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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 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) Filmways
Mayo Productions, The O'Brien Company
Distributor CBS Enterprises (1965–71)
Viacom (1971–95)
Paramount Domestic Television (1995–2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006–07)
CBS Television Distribution (2007–present)
Original network CBS
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 18, 1965 (1965-09-18) – May 27, 1966 (1966-05-27)

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, 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]


Title Directed by: Written by: Air date
1 "Over Defence Is Out" Stuart Rosenberg Richard Alan Simmons September 18, 1965 (1965-09-18)
O'Brien represents a client who was charged with murder after being released from prison.
2 "Bargain Day on the Street of Regret" Bernard L. Kowalski Irving Gaynor Neiman September 25, 1965 (1965-09-25)
After winning a boxer in a dice game, O'Brien must defend him when he is charged in a fatal stabbing.
3 "Notes on a Spanish Prisoner" Stuart Rosenberg Harold Gast October 2, 1965 (1965-10-02)
A bunco artist (Buddy Hackett) is defended by O'Brien after he is conned out of money by his girlfriend.
4 "Never Bet on Anything That Talks" Robert Gist Robert van Scoyk October 9, 1965 (1965-10-09)
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.
5 "What Can Go Wrong" Lamont Johnson Irving Gaynor Neiman October 16, 1965 (1965-10-16)
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.
6 "Goodbye and Keep Cool" James Sheldon Gene Wang October 23, 1965 (1965-10-23)
A woman (Cloris Leachman) is accused of murdering her husband, and retains O'Brien to defend her.
7 "A Gaggle of Girls" Stuart Rosenberg Robert J. Crean October 30, 1965 (1965-10-30)
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.
8 "The Trouble with Archie" Bernard L. Kowalski George Bellak November 6, 1965 (1965-11-06)
O'Brien investigates the death of a partner in the Seventh Avenue Dress House where his ex-wife works.
9 "How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?" Robert Gist George Bellak November 13, 1965 (1965-11-13)
A "heist artist" who is accused of fatally stabbing a dealer of rare violins is defended by O'Brien.
10 "Charlie Has All the Luck" Tom Gries Heywood Peters November 20, 1965 (1965-11-20)
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.
11 "Picture Me a Murder" Lawrence Dobkin George Bellak November 27, 1965 (1965-11-27)
O'Brien represents a producer who was charged with resisting arrest while filming an "underground" movie.
12 "Dead End on Flugel Street" Paul Bogart Robert van Scoyk December 3, 1965 (1965-12-03)
A burlesque comedian (Milton Berle) is involved in murder when his straight man is killed after making advances on the comedian's wife.
13 "No Justice for the Judge" Abner Biberman David Ellis December 10, 1965 (1965-12-10)
An eccentric judge (Burgess Meredith) engages O'Brien to represent him on charges of mental disability that could remove him from the bench.
14 "Leave It to Me" Paul Bogart Philip H. Reisman Jr. December 17, 1965 (1965-12-17)
O'Brien tries to have a will declared invalid before three greedy heirs (Angela Lansbury, George Rose and Thayer David) kill each other in a house that's booby-trapped from cellar to attic.
15 "Alarums and Excursions" Richard C. Sarafian Robert J. Crean January 7, 1966 (1966-01-07)
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.
16 "The 10-Foot, 6-Inch Pole" Stuart Rosenberg Don Mankiewicz January 14, 1966 (1966-01-14)
O'Brien charges that an assistant district attorney (Murray Hamilton) failed to prosecute a broker (Albert Paulsen) in the death of an accountant.
17 "A Horse Called Destiny" Abner Biberman Robert van Scoyk January 21, 1966 (1966-01-21)
O'Brien represents a spiritualist in the murder of a wealthy client whose death he has predicted.
18 "The Blue Steel Suite" * David Ellis January 28, 1966 (1966-01-28)
Held as a hostage in a jail break, O'Brien is asked to take a prisoner's complaints to the public.
19 "The Partridge Papers" Lawrence Dobkin George Bellak February 4, 1966 (1966-02-04)
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.
20 "The Greatest Game: Part 1" Abner Biberman George Bellak March 4, 1966 (1966-03-04)
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.
21 "The Greatest Game: Part 2" Abner Biberman George Bellak March 11, 1966 (1966-03-11)
O'Brien's negotiations for the Viktor Emblem get more complicated when the person holding it has his life threatened.
22 "The Only Game in Town" * Robert van Scoyk March 18, 1966 (1966-03-18)
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.

* Unknown

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