Public Defender (1954–1955)

Your Witness 

Bart Matthews defends Karl Novak, who faces a second-degree murder charge following the grisly slaying of a storekeeper.


Harve Foster


William P. Rousseau (teleplay), Mort R. Lewis (creator) (as Mort Lewis) | 1 more credit »


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Episode complete credited cast:
Reed Hadley ... Bart Matthews
Walter Coy ... Karl Novak
Virginia Gregg ... Judge Knox
Parley Baer ... Benjamin Carr
Bobs Watson ... Rodger Bissel
John Harmon ... Doc Charles
Harry Lauter ... Deputy Sheriff Malden
Lorna Thayer ... Florence Novak
Dorothy Adams ... Mrs. Ziegler
J. Anthony Hughes ... George Alomar (as Tony Hughes)


Karl Novak, a sincere but simple individual, is placed on trial for the grisly murder of a storekeeper. The evidence against Novak is mainly circumstantial, but determined prosecutor Benjamin Carr methodically lays out his case for the jury. Bart Matthews must convince the jury that his client is innocent of the crime and pointedly refutes each of Carr's contentions. He takes a risk by placing Novak on the stand in his own defense, but the ploy succeeds insofar as Carr is unable to shake Novak from his story. Tension continues to build as the jury is out for an extended period, but the verdict must inevitably come as a disappointment to one of the parties. Written by Sam Spear

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama

User Reviews

Amazingly flat...
5 August 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Back in the 1950s, Reed Hadley starred in two popular TV shows that were incredibly similar..."Racket Squad" and "Public Defender". Despite being on opposite sides of the law in the two shows, Hadley's stiff delivery make it very easy to mix up the two programs. I don't entirely blame the shows or Hadley...this was in the early days of TV and it's obvious here they still needed to work out some of the dramatic kinks in the shows. However, in this installment of "Public Defender" ("Your Witness"), it's even stagier, more stiff and incredibly anticlimactic.

This show is about a case built almost entirely on circumstantial evidence. A man is found dying and next to be body is the defendant. Witness after witness fail to connect him with the murder yet again and again the witnesses seem to have concluded this stranger was a killer. About the only interesting thing about it is seeing a couple very familiar TV faces, Parley Baer ("The Andy Griffith Show" as well as being the head Keebler elf on TV commercials) and Virginia Gregg (a common guest on "Dragnet"). The end of the show is baffling and strange and the show seems almost like we're watching a read-through and not an actual TV drama. Flat and uninteresting...when it clearly SHOULD have been the opposite.

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Release Date:

27 January 1955 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Roach Studios See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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