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Series / Decoy

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Down the line, you name it and we’ve done it. Today, tomorrow, next week, we’ll pose as hostesses, society girls, models, anything and everything the department asks us to be. There are 249 of us in the Department. We carry two things in common wherever we go - the shield, called a "pottsy", and a .32 revolver. We're New York's finest... we're police women.

Decoy, also known as Decoy: Police Woman, is an American Police Procedural that aired for 39 episodes in 1957 and 1958. It is the first American drama series to star a woman.

Patricia "Casey" Jones (Beverly Garland) is a member of the NYPD Bureau of Policewomen who often works undercover. Like Joe Friday, she solves a wide variety of crimes instead of being tied to one department.

Decoy contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Despite her feminine appearance, Casey is strong enough to strangle a man, as she demonstrates in the first episode.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Norma Hart from "Cry Revenge" marries the man who's been making threatening phone calls to her mother.
  • An Arm and a Leg: In "Ladies' Man," a woman wakes up in the hospital after a murder attempt to find her leg missing. Casey tells her that the doctors had to amputate it to save her life.
  • Betrayal Insurance: In "The Come Back," Casey goes undercover as a Dirty Cop. The villain has one of his henchmen take a picture of her taking money from him in case she decides to go to the police.
  • Blind Musician: Alex from "Queen of Diamonds" is a pianist who was blinded for asking too many questions about the criminals who frequented the club where he worked.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Characters never have any visible injuries, even if they've been shot in the chest.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: "Night Light" contains a parental example, where a jewel thief rejects his thirteen-year-old son to prevent him from following his footsteps.
  • Boxing Episode: "The Challenger," in which a mobster tries to buy a boxer's contract.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Most episodes end with Casey speaking directly to the camera about the case.
  • Break-Up Bonfire: When Michele from "Night of Fire" found out her boyfriend was married, she set all the dresses he gave her on fire, resulting in her being institutionalized. As a result, when the warehouse next to her workplace burns down a few years later, she's the prime suspect.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Lily Flagler from "High Swing" used to be a trapeze artist until she fell and broke her back.
  • Car Fu: The gunrunners in "Across the World" run down one of their associates with a car when she discovers their criminal activities.
  • Character Narrator: Casey narrates most episodes.
  • Cry into Chest: Stella from "Bullet of Hate" cries into Casey's chest when she's arrested for her abusive aunt's murder.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: A woman who gets worked over in "Queen of Diamonds" tells the police she was hit by a car.
  • Cyanide Pill: Implied in "Blind Date." "Think Augie's going to say one word? Or he's going to take his medicine like a man?"
  • Dedication: As the title card of each episode says, the show is a tribute to the New York Bureau of Policewomen.
  • Destroy the Evidence: In "Queen of Diamonds," Casey discovers a negative proving that a suspect for armed robbery was in the right city at the time the robbery took place. But before she can turn it in, the man sets the negative on fire.
  • Dirty Harriet: Casey's first assignment required her to get a job at a carnival. The only job she could find was dancing in a harem outfit with two other girls outside a tent.
  • Disappeared Dad: In "The Red Clown," an artist abandons his family because he can't handle his Soul-Crushing Desk Job. When Casey tracks him down, he tells his five-year-old daughter that he won't be coming home because he needs to paint.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: In "The Showplace," Casey goes undercover pushing drinks at a nightclub. She pours her drinks into a vase on the table while the clients are too busy playing Footsie Under the Table to notice.
  • Dramatic Half-Hour
  • Driven to Suicide: In the first few minutes of "Earthbound Satellite," a man shoots himself in the head because he can't pay off his gambling debts. He dies in the hospital the next day.
  • Everybody Smokes: It was the 1950s.
  • Evil Cripple: In "High Swing," Lily helps her husband Otto plan muggings to feed her painkiller addiction, which started when she broke her back.
  • Fair Cop: Casey. One character even calls her "the finest of New York's finest."
  • False Confession: In "The Lost Ones," a young man shoots his abusive father. His younger sister confesses to the murder, since for her it would mean only a few more years in the reformatory, while for him it would mean the end of his dreams of being a surgeon.
  • Fanservice: Decoy never misses a chance to have Casey go undercover in a slinky dress or other garb that accentuates her good looks.
