|Anne Francis as Eve Raydon|
As the novel begins, pretty war-widow Eva Raydon is on trial for murder after her husband, Birtley Raydon, has been poisoned with arsenic. Her lover, Jack Mintlaw, had made a fortune in Canada after the Great War but came back to England to find her remarried to Raydon. Adelaide Strain, her friend and housekeeper, shocks the court by testifying to new evidence that she heard someone come into the hall where a tray with drinks rested just before Birtley drank the fatal glass of shandy-gaff, a cold drink consisting of beer and a soft drink.
|Ruth Roman as Addie Strain|
Most of what follows consists of a flashback to the events leading up to Birtley's death. Like Florence Bravo, Eva Raydon had married young, become a widow, had a lover, and then married another man. Adelaide Strain has a son named Gilly and her husband also died in the war. She is dependent on the Raydons for her survival and that of her child and she is good friends with Eva but not well-liked by Birtley. Birtley's mother does not approve of his marriage to Eva.
|Gene Lyons as Howard Raydon|
|Gladys Cooper as Mrs. Raydon|
Detective Henry Plimmer of Scotland Yard is on the case. He investigates and concludes that Birtley was murdered; the post-mortem shows that he died of arsenic poisoning. Plimmer arrests Eva for murder. Adelaide watches it all and cooperates with the investigation but is never a suspect. The story then returns to the end of the trial, where it had left off for the long flashback. The judge concludes his summing up and the jury deliberates. Some think Eva guilty, some think her not guilty, and some suspect the gardener's son. No one ever suspects the truth of the matter. Eventually, the jury acquits Eva and, as the novel ends, all on the defense team agree that it was Adelaide's testimony that made the difference. No one ever knows what really happened, but in her novel Mrs. Belloc Lowndes provides an intriguing theory for a solution to the real-life murder of Charles Bravo fifty years before.
|Michael Crisalli as Gilly Strain|
"What Really Happened" was broadcast on Friday, January 11, 1963, on CBS. It is directed by Jack Smight and stars Anne Francis as Eve Raydon, Ruth Roman as Addie, Gladys Cooper as Mrs. Raydon, and Steve Dunne as Jack Wentworth (Mintlaw in the novel). Howard Raydon (Birtley in the book) is played by Gene Lyons and Adelaide's son, Gilly, is played by Michael Crisalli.
|The poison framed behind a glass|
|Echoes of Suspicion|
Mrs. Raydon is the first witness we see testify. She relates two events in flashback, describing one incident when she walked in on Eve and Jack together on the couch and a later incident when Howard confronted Eve about her bills. In both flashbacks, Eve is wanton and uncaring, first flirting openly with Jack and then acting blithe and confrontational with Howard. It is through these flashbacks and Mrs. Raydon's testimony that Slesar pieces together events from the novel in order to try to show the strong case against Eve.
|Cary Grant in Suspicion|
Toward the end, Slesar's script deviates completely from its source novel. Cross-examination of Eve reveals that she had a baby by her first husband and that she asked Addie to raise the child as her own while Eve made a living. It turns out that young Gilly is secretly Eve's son, not Addie's, and that Eve has kept Addie employed and living with her in order to keep her son nearby. When Howard fired Addie, it meant that Eve's son would be taken away, and the prosecuting attorney uses this to establish a motive for murder.
|Mrs. Raydon's version|
|Eve Raydon's version|
Jack Smight (1925-2003), the director, worked in TV from 1949 to 1986 and in movies from 1964 to 1989. He directed four Twilight Zone episodes and four episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. His most well-known films were Harper (1966) and Midway (1976).
|Steve Dunne as Jack Wentworth|
Ruth Roman (1922-1999), who plays Addie, was born Norma Roman and started in movies in 1943, moving to TV in 1954. She was in Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951) and she also appeared on The Outer Limits. This was her only appearance on the Hitchcock TV series. Of note, she and her son survived the wreck of the ship Andrea Doria in 1956.
|Michael Strong as Molloy, the defense lawyer|
Demonstrating his usual wry likability as Jack Wentworth is Steve Dunne (1918-1977), born Francis Dunne, who was in movies from 1945 and on TV from 1951. He was on the Hitchcock show five times, including Ray Bradbury's "Special Delivery" and Henry Slesar's "The Man With Two Faces."
Other familiar faces in the cast include Michael Strong as the defense lawyer and Tim O'Connor as the prosecutor. Both make their only appearances on the Hitchcock show.
|Tim O'Connor as the prosecutor|
Finally, Gilly Strain, the child, was played by Michael Crisalli. He was born in 1954 and only has a handful of credits to his name, all in 1962 and 1963.
"What Really Happened" is not yet available on DVD but may be viewed online for free here. The novel is available for free download from the Internet Archive here.
Grams, Martin, and Patrik Wikstrom. The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion. Churchville, MD: OTR Pub., 2001. Print.
Mahon, Elizabeth K. "Murder Most English--Florence Bravo and the Balham Mystery." Scandalous Women. N.p., 28 July 2008. Web. 30 Oct. 2014. <http://scandalouswoman.blogspot.com/>.