This was the pilot episode for the series and was photographed by Hollywood veteran Lee Garmes, famous for his work on such classic movies as Shanghai Express, Duel In The Sun and Detective Story. Although Garmes hardly ever worked in television, his work methods resulted in the pilot coming in a full day ahead of schedule.
Although The Defenders was a New York-based series filmed on location in the city and at studios there, this episode seems to have been filmed at M-G-M studios in Hollywood, and to employ studio contractees in several key capacities.
The first of Simon Oakland's appearances on this show as the ruthless D.A., Gardella.
The character of the arrogant Commissioner Conn seems clearly based on the real-life Commissioner Robert Moses, a most controversial figure in New York's history.
This episode may have been partly inspired by the real-life trial - in England, in the mid-1950s - of Dr. John Bodkin Adams, who was accused of having poisoned some elderly, and very rich, patients, whose beneficiary he was, in each case. (He was acquitted).
Perhaps the most controversial of all the episodes of The Defenders, this segment is referenced in an episode of Mad Men screened almost fifty years later.
Robert Thom's original script for this two-part episode was extensively rewritten by series creator Reginald Rose, something Thom objected to. As a result, Part One is credited to a fictitious "Robert Pendlebury", and Part Two to a fictitious "Ed Tashley". Thom contributed no further scripts to this series.
Robert Thom's script for this two-part episode was extensively rewritten by series creator Reginald Rose, something to which Thom objected strongly. As a result, Part One was credited to the fictitious "Robert Pendlebury" and Part Two to the equally fictitious "Ed Tashley". Thom contributed no further scripts to this series.
Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton, later the stars of the long-running sitcom All In The Family, both have supporting roles in this episode.
The poem that Lawrence and Ken Preston recite in the closing moments of this episode is The Jabberwock by Lewis Carroll.
This was the last of Joan Hackett's appearances as Ken Preston's girlfriend, Joan Miller; the episode hints that the relationship is in trouble.
Ellen Burstyn was billed as "Ellen McRae" in this episode - she would not begin billing herself under her married name of "Burstyn" for several more years.
Kathleen Widdoes and Richard Jordan were married to each other at the time that they both appeared in this episode.
The wife of the Jack Klugman character in this episode is played by Klugman's real-life wife, Brett Somers.
The infamous blacklisting of many alleged left-wingers in the world of entertainment during the years of McCarthyism was a very suitable subject for an episode of this particular series. The Defenders made a strong point, throughout its four-year run of hiring people who had actually been blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s. Writers for the series such as Paul Jarrico and Arnold Manoff were still being forced to work under pseudonyms at the time of their involvement with it, whilst many formerly-blacklisted actors (some only just beginning to get work again in the early 1960s) played guest roles, including Sam Wanamaker, Lee Grant, Howard Da Silva and John Randolph.
Rather curiously, Roger H.Lewis, who contributed several scripts for this series, was billed, for this one episode only, as "Roger Hill Lewis", rather than as usual.
One of the rare TV writing credits for the eminent novelist Howard Fast.
Episode writer Arnold Manoff - still being forced to write under a pseudonym at the time - died at age 50 only eight days before the episode was first aired in February of 1964. Manoff was reportedly greatly harmed by the experience of being blacklisted and it may also have led to the break-up of his marriage to actress Lee Grant, who was also blacklisted.
This is another of the several episodes of this series to be written by a writer who had been blacklisted because of their left-wing views in the decade following the Second World War. Arnold Manoff contributed this episode under the pseudonym "Joel Carpenter", which he also used on several other TV scripts.
The blacklisted screenwriter Paul Jarrico was still working under pseudonyms when this episode was made, and was often billed as "Peter Achilles" or "Peter A. Chilles", as he was here.