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 series ran for only 22 episodes. 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.
Best Episodes of The Trials of O'Brien
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Worst Episodes of The Trials of O'Brien
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The Trials of O'Brien Episode Guide
Over Defense is Out
18th Sep 1965
O'Brien represents a client who was charged with murder after being released from prison. Guest star: Vincent Gardenia
Bargain Day on the Street of Regret
25th Sep 1965
O'Brien wins the contract of boxer Joe Rooney (Robert Blake) in a dice game, but the pugnacious Rooney is in jail for stealing money from his former manager. Guest Stars include Hershel Bernardi (star of series ""Arnie"", a Broadway ""Fiddler"", and much more), Tony Musante (""Toma"") and Albert Dekker (""Dr.Cyclops"", ""Experiment Perilous"", probably one of his last roles before his strange auto-erotic death) and the lovely, talented Judi West (""Fortune Cookie""), in her television debut, as Joe's girlfriend.
Notes on a Spanish Prisoner
2nd Oct 1965
Eva Grimaldi (Mary Tahmin) cons the con: she borrows $2500 from her boyfriend Ollie Maxwell (Buddy Hackett) to ransom her millionaire father, who is being held prisoner in Latin America.
Never Bet on Anything That Talks
9th Oct 1965
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.
What Can Go Wrong
16th Oct 1965
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. Guest stars: Roger Moore and Michael Constantine.
Goodbye and Keep Cool
23rd Oct 1965
A woman (Cloris Leachman) is accused of murdering her husband, and retains O'Brien to defend her. Guest star: Robert Loggia.
A Gaggle of Girls
30th Oct 1965
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.
The Trouble with Archie
6th Nov 1965
O'Brien investigates the death of a partner in the Seventh Avenue Dress House where his ex-wife works. Guest stars: Lou Jacobi, Theodore Bikel, Simon Oakland and Alice Ghostley.
How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?
13th Nov 1965
A "heist artist" who is accused of fatally stabbing a dealer of rare violins is defended by O'Brien. Guest stars: Norman Fell, Dana Elcar, Kurt Kasznar, Frank Langella, and former boxer Jake LaMotta.
Charlie Has All the Luck
20th Nov 1965
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. Guest stars: Martin Sheen, Tony Roberts, and Philip Bosco.
Picture Me a Murder
27th Nov 1965
O'Brien represents a movie producer (Alan Alda) who was charged with resisting arrest while filming an "underground" movie. Guest stars: Claude Akins, Charles Grodin, Jessica Walter, and Joanna Pettet.
Dead End on Flugel Street
3rd Dec 1965
A burlesque comedian (Milton Berle) is involved in murder when his straight man is killed after making advances on the comedian's wife.
No Justice for the Judge
10th Dec 1965
An eccentric judge (Burgess Meredith) engages O'Brien to represent him on charges of mental disability that could remove him from the bench. Guest stars: Robert Emhardt, Barnard Hughes, and Ken Kercheval.
Leave It to Me
17th Dec 1965
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.
Alarums and Excursions
7th Jan 1966
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.
The 10-Foot, 6-Inch Pole
14th Jan 1966
Accountant Jerry Quinlan was an apparent suicide, until it is discovered that he had questions and suspicions about his company's books which he was about to report.
A Horse Called Destiny
21st Jan 1966
O'Brien represents a spiritualist in the murder of a wealthy client whose death he has predicted.
The Blue Steel Suite
28th Jan 1966
Protesting their living conditions, the prisoners of the state prison's isolation cell block have taken 3 hostages whom they will only release if O'Brien will make a public presentation of their case.
The Partridge Papers
4th Feb 1966
James Partridge, who once worked for British Intelligence, believes he was the target of a hit and run driver who was responsible for landing O'Brien in the hospital with a broken leg. This episode was the dramatic television debut of singer Sheila MacRae (wife of Gorden MacRae, and TV wife of Jackie Gleason in his ""Amecrican Scene"" magazine Honeymooners period)
The Greatest Game (1)
4th Mar 1966
""WANTED - Macedonian Art Objects, 17th Century, Contact:Daniel J O'Brien"" With this ad in a Manhatten peoper, O'Brien begins an international hunt for the Viktor Emblem, a ""jewel encrusted treasure of a Balkan Country"", which has been stolen from a shrine, and is being offered by 4 thieves for $500,000, with a fee for O'Brien to handle the negotiations. Altho this two part episode was broadcast in B&W, in 1966, it was edited into a tv-movie in color, ""Too Many Thieves"" (thanks- Classic TV Archive for that tidbit) It also marked the US tv debut of Britt Ecklund, then the wife of Peter Sellers (and later Rod ""the Mod"" Stewart) Ludwig Donath was know for his Broadway performances in the musicals ""She Loves Me"" and ""A Family Affair""
The Greatest Game (2)
11th Mar 1966
O'Brien's negotiations for the Viktor Emblem get more complicated when the person holding it has his life threatened.
The Only Game in Town
18th Mar 1966
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.