Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of Paul Drake's Dilemma 

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Perry Mason finds himself defending his private investigator Paul Drake against a charge of murder. It all began when Frank Thatcher hit a pedestrian walking on the side of the road and kills him. He hires Paul to payoff the widow.


William D. Russell


Erle Stanley Gardner (characters created by), Jackson Gillis (teleplay) | 1 more credit »


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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
Vanessa Brown ... Donna Kress
Basil Ruysdael ... Henry W. Dameron
Bruce Gordon ... Frank Thatcher
Dean Harens ... Tad Dameron
Simon Scott Simon Scott ... Charles Dameron
Jennifer Howard ... Judith Thatcher
Sheila Bromley ... Mrs. Colin
Robert P. Lieb Robert P. Lieb ... Joe Marsden (as Robert Lieb)
Robert Cornthwaite ... Anders
Kenneth MacDonald ... Judge


Donna Kress and Frank Thatcher have a spat. He will not divorce his wife. Driving home that night, Frank runs over and kills a pedestrian, Alexander Collins, in the road. Under direction of old Henry Dameron, Frank's father-in-law, Tad Dameron, Frank's brother-in-law, takes care of the body. Frank, as "Danko" hires Paul Drake to deliver $25,000 to Collins' widow, but Paul finds out the gift is a payoff after learning her husband was killed in an accident due to typo on his drivers license causing "Danko" to give Paul erroneous information. Paul contacts "Danko" and meets him at "Danko's" girlfriend's apartment. Paul fights with "Danko" and is knocked out. When Paul revives after the clerk and police enter the apartment, he finds Thatcher/Danko is dead, shot with Paul's gun. Paul calls Perry Mason and is charged with murder. He is further accused of blackmailing Thatcher with the hit-and-run incident. Perry fights Dameron money and influence in defending Drake. Written by richardann

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

14 November 1959 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Though he is not named and is credited as "Ballistics Expert", Norman Leavitt plays a role substantially like that of Mr. Redfield, the ballistics expert who appeared in two first-season episodes. See more »


In the early scene where Frank Thatcher is driving his 59 Lincoln and is nodding off just before he runs down the pedestrian you can see that the gear shift for the automatic transmission is way up in view over the dashboard because the car is still in park even though he is supposedly driving down the road. See more »


Paul Drake: Perry... isn't there anything else you want to ask me?
Perry Mason: Paul... the only real doubt I have about you is what you're gonna to say when you see my bill.
See more »

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User Reviews

William Hopper in a jackpot
30 August 2012 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

This episode of Perry Mason got good and personal as Raymond Burr is called on to defend his own private investigator Paul Drake on a murder charge. All because Drake has some ethics.

The Dameron family does not have any ethics, they take their cues from corrupt old family patriarch Basil Ruysdael. His son-in-law Bruce Gordon has been seeing his old girlfriend Vanessa Brown on the side. Not that he cares that much, he's like Joe Kennedy that way. But Gordon is good for the company.

But after a quarrel with Brown, Gordon leaves his love nest and runs down some poor innocent victim who was walking to a service station after his own car got a flat. What to do, but cover it up.

So Gordon hires William Hopper who does take outside jobs away from Perry Mason. He gives him a cock and bull story about staying anonymous but to deliver a $25,000.00 check for the widow. Hopper has a great scene with the widow Sheila Bromley and learns what Gordon has been feeding him.

Some private eyes have ethics and Paul Drake does not like being a messenger boy to deliver hush money. He and Gordon fight and Gordon sucker punches him and knocks him cold. It was in his love nest with Brown and when Hopper wakes up he's accused of Bruce Gordon's murder.

This was one of the best Perry Mason episodes ever done. Even defending his best friend Raymond Burr remains unflappable in his pursuit of the truth. And his final scene with Ruysdael is a great one.

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