Ellery Queen

Season 1 Episode 1

Too Many Suspects

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Mar 23, 1975 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • In the re-enactment of the TV newscast the newsreader refers to television as "your window on the globe." However, this phrase was not heard on the original broadcast.

    • When Monica leaves her dying clue, the outlet she pulls the TV plug out of is three-holed, meaning that it's a grounded plug. Such outlets didn't become standard until 1962.

    • Ellery picks up Monica's framed photo when he examines the murder scene. However, when he puts it down it transforms into a photo of a different woman, wearing a pale blouse and seated on a visible chair.

    • When Simon Brimmer does his radio broadcast about Monica Gray's former lovers, Ellery becomes agitated. His father knew about the men, but did not mention them to Ellery, as none of them could have been guilty. Ellery starts searching for a piece of paper, and exclaims, "Why didn't I really read those files?" The only files we've seen were six months worth of local robberies, and Ellery did, in fact, read them and discover the connecting factor in them. Robbery files would have had no information about Monica's lovers.

  • Quotes

    • Brimmer: Something important?
      Ellery: I don't know. Anyway, Mr. Brimmer, thanks for your offer. I'm sorry it didn't work out.
      Brimmer: I hope you know you're making a mistake.
      Ellery: Oh, probably. I make a lot of them.

    • Inspector Queen: (to Ellery) Almost as far-fetched as one of your books. A dying clue, which makes absolutely no sense. Which means of course it's right up your alley.

    • Ellery: Tell me about her.
      Inspector Queen: Name's, uh, Monica Gray. One of the top fashion designers since the war. Your wife would probably be wearing her fall line. If you were married.

    • Inspector Queen: (as Ellery examines a television) You ever see one of those things before?
      Ellery: Eh? A few.
      Inspector Queen: Damn nuisance. Friend of mine has one. People keep dropping in.
      Ellery: Oh, I wouldn't worry about it. It's just a passing fad.

    • Ellery: You shouldn't be seen in public with me.
      Gail: Why not?
      Ellery: Because I'm incredibly stupid.

    • District Attorney: Except now we have no suspects and no leads. Satisfied, Ellery?
      Ellery: Nah, not really. this is the only case where I spend all my time proving who didn't commit a murder.

    • (Simon Brimmer has requested that Ellery sell him access to his private files, which would be used to create stories for Simon's radio show.)
      Ellery: Unfortunately, Mr. Brimmer, you're asking me to be a ghost writer.
      Brimmer: A technicality.
      Ellery: Not to me.
      Brimmer: Well, all right then, let's say a very rich ghost. With silk sheets.

    • Ellery: There's so many possibilities. Too many.
      Inspector Queen: Yeah, like what?
      Ellery: Well, maybe she was trying to tell us the time of her death.
      Inspector Queen: Well, we already know that. People on this floor heard a shot around 10:25.
      Ellery: Well, what was she trying to say, and why both plugs? Was she reaching for the clock cord and did she accidentally pull out the television cord--or was it the other way around? Was she saying something about electricity? About the failure of power! Hmmm. Or was she relating to the television as a piece of furniture; a box, a console, screen? And what about that clock? (Snaps fingers) Wait a minute.
      Inspector Queen: You got something.
      Ellery: Very clever, Dad, very shrewd.
      Inspector Queen: Who, who?
      Ellery: You. You know I'm supposed to be home, finishing a book, you know I got a deadline to meet, but you drag me up here and you dangle all this catnip in front of me.
      Inspector Queen: Now, Ellery, I'm not trying--
      Ellery: That's it, I'm going home, you're not gonna suck me in this time.
      Inspector Queen: Son, you're doing me an injustice. Besides, I know you. Let's face it, you're hooked! You can't walk out of here!
      Ellery: Goodnight, Dad. (exits)
      Velie: Ah, gee, that's too bad, Inspector. I thought you had him out of the water and into the boat! (Inspector Queen makes a shrugging, "just wait" gesture. Ellery walks back in)
      Ellery: I was just thinking....

    • Inspector Queen: I guess I got my money's worth.
      Ellery: It's really very simple. I, I make it a point to be observant, and to pay attention to details. Goodnight, Dad.
      Inspector Queen: Son? You forgot your glasses.

    • Penny: Ellery!
      Ellery: Hi, Penny, having fun?
      Penny: How can I? I'm doing my Sonja Henie and you're not even watching.
      Ellery: Well, I've been reading.
      Penny: I know you've been reading. You were reading at the zoo, you were reading at Schraft's -- I thought we were supposed to be spending the day together.
      Ellery: Hah? We are spending the day together.
      Penny: Yeah, you with your nose in a book. (Grabs book and scans the open page) I read this one. this is the one where the doctor is the murderer. (Ellery gives her a long stare before snatching the book back)
      Ellery: Penny, I promised your parents I'd take care of you today. You're my cousin and I love you. But if you ever do anything like that again, I'll break your neck.

