Saturday, October 19, 2019

Episode 23: The Trial - 10/10/67

Charlie Gilman pops the top on his bottle of pop as he describes to David Vincent how his good looking coworker, Wilk, was injured in an accident that caused a foot long piece of glass to open a large gash on his wrist that did not bleed. David asks why he didn't tell somebody, and he asks how he could tell anyone that the personnel manager may be a space man. David asks where the security office is, and heads in that direction, telling Gilman to keep an eye on Wilk.

Wilk goes inside the building and Gilman follows him. He enters a boiler room and begins to descend a staircase, when Wilk suddenly closes and locks the door, asking what he wants while brandishing a very large wrench. He begins swinging it at Gilman, who dodges the blows.

David Vincent exits the security office with Sgt. Wisnovsky and can't locate Gilman, who is battling Wilk. They approach the boiler room where they can hear a scuffle, but are unable to open the locked door, so they peer in the window to see Gilman hit Wilk in the head with the wrench, knocking him down. Wisnovsky shoots the door handle and as they break in, he tells Gilman to drop the wrench and come up. Gilman says he burned up, and David says it means he was right about Wilk. Sgt. Wisnovsky says it means he's a murderer.

Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent

Guest Stars:
Don Gordon as Charlie Gilman

Russell Johnson as James Bernard

Harold Gould as Allen Slater

Lynda Day as Janet Wilk

Malcolm Atterbury as Judge Simpson

Directed by:

Act I

David Vincent, brought to Jackson City by a report of alien presence, must now help a friend account for the absence of that alien. At 2:00 this afternoon, Charles Gilman goes on trial for the murder of Fred Wilk.
David Vincent waits in front of the courthouse to meet an investigator who gives him a report on the little information he's found on Fred Wilk. David asks him to find proof that he didn't exist before a year ago. He reminds David he's behind on his payments before telling him he also hasn't found anything on his wife. David says he's on his way to see her and tells him to stick with the investigation.

David meets with Janet Wilk, telling her he's an insurance agent representing the company. He asks how long she knew her husband, and she said she only knew him a few weeks before they were married a year ago. He keeps digging for information about his past, but she evades his questions.

The doorbell rings and the county attorney, Slater, enters and warns David to leave or face arrest for trespassing. He says she let him in, and Slater says he lied to her. David claims she may have done the same. Slater says he should stop snooping since it's a simple case of Gilman killing Wilk.

Gilman tells David that he killed Wilk and should just plead guilty. David asserts that he destroyed an alien. Gilman asks his lawyer, Bernard, if he believes it, who hems and haws. Gilman asks about a self defense plea, but he tells him he was seen hitting a man without a weapon. David asks what Wilk said to him before he hit him, but he says he didn't say anything, and then gets frustrated and tells David to get out. David says he stuck by him in Korea and will stick by him now.

David asks how long attorney Slater has been there and Bernard says it's probably been a year. Gilman asks if he thinks Slater is an alien and David says it's possible. Bernard says he only took the case because no one else was able to, and that he's not going to accuse his colleague of being a space monster.

In court, Slater asks the security guard if there was any place the body could have been disposed of in the furnace room, and he says there was a fire burning in the furnace. Bernard declines to question him, but reserves the right to cross examine him later.

Slater then calls David Vincent, who is sworn in. Slater confirms that he is Gilman's friend. He asks if  the sergeant's account was correct in that he saw Gilman hit Wilk with a wrench. David says it's correct, but tells him that Wilk did not die. Slater confirms he did not see Wilk again after seeing him get hit in the head, asserting a blazing furnace was nearby. David asks the judge if he can make a statement, and the judge agrees.

David says he saw Charlie hit Wilk, but he clarifies that murder is defined as the killing of another human being, and asserts that Wilk was not a human being. The judge calls a recess and requests that David and the attorneys meet in chambers.

I don't think we need Perry Mason to solve this one. Even with a blazing hot furnace, there should still be ashes present to identify that a body had been burned in the furnace. Without evidence of a corpse or remains of one, it's difficult to prove there's been a murder. Both the judge and attorney will have to be aliens for Charlie Gilman to get a conviction without concrete proof of a murder. Is the wife also an alien, and if not, did she know her husband was an alien? That will be interesting to find out. The last time we saw a woman married to an alien was in Moonshot

Act II

In chambers, the judge asks if it was Bernard's idea, but David asserts he had nothing to do with it. He states that Charlie saw Fred Wilk disintegrate, which would prove that he was not human. The judge warns against grandstanding, saying he can afford him latitude but not license.

