Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The $2,000,000 Defense (11/02/58)

ahp20000005Lloyd Ashley (Leslie Nielsen) is on the witness stand being asked if he hired a private detective to snoop on his wife.  He believes his wife was having an affair with his investment adviser.

He is also asked if he went to the adviser’s house and confronted him with a .32 caliber pistol.  Ashley does not deny any of this, but claims he just meant to frighten him. Unfortunately, the man lunged at Ashley, he dropped the gun, and it discharged when it hit the floor.  The next witness is a ballistics expert who testifies that a gun dropped on the floor would not discharge.

During a recess, Ashley offers his attorney, Mark Robeson, half his net worth if he can get him off by any means.  That would amount to to the titular $2,000,000.  Robeson wisely asks for the offer to be put in writing.

Back in his office, Robeson loads a pistol and slams it down on his desk to see if it will go off.  It does not, leaving him to earn his $2,000,000 fee by shooting himself in the arm.  Now he can get the ballistics expert back on the stand and use himself as an example of how slamming a pistol down can make it go off.

ahp20000004He further makes his case by giving the expert the loaded pistol and asking him to slam it to the ground.  When the expert refuses, the case is won.  If the gun will fire, you must . . . If the gun will discharge, you must . . . if the gun will go off, you must . . . . oh hell, just acquit already.

Back at Robeson’s office, he and Robeson toast the acquittal.  For some reason that I can’t figure out, Robeson has blank checks on Ashley’s account handy in his desk.  The man he shot was his investment adviser, Robeson is just his lawyer.  Whatever, Ashley happily signs a $2,000,000 check.

He then takes Robeson’s pistol out of his desk drawer and accuses him of also having an affair with his wife — Christ, what a tramp.

The private investigator who uncovered the first affair also discovered Ashley’s wife having an affair with Robeson.  BANG.


  • AHP Deathwatch:  No survivors.
  • 22 years before Leslie Nielsen starting going for laughs in Airplane!.
  • The ballistics expert also played the father of Dennis the Menace.  I must be getting old — the moms in these old series are starting to look pretty good to me.
  • Hulu sucks.

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