Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Murderous Mermaid 

Reggie Lansfield is an aspiring actress Paul meets. She is game for stunts that will get her recognized so she is game to fill in for a famous woman swimmer who is too ill to swim. The stunt blows up with the woman killed and her charged.


Robert Sparr


Mann Rubin, Erle Stanley Gardner (characters created by)


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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)
Wesley Lau ... Police Lt. Andy Anderson
Patrice Wymore ... Victoria Dawn
Bill Williams ... Charles Shaw
Jean Hale ... Reggie Lansfield
Jess Barker ... Doug Hamilton
Richard Erdman ... Ben Lucas
Lee Bergere ... Dr. George Devlin
Nan Leslie ... Lillian Keely
Ron Gans Ron Gans ... Ernie Craig (as Ron Kennedy)
Richard St. John Richard St. John ... Patron


Reggie Lansfield is a beautiful young woman who is prepared to pull any stunt to get recognition and make a bit of money. Paul meets her when he rescues her from a failed parachute jump and later returns a bracelet to her. She's approached by representatives of Victoria Dawn, herself a champion swimmer and someone who made a name for herself by swimming from Catalina to the coast 10 years before. Once they've satisfied themselves as to her swimming ability, they tell Reggie that she is to impersonate Victoria and swim from Catalina. It's all a publicity stunt to get Victoria's name in the papers again. Reggie agrees but, part way across, the boat that's accompanying her blows up, though the operator, Charlie Shaw, is not seriously hurt. Clearly, someone was meant to be killed in that explosion and when Victoria is found dead in her cottage at a rest home, Reggie is arrested. She was seen jumping out of Victoria's window by a nurse, after coming to see Victoria to get her pay. Perry ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

18 March 1965 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Malibu, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


At one point Paul Drake quotes his standard rate as $100.00 a day. After adjusting for inflation, this would be equivalent to about $725.00 a day in 2012 dollars. See more »


At the end, during the knife-throwing scene, the knife-thrower has six knives in his hand. However, ten knives appear on the target. See more »


[first lines]
[while driving, Paul sees a parachutist land in a tree and goes to help]
Paul Drake: Don't worry, son, I'll get you out of here. Hold on, now. There. You all right?
Reggie Lansfield: Oh. No! No, I'm not.
See more »

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User Reviews

Good Mystery, Outstanding Performance
25 July 2008 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

This is an above-average episode with sharply etched characters, good acting, and a mystery that really engages. Why is aspiring actress Reggie Lansfield (Jean Hale) being put through the grueling paces of a mysterious hiring process. She's promised considerable money if she just goes along with what looks like a cockamamie plan to swim the 26 mile Catalina Channel.

Actually, my purpose in commenting is to single out ingénue Jean Hale's quite affecting performance as the vulnerable starlet. Mason episodes usually featured a young woman in trouble, usually a blonde. And while most performed capably enough, they were almost interchangeable in looks and style.

Now Hale doesn't look that different from the standard Mason-show blonde, but she does combine toughness and vulnerability to an uncommon degree. Watch her scenes with the equally impressive Richard Erdman as her rather inept agent. They're little gems of frustrated ambition (Hale) and fast-talking bravado (Erdman). I expect they come closer to revealing an unvarnished Hollywood than anything else on that long-running series. It looks like Hale quit acting early on. Probably she got lost in the blonde shuffle. Too bad, because she had real talent. Too bad, also, that the pug-faced Erdman never got an award for his many years of exceptionally fine work. Nonetheless, both performers are on rare display in this much- better-than-average entry.

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