Aspiring actress Julie Greer is talking to someone on the phone when there is a knock at the door. She puts the phone down and answers the door. A person, who we don't see but who Julie obviously knows, enters. She tells the person to quit and leave. The person attacks and strangles her. Julie's last words are to repeatedly scream out "George Townsend". Julie's body is discovered by her roommate Ann Farmer. Millionaire police captain Amos Burke, with the assistance of fellow officers Phil Winslow and Joe Nolan, investigate the case. A little black book containing the names of many men, whom Julie may have had affairs with and dumped over the years, is found. The names include: Rex, the singing cowboy star of a TV series; Dr. C.Z. Coombs, a veterinarian; Joe Montana, a punch-drunk prize fighter; Roy, a respected married judge and old friend of Burke; Zambini, the owner of the laundromat that Julie frequented; and Fairchild, the bartender at a beatnik dive where Julie used to hang out. Burke also keeps looking for the elusive George Townsend and for the person who was on the phone when Julie was killed. Townsend suddently calls the police, after seeing his name in the paper, and turns himself in. Having previously interviewed Mrs. Pierce, Townsend's former landlady (who happens to be blind), Burke brings her to the police station to participate in a police lineup! He hopes that she will be able to ID Townsend's voice. Unfortunately, she identifies Phil Winslow's voice as that of her tenant. It seems that the George Townsend they have in custody is a drunk who just wanted the notoriety. Later, Burke discovers that Dr. Coombs was the person on the phone. Figuring out who the real killer is, Burke arranges for Dr. Coombs to report that he heard Julie call out the words "Forever Rose", which just happen to be the words tattooed on Phil Winslow's shoulder. Mrs. Pierce hadn't made a mistake - Winslow was the tenant, registered under the phony name of George Townsend, and was indeed one of Julie's lovers and her killer.moreless
Dick Powell originated the role of police detective captain Amos Burke in this episode.
Amos Burke, of course, was a millionaire who drove a Rolls Royce and lived in Beverly Hills. (Burke had inherited his wealth.) Regis Toomey and Dean Jones played Amos Burke's fellow detectives.
Carolyn Jones was murdered at the beginnng of the episode and Amos Burke's suspects included Ronald Reagan, Lloyd Bridges, and Nick Adams. The killer finally turned out to be Dean Jones, the young detective on the case who it turned out was seeing Jones. The episode was written by Frank D. Gilroy, who would later win awards for the Broadway play "The Subject was Roses" starring Jack Albertson, Irene Daily, and Martin Sheen. "Burke's Law" didn't sell right away. It didn't start till the season after next (1963-64) and not on "The Dick Powell Show" network (NBC) but on ABC. Dick Powell made a dandy Amos Burke. Jackie Cooper was orignally annouced to replace him as Amos Burke. Cooper would have been terrific, but it didn't happen. My guess is Cooper wanted to co-produce the series through his own company (as he did with "Hennessy") but that Four Star balked. Gene Barry was a superb Amos Burke, but I don't think he was quite as good as Dick Powell. I think Cooper would have been very good, more like Powell. The problem with "Burke's Law" was that it just didn't seem to matter who the murderer was. Maybe Jackie Cooper would have been a slightly more serious Amos Burke and made the sophisticated humor more of a background to the show rather than the center.moreless
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