Perry Mason Season 1 Defendants: Leona Walsh vs. Stephanie Falkner
The tournament’s fifth matchup has a nurse facing off against a gambler’s daughter: Leona Walsh (The Case of the Screaming Woman) vs. Stephanie Falkner (The Case of the Long Legged Models).
Leona Walsh has chosen to follow her law-skirting boss Dr. Barnes in getting out-of-wedlock gals to give their babies to other families. Stephanie Falkner has lost a father and traded in a boyfriend for the boyfriend’s dad.
Pregame Analysis: The Case of the Screaming Woman is my fave all-time episode, but Leona Walsh isn’t the reason. I give the edge to the Garvin-dating Stephanie.
Was the defendant memorable?
Leona wails and confesses to murder. She’s not selfish or self-righteous like her boss, Dr. Barnes. But when I try to conjure up a classic Leona Walsh moment, I just get a picture of her crying. What’s her standout scene in this episode? Her begging for mercy from Mary K. Davis?
Stephanie Falkner isn’t particularly memorable to me either. The scene where she has to give a gun to Jr. Garvin and congratulate him on his marriage while Perry plays chaperone is fun, I guess. She also gets the scene in court where Garvin Sr. confesses his love for her from the stand.
Was the defendant the most compelling non-permanent character in the case?
The Case of the Screaming Woman is stacked.
Mary K. Davis, who is as villainous a murder victim as we saw in Season 1
Eugene Jarrech, the rat-race running attorney who tries to get the damning diary of adopted orphans from Mason
Scream-prone Connie Cooper
Politician Ralph Davis
Leona kind of fades into the background here. She’s less sad than Ruta. She can’t match Mary Davis’s villainy with equal heroism, and she’s not as sneaky as Jarrett.
As for The Case of the Long-Legged Models, Stephanie isn’t a clear winner. Father and Son Garvin are mildly compelling as are all the titular long-legged models walking around the episode. Our murderer Frank Castle is the best kind of villain too, someone we actually see murder someone on screen; he’s a guy you’re rooting to get his. Stephanie kind of doesn’t stand a chance, even though we’re supposed to imagine that father and son both fell for her.
Advantage: Stephanie Falkner, by the slimmest of margins…
Does Perry respect the defendant?
Perry talks about Bob Schroeder’s mother in The Case of the Screaming Woman’s denouement. Then Tragg enters and mentions that Connie will get probably get charged with second-degree murder and that Dr. Barnes is henceforth out of the baby business. Noticeably absent from conversation? Leona Walsh.
Stephanie Falkner doesn’t show up in the final scene of The Case of The Long-Legged Models, but she has good reason: she’s getting hitched to Papa Garvin! I’m surprised Jr. Garvin and wife weren’t there as witnesses.
Advantage: Stephanie Falkner
Finally, do we have a prior history with the actor or actress?
Josephine Hutchinson (Leona Walsh) appeared in three more episodes. I see her as Miss Sarah from The Case of the Barefaced Witness.
Peggy McKay (Stephanie Falkner) only appeared in one more episode, which I had to look up (The Case of the Skeleton’s Closet). This is McCay’s shining Perry moment.
Advantage: Leona Walsh
Final Verdict: The judge finds Stephanie Falkner the victor in this head-to-head matchup.
Congratulations, Stephanie! Your prize is a decent honeymoon with Papa Garvin where he leaves his holster gun at home and you get some R and R. My advice: don’t go to Las Vegas.