A Brush with the Law

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"A Brush with the Law"
Dad's Army episode
Episode no. Series Five
Episode 051
Directed by David Croft
Story by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Produced by David Croft
Original air date 15/12/72
(recorded 26 November 1972)
Running time 30 minutes
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Brain Versus Brawn"
Next →
"Round and Round Went the Great Big Wheel"

A Brush with the Law is the eleventh episode of the fifth series of the British comedy series Dad's Army that was originally transmitted on 15 December 1972.


Mainwaring is charged with showing a light and is taken to court by a cheerful Warden. As if that wasn't enough, the magistrate is none other than his old nemesis Captain Square. The Verger tries to warn off the Warden, but the Warden will not back down.

The platoon tries to help by testifying as witnesses to Mainwaring's innocence, but things go from bad to worse when Jones messes up his story under oath. As both Square and Hodges proceed to push Mainwaring towards what could be a sticky end, Walker steps in and reveals he was out delivering 'supplies' to a 'nearby customer', putting some pressure on Square by reminding him of his own illegal activities involving some blackmarket whiskey. Just as Square is about to dismiss the trial, the Verger confesses it was he who showed the light, having used the office after the platoon had left on patrol to write his memoirs, much to the fury of Hodges who has lost his chance to end Mainwaring.

The case is dismissed and Mainwaring is allowed to leave the court "without a stain on his character". He attributes his acquittal to "honesty, fair play and the integrity of British justice".



  1. Mainwaring is prosecuted under the Emergency Powers Act 1940, which had been rushed onto the statute book by the government under a wave of popular pressure. Under its rules, Mainwaring could have been sentenced to several months in jail had he been found guilty as charged.
  2. After Mainwaring is proved innocent Pike says "it's just like that film with John Garfield", a reference to the 1939 film They Made Me a Criminal.