Cannon (1971) s01e18 Episode Script

To Kill a Guinea Pig

ANNOUNCER: Starring William Conrad.
With guest stars: Vera Miles, Michael Strong, Steven Eudis.
Of course the police were called in.
Took them a whole ten minutes to evaluate the problem.
Their suggestion was that Dr.
Adams put in a claim with her insurance company for the smashed window.
They chalked the entire incident up to some nuts, some harmless nuts.
And you obviously don't believe that, Dr.
Dean? Mr.
Cannon, there are two ancient and well-tested rules which I learned my first day as a medical-research director: First, never get caught stealing a corpse from your local cemetery.
Second, avoid adverse publicity whenever possible.
Let me tell you something, doctor.
Rule number one is not in my line of work, so that leaves rule number two, right? Whoever these men were, I want to know what it's all about before Mr.
Scoop of the Daily Yellow Sheet puts his nose into it.
Would you like a very good sherry? Uh, fine.
Adams was working on a very vital and delicate medical-research program.
The slightest breath of scandal involving her or the project could kill it.
Uh, why don't you take the doctor off the program, hm? At least until you get this thing cleared up.
That would mean stalling for months while we try to find someone who is capable of picking up where she left off.
Thank you.
Not to mention someone equally dedicated.
That's one reason.
The other is, I respect Zena Adams too much to just bury a knife into her professional future.
Has it ever occurred to you that possibly the police were right? I'm a research man, Mr.
Of course I've considered that, as closely as I've considered your reputation as a private detective, and, I might add, your fee.
They both come very high.
Uh, they both suffer from inflation.
I want to hire you, Mr.
Cannon, but I have to be honest.
Money is not very plentiful around our institute at this time.
However, if you take on the project, you might find that you're working for something a little more than money.
A lot of sick and dying people might live to say thank you.
You know something, doctor? That kind of fee is hard to turn down.
Is everybody here? Yes, ma'am.
The Guinea Pig Platoon is all present and accounted for, doc.
Hey, what do you say we call ourselves the Tarnished Twenty? Beats the Dirty Dozen, don't it? All right, all right.
Let's knock it off.
Before we, um, get started with the program and move over to the infirmary, I wanted to call you all together and meet with you and say a few things.
I'll try to keep it from sounding too corny.
A lot of people may one day owe their lives to you for risking yours in this medical-research program.
Don't fool yourselves, it is a risk.
A calculated one within a controlled environment, but nevertheless a risk.
Your reasons for participating are your own.
I know some of you are hoping for reduced sentences or consideration from the parole board.
I hope you get it.
I say "hope" because I want to make it very clear that no promises have been made.
More than anything I want you to understand the important part you're taking in a war against hepatitis.
Now, I've talked to Captain Sheer, and, uh, he has agreed that for the duration of the project, you will be assigned light-duty jobs.
Now, let me, um, fill you in on what's going to be happening for the next few months.
Starting today, and every Monday morning about this time, you will be taken over to the infirmary for inoculation and examination.
If at any time you feel sick or just plain down, please report to the infirmary.
I don't want any heroes.
Half of you will be injected with a live, attenuated vaccine.
The other half will be given a saline solution with vitamin B12 and used as a control group.
No one will know which of these two groups he is in.
As far as you're all concerned, you're all in the same boat.
I saw a spook movie once with a mad research doctor.
Turned her human guinea pigs into real weirdoes.
You wouldn't do that, would you, doc? Come on, move it, man.
Excuse me.
Yes? Uh, just a minute.
Adams, telephone.
Thank you.
Excuse me.
Hello, this is Dr.
Who is this? But why would you want to kill my? Hello? Hello? The calls come two, sometimes three times a day.
They're always the same.
He laughs, and then he makes some perverted remark.
This time it was about the monkey that I keep at the institute as a pet.
He's lived through four very tough experiments, and I retired him last month.
What was the threat? That he'd kill the monkey.
I never thought he'd have the courage to call me here at the prison.
Maybe he wanted to show how resourceful he is.
I'm impressed.
He never demands anything from you? Uh, money? Uh, anything he wants from you? Well, I'm a little older and less attractive than I used to be.
Please don't come up with some obligatory gallant remark.
Well, it had, uh, crossed my mind, but, uh, I felt no obligation.
You snuck it in anyway.
No, he never asks for anything.
Probably some sick, pathetic little man who needs attention.
I'm sorry, doctor, that was no sick, pathetic little man who scared you half to death in the garage, you know.
No, you've got a problem on your hands, and you either stand up and face it, or you run like a rabbit with an eagle on its tail.
But you'd better make up your mind what you're gonna do pretty soon, before somebody else makes the decision for you.
Meaning the institute? Yeah, they hired me.
They're shook up, a little bit.
That's understandable.
Bad publicity would cause the prison to withdraw their support.
Then the financial backing would dry up.
Believe me, Mr.
Cannon, I don't want that to happen any more than the institute.
Oh, I believe you, but you're leaving something out.
What's that? They're also afraid that you may be in real trouble.
Hi, Mom.
Hi, Lee.
Ah, is that your son? Yes.
Uh, this is Monday.
Uh, no school? Well, I thought, um, until this is over I'd sort of keep an eye on him.
I'm delighted to see that you don't believe everything you say, or everything you expect me to believe.
I'm no fool, Mr.
I've already lost a husband and a son.
I don't intend on taking any chances with Lee.
Are we going now, Mom? Yes, we are.
Can I have my gun, please? Thank you.
Lee, this is Mr.
Hello, Lee, how are you? Are you a cop? Ah.
The guard says you're some kind of cop.
Really? Well, uh, Mr.
Cannon is a private detective like, um, Mickey Spillane? I would say Bulldog Drummond would be more appropriate.
I never heard of either one of them.
Uh, doctor, in case you want to get in touch with me Bye-bye, Lee.
Thank you.
Bye, Mr.
Yes, captain.
We were gonna have that little talk, remember? Oh, I'm sorry, it completely escaped my mind.
Look, uh, why is a private detective hooked on a medical-research program? Ah, it's a confidential matter, I'm afraid.
Not when you step through those gates, it isn't.
Look, I'd, uh I'd appreciate it if you tell me whatever you can about this.
Well, not gonna be much.
Uh, let me check my gun.
Mom, look out! Look at that guy.
What's the matter with him? -I don't know.
That man's getting close.
Yes, I know.
Hey, Mom, we're getting squeezed in.
Look out, Mom! Look out! Let's go, kid.
Leave him alone.
Don't sweat it, doc.
Nobody gets hurt.
We just want to talk to you.
Get your hands off! You tell him, doc.
Please, Lee, stop it.
Go with them.
They won't hurt you.
But what about you? I'll be all right.
Just go with them.
Quit it, kid.
Let's go, doc.
Sorry for the inconvenience, doctor.
What do you people want? Won't you step in, please? I need a favor.
Not a very big one, really.
There's a friend of mine in a prison.
He tried to get into your program, but you turned him down, I'm sorry to say.
You turned down his offer to help wipe out hepatitis.
Who are you? I told you.
I'm his friend.
Now, you can let him in.
What do you say? I can't do that.
This is a scientific experiment.
If any of the subjects are in poor health or have medical histories of certain diseases, I can't use them.
It would invalidate the entire project.
Scientists all over the world would refuse to accept any conclusions I reach.
I think you should reconsider.
I just can't use your friend.
Don't you understand that? His name is Carr.
Steven Carr.
Get the kid! Leave me alone! Let go.
Ow! Ah! Now, I want to know why you're picking on a 13-year-old boy.
You're gonna talk fast or I'll break all of your ribs.
Ah! Where's his mother, huh? Mr.
Cannon, watch out! Oh! What is it, Mom? What did those guys want? They want me Lee, I don't want you to say anything to anyone about this.
Not Mr.
Cannon, not to anyone, do you understand? Hey, girl, what are you doing up there? Hey.
