Bring The Defenders Home!

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 Studio One: The Defender


Show Type: Courtroom Drama

First Telecast: September 16, 1961

Last Telecast: September 9, 1965

Broadcast History:

September 1961 - September 1963, Saturday 8:30-9:30 on CBS

September 1963 - November 1963, Saturday 9:00-10:00 on CBS

November 1963 - September 1964, Saturday 8:30-9:30 on CBS

September 1964 - September 1965, Thursday 10:00-11:00 on CBS


Lawrence Preston..... E.G. Marshall

Kenneth Preston..... Robert Reed

Helen Donaldson (1961-1962)..... Polly Rowles

Joan Miller (1961-1962)..... Joan Hackett


The law firm of Preston & Preston was composed of a father and son, two lawyers involved in a weekly courtroom drama. Lawrence, the father, was a knowledgeable, seasoned attorney with more than 20 years of experience at the bar. Kenneth, the son, was a recent law school graduate. The learning process he went through as his father's partner was an integral part of the series. During the first season, the firm's secretary, Helen Donaldson and Kenneth's girlfriend, Joan Miller had regular featured roles.

At a time when most TV entertainment series avoided any hint of controversy or topicality, The Defenders occasionally addressed such real-life issues such as abortion, mercy killing,  and the U.S. Government's restriction of its citizens' right to travel to unfriendly countries. A January, 1964 episode entitled "Blacklist" was TV's first hard look at its own practice of political blacklisting, and won actor Jack Klugman and writer Ernest Kinoy Emmy awards.

The Defenders was based on an original story by Reginald Rose, which was first telecast as a two-part episode of Studio One in February-March, 1957. That presentation was titled "The Defender," and starred Ralph Bellamy and William Shatner as the father and son attorneys, with Steve McQueen as a young defendant accused of murder.