|Milland as Markham with Macdonald Carey on Suspicion|
"As a man of obvious breeding, Mr. Markham, I'm surprised you would ask such a crude question."
The character of private detective Roy Markham (Ray Milland of So Evil My Love) first appeared (in what was the pilot for the resulting series) on the anthology program Suspicion, in an hour-long story entitled "Eye for Eye." In this a divorce lawyer (Macdonald Carey) takes a pro bono case to help get a battered wife (Kathleen Crowley) away from her husband (Andrew Duggan.) When the husband kidnaps the lawyer's wife, he wants to make an exchange, but his own wife is terrified to go near him. With the help of private eye Markham, the frightened lady is importuned to go along with the plan, and Markham eventually saves the day. Well-acted by all, with an especially noteworthy performance from Kathleen Crowley, this was an auspicious debut and the show was picked up by CBS (even though Suspicion was telecast on rival NBC). In the meantime Macdonald Carey got his own show, Lock Up, although he played a different character.
Markham only lasted one season in 1959, but it amassed 59 episodes (nowadays we're lucky if a series has twenty or even fewer episodes per season). For the first eight episodes Simon Scott played Markham's friend and colleague John Riggs. What distinguishes this private eye series, aside from the international flavor, is the fact that Roy Markham is played by no less than Oscar-winner Ray Milland [Bulldog Drummond Escapes], who adds a certain class and distinction to the series. (Milland won for The Lost Weekend.) As well, Markham is what you might call an intellectual private eye, a much smarter and much more cultured specimen than, say, Mike Hammer. I've seen about half of the episodes of the show, most of which were good, many excellent, and I wish all of the rest were available.
Markham episodes were directed by such notable people as Mitchell Leisen [No Man of Her Own] and Robert Florey [The Beast with Five Fingers]. The show was sponsored by Schlitz, "the beer that made Milwaukee famous."
Verdict: Quite good private eye show with a degree of sophistication and some wonderful guest stars. ***.