1 9 6 6 (USA)
12 x 30 minute episodes
The Jean Arthur Show displayed the comedienne with the enchantingly cracked voice who delighted moviegoers in Mr Smith Goes To Washington, Mr Deeds Goes To Town and many other cinema comedies.
Her TV series cast her as widowed lawyer Patricia Marshall who had the brains, the crusading zeal and the zest for battle of a Lawrence Preston. Like Preston, she also had a son, 30-year-old Paul (Ron Harper) who was her law partner at Marshall and Marshall, a prestigious law firm located at 100 West Beverly Boulevard in Beverly Hills, Califonia.
But the similarity to The Defenders went no further than that. For this was situation comedy, pure and simple. A number of the situations involved reformed hood Richie Wells, played by Richard Conte.
Patricia had attended Harvard Law School and lived at 367 South Oak Street. She has a brilliant record of corporate litigation wins, but was known for helping the underdog and taking cases that no other high-class firm would handle (for example, defending a boy’s pet rooster, who is accused of crowing and disturbing a neighbourhood; or defending a two-bit hood). Her favourite pastime was going to the beach and hunting for seashells.
Paul had also attended Harvard, and lived in an apartment at 360 Etchfield Road. Unlike his mother – who would go to extremes – Paul was a by-the-books, laid-back attorney who would never tackle the cases his mother did (he seemed to represent only corporate clients). Paul was a young man with spunk, Patricia made things happen.
Morton (Leonard Stone) was Patricia’s chauffeur.
The original working title of the show was Mothers Word Is Law, but to cash in on Arthur’s star power, the eponymous title was selected.