You're lucky.
Yeah, tell me about it.
You just need some rest.
What I need is a drink.
Coffee? Scotch.
Where's Lee? Oh, he's outside with the monkey.
I thought I'd bring him home as a pet.
I called the institute, and a friend of mine brought him over a little while ago.
After that call at the prison, I thought he might as well be with the rest of the endangered ones.
Instant, I hope you don't mind.
Hm? Oh, thank you.
My husband just before he died.
And my oldest son.
That's Ricky.
He died 11 years ago of hepatitis.
And six months later you gave up your pediatric practice to go into hepatitis research.
Well, you'd be an asset to any research program.
Doctor, what happened on the road today? Nothing.
Same as at the garage.
Now, come on, doctor, don't try holding snow in your hands.
It always melts and runs through your fingers.
No, it's very simple.
You either tell me what you know, or I tell Dr.
Dean what I know.
They want me to let a friend of theirs at the prison in the project.
What's his name? -Carr.
Steven Carr.
I won't do it, Mr.
I won't jeopardize this project for Steven Carr or for anyone else.
It represents ten years of my life, and it's my only link with my dead son.
This also involves convicts and their playmates, and that could be a dangerous game.
If you go to Dr.
Dean and tell him what you know, he'll take me off the program, and he'll close it down.
You were hired to save the project, not kill it.
Is all this something I should know about? I'm not sure yet.
Cannon, a lot of people from the warden on down are stretching the rules for you.
I don't mind telling you I'm nervous.
Now, if you've got your finger on anything that might trigger off another Attica, you ought to let someone in on it.
Oh, it's not that newsworthy, captain.
However, if the TV cameras do come around, I'll see that you get a close-up or two.
How far would you go to get a year taken off your sentence? Why? Are you selling tickets? Call off your jackals, Carr.
Leave her alone.
Are you finished? Not quite.
Sit down.
If anything happens to her, it's gonna cost you a lot more than a year, and that's a promise from me to you.
I've been in this cage for three years for embezzling $50.
000 I never saw, so not much throws me anymore.
So why don't you tell me what we're talking about.
Zena Adams.
You've heard of her.
So has every con in the place.
You tried to get in on the experiment? Yeah, I tried.
I was turned down.
I'd had hepatitis when I was a kid.
Well, some of your friends are working on the doctor to get her to change her mind.
That's news to me.
Good news.
Oh, I believe you, just like the jury did at your trial.
Look, when I ran my chapter of the Petroleum Construction Workers Union, it was clean.
Then the boys from the national started poking around.
They saw something they could fill their pockets with.
They wanted in.
I wouldn't let them.
That's when they sent their accountant down, Ted Kroft.
For an audit, they said.
Yeah, I know about Kroft.
I read your transcript.
You know it was a frame.
Isn't it amazing how many people there are in prison who are innocent? Look, I don't care what you believe.
But you are right about one thing.
I want out of here, and bad.
If there's anybody out there helping me, I'm for them.
Lee, it's time to go.
Lee? We're going to be late.
Lee? Lee! Lee! Lee? I wanted to cut him down.
I didn't want you to see.
But I couldn't.
Why did they have to kill him? He didn't do nothing to them.
Mom, I'm afraid.
I'm too old, I know, but I can't help it.
Don't be afraid, Lee.
Don't be afraid, darling.
Nothing's gonna happen.
I promise.
It isn't all that tragic.
Well, I'm glad you told me.
I wasn't sure.
Why did you change your mind about Carr, doctor? Common sense.
Easy way out.
Call it whatever you want.
It doesn't make any difference.
And the last time I talked to you, it did.
You were the last of the uncompromising research scientists.
Now all of a sudden you've caved in.
I want to know why.
Maybe I was too rigid.
Do you think it's over? Yes, I do.
All I want is to save the project.
All they want is Carr in the program.
Well, you're wrong, doctor.
These men have put you through the wringer.
Why? Because they want to get Carr on the program so they can maybe get a few days taken off his sentence? That's an awful lot of trouble to go to for a maybe, isn't it? No, this thing doesn't balance, not by a long shot.
