This is the first episode of the 26 episode run of the 1959-60 series, "Philip Marlowe". Marlowe is played by, Phil Carey.
Lawyer James Griffith is a man with two problems. First up is his wealthy wife, Virginia Gregg, whom he does not love. Then there is his bit on the side, Barbara Bain, who he does love. Griffith is so taken with Bain that he fails to see that Bain is only interested in his wife's cash.
Bain is constantly "hinting" how much better their life would be if Gregg was out of the picture. "Permanently" out of the picture she says. Griffith though does not have the stomach for the deed. Bain takes the matter into her own hands. She hires an "acquaintance', Marc Towers, who just happens to know about such matters.
Several days later, while Griffith just happens to be out of town, Towers runs Gregg off the side of road and into a ravine. It is just plain luck that she is not killed. Gregg's father, Addison Richards, hires Private Investigator Philip Marlow to look into the "accident". Marlowe, played by Philip Carey, accepts the case.
Richards is sure that hubby Griffiths and his tart, Bain, are behind everything. It appears that Gregg also knows about husband Griffith's paramour. She admits to Carey that Griffith only married her for her money, but that she is afraid of being alone. Gregg's father, Richards gives Carey $10,000 to buy off Bain and get her out of his daughter's life.
Carey pays the dolly a visit at her hotel and offers her the cash, which of course Bain accepts. Carey tells Bain she has till the next morning to blow town. On exiting the hotel, Carey runs into Rhys Williams. Williams was a cop Carey knew from years before. He is now the hotel detective. Carey asks Williams to call him if Bain does not check out.
The next day, house dick Williams calls Carey to tell him that Bain never checked out. Carey jumps in his car and comes a calling. He enters Bain's rooms and finds the woman dead of a large gunshot to the head. There is no sign of the 10 large Carey had dropped off earlier. He calls the Police and asks for a cop he knows, Detective William Schallert. He muffles his voice, gives the address and that a murder has happened. He wipes down the phone and exits. He has no wish to be involved any further. A large pistol stuck in his face soon stops said exit. The pistol butt is then applied to the side of Carey's head, after which he is dumped back inside the hotel room.
When Carey wakes, the Police and Detective Schallert are giving the corpse the once over. Carey gives his version of events and identifies Marc Towers as the thug who belted him. The forensic boys have found a gun and it is sent off for a bullet match to that in Bain's head. An all points is also sent out on Towers.
Several hours later Carey is summoned to Schallert's office. The bullet matches the gun and the gun is registered to P.I. Carey. "It is a frame job!" grumbles Carey. Schallert is inclined to believe Carey. "Someone must have pinched my gun out of my car." Now Towers is picked up on the all points. Towers, does admit to clobbering Carey, but has an alibi for the time of the murder. He had also found Bain in a less than animated state.
"Just what the hell is going on?" Carey thinks to himself. Then the old flash bulb goes off and Carey has the answer. A quick trip over to hotel detective Rhys Williams' apartment is in order. Williams invites Carey in and offers him a whiskey. Carey accepts and has a seat. "I know it was you," Carey says calmly. Williams quickly produces a .38 and points it at Carey.
It seems that Williams had been listening at Bain's door when she and Carey were discussing the $10,000. Williams had then taken Carey's gun from his car, while Carey and Bain were still talking over the terms of the payoff. When Carey had left, Williams had used his passkey, entered, killed Bain, lifted the cash and planted Carey's gun. It seemed like a good plan.
Williams offers to split the 10 grand with Carey. Carey shakes his head and says he does not play that way. The Police are waiting outside he tells Williams. Williams hands over the gun and has a seat to wait. So much for the good plan Williams mutters.
A rather enjoyable little romp that is all tied up in 25 minutes.
I found it rather interesting to see Bain at this early stage of her career. She would hit the big time several years later with, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.
The director was Robert Ellis Miller. His most famous work would be the feature film, THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER.