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The Fatal $50,000


In order to look good in his boss' eyes, an employee of a real estate developer filches $50,000 and claims it as sales. After his misdemeanor is discovered, he commits suicide and this showers bad luck on the boss that drove him to it.



Air Dates

  • First Run - April 15, 1981
  • Repeat - July 9, 1981





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12 Responses to Episode 1185

The Fatal 50,000 is about a man named Russ who stole 50,000 and then needed another 50,000, but the man he stole it from refused to give it to him, so Russ supposedly killed himself. (At the end of the story, Russ shows up alive and actually hadn't killed himself, but that's neither here nor there.) But everyone in the story acted as though the man who refused to hand over the 50,000 was a selfish, stingy creep and that it was HIS fault that Russ wanted to kill himself. Somehow I don't agree with this line of thinking. The man (Russ) STOLE the money from the company. One can feel sorry for him perhaps, but that doesn't mean that the other man should have handed him another 50,000, nor does that give Russ (the thief) any right to expect or demand any more money. Why was the company man's wife mad at him for not giving Russ the money? Why SHOULD he give Russ the money?!?!? Russ should give back the money HE stole, not the other way around. The writers wanted to give some sort of message about putting a price on life and how no amount of money is worth someone's life, etc. But what about personal responsibility? Russ STOLE the money and then he needed another 50,000 in addition to what he already STOLE from the company. Then he asked the company man to give him 50,000 and the company man refused, so Russ goes off in despair and the company man's wife comforts him (and falls in love with him). Then she's mad at her husband and blames her husband for Russ' alleged suicide, accusing him of virtually killing Russ because he didn't give him 50,000. Well, sorry, but this is just totally unreasonable. Russ got himself into this jam in the first place. It's not the company man's fault that Russ can't deal with the consequences of his own actions. Why should he have to PAY for what Russ did and then be made to feel like a guilty, selfish creep for not giving Russ yet another 50,000? His wife was totally nuts to be mad at him and he should be mad at her for siding with Russ instead of realizing that it was HIS money and Russ STOLE the first 50,000 in the first place. Why should she want her husband to pay Russ yet another 50,000? Why SHOULD he trust that Russ will pay it back. Russ didn't prove he was reliable before, after all, so for crying out loud, it's not fair at all. I don't blame him for being cranky about the situation. Wouldn't you be mad if someone stole a huge amount of money from you, asked for an additional same amount of money and then your spouse is mad at you for not giving the additional money to the thief? The whole story really offends my sense of ethics, lol. Who wrote it anyway? Anyway, end of rant. I just had to get my two cents in. (smile)


Way to go, getting into a show. I wonder if it was written to elicit the kind of reaction your having. It did make you react


I think the point was the $50000 was the equivalent of fifty cents to the company owner, who was a pretty reprehensible human being to begin with. What he was doing was way worse than his friend stealinga pittance. CBSRMT was not a morality play. Still, thinking about it, I can see your side of things. I do have to say that Mandel Kramer was great as the villain, but he always played heavys well.


50,000 is never like 50 cents to anybody, lol! Even a rich person would think that's a lot of money, especially in those days when money was worth a lot more. I never quite understood the legalities of what the company owner was actually doing wrong, but regardless of that, Russ was a thief and I found myself not being able to blame the company owner for being angry and disgusted by the whole situation with Russ. And when his wife kept harping on the subject of Russ over and over, I couldn't blame him for wanting her to shut up about it, lol. I could see why he was upset, lol.


I guess some don't believe in the power of forgiveness. We all aren't free of sin. I'm sure Russ isn't. But he choose and eye for and eye not me.


I would think that the fact that the boss committed a similar illegal act twenty years earlier and therefore could be seen as hypocritical might have been the point. Added to that the fact that his browbeaten wive's rich Father bailed him out and he never showed responsibility for his OWN actions may have been the point. It doesn't make what Russ did right but the boss is a corrupt individual as well. I think this story is about the relativity of personal actions.

Dale M. Haskell

@ Amy, how could you have sympathy for Robert? Every line he delivered showed him to be a boss fiend from hell. A regular snake in the grass whose very wife lives in fear of him. Even E.G. Marshall called him a Ram in the introduction. One of his lines with his wife was that he has no human conscience! Now on the other hand Russ embezzled the money not for himself but to impress Robert. Then he begs Robert to forgive him, pledging to pay everything back with interest, pointing out that he worked 20 years for the company. All he needs is a break and compassion. When get gets fired instead he goes out to the park and meets Rita and immediately shows compassion to her by doing something she never heard before from a man, a kind word and a compliment. The whole point to this play was to show how despicable Robert was, and nobody is supposed to like him.

D.C. Klinkensmit

I can't believe that I am the only person here who is bothered by this badly written episode, lol! This story is trying to be Les Misérables, but it falls WAY short, lol! Both stories are about thieves who steal under pressure, but in the case of Les Mis, one can really identify with the plight of the main character and realize the total injustice he suffered. In THIS story, the message is totally lost in the bad writing and the poorly flushed out characters. Sorry, but I find myself siding with the boss, even though the boss is supposed to be the "villain" in the story. No now says the boss was a "nice guy" but at the same time, I can totally understand why he didn't want to lend the money. I realize that this is not what the writer intended, but unfortunately, this writer is not Victor Hugo, lol!


I meant to say "no one said the boss was a nice guy...." etc.


Also, even though the boss is a jerk, it's really not his fault that Russ committed suicide just because he couldn't take "no" for an answer. The boss should not be blamed for someone else's instability and mental illness.


(SPOILER) Oops, I forgot that he didn't actually commit suicide at the end.


Amy, I agree with your points. I would contend that the reason the episode is so badly written is because there is no one to root for. Russ showed himself to be manipulative, entitled, and dishonest. The pure fact that he’s been working for his boss for so long shows a moral bankruptcy in my opinion. The boss is a hypocritical, arrogant jerk. Still, he is in no way obligated to hand over 50 grand to someone who was in a trusted position, then stole from him and irresponsibly gambled it away.


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