Country Gentleman - Recap

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While Daphne reads the morning paper in the SurfSide 6 office, she reads aloud that someone named Hartman purchased yacht club commodore Arthur Gladstone's mansion. Dave recognizes the name: Marty Hartman, a criminal from New York whom Dave prosecuted while an assistant district attorney.

Marty has moved from New York to Miami with the muscle man from his crime days, Stinger, following release from prison. He tells everyone he is there to start a new life, an honest life. He has purchased the Gladstone home and made a considerable business investment with Gladstone. Marty receives a phone call from his girlfriend, informing him that Gladstone is canceling a planned social date. Upset, Marty goes to the Boom Boom Room and finds Gladstone with his longtime friend Alan Abbott. Gladstone tells Marty in no uncertain terms that, since he has discovered Marty's criminal past, he wants nothing more to do with Hartman.

On his yacht, Gladstone tells his daughter, Paula, about the confrontation. She leaves alone, upset, despite Alan's offer to drive her. After she leaves Gladstone has a drink. When Alan warns him that the doctor has cautioned the commodore about drinking, Gladstone says, "One won't kill me." Alan leaves the yacht and follows Paula and discovers that she is secretly meeting Marty Hartman and is obviously romantically involved with him.

The next day, Alan arrives at the SurfSide office and hires Dave to investigate the commodore's death. Dave knows nothing of Gladstone's death, and Alan says it has yet to be released to the news. Alan is specific: he wants Dave to get evidence to prove that Hartman is the one behind Gladstone's death.

The police ruling is accidental drowning, but Dave quickly discovers a number of people who would want the commodore dead. Hartman, of course, is the primary suspect because of his criminal past, and because he stood to lose a lot of money once Gladstone no longer wanted to do business with him. Sandy, through his father, also discovers that Alan has a motive as well: he had recently borrowed a considerable amount of money from Gladstone, and apparently Gladstone was pressing Alan for repayment. Sandy also discovers that Paula has been rejecting Alan's marriage proposals.

Dave confronts Marty, but Marty assures the man who once prosecuted him that he left his criminal life behind in New York. Dave is suspicious but has no tangible evidence. When he returns to the office he sees a newspaper headline implicating that Marty Hartman is behind Gladstone's death. Marty has seen the article as well and comes to the office with Stinger, angry at Dave feeding confidential information to the boozy newspaper columnist who wrote the page one story. "If you lean," Marty warns Dave, "I'll lean back."

Dave meets Alan and confronts him about the newspaper story. Alan admits he fed the story to the paper, hoping to try Marty in the press and public opinion. When Dave says he has discovered other people with motives, Alan angrily reminds him that he was hired to prove that Marty Hartman killed Gladstone.

When returning to the office at night, Dave is attacked from behind and beaten. When he recovers he discovers that his assailant left a set of car keys behind. He returns to Hartman's home and discovers the keys fit Marty's car. He goes inside and confronts Marty. Dave tells Marty that Fielding, the gossip columnist, was also found dead floating in the river, and that the tire tracks from Marty's car will match.

Stinger comes into the room and confesses that he is the murderer. He says he did not mean to kill either man, but he was so angry with the newspaperman for the nasty, condemning remarks he was printing, that he could not stop choking him. Also, he vented his anger on the commodore because of the snide remarks he had made to Stinger's longtime partner Marty. With all the facts, Dave picks up the phone to call the police, but Stinger pulls a gun. Marty tells him not to shoot Dave, and the two friends struggle. The gun goes off, fatally wounding Stinger. He dies in Marty's arms.

Paula arrives at the SurfSide office, looking to get a message to Marty. Dave says that Marty is at police headquarters for interrogation, then is going to the airport to pick his wife up. Paula leaves, dejected. After she leaves, Marty comes out of a bedroom where he had been hiding. As he is thanking Dave for telling the little white lie, Paula returns and discovers Marty there. She pledges her love to him without concern for his past.