I chose to watch the sitcom Frasier and the episode “To Tell the Truth.” This is an episode from about fifteen years ago. In the episode, the protagonist, Dr. Frasier Crane, struggles with a dilemma regarding being honest. His brother, Dr. Niles Crane, is in the middle of a divorce from his wife, Maris (who is not seen). Niles had had a long-standing infatuation with Daphne, the healthcare worker of Martin Crane. Martin is the father of Niles and Frasier. The lawyer is Donny. Frasier has an obsession with being exactly truthful, much to the disgust of the lawyer. Maris’ lawyers indicate that they believe Niles was in love with Daphne, which caused the failure of the marriage. This stems from a “fake” date that Niles and Daphne engaged in years earlier, to upset Maris. Niles is worried that Daphne will find out about his feelings.

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Frasier is conflicted because if he tells the truth in the deposition, as he believes he must, Niles will lose everything in the divorce. Martin, a retired police officer, indicates that he lied under oath several times. If he did not, a criminal he knew was guilty, would have been found not guilty. He believed that his ethics required him to ensure that guilty and dangerous criminals were removed from the street. However, Frasier believes ethics requires complete honesty, regardless of the outcome. Frasier is not sure what to do.

Niles realizes that he has put his brother in a difficult ethical problem. He tells Frasier that he should do what he believes is correct, thus absolving Frasier of his guilt. However, Donny then tells Niles that he learned additional information. Essentially the information is something Maris, a society lady, would not want released. Instead of making Frasier undergo the deposition, Niles threatens Maris with this information. This ends the divorce proceedings and prevents the ethical crisis that Frasier is experiencing from progressing further.

  • Frasier. “To Tell the Truth.” 1999. 15 October 2014.