Murder by Proxy
Season 1 Episode 19 (Airdate: February 6th, 1962 on NBC)
A prison inmate, Earl Klegg (Charles McGraw), gets a visit from an investigator from the sate attorney's office. Officially he's been locked up on a tax violation charge, but ties to the mob are implied. He awaits his retrial but now that the chief witness against him has miraculously disappeared, he is accused of having arranged for the man's murder.
Many witnesses are heard during the trial, including the fiancé, Enid Lazzo (Fay Spain), of the deceased. In her zeal to see the alleged murderers punished she gives false testimony, jeopardizing the outcome of the trial. As such things go in television, a surprise witness shows up at the last minute to save the day. She identifies Klegg's co-defendant, Ralph Tomek (Leonard Nimoy), as the killer. During a half hour recess, Klegg gives somebody at the back a sign and, lo and behold, the witness gets a threatening phone call while waiting in the witness room.
Urged on by Klegg, their lawyer asks Tomek to step forward in order for the woman to better identify him when the trial continues. He uses the opportunity to make the threat stick. In the judge's office, where she is questioned again after behaving odd after the recess, all learn that there is a threat and that it is against her child. The lawyer is not happy about this but says he'll continue to defend the accused to the best of his ability, since they have a right to council.
Next Tomek is called to the witness stand for a second time and his testimony points to a third culprit. It turns out the victim, Alfred D. Mando and his friend, Victor Fell (Gerald Hiken), had only answered an ad for a job in the past without any awareness that the "state trade association" they were going to work for, also known as "the organization" in law enforcement, was extorting money from local business men. Once aware of the criminal going ons, they started looking for a way out and the victims fiancé talked Mando into testifying at the tax trial as a means to it. His friend was scared enough, though, to lure him into a trap, wanting to believe what he's been told - that Tomek would only be there to encourage Al to reconsider and that he wouldn't be killed. Asked whether he really believed that that was the truth Fell starts crying, pleading that if he had known, he would have protected the man who was as dear to him as a brother.
Cain (Nicholas Richman) concludes that whether or not that was the case would have to be determined at another trial.
Aside from the pleasure of seeing Leonard Nimoy play a badass, this is a very run of the mill court-room drama, providing all the required plot twists and last minute revelations of the genre, depicting an allegedly much simpler time where the bad guy would use his lawfully registered gun in the murder and lawyers were honorable people. The series lasted for one season only.
|Part 1||Part 2|
TV.com gives this objective for the series: "In this Untouchables meets Dragnet drama, Mark Richman plays Nicholas Cain, a former attorney for the mob, who leaves that dirty business behind him. When a mob boss orders a hit on Cain, only to kill Nick's fiancée instead, Cain decides it's time to fight back, and works with law enforcement and the court system to expose and prosecute his list of the 100 most elusive mobsters."