Decoy (TV series)

Decoy (also titled Decoy Police Woman) is a groundbreaking American crime drama television series created for syndication and initially broadcast from October 14, 1957, to July 7, 1958, with 39 black-and-white 30-minute episodes. It was the first American police series with a female protagonist.[1] Many Decoy episodes are in the public domain.[2]

Beverly Garland as Officer Casey Jones in Decoy (1958)
Also known asDecoy Police Woman
GenreCrime drama
Written byJerome Coopersmith
Don Ettlinger
Steven Gardner
Abram S. Ginnes
Leon Tokatyan
Directed byDavid Alexander
Michael Gordon
Donald Medford
Stuart Rosenberg
Teddy Sills
Arthur H. Singer
StarringBeverly Garland
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes39
Executive producer(s)Everett Rosenthal
Producer(s)David Alexander
Stuart Rosenberg
Arthur H. Singer
CinematographyMaurice Hartzband
Running time30 mins.
DistributorPeter Rodgers Organization
Original networkSyndication
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseOctober 14, 1957 
July 7, 1958


The series starred Beverly Garland as Patricia "Casey" Jones, a female police officer who is often assigned to work undercover (hence becoming the "decoy" of the title). The cast changed each week, with Garland's Casey Jones the only continuing character. Various police colleagues and commanding officers were also seen, but never for more than one episode. However, actors on this series were often cast in multiple episodes, so Frank Campanella played three different (although similar) supervising lieutenants across three episodes, and is listed in some sources as a recurring cast member.

The series was inspired by the success of Jack Webb's Dragnet, and used a similar format to that series, with Jones portrayed as a serious, by-the-book, yet sympathetic cop with no personal life outside of her job. The setting was New York City, with Jones assigned to cases in the city's various boroughs. In the episode "The Sound of Tears", she reveals that the man she loved was a police officer who was shot and killed by the man he was sent to apprehend.

Decoy is of historical significance as the first American television series to focus on the work of a female police officer. The series also features early performances by such future stars as Larry Hagman, Peter Falk, Simon Oakland, Suzanne Pleshette, Edward Asner, Martin Balsam, Diane Ladd, and many others. Each episode is dedicated to the Bureau of Policewomen of the New York Police Department.

Many episodes focus on females being victims of crime, and most episodes ended with Garland breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to the audience about the case just solved.

The series was filmed on location in New York, with many episodes providing glimpses of NYC street life around 1957.

Guest stars

DVD releases

Now mostly in the public domain in the United States, several different companies released episodes, with 20 episodes of the series released on DVD by Alpha Video. On May 30, 2017 Film Chest Media Group released the only DVD set boasting all 39 episodes. The series is also available as of May 2018 for streaming on Amazon Prime and Tubi.

Episode list

Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date
1"Stranglehold"Don Medford
(as Donald Medford)
Steven Gardner14 October 1957 (1957-10-14)
Casey moves into a seedy rooming house to try to befriend a woman whose former boyfriend was a suspect in a jewel robbery. Guest stars: Joanne Linville, Bruce Gordon, and Arch Johnson.
2"The Little Red Clown"Teddy SillsLeon Tokatyan21 October 1957 (1957-10-21)
Casey attempts to locate an artist who has abandoned his young daughter. Guest stars: John McLiam, Barbara Barrie, and Bill Quinn.
3"The Phoner"Teddy SillsLeon Tokatyan28 October 1957 (1957-10-28)
Casey investigates a series of threatening phone calls made to a woman. Guest stars: Frank Sutton, Frank Campanella, and Pat Englund.
4"To Trap a Thief"Teddy SillsJerome Coopersmith4 November 1957 (1957-11-04)
To solve a baffling armed robbery case, Casey assumes the identity of a blackmailer, then acts as an intermediary between the victim and the "perpetrator." Guest stars: Frank Overton, George Mitchell, and Mary James.
5"Dream Fix"Teddy SillsSteven Gardner11 November 1957 (1957-11-11)
Casey poses as a nurse in a sanatorium to trace the source of a stream of illegal narcotics. Guest stars: Simon Oakland, Henry Beckman, and Phyllis Newman.
6"The Savage Payoff"Teddy SillsMel Goldberg18 November 1957 (1957-11-18)
Casey is assigned to investigate whether players on a college basketball team are fixing games. Guest stars: John Kellogg, Bill Zuckert, and the Video Ranger Don Hastings.
7"Deadly Corridor"Teddy SillsLeon Tokatyan25 November 1957 (1957-11-25)
Casey poses as a prisoner in a women's jail in order to apprehend a murderer. Guest stars: Lois Nettleton, Peggy Feury, and Colleen Dewhurst.
8"Escape Into Danger"Teddy SillsCy Chermak2 December 1957 (1957-12-02)
Casey tries to find a woman who has fled believing she murdered her husband. Guest stars: Madeleine Sherwood, John McLiam, and Clifton James.
9"Necklace of Glass"Teddy SillsDan Ettlinger9 December 1957 (1957-12-09)

