Casino Royale, the first James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, was adapted as the second episode of the CBS suspense anthology television series Climax! The hour long episode was the first screen adaptation of the novel, which would later be adapted again as Casino Royale and Casino Royale, as well as being the first screen appearance of the Bond character, played here by Barry Nelson. Famous screen actor Peter Lorre also appears as the main villain, Le Chiffre, giving him the honour of playing the first Bond villain. Similarly, the character of Valerie Mathis is given the distinction of being the first Bond girl, a role played by Linda Christian. An analogue of Felix Leiter appears, but is made British and his first named is changed to Clarence. Likewise, Bond himself is an American agent of Combined Intelligence, and is referred to as Jimmy Bond.
As James Bond, a Combined Intelligence officer, arrives at the Casino Royale, he is shot at by an unseen assassin. Bond dodges the bullet, and then enters the casino. He is greeted by his British contact, Clarence Leiter, who states that he remembers "Card Sense Jimmy Bond" from the time he played the Maharaja of Deauville.
Bond sits down with Leiter and explains to him the rules of the card game baccarat. Leiter then reveals to Bond his mission; he is to play against Le Chiffre, who is attempting to win back the money he previously lost while gambling. The money itself actually belonged to some Soviet spies, and Leiter hopes that if he loses to Bond, Le Chiffre will become bankrupt, and as a result, his masters will "retire" him.
Bond next Le Chiffre's girlfriend, who turns out to be his former lover, Valerie Mathis, before he is introduced to Le Chiffre himself.
Bond and Le Chiffre play bacarrat together, with Le Chiffre hoping to win back his losses. Bond, of course, beats him, leaving the villain broke. Bond then returns to his hotel room, only to be met by Le Chiffre and his henchmen. Also present is Valerie, who is now tied up, as Le Chiffre discovered that she is an agent of the Deuxieme Bureau and has been spying on him.
Le Chiffre wants to learn from Bond the location of the cheque for his winnings, wanting to steal it to pay off his debt. Bond naturally refuses to tell, so Le Chiffre tortures him. Bond then escapes from his holdings, and gets into a fight with Le Chiffre's bodyguards, whom Bond kills with his gun. In the process, Le Chiffre himself is also shot, albeit in the arm. Exhausted, both men sit down opposite each other.
While the two talk, Valerie walks by Bond and Le Chiffre grabs her, holding a razor blade to her throat. Le Chiffre attempts to use her as a human shield and escape, but as he reaches the door, Valerie grabs his arm and pulls out of the way, allowing Bond to finally shoot Le Chiffre. Le Chiffre says his last words to Bond before collapsing to the floor dead, while Bond and Valerie share a passionate kiss.