Perry Mason

Season 1 Episode 4

The Case of the Drowning Duck

4
Aired Saturday 7:30 PM Oct 12, 1957 on CBS
7.9
out of 10
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31 votes
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The Case of the Drowning Duck
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Donald Briggs is an unscrupulous private investigator hired by Clyde Waters to uncover information about Marv Adams, his daughter's fiance. Briggs learned that Marv Adams' father was Ben Devereaux who was convicted of murder 18 years ago. Donald Briggs is trying to blackmail Clyde Waters and Martha Norris in return for keeping silent about certain facts regarding the Devereaux case. The next evening Donald Briggs is found dead in his motel room and Marv Adams is accused of the murder because he had a fight with Donald Briggs the previous morning.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Big city lawyer.

    7.6
    The gang takes their show on the road in "Drowning Duck," as Perry & Co. head to a small town to defend a man accused of murdering a blackmailer.



    What's great about this episode is that it manages to play up all of the cliches about a "small town courtroom drama" are played up. The judge can't stand Mason and his "big city" theatrics; it's swelteringly hot; the local cop harasses Perry and Paul...it's all here. Not that it makes the episode bad, just amusing to a 21st century viewer who has seen these themes in dozens of other stories.



    Like a lot of the episodes, the titular duck bears very little on the actual plot (aside from being a surprisingly mean-spirited "magic trick"). But we do have a well-done mystery rooted in an old murder case and a lot of small-town closet skeletons. It's also a nice departure from the routine, since in this show, Mason has an entire town and its institutions to contend with instead of just Tragg and Burger.moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When the taxi leaves the bus station, the Logan City Taxi sign is in large white letters and close to the rear of the driver's side door. When it pulls up to the motel, the sign is much smaller and centered on the door. When the driver pulls to a halt, the sign is back in its original position and size.

    • While a barn correctly reads "Waters Dairy Farm," the roadside sign is mislabeled "Water's Dairy Farm" (with an inappropriate apostrophe).

    • When Marv picks up the duck, there's a cap on the bottle. In the next shot, the cap instantly disappears.

    • When Della and Paul drive up to the home where Mrs. Adams is hiding, in the long shot as the car approaches the house, the driver has black hair and clearly isn't Paul. In the next shot as the car arrives, Paul is in the driver's seat.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Mrs. Adams: You contemptible blackmailer.
      Briggs: Around here, a man earns his living digging up potatoes and beets. I dig up information. Now what's the difference?
      Mrs. Adams: The difference is in the kind of dirt you use.

    • Perry: Paul, what kind of luck do you think you'd have investigating an18-year-old murder case?
      Paul: I've got trouble enough with the modern ones.

    • Judge Meeham: The man's dead. What's to be gained by bringing it up again?
      Perry: Something with which we're both familiar. Justice.

    • Marv: This magic water I have here makes fish walk and pigs fly. It also can make a duck drown.

  • NOTES (1)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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