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: At the beginning of "Dream Fix," a young woman collapses on the sidewalk, clutching a small package in her hand. Casey tastes the contents of the package and says, "Heroin!"
  • Flashback Effects: The image ripples whenever a flashback begins in "First Arrest."
  • Follow That Car: In "The Sound of Tears," Casey sees the suspect she's following drive away. She runs over to a taxi, shows the driver her badge, and gets in, and the taxi drives after the suspect.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: In "Cry Revenge," a middle-aged woman is getting threatening phone calls. One day her daughter picks up the phone, flirts with the man making the calls, and agrees to meet him in person. Once they meet, she proposes to him on the spot, and they're married that day.
  • French Maid: Invoked in "Night Light" by a maid who speaks with a heavy French accent despite not actually knowing the language so her employer will think she's classy.
  • Funny Background Event: During one scene in "The Gentle Gun-Man," two men can be seen goofing around with a baby carriage. One of them climbs in, causing it to tip over backwards. Most street scenes were shot incognito, so this was probably unintentional.
  • Harassing Phone Call: Betty Hodges from "The Phoner" keeps getting obscene calls from a man named Carl. Casey moves in with her and pretends to be her sister while she investigates.
  • Healthcare Motivation: In "Scape Goat," a woman embezzles money to keep her mentally disabled five-year-old son in a private institution.
  • Identity Amnesia: A girl in "Saturday Lost" loses her memory after witnessing her sister's death while stoned. She gets it back within a day.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: A star-wipe is used in "Savage Payoff" to transition from a character driving to a newspaper article about his death in a car crash.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: A secretary in "To Trap a Thief" covers up her boss's insurance fraud because she's in love with him.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: When Casey is taken hostage in "My Brother's Killer," the villain says, "Say you were a different kind of a girl. It might be very nice to take you along with me," and strokes her hair. When Casey jerks away, he hits her and says, "You just signed your death warrant."
  • Improvised Weapon: Helen from "Deadly Corridor" was stabbed fourteen times with a spoon that had been filed into a point.
  • Inheritance Murder: Lester Ringle from "Bullet of Hate" encourages his niece to kill his wife so he can spend the $2000 she has stashed away.
  • In the Back: In "An Eye for an Eye," a junkie Casey is trying to befriend is knifed in the back.
  • I Want My Mommy!: The villain of "Ladies' Man" screams "Ma! Mama!" as he dies.
  • Kick the Dog: The villain of "Death Watch" treats his brain-damaged son Rudy very coldly, yelling at him and slapping him over the most trivial infractions.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: Norma Hart from "Cry Revenge" is attracted to the man who's been threatening her mother because he's a violent, alcoholic criminal, just like her father.
  • Look Behind You: In "My Brother's Killer," a man is holding Casey at gunpoint in a car while two other cops pretend to ask him for help getting their car started. When the man is distracted, Casey yells, "Watch out for that train back there!" and shoots him with his own gun while he's looking the other way.
  • Loony Fan: Jack Wilson from "Shadow of Van Gogh" is so obsessed with Vincent van Gogh that he grows a beard to look more like him, paints a near-exact replica of "The Starry Night", and even signs one of his own paintings "Vincent." Another character tells a story of Jack showing up to a party with a bandage wrapped around his head, holding a very realistic papier-mâché ear.
  • Marijuana Is LSD: According to "Saturday Lost," marijuana makes you hallucinate vividly, experience such extreme time dilation that 110 mph feels like a standstill, and possibly develop temporary amnesia, all while speaking in pseudo-poetic nonsense.
    Billy: The city gates close at midnight. Cinderella's the watchman. And she looks like Marilyn Monroe.
  • Marriage of Convenience: In "The Lieutenant Had a Son," a struggling nineteen-year-old single mother marries a man two decades her senior because she needs money and a father for her son, and he's lonely and can't find a wife. It actually works out pretty well - the two of them eventually grow to genuinely love each other, and the boy forms a close bond with his new father.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: In "Death Watch," Casey infiltrates a ring of department store shoplifters and discovers that they're also working as hitmen.
  • Mr. Smith: Dorothy Boyer from "Scape Goat" introduces herself to the receptionist at a mental institution as Mrs. Smith. The receptionist doesn't buy it, but writes it down anyway.
  • Ms. Red Ink: Casey was once engaged to another detective, but she broke it off after he gambled away the $200 they'd saved up for a car. They eventually made up, but he was killed shortly afterwards.
  • My Beloved Smother: Mrs. Morgan from "The Sound of Tears" raised her son Ken alone and claimed to know his every thought and action. She controlled every aspect of his life, even driving his fiancee away so she could have him to herself.
