I have varying opinions on episodes without Hamilton. I figure to be fair, every episode deserves at least one watch. But if Hamilton isn’t in it, I usually don’t care to see it if it doesn’t happen to be on the TV right then. If I’m choosing something specific to watch, I’d much rather see an episode that he’s in. There are only a handful of episodes without him that I like enough to deliberately select.
Seasons 2, 3, and 4 each feature a very interesting out-of-town episode involving the military. There are others in later seasons, even a couple with Hamilton such as The Angry Astronaut. I’m not sure what the fans’ opinion on the military episodes is in general, but I do hear mostly negative feedback on any involving the Space Age. I’m not sure whether that’s because they just don’t like things getting that modern or if it’s something else. (Hmm, I suppose if they have that much of a problem with the setting being contemporary for the times, they wouldn’t like me casually sliding the time period to the present day in my stories, either.)
Actually, my favorite episode without Hamilton is one of the military episodes and also one of the Space Age episodes. I refer to The Misguided Missile from season 4. With Simon Oakland in it (and William Schallert, too), I’ll return again and again. Whenever I watch it, however, I like to make sure I have time for two so I can also watch one with Hamilton.
I find all of the military episodes quite fascinating. Maybe that’s because I’ve always had a certain interest in military-related shows. Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and M*A*S*H are two of my perennial favorites. I also enjoy Disney movies in which the military plays a large part, such as The Cat From Outer Space. And I like military dramas, too (especially if someone I like is in them). So I suppose it’s not surprising that I would enjoy the military episodes of Perry.
I don’t see any real reason to dislike them, honestly. They’re just as good as general Perry episodes: talented guest stars, intense plots, and the like. I’m sure the reason for the dislike has nothing to do with Hamilton and the police being missing, since there are plenty of Los Angeles-area episodes without them that are highly praised.
Maybe people just don’t like seeing Perry so far removed from his element. Perhaps they prefer seeing him defending civilians in a regular courtroom, rather than military officers in a military court. Of course, my absolute favorite scenario is Perry Mason classic: regular courtroom, Mr. Burger prosecuting, and the police around. (Bonus points if both Tragg and Andy are available.) But for out-of-town episodes, I’m happy to watch the military ventures.
Although The Misguided Missile is the only one I’ve actually selected on purpose when I had a choice.
I’m still working with my mystery story based on that episode. This is the longest it’s taken me to get a Perry mystery done. But I have every intention of finishing it. I’ve been working on chapter 13 over the weekend, and finally got past a roadblock that’s been bothering me since early on. I’m glad I got some more inspiration for it at last. The strange dream I had about Captain Caldwell probably helped with that.
With a mystery story it’s difficult enough to keep one plotline straight. For this one I have about three different threads of plot that will eventually connect into one big explanation. There is the main plot, with Jerry Reynolds being stalked by someone who looks eerily like Captain Caldwell. There is a subplot involving a client of Perry’s who apparently commits suicide. And there is another subplot as some of the characters are still trying to recover from their experiences in the previous mystery, The Broken Ties. Trying to keep all of the plotlines straight and figure out how to connect them is probably another reason why it’s taking longer to finish this one.
I'm heading steadily towards the climax, in which both Jerry's and Paul's situations will play a large and important part. I'm not sure as yet what will happen with Paul's angle, but I do know I don't plan for the mad scientist to have any success turning him against anyone. (Unless she finally tries the drug on him that she's using on Jerry, and I'm not sure she will.)
I do honestly intend that Jerry's stalker really is Captain Caldwell. I'll admit the reason I started this story was because I wanted to "fix" things due to being so grossly dissatisfied by the character's death. (Usually I don't have that reaction. This was a special case.) And due to the gruesome nature of his fatal injuries in the episode, it certainly required a lot of thought to figure it out and be halfway logical. But I'm afraid the story has become rather sci-fi because of what I chose. Oh dear. Sci-fi Perry? That has to be a first.
I’m honestly not sure if I’ll continue the mystery series when I complete The Spectral Stalker. But then again, I had no intention of writing more past The Persecuted Prosecutor, nor the next installment The Memento Mori Murderer, and I continued to get ideas. So who can say. Certainly not me.
I have some oneshots (single-chapter stories) I’ve been working on over the past few weeks. This is interesting to me, as usually I get ideas for oneshots first and then the big mysteries. Instead, for Perry I only wrote one short story and then immediately started on a big mystery. Now I’m suddenly getting some episode-inspired story ideas and other single-chapter ideas.
One was for The Carefree Coronary, the episode in which Paul ends up at death’s door. I wrote some short “missing scenes” from it and put it up as Tomorrow Always Comes.
I just put up one yesterday called A Touch of Honey, which revolves around my fascination of The Surplus Suitor. It’s mostly Della soliloquizing about Hamilton and then attempting to be friendly to him. He isn’t sure what to make of it.
And a third idea concerns Della and Hamilton ending up in a car wreck and trying to get back to civilization while meanwhile Perry tries frantically to find Della. It’s mainly shameless Della and Hamilton interaction and hurt/comfort (with Della hurt more than Hamilton, to see how he would try to help her), but I’ve been trying to put in some nice Perry/Della tidbits for the shippers. It’s not finished yet and I don’t have a title for it.
As far as multi-chapters are concerned, I’m also currently writing a three-way crossover mystery/horror story in which some of the Perry characters play a large part. So far it’s mainly Hamilton and the police, but though they’re the only ones really planned to be in it, Perry may come into it later. I have a vague scene in mind where Hamilton goes to bounce the case off of him as it becomes more and more weird, frightening, and dangerous. I call it Lullaby of Silence, and it’s crossed over with Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Monkees TV show. (Yes.) I actually think it’s coming out quite well in context, even though that description probably sounds nuts.