Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Case of the Nebulous Nephew

First, before I get to the main body of the post, here is a trailer I made for the mystery I hope to start after I finish The Denying Detective (which I managed to update this week! Yes!):

Perhaps I shouldn’t have made it until The Denying Detective is closer to being finished, but I had the concept in mind and it wouldn’t go away. I’m happy with how it turned out, anyway.

I’ve been meaning to watch The Nebulous Nephew for a while. I kept it until now because I’ve been under the mistaken impression, due to more than one website, that Hamilton was not in it. I was aware that Andy was, however, so I finally decided yesterday was a good time to finally watch it. I not only discovered that Hamilton is in it, but that it is an incredible episode! I would have loved it even if he had not been present, so he was a special added treat.

The plot involves a twisted plan for the friend of a missing young man to go to the boy’s rich aunts and worm his way into their hearts by the things he knows about their beloved nephew. They will come to believe he is the nephew, and will their money to him, even though he will continue to claim that he is a friend and the boy himself is dead. The plan is masterminded by the only other living relative, although we don’t see that he is a relation until later on.

Everything goes exactly according to plan at first. The boy, John Brooks, manages to win over both of the aunts, even the more skeptical one. And when Ernest Stone, the other living relative, shows up, of course he makes a positive identification as well.

The problem arises when John begins to care about the aunts, who are overjoyed to have him there and insist on believing he is their missing nephew. He realizes he can’t bear to hurt them, and when he speaks with his employer, he delivers the news that he is leaving. Even though he won’t do anything to the aunts after they will everything to him, he isn’t confident that his boss won’t do something. They end up in a fight, struggling with a rifle, and Ernest is accidentally clubbed on the head. The boy apologizes and leaves him on the floor after he insists he’s alright. Moments later, however, one of the aunts informs John that Ernest is dead.

The rest of the episode involves trying to solve the murder as well as to sort through the identity mess. John finally admits that Caleb, the nephew, is really alive, but he doesn’t want to involve him. Perry, Della, and Paul set about trying desperately to locate Caleb.

Caleb’s backstory, and the reason he went missing, was due to a scandal with his parents. Ernest secretly arranged for it to be told that their marriage certificate was a fraud and that Caleb was illegitimate. The patriarch of the family at that time sent Caleb and his mother away. (His father was already dead, killed in the war.) After Caleb’s mother died too, he was sent to an orphanage, where he met John Brooks. They ran away in their late teens after a newspaper published a new story about Caleb that tracked his whereabouts to the orphanage.

At last Caleb is located and agrees to fly out immediately to testify at the hearing. But when he walks into the courtroom, a new cover-up is revealed. He is not Caleb, but the real John Brooks, an African-American. After running away from the orphanage they switched names to make it harder for reporters or anyone else to track down the Caleb Stone they want.

Perry uncovers Ernest’s true murderer shortly afterwards and the real Caleb is exonerated. Back at the Stone mansion, the rest of the story comes out. Caleb admits that he went along with Ernest’s plot to basically impersonate himself because he was bitter about how his family had kicked him and his mother out of the house. (The aunts had not wanted to, but they had been afraid to go against the patriarch’s wishes.) However, as he stayed there, his desire for revenge turned to love.

All in all, I found it a thoroughly exciting and satisfying episode. The aunts longed so much for “John Brooks” to be Caleb that I longed for Caleb to be alive, too. I wasn’t too surprised to learn he was, and I even kind of wondered if he and John might have switched identities, but the details were a complete surprise. The outcome thrilled me.

The Nebulous Nephew was the season 7 opener. It makes me all the more anxious for CBS to release season 7 on DVD. For me, season 7 is truly one of the most amazing seasons, and this episode only adds to those feelings.


  1. The one thing that I noticed when I watched this episode on DVD was that, after the main character credits were given, the credits for the supporting cast in ths episode were those from "The Case of the Sad Sicilian". I can only guess that when this episode was transferred to the DVD, someone must have been "asleep at the switch".

    1. Yep, that's been a very talked-of error. Very strange indeed, especially when the cut syndication versions have the right credits!