That's an interesting theory.
Do you have any proof, Mr.
Cannon? Not yet, doctor.
Good afternoon, doctor.
Coffee? We, uh, came over to thank you for what you did for Steve Carr.
I'm sorry if I'm holding you up.
I know you're busy.
There's just one more thing I want you to do for my friend.
What's that? Kill him.
Hello? Mr.
Cannon, this is Dr.
Adams didn't show up for our weekly staff conference, which is not at all like her.
I just called her home, and there's no answer.
Could she be in some kind of trouble? Well, to be honest with you, she could be.
That does it.
I'm taking her off the project.
No, not yet.
Look, Mr.
Cannon, I should have done it as soon as you told me that she put Steven Carr on the program.
You talked me out of it once.
Don't try again.
I'm afraid I'm gonna have to.
I don't know whether she's in trouble or not or what the trouble could be, but if you pull the plug on her now, it could make matters worse.
All right, but by Monday I want some answers or I'll have no choice.
I'll have to move.
Hello? Anybody home? Hello? Hey, that's the guy I fought with on the road.
That's Phil Woodward.
Associates frequently with Arnie Samples.
They're smalltime punks, assault, robbery.
Minor league, but tough.
They work most of the time for this man, Theodore Kroft.
He fenced their hot merchandise.
He's been indicted but never convicted.
Retired now.
His last legal job was as accountant for the Petroleum Construction Workers Union.
What about the guy who heads Steve Carr's local now, uh Uh, Les Brooks? Uh, you got anything on him? No record.
No make.
No, he's clean.
I'm telling you, if we stick together, your kid is gonna have a good Christmas, all of you.
Don't you worry about it.
You're gonna get more this year.
Huh? I'll take care of you.
How are you, boy? Nice to see you.
How's it going, Benji? You up on your dues, Benji? To the last penny.
Good man.
There's a spot opening up in the local.
A few of the boys thought, uh, you might be interested.
Not me.
You got some trouble, Benji? Well, tell me about it.
Thanks for the offer, but I think working for you might be more of a risk than I want to take.
We all take risks in this business, some more foolish than others.
Nobody can be responsible for people like that, now, can they, Benji? Excuse me.
I was told that I might find Les Brooks around here.
The one with the clean hands.
Thank you.
Hey, uh, I think you'd better get up to the spot, hm? Les Brooks? I'm Frank Cannon.
I'd like to talk to you.
About what? Arnie Samples.
He works for you, doesn't he? Well, he works for the union, if that's what you mean.
Do you know where he is? Well, I'm the head of the local, Mr.
Cannon, not of his household.
Sorry I can't be of any more help.
I've got a few others names I'd like to try on you.
If it's union information you're after, this isn't my office.
Shall we start with Dr.
Zena Adams? Don't know the name.
Well, tie that with Steven Carr and what do you get? Fed up.
Where's Zena Adams? Hey, the man just told you to beat it.
Heads up! You all right? Say, uh, I'd like for you to deliver a message to your friend up there, will you? Yeah? What? Sure, Steve Carr and Brooks were close, not because Steve wanted it that way.
Thank you.
See, Brooks was sent down here from the national when this local was set up, to help Steve organize, you know.
Steve didn't need no help.
He was a man.
You could go to him when you needed somebody.
We had a good, clean union then.
You know, Cannon, most of the guys around here are just waiting for the day that Steve gets out.
There's no getting rid of Brooks without him.
Brooks has his goons all over the place.
Anybody says anything, an accident happens, like the one today.
And from the looks of you, he didn't appreciate your helping me.
Thanks again.
Forget it.
Look, Steve never took $50.
He never had more than 50 bucks in the bank.
Two days before he was indicted, he borrowed 10 bucks from me for his kid's birthday.
Les Brooks was making the same salary that Steve was getting, but after he took over, he started living like a fat-cat big executive.
It doesn't take long to figure out where the extra money was coming from.
The till, that's where.
