The Second Verdict
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

The lawyer’s guilty client is exonerated by the court and jubilantly confesses in private to the man who’s set him free on a murder charge.

The aliquots of this are I Confess, Rope and Fritz Lang, somewhere. There is a mobster whose 15-year-old brother was exonerated on the lawyer’s defense, and who now figures a favor is owed. The victim was a 15-year-old delivery boy, killed by an insanely jealous husband.

A compulsion to confess, says the judge consulted in chambers, is like a compulsion to kill. Pity is the right feeling in such cases, the right sentence isn’t necessarily death.

Too late for the mobster, who dies at the husband’s hands. “He don’t need a lawyer, he needs a straitjacket,” a detective says to the lawyer, who takes the case.



Half of the critics thought the first half was dispensable, but then the full representation of the drama would have been lost. A woman’s infidelity, an ad exec husband, the Picasso transformation into a rabid St. Bernard, these (and numerous touches from Hitchcock, especially The Birds) make up the discourse as rather humorously intended.