The Public Defender
(1954 – 1955)
Anthology / Crime / Drama
Cast: Reed Hadley
This 30 minute television series focused on those attorneys appointed by the State to defend indigents. Starring Reed Hadley as Bart Matthews, an attorney who canvased the entire nation looking for intriguing cases. A part of each show was to profile one notable public defender.
This series is a contemporary of Dragnet, which often went for the jugular with true stories of murder and mayhem. The Public Defender series was usually quieter and less violent, concerned more with how the law actually works to protect the people and the innocent victims of crime.
Matthews gets a blind man to identify a killer and save an innocent man.
Guest Stars: Clem Bevans and George Cleveland
When juvenile gangs are organized by a wealthy crook Matthews enlists the help of a TV commentator.
Guest Stars: Hillary Brooke and John Doucette
Matthews finds a photo taken with a timer that clears an innocent man and convicts the guilty one.
Guest Star: DeForest Kelly
Matthews defends an innocent man sentenced to prison after being wrongly identified.
Guest Star: James Lydon
Matthews’ assistant jeopardizes his career when he defends a boy accused of nearly beating a beloved old man to death.
Guest Stars: Madge Blake, Paul E. Burns, Emlen Davies, and Mary Webster
Matthews comes to the defense of a woman accused of murder .
Guest Stars: Joan Camden and King Donovan
A convict is intimidated into a jailbreak by the man who caused him to be sentenced originally.
Guest Stars: Mike Mazurki and Anthony Caruso
Matthews helps a boy who committed a crime in order to gain attention from his father.
Guest Stars: Robert "Bobby" Ellis and Alan Reed
Matthews defends a young immigrant who killed the man blackmailing his sister into stealing secrets.
Guest Stars: Tony Christian, Jan Merlin, and Douglas Kennedy
Matthews defends a young immigrant woman accused of stealing from her “friendly” employer.
Guest Stars: Lisa Montel, Tol Avery, Celia Lovsky, Linda Stirling, Ben Weldon, and Russ Conway
Matthews defends a timid man who has confessed to murder by claiming he committed the crimes because the “voices” told him to. Is he faking?
Guest Star: Robert Cornthwaite
The Sapphire Mink
Matthews helps a young woman accused of stealing a $2,000 fur coat. As he investigates, Matthews begins to smell a rat.
Guest Stars: Susanne Alexander and Ann Doran
Badge of Honor
A rookie police officer is accused of incompetence and Matthews tries to help him.
Guest Star: Harry Carey Jr.
Let Justice Be Done
Jim Prentice is forced to put personal feelings aside when he is assigned to defend Tim Conroy, charged with the murder of Sgt. Ken Ropker, a friend of his.
Guest Stars: Patrick O'Neal and Skip Homier
Eight Out of One Hundred
Matthews is called upon to defend Bertha Polaski when she is accused of stealing the jewels of Hans' deceased wife. His task is made more difficult when the police feel alienated due to a recent speech of Matthews' in Chicago when he quotes statistics that 8 out of 100 cases brought by the police are proven innocent by public defenders nationally.
Guest Stars: Lisa Montel and Tol Avery
Bart Matthews is called in by the warden because he believes there may have been a miscarriage of justice resulting in Ginny Smith serving a life sentence for the murder of her landlady, Mrs. Bassett.
Guest Stars: Joan Camden and Don Beddoe