred Kimber's orchid business but Mildred Kimber is not interested. So Harry Marlow makes an arrangement with a local club owner, Sam Lynk, to cheat Mildred's husband, Bob Kimber, out of his share of the business in a card game. Meanwhile an employee of Sam Lynk, Lola Florey, decides to help Mildred Kimber to get the shares of stock back from Sam Lynk. When Sam Lynk is found dead in his home, Mildred Kimber is accused of the crime after her prescription drug container is found in Sam Lynk's house.
Carla Adrian is having trouble fending off amorous neighbor Mark Cushing.When another neighbor hears a shot and a woman's scream saw Carla's Mother Belle Adrian in Mark Cushing's cabin,it's not long before the police discover Mark Cushing and arrest Mrs Belle Adrian.Perry Mason comes to defend Mrs. Belle Adrian.
Fay Allison is getting married in a few days to Dane Grover. Her roommate, Anita Bonsal, is having a clandestine affair with a married man, Carver Clement. When Aunt Louise arrives early the next morning to be with Fay, she finds Fay and Anita both appear to have been drugged. Louise calls her friend Perry Mason to help decide what to do. Perry and Della discover the key to another apartment in Fay's purse and go upstairs to investigate. They arrive to find Carver Clement dead in the apartment. Fay Allison is accused of the murder when the police find her fingerprints on a glass in the apartment.
Hollywood producer John Addison picks up an attractive young woman hitchhiker. Far from being innocent she turns out to be a blackmailer and a witness to a murder that Addison is charged with. Perry, as usual, is hired to get to the bottom of things.
Ed Davenport learns that a sandwich he requested to be tested by a lab contains arsenic and blames his wife Myrna. When he confronts her about his suspicions she denies it. He leaves for a business trip and falls ill. Dr. Renault is called to treat him at a motel where Ed Davenport later dies. Before he dies he claims his wife poisoned some candy. After locking the motel room the doctor calls the police. The police arrive to find the corpse missing. The police test the candy and indeed find arsenic. Subsequently Ed Davenport's body is found in a shallow grave. Myrna Davenport is accused of the murder.
While Martha Bradford is waiting for her appointment at a beauty parlour, she meets Rita Bradford who apparently is also married to Joe Bradford and lives at the same address. Joe Bradford is preparing for a business meeting in San Diego. He makes plans to meet his wife Martha but fails to show up. Joe Bradford is found dead on his boat the next morning and Martha Bradford is accused of his murder when her fingerprints are found on a candle located on the boat.
Perry Mason and Paul Drake are on a fishing trip when they spot a young woman named Sally Fenner being pursued by vicious guard dogs on an island estate. The only way Sally can avoid being chewed up by the dogs is to jump into the water and swim for it. Perry and Paul pull Sally out of the drink and Perry ends up defending her on a murder charge.
Restrauteur Morey Allen, a friend of Perry and Della's, has a problem: his waitress, Dixie Dayton, was struck by a car while fleeing the restaurant after spotting a man stalking her. The only item she left behind was a moth-eaten mink. When the stalker is found murdered, Morey and Dixie are both strong suspects and eventually get arrested for the murder. The case also ties in with the murder of a young policeman several months before.
Robert Dawson confronts Albert Tydings, his partner, about $80K missing from Carol Stanley's trust account. Albert Tydings admits he embezzled the money and blackmails Robert Dawson to keep quiet or he will reveal some scandalous facts about Carol. Later, Carol calls and makes an appointment to meet Albert Tydings at his office to discuss the trust account. She arrives to find Albert Tydings dead. The next morning Perry goes to Albert Tydings' home and finds him there dead. Eventually the police determine Tydings body was moved from his office. The police accuse Carol Stanley when her car is reported seen at the office at the time he was murdered.
Perry and Della witness an automobile accident which leads Perry to defend an exotic dancer charged with murder.
Nadine Marshall lives with her Uncle Martin and Captain Hugo. She comes home excited with the news of her engagement to John Locke. When she tells her Uncle Martin, he shows her some papers about her family which upset her. When Nadine visits John Locke, she takes some cyanide pills without John noticing. Later that evening Nadine makes her Uncle Martin's nightly hot chocolate and he dies shortly afterward. Nadine is accused of murder when she makes a taped confession that she killed her uncle.
Arlene Dowling reports the theft of all her belongings, including a diary she is anxious to get back.
Perry has to navigate his way through a hornet's nest of murder, hit-and-run, secret marriage, and a missing witness in this episode.
