Home Television Drama Trials of O’Brien, The

Trials of O’Brien, The

1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 6 (USA)
22 x 60 minute episodes

Daniel J. O’Brien (Peter Falk) was a brilliant – and expensive – but very disorganised criminal attorney working out of New York City whose personal life was almost more trying than his professional life.

He was behind in the rent on his luxurious penthouse apartment, behind in alimony payments to his beautiful ex-wife, Katie (Joanna Barnes), and was one of the most unsuccessful gamblers in the city. Somehow, no matter how fast the money came in, it went out just a little bit faster.

His secretary, Miss G (Elaine Stritch), tried to help him maintain a better financial equilibrium, but it never quite worked out.

In certain ways, Peter Falk’s characterisation of O’Brien had parallels with his much more successful portrayal of Columbo in the 1970s. Both were extremely good at their jobs but rather sloppy and disorganised when it came to their personal lives.

But while his office was messy and his clothes untidy, his keen legal mind, eye for detail (while investigating cases) and ability to address a jury made for a winning combination that cleared his clients of criminal charges.

The Great McGonigle (David Burns) was his con-artist friend.

Guest artists over the 22 episodes included Cloris Leachman, Faye Dunaway, Britt Ekland, David Carradine, Gene Hackman, Martin Sheen, Alan Alda, Charles Grodin, and Angela Lansbury.

Daniel J. O’Brien
Peter Falk
Joanna Barnes
Miss G
Elaine Stritch
The Great McGonigle
David Burns
Ilka Chase
Lt. Garrison
Dolph Sweet