  • Obfuscating Disability: In "Earthbound Satellite," Casey wears a cast on her left arm and tells people she sprained it. She's actually using the cast to hide a radio receiver that won't fit in a purse.
  • Phone-Trace Race: In "The Phoner," Casey has to keep an obscene phone caller on the line for five minutes while two cops in the basement trace the call. They trace him to a phone booth, but he runs off before the police can arrest him.
  • Pistol-Whipping:
    • Casey is pistol-whipped in "My Brother's Killer" for refusing to have sex with the man holding her hostage.
    • She's pistol-whipped again in "Across the World," this time severely enough to hospitalize her.
  • Playing Drunk: In "Night of Fire," a suspect for arson says he can't have burned down a warehouse because he spent the night in jail for drunkenly throwing a bottle through a window. Later, Casey finds out he's diabetic and can't get drunk without endangering his life. He set the fire with a delayed action fuse and pretended to be drunk to give himself an alibi.
  • Pretty in Mink: Casey wears a fur coat when she goes undercover as a socialite.
  • Prison Episode: In "Deadly Corridor," Casey goes undercover in the minimum security wing of a women's prison to solve the murder of one of the inmates.
  • Product Placement: In one episode, a character mentions a "sale at Orbach's." Orbach's provided the show's wardrobe.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: In "The Shadow of Van Gogh," a Starving Artist obsessed with Vincent van Gogh unthinkingly signs a portrait as Vincent. Afterwards, he stares into the mirror, then smashes it with his fist.
  • Real Men Take It Black: Casey likes her coffee "hot and black."
  • Room Disservice: Casey orders groceries brought to her apartment, but the deliveryman turns out to be the rapist she's been trying to catch.
  • Sent Into Hiding: In "Scape Goat", a woman embezzles money to hide her mentally disabled five-year-old son in a private institution. She doesn't tell anyone about him for fear of being blamed for his condition.
  • Shout-Out: After an unsuccessful search for evidence, Casey thinks, "It looked like Casey had struck out."
  • Singing in the Shower: When asked if she sings, Casey answers, "Sure, but only in the bathtub."
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: According to "Odds Against the Jockey," Casey has a reputation as a racing expert, because "I learned the ropes when we cleaned out those bookies at Belmont."
  • Tap on the Head: A weird example in "Across the World," where Casey passes out after being punched in the stomach.
  • Taught by Television: According to "The Shadow of Van Gogh," Casey knows the basics of Vincent van Gogh's life story because she's seen a movie about him. It's enough to get her assigned to the case.
  • Throw-Away Guns: The villain of "Ladies' Man" empties his gun shooting at Casey, then tosses it aside.
  • Throwing the Fight: College basketball star Bobby Phillips takes bribes from gamblers to throw games in "Savage Payoff."
  • Title-Only Opening: The title, the dedication, and Beverly Garland's credit are superimposed over the opening seconds of the episode while a fifteen-second theme song plays.
  • Tomboyish Name: In the late 1950s, Casey was almost exclusively a boys' name.
  • Tragic Villain: many of the criminals Casey arrests over the course of the series are at least somewhat sympathetic.
  • Trespassing to Talk: In "The Lost Ones," a teenage girl accused of shooting her abusive father runs away. After a long and fruitless day looking for her, Casey comes home to find the girl asleep on the sofa, ready to turn herself in.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Casey hides her badge in her bra in the first episode.
  • Waxing Lyrical: In "The Tin Pan Payoff," a character writes to his girlfriend, "You're the coliseum."
  • Weaponized Camera: In "Ladies' Man," a man tricks an Innocent Bystander into killing his ex-wife by giving her a "camera" and telling her to take pictures of her.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: In "First Arrest," a rookie feels guilty after making her first arrest. To comfort her, Casey spends most of the rest of the episode telling her about her first assignment.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole: The murder victim in "The Tin Pan Payoff" was fond of seducing his friends' girlfriends simply to spite them, leaving a lot of men who were angry about being cheated on and a lot of women who were angry about being discarded once they'd served their purpose.
  • Working Through the Cold: In "Escape Into Danger," Casey is on sick leave with a cold. She still ends up investigating when her neighbor falls into an alcohol-induced coma and his wife disappears.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: After the villain of "Ladies' Man" is shot, he screams for his girlfriend Maggie to help him. When she doesn't come, he starts calling her by his ex-wife Lois's name, then "Ma."
  • Zipping Up the Bodybag: After a woman shot in a hold-up dies in the hospital, a doctor pulls a blanket over her head.

Alternative Title(s): Decoy Police Woman