In order to lure a successful burglar into a trap, Casey poses as a wealthy woman with an expensive jewelry collection.

Guest stars: Rita Vale (as Rita Grapel), Edward Holmes, Martin Brooks, and Robert Goodier.
10"Scape Goat"Teddy SillsAbram S. Ginnes16 December 1957 (1957-12-16)
A woman, who's in jail for embezzling money to care for her mentally disabled son, escapes. Guest stars: Lenka Peterson, John Connell, and Mel Ruick.
11"Two Days to Kill"Stuart RosenbergAbram S. Ginnes23 December 1957 (1957-12-23)
Casey is assigned to protect a witness to a murder, but the killer manages to track down the women to the hotel room where they are hiding. Guest stars: Diane Ladd and Michael Strong.
12"Queen of Diamonds"Teddy SillsLeon Tokatyan30 December 1957 (1957-12-30)
Casey goes undercover as a nightclub photographer. Guest stars: Kay Medford, "Grandpa" Al Lewis, and Richard Ward.
13"My Brother's Killer"Stuart RosenbergMel Goldberg6 January 1958 (1958-01-06)
Casey is assigned to arrest an escaped convict who has committed numerous hold-ups and murders since breaking out of prison. Guest stars: Sy Travers, Bernard Kates, Barbara Barrie, Leonard Stone, and brothers Frank Campanella and Joseph Campanella.
14"Bullet of Hate"Teddy SillsDon Ettlinger13 January 1958 (1958-01-13)
Casey believes a teenage girl's story and attempts to clear her of a murder charge. Guest stars: Alfred Ryder and Joanna Roos.
15"Death Watch"Stuart RosenbergAbram S. Ginnes20 January 1958 (1958-01-20)
Casey stumbles onto a murder-for-hire organization while investigating a shoplifting gang.
16"Odds Against the Jockey"Teddy SillsSteven Gardner27 January 1958 (1958-01-27)
In order to get a lead, Casey haunts the race track where a gambler was recently murdered.
17"Dressed for the Kill"Stuart RosenbergLeon Tokatyan3 February 1958 (1958-02-03)
Casey poses as a model to investigate a garment district murder.
18"An Eye for an Eye"Teddy SillsMel Goldberg10 February 1958 (1958-02-10)
Casey pretends to be a drug addict in order to get evidence against a large illegal narcotics ring.
19"The Challenger"Stuart RosenbergSteven Gardner17 February 1958 (1958-02-17)
Casey tries to prevent a mobster from buying a up-and-coming boxer's contract.
20"Across the World"Teddy SillsCy Chermak24 February 1958 (1958-02-24)
When the new owner of an import/export business is murdered, Casey poses as her heir to get evidence against the gun runners who are using the company as a front for their criminal activities.
21"The Showplace"David AlexanderFrances Frankel3 March 1958 (1958-03-03)
Casey pretends to be a nightclub entertainer in order to investigate a murder.
22"Reasonable Doubt"Teddy SillsIrving Gaynor Neiman10 March 1958 (1958-03-10)
A man is falsely accused of robbery.
23"Night of Fire"Don MedfordJerome Coopersmith17 March 1958 (1958-03-17)
Casey takes a job as a factory file clerk in order to investigate a suspicious fire. Evidence points to a secretary with a history of mental illness, but Casey suspects that an arson ring may be responsible.
24"Saturday Lost"Stuart RosenbergLeon Tokatyan24 March 1958 (1958-03-24)
During a murder investigation, Casey arrests a drug-addicted young woman who has lost her memory after an all-night pot party.
25"High Swing"David AlexanderDon Ettlinger31 March 1958 (1958-03-31)
Casey goes undercover to befriend a seemingly benign elderly couple who are actually plotting a series of muggings and robberies.
26"Earthbound Satellite"Michael GordonSaul Levitt7 April 1958 (1958-04-07)
Sonny Van Brock, part of high society, commits suicide after getting in way over his head at an elite gambling salon. Casey goes undercover as a visiting member of Seattle society who loves the roulette wheel, hoping to nail George Courtney, the man running the gaming operation.
