• title card: white all caps text reading ‘BRIEF FOR MURDER’ superimposed on a close-up of Steed in the pub, looking thoughtful
  • In the old-fashioned, wood-panelled pub, Steed, centre stage, shares a drink with Wescott on his left and Dicey on his right to celebrate Wescott’s acquittal
  • Steed, leaning on the fork of a tree, aims his revolver; he’s dressed in a check blazer and black bowler hat
  • In court: Steed demonstrates that the bowler hat found at the crime scene is far too big for him - his head disappearing into it
  • Barbara Kingston wraps up her case, the Lakin brothers sitting on the bench to her left and behind her.
  • Realising they are undone, the Lakin brother search their law book for a precedent

Series 3 — Episode 2
Brief For Murder

by Brian Clemens
Designed by James Goddard
Directed by Peter Hammond

Plot summary

Steed learns that the Lakins have secured an improbably innocent verdict for a clearly guilty man, the latest in a remarkable series of legal victories against the odds. He approaches them, claiming he must murder Mrs Gale, and they work out his defence before he commits the crime! As there’s no body, he gets off easily. Posing as Miss Patchett, Cathy tricks the two solicitors into arranging a trap where they are the convicts and Steed can finally de-bar the crooked legal men.

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Wescott (Alec Ross) and Dicey (June Thody) enjoy a drink at a pub near the Old Bailey, cheerfully expecting the appearance of Inspector Marsh (Fred Ferris) to arrest Wescott for treason.

As they expected, Wescott is found not guilty, thanks not so much to the fine court presence of barrister Barbara Kingston (Helen Lindsay) as to the excellence of the preparation by solicitors MilesLarkin (Harold Scott) and Jasper Lakin (John Laurie). Cathy’s journalist friend Wilson (Anthony Baird) is suspicious as the brothers were obscure, run-of-the-mill lawyers for years, but have had dramatic success after dramatic success in the last year or so.

Catherine Gale (Honor Blackman) is suspicious of John Steed (Patrick Macnee), thinking him the unidentified ‘Johnno’ in the case, and accuses him of the fact. Steed threatens to silence her for good if she says it again, riling her into publishing the accusation in Wilson’s paper.

Steed, following the advice of Wescott, seeks the legal advice of the Lakin brothers, explaining he wants the perfect defence for his planned murder of Mrs Gale. The lawyers respond with alacrity, giving him precise instructions as to what to do and what to say. Steed apparently shoots Cathy from a riverbank, her body falling into the Thames and he escapes by bicycle, leaving a bowler hat behind.

In court, the hat is dramatically found not to fit, and the evidence of Miss Prinn (Alice Fraser) is dismissed in laughter. Their O.J. Simpson defence ensures a not guilty verdict. Mrs Gale’s body has not yet found by the police and indeed Steed spots her, somewhat disguised, winking at him from the gallery!

Steed meets Cathy afterwards in secret and they decide his evidence isn’t enough to convict the brothers, so she must be their next client.
Posing as a Miss Patchett, Cathy tricks the two solicitors into incriminating themselves in a fraud case, but is recognised by Wescott before they return. He and Bart (Michael Goldie) are holding her prisoner when Steed arrives - Steed and Cathy overcome the villains in time to take the Lakins into custody when they return to chambers, hastily trying to remember precedents for their own defence.

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