Slater hangs behind to suggest the judge is in a bind if Gilman is not found guilty, suggesting he think about whether or not the governor will appoint a man to state Supreme Court who believes in little, green martians. The judge orders Slater out of the room.

Janet Wilk confronts David on why he's smearing her husband's memory. David claims that what he said about him is true and suggests that she denies it because she may have the same reason he did to hide the truth. She walks out and Bernard says he was hard on her. David says she was married to an alien and is probably one herself. Bernard wonders if he will be making history with their case, or if he's been sucked in by a couple of kooks.

Back in the courtroom, Miss Cole is being cross examined by Bernard about her account of how Gilman entered a restaurant where she was working and assaulted Fred Wilk, saying he should kill him. David Vincent writes a note and passes it to Bernard, who then asks Miss Cole if she saw any blood on Mr. Wilk during or after the fight. Slater asks when she stopped watching the fight, and she says she stopped watching when it became violent. The judge dismisses her from the witness stand.

Janet Wilk is called and sworn in. Slater asks her to confirm that she's Fred Wilk's widow and the judge badgers her to speak up. He confirms that she was married to Fred Wilk for eleven months and has an infant child. He asks if Miss Cole's description of the fight was accurate, and if she heard Gilman say he should kill her husband. He asks why Gilman would do that, and she admits that she was engaged to him for three years before she met Fred, that she had moved to Lincoln City after they broke up, and Charlie came a year later, but she'd already married Fred, which Charlie did not like. David tells Bernard to ask for a recess, which he does, claiming the testimony was a surprise and that he needs to consult with his client. The judge grants a fifteen minute recess.

David asks Gilman about Janet's testimony as Bernard sits silently by with hands steepled. Charlie confirms that what she said was true, and David asks why he didn't tell them. He says he doesn't know why. David suggests he just wanted him there to try to get him off the hook, suggesting he may have thrown Wilk into the furnace. Gilman tells him to believe that if he wants. David says he doesn't believe it but doesn't understand why he didn't tell them. Gilman says they should change the plea to guilty since that's what will be decided anyway.

David asks if he was thinking about Janet when he killed Fred Wilk. He asks again what Wilk said to him before he hit him, and Gilman says he doesn't remember. He asks if it was about Janet, and Gilman finally admits it was. David insists they can still fight if they can prove Wilk was an alien, but Charlie doesn't think so. Gilman says he just wanted to kill Fred Wilk. David asserts that the point is that he was an alien. They light cigarettes and David asks if he still loves Janet. Silent attorney Bernard decides he finally has a question, and asks why Wilk the alien would marry Janet. David claims it was part of his cover. Bernard suggests his involvement in the case might be his way to prove that aliens are on Earth. David admits that could be part of it. They ask how they can prove Wilk was an alien. David says all they have to do was prove he never existed.

First rule in the school of Perry Mason: Tell your counselor EVERYTHING! Gilman raises the question of whether or not he is guilty of murder for wanting Wilk dead regardless of whether or not he was an alien. One point of confusion to note is that Janet says she came to Lincoln City, but at the beginning of Act I, the narrator says David came to Jackson City, while the sign outside the courthouse is labeled, Windsor County Courthouse. Neither city is in Windsor County. Could David Vincent be dreaming all of this? 


David's PI man is on the phone, trying to find out if Wilk ever filed a tax return before last year. He gets Vincent on the pay phone at the court house and tells him that he hasn't found any evidence that Wilk existed before a year ago. David says they have to prove he didn't exist before a year ago, and tells him he has until 7 o'clock to get him that evidence.

David runs into Janet in the hall, who asks if it was Charlie's idea for her to testify for the defense, but David claims it was his. She says it's not like Perry Mason, and she won't  be able to go into the courtroom and save Charlie. She says Charlie killed a man, who might not have been a great husband, but still a man, which David disputes. She says that Charlie is lying about everything that's happened. She asks if David believes him.

Gilman is on the witness stand asserting that he's told the truth. Slater says out of several hundred people who worked at the plant, he was the only one who believed Wilk was an alien, perhaps because he married his girlfriend, which may also be the reason he killed him. Slater says Fred Wilk walked, talked, laughed and cried, and was a father to a child. Gilman repeats that he was not a human being.

