The Trials of O'Brien

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The Trials of O'Brien
Trials of OBrien.JPG
Peter Falk and Joanna Barnes, 1965.
Genre Legal drama/comedy
Created by Gene Wang
Developed by Gene Wang
Starring Peter Falk
Elaine Stritch
Joanna Barnes
Theme music composer Sid Ramin
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 22
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 48 mins.
Production company(s) Mayo Productions, The O'Brien Company
Distributor Filmways
Orion Television
MGM Television (current distributor)
Original channel CBS
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 18, 1965 (1965-09-18) – May 27, 1966 (1966-05-27)

The Trials of O'Brien is a 1965 television series starring Peter Falk as a sordid Shakespeare-quoting lawyer and featuring Elaine Stritch as his secretary and Joanna Barnes as his ex-wife.

The series ran for only 22 episodes on CBS Television between September 18, 1965 and March 18, 1966.

Among its guest stars: Milton Berle, Robert Blake (later of Baretta), David Carradine, Faye Dunaway, Britt Ekland, Tammy Grimes, Buddy Hackett, Gene Hackman, Frank Langella, Angela Lansbury, Cloris Leachman, Roger Moore, Rita Moreno, Estelle Parsons, Joanna Pettet, Brock Peters, Tony Roberts, and Martin Sheen.

Falk often said that he actually liked this financially unsuccessful series much better than his later smash-hit Columbo.[citation needed]

Episode # Episode title Original airdate Episode Summary
1-1 "Over Defense is Out" September 18, 1965 O'Brien represents a client who was charged with murder after being released from prison.
1-2 "Bargain Day on the Street of Regret" September 25, 1965 After winning a boxer in a dice game, O'Brien must defend him when he is charged in a fatal stabbing.
1-3 "Notes on a Spanish Prisoner" October 2, 1965 A bunco artist (Buddy Hackett) is defended by O'Brien after he is conned out of money by his girlfriend.
1-4 "Never Bet on Anything That Talks" October 9, 1965 O'Brien's English bookie is charged in the death of an accountant, but the person who can clear him is nowhere to be found.
1-5 "What Can Go Wrong" October 16, 1965 After discovering that a man is dating his ex-wife (Joanna Barnes), O'Brien delightedly sets him up as a "pigeon" in order to trap a killer.
1-6 "Goodbye and Keep Cool" October 23, 1965 A woman (Cloris Leachman) is accused of murdering her husband, and retains O'Brien to defend her.
1-7 "A Gaggle of Girls" October 30, 1965 O'Brien is retained by a Mother Superior in order to persuade the owner of an adjoining cafe to permit St. Anthony's Youth Center to use its garden.
1-8 "The Trouble With Archie" November 6, 1965 O'Brien investigates the death of a partner in the Seventh Avenue Dress House where his ex-wife works.
1-9 "How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?" November 13, 1965 A "heist artist" who is accused of fatally stabbing a dealer of rare violins is defended by O'Brien.
1-10 "Charlie Has All the Luck" November 20, 1965 While being bugged by his ex-wife to sign the lease on her luxurious apartment, O'Brien must defend a client involved in a fatal shooting that follows a fixed horse race.
1-11 "Picture Me a Murder" November 27, 1965 O'Brien represents a producer who was charged with resisting arrest while filming an "underground" movie.
1-12 "Dead End on Flugel Street" December 3, 1965 A burlesque comedian (Milton Berle) is involved in murder when his straight man is killed after making advances on the comedian's wife.
1-13 "No Justice for the Judge" December 10, 1965 An eccentric judge (Burgess Meredith) engages O'Brien to represent him on charges of mental disability that could remove him from the bench.
1-14 "Leave It to Me" December 17, 1965 O'Brien tries to have a will declared invalid before three greedy heirs (Angela Lansbury, George Rose and Thayer David) from killing each other in a booby-trapped from cellar to attic.
1-15 "Alarums and Excursions" January 7, 1966 A foster father (John McGiver) who is content to keep collecting welfare checks, hires O'Brien to keep seven children with him after an adoption judge takes the youths away from him.
1-16 "The 10-Foot, 6-Inch Pole" January 14, 1966 O'Brien charges that an assistant district attorney (Murray Hamilton) failed to prosecute a broker (Albert Paulsen) in the death of an accountant.
1-17 "A Horse Called Destiny" January 21, 1966 O'Brien represents a spiritualist in the murder of a wealthy client whose death he has predicted.
1-18 "The Blue Steel Suite" January 28, 1966 Held as a hostage in a jail break, O'Brien is asked to take a prisoner's complaints to the public.
1-19 "The Partridge Papers" February 4, 1966 O'Brien is forced to operate out of a hospital, after suffering a broken leg in a hit-and-run accident. Writer James Partridge, who was with him at the time of the accident, thinks the "accident" was meant for him, based on his work for British Intelligence.
1-20 "The Greatest Game (Part One)" March 4, 1966 A Balkan girl (Britt Eklund) steals the Viktor Emblem, a jewel-encrusted egg from a national shrine, and O'Brien is retained to negotiate for its return.
1-21 "The Greatest Game (Part Two)" March 11, 1966 O'Brien's negotiations for the Viktor Emblem get more complicated when the person holding it has his life threatened.
1-22 "The Only Game in Town" March 18, 1966 Taking the bench as an interim judge on the New York Supreme Court, O'Brien deals with the case of a seaman (Alejandro Rey) accused of murdering a co-worker with a longshoreman's hook. Gene Hackman plays the prosecutor in the case.

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