Perry Mason

Season 1 Episode 2

The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece

Aired Saturday 7:30 PM Sep 28, 1957 on CBS
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Episode Summary

The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece
Peter Cole is caught one night sleepwalking with a letter opener and standing over his wife's bed. His wife Doris is afraid and decides the next day to file for divorce. Exactly one year later, when the divorce is to be finalized, Frank Maddox, Peter's business partner, meets with Doris Cole. Together they arrange to force Peter Cole to pay Frank Maddox $500K to buy his share of the business or Doris will stop the divorce that Peter wants. That night Frank Maddox spends the night at Peter Cole's house and exchanges bedrooms with Phillip Kendall, Peter's stepbrother. The next morning Phillip Kendall is found dead in bed and Peter Cole is accused of murder due to his known sleepwalking.moreless

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  • Don't sleep through it.

    This time around, Perry's client has a tendency to walk (and pick up knives) in his sleep. So he becomes the prime suspect in a new murder, and it's up to Perry to clear him.

    As an old-time radio buff, I enjoyed seeing John Archer (one of the many voices of "The Shadow") as one of the suspects. The rest of the guest cast is good too in a very "film noir" type episode that was surprisingly racy for the 1950s (implied sex, divorce, etc.) Even Della's throwaway line at the end of the episode about the honeymooning couple may have been a bit risque at the time!

    It's funny how sensibilities change - the idea of a "sleepwalking killer" probably wouldn't play today, but it's handled well in the episode. Perry unmasks the killer (a surprise culprit to me!) and Burger even gets a chance to not be shown up as a schmuck when he refuses to come to the defense of the corrupt attorney Perry is cross-examining.

    Well done - a taut mystery that unfolds nicely and winds up with a nice climax in court.moreless

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