Claire Olger is hitchhiking because her purse was stolen at the bus station and is picked up by Michael Greeley. He loses control of the car and has an accident due to his being intoxicated. Arriving at the scene of the accident, the police find Claire in the driver's seat. The district attorney's office questions her but do not believe her story about another driver. Her friend, Doris Stephanak, asks Perry Mason to help. When Perry is unable to contact Claire at her hotel, he goes there and finds Michael Greeley dead in her room. The police accuse Claire Olger of murder, realizing Michael Greeley fits the description of the man she claimed was driving the car and believe she had motive and opportunity.
Heiress Marilyn Cartright places an ad in a magazine in order to find love and companionship. In reality, Marilyn is looking for the con artist who swindled and drove her sister to suicide. Marilyn eventually finds the man, Charles "Country Boy" Barnaby, and turns on her ample charm in his direction hoping to get the goods on him. But when Barnaby is found poisoned to death the police theorize that Marilyn killed him as an act of revenge.
Arthur West, a disreputable private investigator, has found J. J. Stanley in a cheap motel. He knows Mr. Stanley and his partner Ned Bain were involved in the embezzlement of the Texas National Bank. He wants to blackmail Ned Bain into giving him money to keep quiet. Harriet Bain, Ned Bain's daughter, answers the call from Arthur West and agrees to meet him. After hearing a taped conversation between J. J. Stanley and Ned Bain talking about the blackmail offer, she hires Perry Mason. Ned Bain decides to pay and meets with J. J. Stanley. The next morning J. J. Stanley is found dead in Arthur West's hotel room. Harriet Bain is accused of the murder when her fingerprints are found on the murder weapon.
Janet Norris is charged with poisoning her doctor husband just before he flew to his death in his private plane. Further investigation reveals that Dr. Norris did not die in the plane crash and that he is in Mexico with his nurse mistress. The man killed in the plane was actually one Dave Kirby. This means that Janet still has to stand trial for murder.
Della and Perry's dinner at a fancy French restaurant is interrupted by a phone call and an envelope containing $500.00 from a mysterious woman named Marian Fargo. She wants him to make an exchange for her: the money for some documents regarding her fugitive brother. Unbeknownst to Marion, her own husband is in on the blackmail scheme which is being masterminded by one Samuel Carlin. Marion's husband and Carlin both turn up dead but Marion, who has fled on a bus, has an eyewitness, Diana Maynard, who can provide her with an alibi for the murders. Unfortunately for all concerned, Ms. Maynard has only one good eye and may not be telling the truth about who she is.
When Robert Crane is charged with the murder of his sister's estranged husband Perry needs the testimony of sister Helen Reed to clear him of the charge. Unfortunately for all concerned, Helen suffers from multiple personality disorder and the second personality, Joyce Martel, is the one who is needed as the witness. Helen's psychiatrist puts her under hypnosis so Joyce can tell what she knows about the case.
Doris Hocksley is shown a personal newspaper ad in a Los Angeles newspaper for locating the daughter of Adam Hocksley and providing proof of same. A friend, John Lowell, suggests she pursue the idea to prove she is the rightful heir to Adam Hocksley estate. Alan Neil is the nephew of Elston Carr, the executor. He meets Doris Hocksley and suggests they work together, for a price, to convince the executor. Later that evening Elston Carr is found dead in his home by Rebecca Gentrie, the secretary. She locks the door to the room to keep whoever is inside from escaping and calls the police. The police open the door to find Doris Hocksley. She is accused of murder when they find her fingerprints on the murder weapon.
Frank Lawton goes to visit old friend Scott Shelby and ends up being charged with his muder. Fortunately for Lawton, Perry Mason is another old friend of his and he arrives on the scene to try and solve the case.
Stefan Riker has come from Germany seeking the woman posing as Lisa Bannister and she believes he can cause her to be deported back to Germany. Attempting to help her stepmother, Doris Bannister pretends to be romantically interested in Stefan Riker. During the next few months Stefan Riker receives money and gifts from Doris and seems satisfied. However one night he is murdered and Doris Bannister is accused of murder because her fingerprints are found on a ladder outside of Riker's apartment.
Daniel Conway is involved in a vicious proxy war with Warner Griffith for control of an oil company. Conway's secretary, Rose Calvert, is spying for Griffith. When Rose is found dead, Conway fears he's being framed for murder and approaches Perry at a bar association dinner and asks for his aid. Perry at first believes Griffin to be the guilty party but he has an ironclad alibi. Then another witness emerges who has a photographic memory and can identify people by their shoes.
