Burke's Law

ABC (ended 1965)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 2 : Ep 32

    Who Killed the Card?

    Aired 5/5/65

  • S 2 : Ep 31

    Who Killed the Grand Piano?

    Aired 4/28/65

  • S 2 : Ep 30

    Who Killed the Jackpot?

    Aired 4/21/65

  • S 2 : Ep 29

    Who Killed the Rabbit's Husband?

    Aired 4/14/65

  • S 2 : Ep 28

    Who Killed Hamlet?

    Aired 4/7/65

  • Cast & Crew
  • Gene Barry

    Captain Amos Burke

  • Regis Toomey

    Detective Sergeant Lester "Les" Hart

  • Gary Conway (I)

    Detective Tim Tilson

  • Leon Lontoc


  • Michael Fox

    M. E. George McLeod

  • show Description
  • Burke's Law was an Aaron Spelling-produced detective series that starred Gene Barry as Amos Burke, Los Angeles' millionaire chief of detectives. The jet-setting, swinging Burke was chauffeured to crime scenes in his Rolls-Royce and had a penchant for dropping professorial axioms ("Never ask a question unless you already know the answer. Burke's law!") Gary Conway and Regis Toomey played Burke's supporting detectives, and Leon Lontoc played Henry, Burke's chauffeur. This tongue-in-cheek mystery aired from 1963 to 1965 on ABC. For the 1965-1966 season, the show was retooled as Amos Burke, Secret Agent and changed to a spy show. The new Burke lasted only 17 episodes. In 1994, Barry returned as Burke in a brief revival of the show that aired on CBS along with Diagnosis Murder. The new series kept much of the style of the original (elaborate crimes and big-name guest stars) but lasted only 13 episodes.moreless

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    User Score: 533


  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (14)

    • Burke: I thought I told you to buy a new robe. Henry: I did. This is it. Burke: Well, go back and shoot the salesman; I'll get you off.

    • Amos Burke: Angel - what a lovely name. But then, Satan was an angel.

    • Amos Burke: I need some straight answers. Conwainer Bird: Straight? I haven't been straight since the summer of '34.

    • Devora Cato: There's nothing wrong with building castles in the sky, Detective, it's when you try to move into them.

    • Gigi: Where's the doc? Burke: He's sick. Gigi: Oh. Something bad, I hope. Burke: Very bad. He's dead. Gigi: Hmm. Whaddya know. How? Burke: He was murdered. Gigi: Hmm. Natural causes, huh?

    • Amos Burke: (about the victim) She was a non-comformist, she probably rode a vacuum cleaner.

    • Burke: Why don't you fly up to Vegas? Whisk the fair Eudora back here? Tim: It's out of our jurisdiction. Burke: Well, don't throw your badge around, just use your native charm and magnetism. Tim: What if it doesn't work? Burke: Then I'd suggest vitamins.

    • Burke: You've met the Countess Erozzi? Tim: No, but she is certainly a well-oiled piece of machinery, huh? Burke: Yes, very nice disposition, too. Sweet, deadly, like a box of poisoned chocolates. Tim: Yum, yum.

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    Notes (157)

    • Original Library of Congress Registration #: LP31071Effective Registration # & date: RE-562-921 Dec. 4, 1991.

    • Zasu Pitts made her final acting appearance as Mrs. Bowie. She passed away only days after her role in this episode was filmed.

    • For this first episode of the series only, an unbilled Lori Saunders (soon to star on Petticoat Junction) played Sgt. Ames, instead of series regular Eileen O'Neill.

    • Cedric Hardwicke was billed as Sir Cedric Hardwicke.

    • This episode marked a rare (and final) TV appearance by Will Rogers Jr.

    • Original Library of Congress Registration #: LP31074Effective Registration # & date: RE-562-924 Dec. 4, 1991.

    • Gene Barry's son Fred appears in this episode.

    • This episode marked Lizabeth Scott's final TV acting appearance.

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    Trivia (25)

    • Buddy Lewis is billed as "Cab Driver" in the closing credits, but actually plays the construction worker who finds Holly Howard's body.

    • Michael Fox is billed as "Coroner" (his usual recurring role) in this episode, but appears as an unnamed uniformed police officer at the crime scene.

    • The Beverly Towers Hotel, where Francesca Bel Ami is staying, is once mistakenly referred to as The Bel Ami Towers Hotel.

    • "Cynthia Royal" is referred to early in the episode as being 25-years old. Later, Tim tells Burke that she and her husband had been married for 15 years.

