Home Television Drama Law and Mr Jones, The

Law and Mr Jones, The

1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 2 (USA)
46 x 30 minute episodes

Ex-football player Abraham Lincoln Jones (James Whitmore) was a sharp New York lawyer assisted by his law clerk, young slow-moving Texan C.E. Carruthers (Conlan Carter), and his secretary Marsha Spear (Janet De Gore).

His cases usually did not involve violence but rather white-collar crime. Stores followed Abraham as he struggled to defend people who had been falsely accused of serious crimes. Unusually for television, he sometimes lost cases.

The series got off to a fairly good ratings reception in 1961 but, without warning, ABC canned the show with the explanation that it was not reaching a satisfactorily large audience share.

In reality, the lack of violence in the show may have contributed to the decision. It was a gentle, ethical, intelligent and conscientious programme – in the first 24 episodes, not a shot was fired.

James Whitmore contacted columnists and asked them to join in his crusade to get Mr Jones back on the air, and the members of the press were only too happy to oblige, and newspapers and magazines hammered out the message.

The giant ABC network watched Whitmore argue his case with mild amusement. Only one show, Father Knows Best, had been returned to the air at the urging of irate viewers.

But within weeks, network executives received approximately 400,000 protest letters and The Law and Mr Jones returned to ABC on 19 April 1962 in a new timeslot (9:30 pm) on a new day (Thursday) for a final season.

Abraham Lincoln Jones
James Whitmore
Marsha Spear
Janet De Gore
C.E. Carruthers
Conlan Carter