When Albert Sanders is charged with the murder of Kim Lane, Perry offers to defend him free of charge because he knows Sanders is still devastated over the accidental death of his wife and children eight years before. The solution to the case hinges on a heroin smuggling ring operating out of a dance hall.
Writer: Al C. W
Gossip columnist Mary K. Davis is found murdered and it seems there is no shortage of suspects. There was her politician-husband to whom she refused to grant a divorce. There was her timid secretary whom she bullied. There was the secretary's boyfriend who had some secrets in his past. There was the doctor running an illegal baby-selling scheme whom Mary threatened to expose if he didn't give her a child. Leona Walsh, the doctor's nurse, ends up being charged with the crime and this time Perry has to tamper with some evidence in order to clear his client.
When wealthy Louise Gordon is poisoned to death her nurse is charged with the crime. Perry does some digging and discovers that the first wife of the victim's husband also died of poisoning. Is the husband really the culprit or could it be someone else?
Perry and Della are traveling on a cruise ship returning to Los Angeles from Vancouver. Carl Houser jumps overboard from the ship and is presumed drowned. Houser later turns up on shore but with a bullet wound in his body. Anna Houser, Carl's wife, is charged with the murder of her husband. The case hinges on a tax evasion case in which the late victim sat on the jury and held out for acquittal as well as a mysterious man on board the cruise ship who was in a wheelchair and had his face wrapped in bandages.
Racketeer George Castle kills Las Vegas hotel owner Glenn Faulkner over a gambling debt and sets his sights on land inherited by Faulkner's daughter, Stephanie. When Castle turns up murdered as well, Stephanie finds herself the number one suspect.
Enid Griffin, the secretary of Stewart Brent, attempts to commit suicide after learning her boss has married. Arthur Binney attempts to blackmail Stewart Brent with facts about his new wife having been in jail for fraud. When Stewart Brent goes to meet Arthur Binney at a motel for the payoff, he is knocked unconscious. He awakens to find Arthur Binney dead in the next room and admits he killed him when the motel manager walks in. Stewart Brent is accused of the murder.
Attempting to miss hitting her stepfather's car, Patricia Faxon swerves as she enters her driveway and hits the hedges. After asking her stepfather, Bertrand Allred, to move his car, he finds Bob Fleetwood badly hurt next to the hedges. Assuming Patricia accidently hit Bob Fleetwood, Bertrand and Lucille Allred take Bob to a hotel. The next morning Bertrand Allred is found dead in his car, near the hotel, where the car left the road and went through the guard rail. Lucille Allred is accused of killing her husband when she is seen walking back to the hotel shortly after Bertrand's car left.
Lorraine Stevens is fighting off the advances of the owner of the import-export company where she works, Philip Larkin. Later that evening she is asked to pick up something at the Alcorn Jewelers store. The owner is unaware of what she is to pick up and suggests she make a phonecall to find out. She calls Philip Larkin and while the phone rings we see Philip Larkin dead in his home. Standing over him is Joseph Harrison who wipes off his fingerprints from the telephone and leaves. When his fingerprints are found on the gun case of the murder weapon he is accused of the murder.
A visit from an attractive blonde sporting a black eye sequeways into a case concerning a wealthy man's long lost grandson and murder.
While a woman is searching the office of the South African Diamond Company, George Baxter enters to meet Walter Lumis and Duane Jefferson. He notices things in disarray and questions the woman. She makes an escape, enters Perry Mason's office, and pretends to be a typist sent by a temp agency. She leaves unannounced a short time later. Meanwhile Baxter calls for the police assuming a robbery has taken place. That evening the dead body of George Baxter is seen being thrown from a pier. Duane Jefferson is identified as the person who threw the body off the pier and is accused of the murder. However he refuses to identify the woman who could prove his innocence.
When Daniel Reed (Edgar Stehli) finds himself being blackmailed by an old business partner from his time in Alaska, Perry must first save him from the insane asylum and then the gas chamber. Convinced that Reed has lost his mind when he begins writing $20,000.00 checks to strangers, his heartless niece and nephew have the old man forcibly placed in an insane asylum. Perry is enlisted by Reedâ€™s girlfriend Millie Foster (Kitty Kelly) to get him out of the asylum and he is no sooner granted his freedom than his blackmailer turns up dead and Reed stands accused of his murder.