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After he finishes broadcasting an episode of the television show Crime of the Week , producer Dave Markson discovers that sponsor Colonial Cigarettes is undecided about whether to continue funding the program. Writer Don Newell, who has lied to his wife Louise that he is working that evening with researcher Henry Hayes, asks Henry to back his story. Henry agrees, but as soon as Don leaves, hints to Dave that Don is having personal problems and should have his workload reduced. Later, Henry brings beautiful actress Paula Ranier to his home. Although she accepts his gifts and attempts to improve her social graces, as soon as he kisses her, she remembers an important appointment and leaves. Her appointment turns out to be Don, who ended an affair with her months earlier. She now informs him coolly that she wants $2,500 in exchange for a pair of his pajamas with a name tag sewn inside, and he is forced to agree to deliver the money on Friday night. Don visits a bar and recalls his romance with Paula: She arranges "chance" meetings with him repeatedly until he falls for her. For months, she lives off his monetary gifts until finally, after a trip together, his guilt overwhelms him and he breaks it off. In the office on Friday, the exacting Henry quibbles that Don's latest script is missing some minute details. While Don empties his family's bank accounts of $2,500, Paula's husband, Fred Abbott, asks to visit her, but she threatens to turn him in to the police if he does. That night, Paula finds Henry at her door and, confident in her newfound financial freedom, announces that she has always considered him a disgusting bore. As he is begging her not to leave him, Don arrives outside but, hearing voices in Paula's apartment, hides in the stairway. Henry leaves in a fury, but a group of partygoers block the stairs, and by the time Don can enter Paula's apartment, he finds her strangled. Covering his fingers, he locates his pajamas, tears out the name tag, and races out. Two drunken partygoers, however, detain him at the elevator and pull out his handkerchief, dropping the name tag onto the floor. He escapes to the bar, and although he quickly realizes the name tag is missing, a crowd of policemen at Paula's apartment keep him from returning. The next morning, Henry watches the police investigate Fred, calling it "research" for the next Crime of the Week . Although police lieutenant Mike Stevens steps on Don's name tag, he throws it away without reading it. At home, Don is agitated until he hears on the radio that Fred has been arrested, after which he happily returns his money to the bank. At work, Henry convinces Dave to do the next show about Paula's murder. A horrified Don is forced to write the script, and although Henry, who hopes to replace Don as head writer, secretly starts on his own version, Don soon turns in his best script ever. On the morning of the show, Henry visits Don at home and presents him with a pair of pajamas. As a frightened Don drives Henry to the office, Henry lies that Don's reaction proves him guilty of Paula's murder, as do his spot-on description of her apartment and the withdrawal and re-deposit of $2,500. He then demands that Don quit his job if he does not want to go to jail. They return in time for the show, during which Mike and his assistant watch the employees, hoping to learn more about Paula's connection to them. Don asks Louise to join them immediately, and in the middle of the show, suddenly recognizes the music Henry has picked out as the same song Paula was playing on the night she died. He pulls Louise into the hallway and confesses the whole story to her. Although upset, she nonetheless agrees to help him. The two then uncover Henry's script, which is full of the kind of minute details that Henry's favors but which now prove him to be intimately involved with Paula. Henry listens outside the door as Don deduces that the researcher killed Paula. While Mike, noticing both men are missing, begins to search the building, Don and Louise race to find him but are misdirected to the studio by Henry, who then pulls out a gun. Don surreptitiously turns on the camera, so that Henry's subsequent confession is broadcast on a television screen in the editing room where Mike is sitting. Mike bursts into the studio with his detectives just in time to shoot Henry as he raises his gun. Before dying, Henry tells Don the story will make a wonderful script--but advises him not to forget the details.