Janet is called to the stand and Bernard asks how long she knew Wilk, and what she knew about his past. She testifies that, as far as she knew, he never existed before she met him, to the consternation of Slater. She admits she did not have a good marriage because Fred never touched her, and never wanted to, which must have stunned the courtroom audience to absolute silence. Bernard asks her if he had no human desires, and Slater objects to his use of the word human in that context. The judge overrules him, stating that a wife would know better than her attorney about her husband's behavior, and directs her to answer the question. She affirms that he had no human desires.

Bernard asks why Fred could not have relations with her, and Slater objects, stating that it was not established whether he could not, just that he did not, which is sustained by the judge. Janet says that there was something cold, almost inhuman about him, to which Slater objects. He states that he objects to a wife assassinating her husband's memory post mortem. The judge overrules him and says he's out of order. He asks if she expressed her marital problems to Gilman and she says that she had. He asks her if Fred Wilk was a human being or not, and she says she wishes she knew.

Slater begins questioning by asking if she's a normal woman. He says she was married eleven months, but has a four month old child, and asks if he's correct in assuming that Wilk was not the father of her child. She responds in the affirmative, and Slater asks who is the father. Bernard objects and the judge calls counsel to the bench. He says he will only require a response from her if it's relevant to the case. Slater says it is necessary to establish motive and cast doubt on her credibility, admitting that he's impeaching his own witness when the judge calls him on it.

Slater asks again who the father is, and she says that Gilman is the father. He asks if she's still in love with Gilman, which she agrees that she is, and he confirms that she was in love with him when she married, and never loved her husband. He says she probably never encouraged him and asks how she could blame him for not having relations with her. She says he couldn't, and Slater asks again if she was a normal wife. He asks if she has any proof that he was not a man, and she says she doesn't

As she leaves the stand and passes by Gilman, the judge curiously allows her to have a conversation with Gilman, saying she was not embarrassed to say what she did on the stand. She asks Bernard if it helped, and he said it's a start. He then calls John Lovell to the stand, as David is called outside for a phone call. His guy, Brennan, tells him that he can't prove Wilk was an alien, but can prove that he was not Fred Wilk, and he should keep the trial going until 7 when he can get the information to him. David commends him and tells him to be careful. As he returns to the courtroom, he holds the door for an elderly couple who thank him by name.

Slater is trying to establish with Lovell the possibility that someone could be incinerated and leave no trace. David tells Bernard they have to keep the trial going until 7 because Brennan has proof that the guy was not Fred Wilk. Bernard says it's not good enough, and suggests they should make a deal, saying that Wilk was a man. David and Charlie both say there's no deal. Bernard asks for a continuance until 7 when they can provide a key witness.

Slater says they also have a key witness and is allowed to call Fred Wilk Sr. to the stand, who turns out to be the elderly gentleman David held the door for. Slater shows him a picture and he asserts it's a photo of his 'natural' son, which Slater introduces into evidence. He asks if he's Fred Wilk's father, and he says he is and produces his birth certificate. He asks his mother to stand up and she does. Bernard declines to question him, and the elderly couple leaves the courtroom. David follows them out. He accosts them at a soda machine, asking who sent them, and they say it was a friend of the Cause. He says they should come with him, but the elderly woman says they can't, as they take pills, glow red, and disintegrate. David is stunned as Slater sneaks up behind him and gloats, saying they've got him by the ears.

Wow! That was some fast acting poison to start working right after being swallowed. It was pretty intense to have the old alien couple take suicide pills immediately after testimony without hesitation, in stark contrast to the alien in last week's episode who blubbered and begged David to shoot him. Not only that, but we found out that the Invaders are not all that into engaging in human sexual relations, or at least, Fred Wilk wasn't. There was also the shock of finding out that Janet got knocked up by Charlie, which was what forced her to hook up with alien Fred in the first place! 

Act IV

David tries to console Gilman in his jail cell, claiming Brennan will be there soon. Gilman says he wants to make a deal with the attorney, asserting that it's his life. David says he needs more time. He asks if David ever knew how scared he was of dying while in Korea. 

David leaves his cell as Janet is escorted in. Charlie kisses and embraces her.

