Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Lucky Loser 

Ted Balfour is convicted of vehicular manslaughter and given a suspended sentence through a plea bargain. When the police discover the victim actually died of a gunshot wound to the head, Ted is charged with first degree murder.


William D. Russell


Erle Stanley Gardner (creator), Erle Stanley Gardner (story) | 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 (credit only)
Patricia Medina ... Harriet Balfour
Bruce Bennett ... Lawrence Balfour
Heather Angel ... Florence Ingle
Douglas Kennedy ... Steven Boles
Tyler MacDuff ... Ted Balfour
Richard Hale ... Addison Balfour
Woody Chambliss Woody Chambliss ... Fred Haley (as Woodrow Chambliss)
John Eldredge ... Thurston - Butler (as John Eldrege)
Morris Ankrum ... Judge Cadwell
Guy Rennie Guy Rennie ... Deputy D.A. Roger Faris


When Lawrence Balfour thinks his wife is having an affair, he follows her to a remote cabin. When she leaves, he attempts to confront her lover but in the darkness, his gun goes off and the man falls to the ground. In a panic he returns homes and calls the family's fixer, Steven Boles, who collects the body and makes it look like a road accident. The next day, Lawrence Balfour's nephew Ted is arrested and eventually convicted of manslaughter. Ted has no recollection whatsoever of the night in question when a man was run over with his car and accepted a plea bargain. Perry Mason is hired by the patriarch of the Balfour family, the elderly Addison Balfour, to find a way to have that conviction overturned. After Perry makes it clear he will not cooperate with Boles after Boles tells Perry the true facts, Perry is discharged by the family. When the police realize that the victim wasn't run over but was in fact shot, Ted is charged with murder and decides he still wants Perry to represent ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery








Release Date:

27 September 1958 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Bruce Bennett, who plays one of the murder suspects, had been a Warner Brothers contract player in the 1940s, and appeared in dozens of films, including Treasure of the Sierra Madre. This is one of five Perry Mason episodes in which he was cast. He is probably best-remembered for playing Joan Crawford's ever loyal first husband in Mildred Pierce. See more »


Early in the episode, when Harriet leaves the cabin, the cameraman (who is wearing glasses) is reflected in the car window as Harriet drives away. See more »


[first lines]
Harriet Balfour: I do wish I were going with you to Mexico instead of staying here in Los Angeles.
Lawrence Balfour: Well, this trip's gonna be too dangerous, Harriet. It's in the most rugged territory in the Sierra Madre Mountains. It's no place for a woman, especially my wife.
See more »


References The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the Best Mysteries in the Series
4 October 2013 | by mrblack-11See all my reviews

I enjoyed this episode a lot. One of the most cohesive plots and endings, yet still, for me, a complete surprise.

This isn't a fun episode with lots of interplay with Street and Drake. It's all business and lots of it. And a bit on the dark side. Shades of Chinatown with lots of corruption and a very dysfunctional family. Lots of levels to uncover, but it didn't feel contrived (as many episodes do). Really first rate story.

Not that it doesn't have some small plots holes. But they are forgivable, if not undetectable. I didn't notice them until I read another review here. The red herrings are palatable, minimal, and suit the story.

And, for a change, no blackmail.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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