    • Inspector Queen: Ellery, there were two eggs burning in the kitchen.
      Ellery: Hmmm? Oh, good morning, Dad, I, uh, I made some eggs.
      Inspector Queen: No, thanks. (hands Ellery his glasses) The McKell trial?
      Ellery: Not going well for him.
      Inspector Queen: What'd you expect? See you tonight. Oh, uh, Son, seeing you're so interested, why don't you drop down to the courthouse? McKell goes on the stand today.
      Ellery: Oh, I can't, Dad. Starting my new book. Got a date with my uh, what you call it--publisher.
      Inspector Queen: Uh, huh. Courtroom 3.

    • Inspector Queen: I'm doing my job! Now, if you don't have some hard facts, and I mean something better than the last chapter in a mystery book, you'd better go home and burn yourself some lunch.
      Ellery: That's what I like about you, Dad! You've got such a nice, open mind! (stalks out of the inner and outer office)
      Inspector Queen: Ellery! Your glasses! (Ellery stalks back and snatches them)
      Ellery: Velie? I've got a personal problem and so has this department.
      Velie: What's that, Maestro?
      Ellery: My father is dangerously close to becoming senile!
      Inspector Queen: I heard that, and I want you to know I'm changing my will!

    • Inspector Queen: Maybe I ought to take the gold watch and retire.
      Ellery: Maybe you should get a good night's sleep. Come on, Dad. I'll drive you home.
      Inspector Queen: Son. You're my only child, and a comfort in my old age...
      Police Officer: Inspector!
      Inspector Queen: Yeah? But you are the worst driver in the world. If anybody gets behind that wheel, it'll be me.

    • Inspector Queen: You're up early.
      Ellery: Excuse me. I didn't go to bed. I've been up reading.
      Inspector Queen: Well, that's the script for the news and weather program on TV, you read that a hundred times.
      Ellery: Well, it just goes to show you how stupid I am.
      Inspector Queen: Ellery, give it up. The case is closed, Ramon even saved us the cost of a trial.
      Ellery: He didn't kill her.
      Inspector Queen: What?
      Ellery: It's taken me this long, Dad, but I finally figured it out.
      Inspector Queen: Ellery--
      Ellery: The solution. The end of the case, it'll come at 10:25 tonight.
      Inspector: You're saying--
      Ellery: I know who killed Monica Gray. Dad, I'll make you breakfast. (Looks into the camera and pauses) Do you know who killed Monica Gray? Now, if you've been watching--closely--you have all the information you need. You know, for example, it's not the father, because I proved him innocent. Or did I? Maybe it's the mother. Or the son. Or the faithful secretary. Or maybe it's somebody on the sidelines. But don't go too far afield. It's not my father. At least, I don't think it is. Well, good luck--hey, you're probably way ahead of me anyhow. Hey, Dad--breakfast?

    • Ellery: Thank you, everybody, come on, Dad, let's go home.
      Inspector Queen: Well, I can't. I've gotta go down to Gramercy Park. Somebody just murdered a millionaire art collector. Just your kind of case, Ellery.
      Ellery: Good night, Dad.
      Inspector Queen: Really, very strange. Thirty paintings in the house, all of them turned to the wall.
      Ellery: Oh, no, no, no. See you at breakfast! (Walks out the exit)
      Inspector Queen: What harm would it do to take a look? (collects his hat and coat)
      Ellery: Did you say thirty paintings turned to the wall?
      Inspector Queen: Yeah.

  • Notes

    • The character "Tom McKell", played by Monte Markham, is not the only character to have a name changed from the original novel. "Carson McKell" (Ray Milland) was originally "Ashton McKell" and his wife "Marian" (Kim Hunter) was "Lutetia". The murder victim was originally called "Sheila Grey", not "Monica", whilst the family lawyer "Ben Waterson", played by Tim O'Connor, is a conflation of three different lawyers in the book, all with different names. Furthermore, in the book, Ellery Queen doesn'tsolve the murder - he names the wrong man, and his father solves the case.

    • Injoke: The killer in Brimmer's radio mystery is Dr. Flemming. Dr. Flemming was the killer in "Prescription: Murder", the first pilot movie for Columbo and written by Ellery Queen developers Richard Levinson and William Link.

    • The pilot premiered as a Mystery Movie special presentation.

    • In the book this movie was based on, Dane (Tom) McKell did not confront Monica and demand that she stop seeing his father on the day of the murder. Quite some time previously, while trying to find a way to break them up, he himself ended up as Monica's lover, as well. Presumably this idea was considered too sordid for television programming.

    • Monte Markham's character, Tom McKell, was called Dane McKell in the novel, The Fourth Side of the Triangle, on which this episode is based.

    • In the pilot we are introduced to radio mystery star Simon Brimmer played by John Hillerman who would be a recurring character throughout the series.

    • Loosely based on the novel The Fourth Side of the Triangle by Ellery Queen.

  • Allusions

    • Penny: I'm doing my Sonja Henie and you're not even watching.
      Sonja Henie (1912-1969) was a Norwegian figure skater who won three Olympic gold medals in women's figure skating in 1928, 1932 and 1936. She also won 10 consecutive world championships from 1927 to 1936 and six consecutive European championships from 1931 to 1936.