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The Motive 

A man who has a theory that, murders committed without a motive are very rarely solved, is coaxed by his friend into killing someone.


Robert Stevens


Rose Simon Kohn


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Episode complete credited cast:
Alfred Hitchcock ... Himself - Host
Skip Homeier ... Tommy Greer
William Redfield ... Richard
Carl Betz ... Jerome Stanton
Carmen Phillips ... Sandra
Kay Stewart Kay Stewart ... Housekeeper
Ken Clark ... Plain Clothes Policeman
Tharon Crigler Tharon Crigler ... Woman Near Phone Books
Jim Johnson Jim Johnson ... Uniformed Police Officer
Gary Clarke ... Bellboy


Tommy Greer is a crime buff who decides to commit a motiveless murder in order to confuse the police. He selects his victim from a phone book at random. He tracks him down and kills him but his "perfect crime" is unraveled by modern crime-fighting techniques. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

26 January 1958 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shamley Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was actress Tharon Crigler first role of only a total of six roles before she changed her name to Jennifer West, all of them in 1958. See more »


Tommy called Stanton's number and spoke to the maid who told him that Stanton would be home the next evening to watch the fights. Before hanging up and ending the call, Tommy repeated "Tomorrow". The next scene was him being greeted by Stanton as he let him in his house, with Stanton saying, "You're the young man who called this afternoon" when he should've said, "You're the young man who called yesterday" since Tommy wasn't supposed to be there until the day after he called. See more »

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User Reviews

The Motive
8 December 2010 | by mackjay2See all my reviews

In agreement with the other comment, this is a superior episode of AHP. Simply and perfectly titled, "The Motive" has so much in it that it seems longer than it is, but in a good way because it's so interesting.

The plot setup, while preposterous, is well handled and convincing. And the actors are well cast, giving energetic performances. Skip Homeier (Tommy) never achieved real stardom, but he made an impression every time he appeared on screen, in films such as "The Gunfighter" (where he plays a young gunslinger lacking common sense) and especially in "Tomorrow the World!" (in which he plays a former Hitler Youth, with chilling realism). TV stalwarts William Redfield and Carl Betz (soon to play Donna Reed's husband on her sitcom) bring plenty of life to their characters, and we even get Gary Clarke as a bellboy for one scene.

What makes this episode so memorable is the well-played, cold calculation of the characters, and the brilliant twist ending, which wraps things up, yet leaves the viewer thinking. "The Motive" is a like a good short story come to life. Is Rose Simon Kohn's original story comparable? It may be worth seeking out.

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