    • The plot continuity problem mentioned below cannot be accounted for by syndication cuts. In the DVD version, there is also no mention of either Eleanora's job at a night club nor the fact that she had a husband. There is a second continuity problem, as well. Juliet bursts in on the napping Burke and announces that she has information on "The Davis Case"--the dead girl's current address. When Burke left her early that morning, he was leaving to investigate a "dead brunette". They had only just gotten the girl identified when Burke slipped back home to grab a quick nap, having been out all night. The whole case was wrapped up in one day; it's not likely the news of the girl's identity would have gotten out, let alone the fact that they were trying to find her current address.

    • Plot continuity problem:
      When Smith reads off Eleanora's vital statistics for Burke, he mentions that she's 23 years old, lives on Euclid St. in Apt. 7A, mentions nothing about any other employment, and specifically tells Burke that the company never asks whether the models are married or not.
      Later in the same scene, Burke notifies Les that Eleanora is 26 years old, gives him the same Euclid 7A address as Eleanora's, and tells Les that Eleanora worked last year as a photographer at the 711 Club (no idea where this information came from); no mention of a husband is made.
      Les and Tim go to Euclid St. and, though Eleanora's address is Apt. 7A, they clearly go and knock on the door of a ground floor apartment in the rear. They pass Mrs. Mulligan's apartment, which is labeled 7C, and knock on 7A, which faces the rear of the building. Then they ask Mrs. Mulligan not about Eleanora Davis, but about Rudy Davis (who has never before been mentioned in anyone's conversation in the episode). Mrs. Mulligan is the person who then provides the "news" that Eleanora was married to Rudy, and that she used to work as a photographer at the 711 club.

      I think I can clear up this continuity problem somewhat: In the scene where Ormsby (Nick Adams) is talking to Burke, after he mentions that his nose has been itching lately, there is a very abrupt transition to Mr. Smith (Edward Everett Horton) re-arranging the stuffed bird. It is very likely that at least a few snatches of dialogue between Burke and Ormsby were cut out of the syndicated version I have (which was taped from the defunct Nostalgia Channel). There can't be very much left out--my version runs 51 minutes--but the topics of where Eleanora worked, and who her husband was, were probably covered in this syndicated cut. As for the age difference, Eleanora was 23 back in August 1960, and now is (was) 26. [RW]

    • Rosemarie Bowe is billed as playing "Ann Maxwell" in the credits, but her character is referred to as "Ann Martin" throughout the episode.

    • For whatever reason, Gena Rowlands' character's name is spelled "Paullette" on her dressing room door.

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    Allusions (24)

    • :
      Elizabeth Montgomery does several pre-"Bewitched" nose twitches as Stacey Evans.

    • :
      Although Barbara Eden was not permitted to show her navel on "I Dream of Jeannie", she definitely does in this episode as Marni Lee.

      Juliet Prowse, whose career was based on her extraordinary dancing ability, is cast in this episode as a woman with two left feet.

    • :
      The final scene "melding" the killer with the personality of a dead woman mimics to a great degree Anthony Perkin's final scene in "Psycho".

    • :
      Janet Blair had just recently made a huge hit in the Hammer cult horror film, "Burn, Witch, Burn".

    • :
      Early in the episode there is a special in-joke reference to Gene Barry's previous series, Bat Masterson.

      The combination of all the stuffed birds and the smothering mother-son relationship between Mrs. Ormsby and Harold give a definite "Psycho" feel to the plot.

    • :
      Jack Haley, as the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz" was missing a heart. In this episode, he had a bad heart.

    • :
      "Jango" plays and sings "How Little We Know", which is the song Hoagy Carmichael wrote (and accompanied Lauren Bacall) for "To Have and Have Not".

      Carl Reiner does an entire routine with toupees during his cameo, referencing his Alan Brady character on "The Dick Van Dyke Show".

      Broderick Crawford's character seems to based very closely on 50's pro wrestler "Gorgeous George".

    • :
      The music selections the violinists play to serenade Lovey Harrington in the bar are "The Moon of Manakoora", Dorothy Lamour's signature theme from her most famous sarong epic "The Hurricane", and "Moonlight and Shadows", which she sang in "Jungle Princess".

      In "Pinky", Jeanne Crain played a black woman who "passed" for white; in this episode, she "passes" as an Asian woman.

    Show More Allusions
  • Fan Reviews (3)
  • Burke slaw

    By iowastate, Aug 18, 2013

  • A millionaire police homicide captain -- how realistic is THAT? It doesn't matter. This show was pure genius.

    By KarenHlly, Aug 27, 2005

  • This show was mainly a tongue-in-cheek 'dramedy'. After all, how realistic is it for a homicide cop to live in Beverly Hills and ride in a Rolls-Royce to work? The show was always good for a laugh and as an escape from reality. A great show for families.

    By ladyfuzz, Jul 09, 2007

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