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It's Murder, Mr. Lincoln


A tale set in Abraham Lincoln's early years getting a case where the man is charged of murder and no one else dares to defend him. Lincoln is advised to move slowly, but he charges head on.



Air Dates

  • First Run - March 18, 1975
  • Repeat - June 14, 1975





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16 Responses to Episode 0241

Great to be able to hear these shows again. Haven't heard since I was a teenager on my transistor radio.

K. Miller

A young Abe Lincoln is called to defend a passionate man who arrived in town proclaiming to the bartender and banker (who are also the judge and sheriff) that he is owed a debt by a local businessman and he intends to claim what is his by any means. He retires to his hotel room and awakes to find the businessman has been murdered. He is taken into custody proclaiming his innocence, but in the face of such strong words to the sheriff and judge, it seems his fate is all but certain.


A very well-written episode. I love the early story of Abe Lincoln. The actors were wonderful. It reminded me of a Columbo episode.


I agree, 1nicolem! A surprisingly fun episode! Well written and well performed.


Folksy and idealistic young attorney finds himself morally obliged to take an unwinnable case, only to learn that a bit of amateur sleuthing might save the day. The central mystery isn't going to dazzle anyone, and its depiction of Lincoln as the best parts of Cicero, Sherlock Holmes, and MLK was a bit much, especially in a story that does such a good job of showing how morally compromised everyone around him is. But it's all in good fun, eager to please, and bolstered by some excellent supporting performances, so it's tough to be too hard on what amounts to a pretty entertaining episode with an admittedly clever premise. Think of it as a chapter of 'The Young Atticus Finch Chronicles.'


I do like this story and someday when I listen to it again (or think about it) I will look up and see if this really did happen (perhaps not in the way depicted in this show). I like Skytwo's comment about Atticus Finch as well (from one of my favorite books).


if's it's really, really good, it still sounds great even (especially) on a transistor radio. old radio waves rule. thanks K. Miller.


Really enjoyed this episode. Mystery Theatre could easily pull you into the past with just a few accents, sfx. Those Florida sandspurs are really a pain in the britches but I wonder what the seeds were that Mr. Jones was really trying to sell "up north". The ones that have thistle-like leaves.


The music had conflicting tunes in ACT-1, doubtful tracks in ACT-2, and themes of a fighting chance in ACT-3. Nicely, done. The sound effects, however, not so good. There were no sound effects at all in ACT-3. All we had were the sounds of a dollar coin, footsteps, pistol being fired, body dropped, Lincoln’s office door open and closed, and birds chirping. If the story is going to take place in 1880's, they should’ve used sound effects of horses, instruments, machinery, or even patrons murmuring at the tavern. But more importantly, this CBSRMT episode is one of the reasons why I love Sam Dann’s writing. He wrote an intriguing Drama-Mystery tale like it was an episode of MURDER, SHE WROTE, only taking in place in the 19th Century. A lawyer, with no background of murder cases, accomplished a difficult task by asking the right kind of questions to the right kind of people. SPOILER ALERT: The killer is revealed at the 39-minute 53-second mark. The cast in this, I applaud. Keir Dullea (as Abraham Lincoln: the Lawyer), Jennifer Harmon (as Emily Jones: Franklin’s Wife), Paul Hecht (as Franklin Jones: the Suspect & Cyrus Darrow: the Victim), Joe Silver (as Tom Fellman: the Tavern Keeper & the Sheriff), and Robert Dryden (as Mr. Bennett & Ephraim Barnes: the Banker & the Judge). I give credit to Keir Dullea for playing as a young Lincoln. And I give credit to E.G. Marshall was well. In his Prologue, he starts off with the Latin quote: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodies” meaning “Who will guard the guardians themselves” which refers to the problem of controlling the actions of people in their positions of power. In ACT-1, he opens the story up in Springfield, Illinois in 1837. Then he quotes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who said, “Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time.” Which makes sense in this case since Lincoln had left his mark in the town before leaving his mark as the 16th President. In ACT-2, he mentions Lincoln finding key evidence. In ACT-3, E.G. Marshall discusses psychology on understanding implications, plus using phrases like the split personality, the other self, and the protective falsehood. And the result at the end: Hung Jury. In his Epilogue, the four minor characters in this story were small fractions that molded our main character that would become something great later in his life. Perhaps E.G. Marshall was clueing us in on how people, from all walks of life, can mold us into something in our futures. Until next time…pleasant dreams. 


I also really enjoyed this episode! The characters and actors were excellent. The voices brought the story to life!


That was a remarkable performance. Abe Lincoln is presented in the same way that Atticus Finch appears in To Kill a Mockingbird. I recommend that any young lawyer use them as models to emulate.

Nelson stern

I definitely enjoyed this episode, but I found it interesting that the teaser in the beginning was not a clip from the episode at all, but I love Bob Dryden's lines in the teaser because he plays his usual quintessential, cantankerous, rural type in this one!


Would have been great if they could have had a line in which Dullea said "open the tavern door, Hal. the tavern door." "Sorry, Abe, but I can't do that."

Yaspar Kyashred

Daniel, your comments are, as usual, spot on. Your knowledge of these episodes is impeccable.


I wonder what those seeds are too? I just replanted my lawn with grass seed. Hope it grows. This is a great episode. You just have to love Abe. I like the two geezers too (Ethan). “When you face the rope, conscience makes you a coward.”

Scooter D & the Greens

Fantastic story and presentation. Excellent acting on all parts. I put this one in my top five.


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