I meant to post no later than Tuesday. I got a bit sidetracked when a Mannix multi-chapter suddenly decided to take off running! I have five chapters posted so far. It isn’t one of the Perry crossovers I mentioned, but I am quite pleased as punch with it. As per my love of including every important character in a series, it brings in Joe Mannix’s boss and friend from season 1, Lew Wickersham. I absolutely adore him and he will be in all Mannix stories I write, except, I imagine, the short story where Della and Peggy meet.
I must admit, unlike my lack of shame with setting Perry Mason in the present day, I wonder if Mannix needs to be a period piece. Basically, it can certainly work in the present day just as well as Perry can, but whereas Perry’s Naval service during World War II is incidental, Joe Mannix’s service in Korea seems more integral to the show, especially since he ended up a prisoner of war—and since he’s been targeted by at least two homicidal maniacs that turned traitor to North Korea. But, I suppose, I could certainly do what I did with Perry and simply update the war in which Joe served to a more recent one. Or, as per the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew formula that originally inspired me, the characters could simply exist in both eras without any provided explanation. Or I could simply break down and write it as a period piece. At the moment I’m trying to be as ambiguous as possible (which is how I usually start), but I have thrown in a couple of sly references to other series and stories that I’ve set in the present day.
Amazon continues to release sets of Perry movies; set 3 is now up for pre-order. And interestingly, they are also starting to release double-feature sets. At least one is currently out, with another due in a few days. I wish they would release The Lady in the Lake on one of those! They’re certainly useful for those who don’t want to pay $50+ for six movies, although for two movies the price is still really too high, around $14 to $16.
The other day I watched The Scarlet Scandal while working on a sewing project. (Non-Perry related, but I have finally figured out how to work the hair if I decide to try making a Lieutenant Anderson plushie! Doll wigs work stupendously.) I always found that episode rather uninteresting, but when I watched it this time, I found it much more intriguing.
Unlike many Perry episodes, the murder happens within a very few minutes. One person is arrested, but is later set free in favor of a different suspect.
I’m curious to know what happens in the uncut version. In the cut, Perry has no interest in defending the first guy, so what makes him change his mind and decide to defend the second arrested party? Perhaps it’s simply because by that point, enough has been uncovered for him to know that there’s quite a mystery afoot, but it would be nice to know.
The most unusual thing about the episode is it turns out that the first guy was the guilty party all along. If Perry had defended him, he would have turned out to be one of the only guilty clients Perry has ever had—a twist that should have come in a Hamilton episode instead of an out-of-town one.
I wonder if Perry’s lack of interest in defending the guy was because the writer knew that guy would be the guilty one and they didn’t want Perry defending him, even if Perry didn’t know he was the guilty one.
Perry defending a guilty client is something that happens only rarely, but it does happen now and then—the most notable example being in season 1’s The Terrified Typist. He also acts as a friend of the court in defending an eventual murderer against a robbery charge, in The Woeful Widower. A similar scenario plays out in another episode, as well. Perhaps these are other cases of the writer (or more likely, Erle Stanley Gardner) not wanting Perry actually outright defending a guilty party?
It’s definitely noteworthy than in season 1’s The Baited Hook, Perry decides deliberately to defend the murderer once her identity and motive are revealed. In general, if he defends the killer, it’s because the killing was either accidental or self-defense. But in this one and only case, it wasn’t either one. Still, Perry seemed to feel that because the woman’s motive was protecting her daughter from hurtful information the murderer would have revealed, she was worthy of being his client. I wonder what kind of a sentence she was given. It seemed so senseless to kill the guy, as Perry himself said to Della in the epilogue. The girl even already knew the information and wasn’t that bothered by it. Quite a depressing, sad irony.
And I’ve noted that at least twice in season 9, Hamilton gets to deliver a response to the murderer after the confession. In The Vanishing Victim, he says that the murderer will be taking one more trip, and this time no one can take it for him. It’s one of the only parts I like in that strange, strange episode that feels like season 1 and plays so many tricks with the deceased’s identity that it’s like a long, winding, preposterous game of “Body, Body, Which One’s the Body?”
In The Fanciful Frail, Hamilton again speaks to the murderer, informing him that a murderer is never safe and the idea is as phony as the packet of counterfeit money.
I curiously wonder why Hamilton was allowed to speak both times. Usually no one speaks after the confession, unless Perry does, saying similar lines. I find it very neat to switch up that part of the formula by letting Hamilton get some profound lines in.