Emmy winner Tony Randall portrays widower Walter Franklin, a somewhat less-than-magisterial Philadelphia judge put upon by an assortment of family and courtroom recidivists. In this pilot-opener, Walter copes with a bad case of nerves as he preens for his first date with a widow, Linda Jenkins, in almost two years.
Walter finds that hiring a new clerk can be a trying experience. Judge Franklin interviews an odd-lot assortment of law-clerk applicants, and surprise everyone with his final choice. Judge Walter Franklin must weigh the scales of justice off the bench when he interviews for a new law clerk and the applicants include his court reporter, Jack Terwilliger, an aggressive young man, and a beautiful girl with excellent qualifications.
The Honorable Judge Franklin becomes infatuated when he meets another Judge, Eleanor Hooper, and they try to find some privacy together by meeting in Atlantic City. Walter courts the female judge who's anything but turned off by his romantic naivete.
After delivering a rousingly well-received speech, Walter (Tony Randall) is inundated with public-speaking requests that send his ego sailing. Judge Walter Franklin gets too big for his judicial robe when he accepts too many speaking engagements and starts believing his own publicity
Ashamed of getting tight at her birthday party, Miss Reubner (Allyn Ann McLerie) resigns. Judge Walter Franklin finds out that his tone-faced, sharp-tongued secretary, Miss Reubner, has another side to her personality when he asks her to his home to celebrate her birthday with his family.
After Walter (Tony Randall) upholds a local theater's right to show a pornographic film, he forbids his 18-year-old daughter to see it.
When Jack's normally ultra-accurate court reports deteriorate, Walter (Tony Randall) investigates his friend's problem.
Judge Franklin gets more than he bargained for on the bench when he replaces another jurist and has to deal with an attorney notorious for his devious tactics. Walter does a slow burn over the bullying tactics of a defense attorney in an arson case.
Walter flares over his temporary assistant's penchant for courtroom histrionics. He loses his cool in the courtroom when a new law clerk keeps interrupting him, and the issue of his emotional sickness is taken up by the judicial review board.
Walter's family thinks his engagement to Judge Hooper (Diana Muldaur) is premature.
Feeling Christmas spirit, Walter takes a colorful but incorrigible thief into his home. Believing there's no place like home for the holidays, Judge Franklin brings home a convicted criminal to spend the Christmas holidays with his family - and the judge gets more than he bargained for.
Walter is tempted by a friend's offer of a law partnership.
Walter's romance with Judge Hooper (Diana Muldaur) is threatened by the arrival of a college buddy who once dated her. Judge Franklin makes a common error and introduces his girl, Judge Eleanor Hooper, to his old pal, a famous trial attorney. And they only have eyes for each other. She doesn't even know he's in the same room. Franklin tries to forget her by dating another woman, a former classmate.
Walter's housekeeper and children simultaneously defy his control. Walter's household rebels: Bobby wants an apartment, Brad refuses to change schools, and Mrs. McClellan buys a cat. Judge Franklin is charged with three counts of first degree tyranny by his children and housekeeper. Judge Franklin is perturbed when his children, Bobby and Oliver, seek his housekeeper's advice instead of his.
Mario Lanza (Zane Lasky) charges Walter with possession when a bag of marijuana turns up in the judge's desk. Judge Franklin's eagerness to help his loyal friend and court reporter, jack, backfires when an overzealous city attorney, Lanza, busts the judge on a marijuana charge.
or a change, its not the judge who is in trouble. His housekeeper, Mrs. McClellan, discovers her visa has been invalidated and she could be deported. But she come up with a plan to avoid deportation. To prevent deportation to her native England, Mrs. McClellan (Rachel Roberts) advertises for a husband, and a motley crew of prospects show up.
After reprimanding Bobby (Devon Scott) for dating an older man, Walter (Tony Randall) finds himself attracted to a younger woman. Judge Franklin loudly protests his daughter's dating a much older man, and then the tables are turned. He starts to date, secretly, his son Oliver's teacher, a very pretty, but also very young, woman.
social Activist persuades Walter (Tony Randall) to write an expose of prison conditions from behind bars. From a beach at Acapulco to a minimum security prison is quite a contrast for Judge Franklin, who sought the former for two weeks but has to settle for the latter instead. He got the assignment as part of a judicial investigation on the institution's conditions.
Judge Franklin's son Oliver cuts school and learns a lesson in this episode when he comes to his father's courtroom to see his hero, "Wild Doug" Mclntire, the toughest hockey player in the league to testify. Then the boy tries to emulate his hero's hockey style. That's where the lesson comes in.
Walter's household rises up against him, Brad is not willing to change schools, Bobby expresses her liking to live in an apartment and Mrs. McClellan would love to have a cat.
Mario (Zane Lasky) becomes Walter's self-appointed bodyguard after the escape of a vengeful convict Walter (Tony Randall) once sent to prison.
Walter runs for Superior Court judge against a former rival. Franklin runs for Superior Court Judge, his opponent dies during the election but too late for his name to be removed from the ballot. Lo and behold, he wins. Franklin is beaten by a dead man.
Walter is shocked when Bobby announces she's going to live with her boyfriend Michael (Michael Burns).
Walter's estranged father Wyatt (Hans Conried) visits his son for the first time in five years.
Walter doubts his competence as a judge when he discovers that he convicted an innocent man.
Mrs. McClellan's nephew, a photographer, enthrals the Franklins with his tales of globe-trotting adventure.
Walter doesn't know how to act around his new clerk, a militant young upper-class black man.
An escaped convict (Cleavon Little) takes over Walter's chambers with a gun and holds Miss Reubner hostage.
Franklin is forced to rule against an environmental protestor, and when Bobby leads a protest, he jails her for contempt of court.
When Eleanor thinks their relationship has become dull, Walter tries to make himself a more well-rounded person by joining clubs.
Walter fears that Jack will become suicidal after he and his wife separate.
Walter must protect Miss Reubner from the advances of a notorious womanizer (Robert Alda).
Franklin reacts unexpectedly after Bobby announces she's tired of living with Michael.
A predatory real estate agent (Beverly Garland) tries to get Walter to sell his house.
Mario is hopelessly outmatched when he represents a young girl suing for the right to live with her stepmother.
Bobby's new boyfriend (Brian Dennehy) is not only too old for her, but a known gangster.
Jack and Miss Reubner enter a ballroom dancing competition.
Mario mistakes Eleanor's kindness for love.
Walter has to choose between Eleanor and Melissa.
Walter begins teaching a night school law course, where the only promising student is a blind woman.
Walter inherits a mountain cabin that seems to be haunted.
Walter is proud of his night school class's showing on a test, until it turns out they all cheated.
Walter and his employees all have different memories of his first day as a judge.
Walter discovers that his father is in love with Mrs. McClellan.