27"The Sound of Tears"Marc DanielsLillian Andrews14 April 1958 (1958-04-14)
Ken Morgan is murdered by a woman who clearly had strong feelings for or against him. She unloaded the contents of a revolver into him. Casey goes to work investigating the women in his life: his domineering mother who wouldn't let another female have him; the young woman who's practically a member of their family; and the ex-fiance whom Ken's mother made him give up.
28"Ladies' Man"Stuart RosenbergAbram S. Ginnes21 April 1958 (1958-04-21)
Posing as an insurance agent, Mike Bergen (Michael Tolan) enlists a naive woman (Lois Nettleton) to take a hidden camera photo of a suspect. The camera turns out to be a gun and the shooting victim is his wife. Casey goes undercover to a hunting lodge in the Catskills to smoke Bergen out into the open. The cast includes Joan Harvey as Maggie.
29"Cry Revenge"David AlexanderAbram S. Ginnes28 April 1958 (1958-04-28)
Casey gets involved in the lives of a woman and her daughter when they receive a series of threatening phone calls. The situation takes a strange turn when the young woman marries the man who makes the calls.
30"The Gentle Gun-Man"Michael GordonMel Goldberg5 May 1958 (1958-05-05)
Casey goes undercover to gather evidence against a gang that deals in illegal weapons.
31"Night Light"Stuart RosenbergFrances Frankel12 May 1958 (1958-05-12)
Casey goes undercover to recover a stolen ruby necklace before it can be fenced. Her investigation leads to an ex-convict who is inadvertently leading his teenage son into a life of crime because of the youngster's love for his father.
32"Fiesta at Midnight"Michael GordonJerome Coopersmith19 May 1958 (1958-05-19)
Newly arrived in New York, a young Puerto Rican man is arrested for robbery and assault. He claims to have been with two women at the time of the theft, but one won't identify him and the other can't be found.
33"The Lieutenant Had a Son"David AlexanderMel Goldberg
Cy Chermak
26 May 1958 (1958-05-26)
An Army officer is driven to violence by his ex-wife.
34"Shadow of Van Gogh"Michael GordonSaul Levitt2 June 1958 (1958-06-02)
A struggling artist becomes obsessed with Van Gogh, dressing like him and painting like him. When he is innocently coaxed into illegally copying a Van Gogh original, Casey, investigating the sale of the forgery, must find out who hired him.
35"Tin Pan Payoff"David AlexanderSteven Gardner9 June 1958 (1958-06-09)
Casey investigates the murder of a songwriter.
36"Blind Date"Stuart RosenbergNicholas E. Baehr16 June 1958 (1958-06-16)
Casey goes on a blind date in hopes of arresting a businessman awaiting the delivery of a large amount of stolen money.
37"The Come Back"David AlexanderDon Ettlinger23 June 1958 (1958-06-23)
When a roll of blank parimutuel tickets are stolen from a race track, Casey attempts to convince the gang responsible that she's a cop on the take who can help them pass the counterfeit ducats through crooks she's blackmailing.
38"First Arrest"Arthur H. SingerJerome Coopersmith30 June 1958 (1958-06-30)
Casey goes undercover as an exotic dancer at a carnival sideshow, and begins to suspect that a fellow carnival worker is fencing stolen property.
39"The Lost Ones"Arthur H. SingerMel Goldberg7 July 1958 (1958-07-07)
Casey's visit to a girl she arrested and later befriended takes a turn into the macabre when she discovers the girl's brutal father dead. The girl claims to have shot him, but Casey isn't so sure she believes her.


  1. My Three Sons stepmom dies, CBC News, December 7, 2008
  2. "Decoy", Festival Films
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