This is the 27th episode of the 1958 to 1963 Police series, THE NAKED CITY. The series covered stories of New York's 65th Precinct. The leads were played by John McIntire, James Franciscus, Harry Bellevar, Paul Burke and Horace McMahon. The first 39 episodes of the 138 episode run were half-hour productions. The remaining episodes were expanded to an hour running time.
Robert Alda plays a former big-time football star who is now a drunk and a not to talented card sharp. Along with Al Morgenstern and Rocky Graziano, they hit the convention crowds looking for suckers. They then fleece the marks in a not so honest poker game.
This time they are pulling the con in a hotel where, bell boy Arnold Merritt is working. Merritt knows Alda and looked up to the man as a hero back when Alda was a star. Merritt is trying to convince the man to quit the racket and go straight. Alda is too much of a drunk to quit.
Shortly after Merritt leaves the room, the mark, Guy Sorel, figures out he is being played and threatens to call the Police. The muscle, Rocky Graziano, clocks the guy with a solid punch. Sorel goes down like a sack of potatoes smashing his head on a handy bit of furniture. The man is dead. The three card sharps grab up their take and split.
The next day, the cops are called when the body is discovered. Detectives James Franciscus and Harry Bellaver are called to look into the death. The detectives are soon having a word with bell boy, Merritt, who had been on shift the night before. Merritt tells the cops he does not know anything about the matter. The Police have also pulled some prints from the hotel room, those of Alda.
Matters quickly come to a head when Morgenstern decides to make sure that Merritt remains quiet. He intends to bump the kid off. He has Alda call up the kid for a meeting. A gun is jabbed in Merritt's ribs and he is forced to walk outside. Morgenstern intends to drop the lad off a high building.
Detective Franciscus has however been following Merritt and puts a stop to the plan, but not before Alda goes for a wingless bit of flight. Alda had tried to stop any harm coming to Merritt. The Detective has to put four rounds into Morgenstern to stop him. Graziano surrenders without a fight.
This is an interesting episode that has former big screen director John Brahm at the helm. Brahm is well known for a string of film noir he directed, such as LET US LIVE, THE LODGER, GUEST IN THE HOUSE, HANGOVER SQUARE, THE LOCKET and THE BRASHER DOUBLOON.
Ex-pug Graziano became a bit player after his days as a boxer ended. His story was turned into the 1956 film SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME, with Paul Newman playing Graziano.