David goes outside to meet with Brennan. He finds him in his car dead at the wheel. David tells Bernard that Brennan had a cerebral hemorrhage and is dead. Bernard realizes that's how the aliens get rid of those who will expose them. He asks who knew he was coming, and David mentions that he said something in court about a key witness arriving at 7. He tells him Charlie wants to make a deal and Bernard offers a few possibilities. David asks that he make sure that he gets off with his life, and leaves the door open to the possibility of David helping him once he gets proof.

Charlie and Janet are hugging and kissing when David arrives at the jail cell. He tells them that they got to Brennan before they could get the evidence. Gilman wonders if Slater was responsible, and Janet wonders if Bernard might have seen him, since she saw him coming in from the parking lot when she arrived. She says he was carrying some envelopes with him. David calls the guard.

He finds Bernard and Slater with the judge in chambers. The judge wants to know why both he and Gilman told such an improbable story. Just as he is about to say why, David accidentally on purpose knocks over a glass and breaks it. He takes a glass shard and cuts Bernard's face, which does not bleed. Bernard runs out and is shot by Sgt. Wisnovsky He glows red and disintegrates to the shock of everyone but David.

Surprise! Here they had us thinking that Slater was the alien, when it clearly made more sense for Bernard to be the alien, so he could find out if they had information to prove alien existence. I have to say, it's very disappointing to have a cerebral hemorrhage with no appearance of a hemorrhage inducing lighted disc. We haven't seen one of those palmed since The Saucer episode. 


In the courtroom, the judge states that Slater has called for charges to be dismissed on insufficient evidence. Slater finds David and admits he was afraid he was going to be his next slashing victim. David says he thought about it, and the judge says that if he suspected Slater of being an alien, he could have confirmed he was not, as he was a student of his in law school. Slater says he was one of his best, but after he leaves, the judge admits he never liked him.

David catches up to Charlie and Janet outside the courthouse. He says he may call upon them to back him up when it comes time to prove the existence of Invaders. Charlie says they'll be there for him. Janet asks if Charlie thinks he judge will perform the ceremony for them, and David jokes that they could pass the blood test.

Three more witnesses to testify on David Vincent's behalf, when he has his day in court--when he presents his case to the authorities, proving the existence of alien invaders. 

Bill Zuckert...Sgt. Bert Wisnovsky
James McCallion...Brennan
Selette Cole...Miss Cole
John Rayner...Fred Wilk
Jason Wingreen...Court Clerk
Richard Hale...Fred Wilk Sr.
Amy Douglass...Mrs. Wilk
Sid McCoy...John Lovell

Director of Photography:
 Andrew J. McIntyre

Invaders theme by:
Dominic Frontiere

David collects more witnesses to prove the existence of alien invaders, and they are all okay with keeping mum about it until David can finally get his act together to present his case. So, what is he waiting for? He's got all kinds of respectable officials in and outside of government who can corroborate his story. It's a good thing the Invaders are taking as much time to make Earth their own as he is taking to try and prove that's what they're here to do, or the human race would be done for by now. 

While we were left wondering halfway through the episode if aliens and humans could produce offspring, we were provided with no evidence of 'relations' between humans and aliens as of yet, though the possibility that the aliens might consider introducing their genome to the human species remains terrifying enough. 

While there were some interesting aspects to this episode, and it presented a decent courtroom drama, it mostly ho-hummed along with the usual relationship drama in addition to some low key aliens. The most exciting moment was when the elderly couple offed themselves, which raises the alien pinky rating slightly. I am hoping both David Vincent and the Invaders feel a greater sense of urgency towards attaining their goals, and that we'll see less of everyone's extra- or pre-marital affairs that we don't really want to know about in coming episodes.

Don't miss Gene Hackman and Wayne Rogers in next week's episode!


  1. Every 1960s drama series had the Courtroom episode. This was a great one and the alien was the last person I suspected. The best-hidden alien since Harry in 'Quantity: Unknown'.

  2. The Invaders often reminds me of this terrific YouTube comedy sketch series called 'Pitch Meeting,' which features an actor named Ryan George who plays both parts, a writer (with glasses) and a studio exec and he pitches all these (mostly contemporary, sometimes vintage) movies with jokes around the plot holes. The studio exec would've said (for the 20th time by now) after they killed the PI, 'Well, why don't the aliens just kill David Vincent?' 'Because he's the star.' 'That works.'

    Writer Stephen Bowie put together an excellent history of the show which if you google Invaders, his name and classic TV history, you can find. He found out this was a so-called bottle show conceived because they needed a script in a hurry.