- THE CATS OF PARADISE
Original Airdate: October 11, 1959
Synopsis. Bret goes into business selling cats to a town besieged by rats and mice. Bret doesn’t realize that his charming partner, Modesty Blaine (played by Mona Freeman), is also a crafty, and completely amoral, con artist who robs him of $500 and nearly has him shanghaied. Maverick locates Modesty in Paradise, where he finds her conveniently protected by the town’s two-faced mayor and its superstitious but equally corrupt sheriff.
“The Cats of Paradise” is the first of three episodes featuring Modesty Blaine, a Samantha Crawford-like character who bedevils Bret Maverick (and, later, brother Bart) over the remainder of the series. In this episode, however, Modesty comes across more like Dandy Jim Buckley, only worse: she doesn’t think twice about hiring a gunman to kill Bret. (While Buckley was an all-out grafter, even he had his limitations.) When Maverick‘s audience dropped 5 percent the week after “Paradise” aired, series producer Coles Trapnell took steps to refine the Blaine character.