I suppose Les Brooks isn't gonna put out the welcome mat for Carr when he gets out of prison.
The last thing he wants is Steve out.
Well, drink up, gentlemen.
Next one's on me.
Les, they're putting up for the night.
We tailed them to a motel.
Want us to fall on them? No, just tell me where you are, and I'll be there by morning.
Yes, ma'am.
Fill her up? Oh, yes, please.
They're there, Mom.
What are we gonna do? I don't know.
I'll ask the gas-station man if he's got a phone.
No, Lee, don't.
But we can't just sit here.
Even if we keep driving, they'll follow us again.
I know, but if we make a phone call, they might try to stop us.
I wish Mr.
Cannon was here.
Didn't take much.
Would you please call this number for me, and read the message on the back to the man? This is more than enough to take care of the gas and the phone call.
Well, thanks, ma'am.
Um It's very important.
I'll take care of it.
Kroft? May I see you for a moment? I would suggest that you, uh, tell your friends to go on without you, and perhaps you'll join them later in the game.
I beg your pardon? I want to talk to you about Steven Carr, and $50.
I don't know what you're talking about.
Who are you? My name is Cannon.
I'm a private investigator.
You know, perjury is a felony, punishable by imprisonment, Mr.
Of course, compared to murder, it's a lot easier to live with, isn't it? What murder? Steven Carr's.
Les Brooks has set Carr up in a medical-research program at the prison, so he can kill him.
And it'll probably happen by a medical accident.
You could be an accessory before the fact, you know, since it was your testimony that sent Carr to prison in the first place.
But you can't prove that.
If you could, you wouldn't be here.
The police would.
Or one of Brooks' men with a gun pointed at the base of your skull.
Look, I don't have anything more to do with Brooks or the union.
I'm retired.
I don't think Mr.
Brooks will make that distinction, especially after I pass the word around that you've decided to turn state's evidence against him.
You fellows better go on.
I'll catch up with you later.
You're a wise man.
Hello? Yes, this is Frank Cannon.
Yeah, well, I got your card here.
A woman gave it to me.
She asked me to call you and give you the message she wrote on the back.
It's from, uh, Zena Adams.
It says It says what? It says Happy New Year.
I thought my instructions were clear, Dr.
Adams: No police, no Cannon, no running.
Yet you chose to disregard them.
What did you expect me to do? You either make me the murderer or the victim.
What choice do I have? Well, that was the point.
There was no choice.
Arnie, uh, take the kid in the other room.
No, please, please.
Leave me alone.
Mom! Please don't hurt him.
Don't worry.
He'll be all right.
Providing you do exactly what I tell you.
You, George and I will drive back to the state prison and arrange a little medical accident.
A simple error.
A lethal strain of your vaccine.
Nobody will think of it in terms of murder.
Nobody except me.
I won't do it.
Yes, you will.
You see, your son will remain here with Arnie and my other friend.
And if you should decide not to kill Carr, well, I don't think I need to explain what will happen.
Doc? Are you ready for 'em? Oh, yes.
Uh, I-I'd like to see the men, uh, one at a time today, please.
Um, start with the new man, uh, Steven Carr.
Uh, give me a minute, will you, please? Yes, ma'am.
Where's Lee? I can't tell you.
You've got to tell me.
Where is he? Brooks will kill him.
Listen to me.
I can nail Brooks.
I've got enough on him to put him behind these walls for the rest of his life, but you must tell me where Lee is.
Zena, you've got to trust me.
He's in a cabin on Mt.
Wyatt Road.
Oh, Frank, don't let them hurt him.
You looking at your new home? Carr's still alive.
She didn't do it.
I don't know what you're talking about.
You're finished, Brooks.
Yes, that's right, Dr.
Steve Carr is being released from prison tomorrow, and will probably be the head of his union again the day after.
Of course I'll tell her.
Thank you.
Well What did he say? He said right on with your project.
Thank you, Frank.
That's really the important thing.
Of course it's important.
Oh! And that's kind of important too, huh?