Columbo (1971) s02e01 Episode Script

Étude in Black

- Suppose it was you.
- You're always imagining that I'm leaping into beds all over town.
Oh, Alex, don't.
I know you.
You know that every expert in this case believes that Jennifer Welles killed herself? If that's so, why are you here? 'Cause you don't believe it.
Janice, stop it.
I'm getting tired of your insecurities.
Now, stop hounding me.
That's my specialty, you know: homicide.
Ow.
Frank, let me have that socket wrench, would you please? Ta.
That's gotta be His Nibs again.
Hello, maestro.
Hello, Mike, old boy.
How are you? Got problems again? Got a little few problems.
You're a virtuoso, Mike.
Fix this thing for me.
Tune it, oil it, talk to it, do whatever you have to.
It's not running right.
I got a rattle in the brass section, the woodwinds are flat.
What's this thing? That's the distributor.
Anyway, fix it.
I'll see you tomorrow around noon, all right? Okay.
Do you need a ride? No, my wife is supposed to meet me here.
Ah, there she is now, right on time as always.
Hi, honey.
Darling, I have to wash my hands.
I'll be right there.
Mike.
Bye, maestro.
! Move over.
All right, darling.
All right.
Here we go.
Alex, stop that.
Why should I? I feel that happens to be improper behavior for the conductor of the Southern Philharmonic whatever it is.
You sound just like your mother.
To pinch his wife publicly.
You do.
You sound like your mother.
She'd like me to go around as somber as the ghost as august as Brahms, as fierce as Beethoven.
Did you know that Brahms used to tell dirty stories? I believe it.
He used to have a cigar and use it while he was conducting sometimes, in concerts.
And Beethoven, he was Yes, I know.
You told me he was a sex maniac.
So am I.
Alex.
Look, will you take this thing to the dressing room for me? I have to see Billy a second.
Okay.
How's it going, William? Oh, hello, Alex.
I'm just getting a lineup on the camera positions.
Are we locked into these positions? Well, just about.
Frank! You in the control room? Yes, Mr.
Benedict.
I would like to vary these camera positions from last time.
How would you like them, Mr.
Benedict? I'd like one on me, as usual, and Let's see.
I think we should have a camera over there stage left.
And I think we should have a camera wild, on the orchestra, with lots of movement.
I want to get away from these usual, dull looks that we get around here.
Yes, Mr.
Benedict.
Do you think we can arrange to make that happen exactly like that during the concert? Alex, Alex I just don't want any of that during the concert.
Is that clear? Alex, I'll check it out.
How did people ever listen to symphonies before the age of electronics and stupid technicians? I'll be in my dressing room until 8:00.
I'd like you to handle all problems till then.
I'd rather not be disturbed.
I have something going.
All right, William? Okay, Alex.
Take care.
Please! Hello, Carlos.
Mr.
Benedict Sit down, sit down.
How's your daughter? Feeling any better? Fine, thank you.
That flu thing's all over.
That's good.
That's good.
Listen, I don't want any calls or visitors.
I mean that.
Fine, fine.
All right.
Hi.
Hello, sweetheart.
This is your mail.
Here's some early telegrams.
Here's your music.
And here is a kiss.
I've gotta go.
Mother is waiting for me.
Need me? No.
Go on.
Get outta here.
Okay.
Bye.
Hello, darling.
Hi.
What's the matter, did I scare you? Well You're shaky.
Just for a second, I was feeling all the hairs on the back of my neck.
That's just sex.
Mmm.
I thought you weren't coming.
I said I would, didn't I? just don't rely on your woman's intuition.
It's never correct.
Well, I thought you might be a little angry.
How could I be angry, looking at you? I just don't like ultimatums, that's all.
I don't like being a secret mistress.
It's not my style.
I know that.
You told me.
Do we have to go into the same arguments again? It's very simple.
I have to be open and free.
So do I, love.
Alex, I want something better than this.
So do you.
You look a little funny.
Well, it's a marvelous choice you've given me: To divorce my wife or you'll make a scandal out of our love affair.
Alexander, I'm right, and you know it.
I know that.
You told me that.
Darling, I know you.
I know you're not really afraid of hurting Janice.
You're just reluctant to lose her mother's backing.
And all that money.
Don't worry.
You're a genius.
You'll always have everything.
You're just a little weak, deep inside.
And all you really need is me, and I need you.
Because I'm the same.
See? And that's why I had to make you decide.
All right.
You'll tell her? Yes.
What choice do I have? All right.
Yes.
Okay.
No.
Let's not do that now.
Play something for me.
I am so confused I can't understand anything but music tonight.
What would you like me to play? Chopin.
Okay.
I'll fix us a drink of something.
Celebrate our last secret evening together.
## You have to tell them everything.
You always have to tell them not to start the canapes too soon, or they'll get soggy and taste like Band-Aids.
They're gonna be delivered freshly made right after the concert, Mother.
Mrs.
Benedict, Mrs.
Fielding.
Hello, Carlos.
Are those film actors coming? Oh, yes.
Alex invited them.
There are gonna be more of these along, Carlos, so I'll pick them up later.
Alex likes all that glamour, I suppose.
But what have actors got to do with music? Mother, they're people too.
I doubt it.
Hello.
Hello.
And how's my darling mother? "Mother!" Good Lord.
Never mind the charm.
How are your opening night nerves? Nerves? I don't even know the word.
I was just taking a nap inside.
Yeah, he never gets them before the concert.
It's afterwards he gets the shakes.
Don't start that.
Speaking of nerves, you know that Tchaikovsky got so nervous before a concert, he had hallucinations.
Once he was so sure his head was about to fall off, that he held onto it with his left hand and he conducted with his right.
Alex.
No, don't.
I'll never tell that story again.
Mother, you have to leave us alone now.
No more chatter for Alex.
Yes, I know.
All right.
Be brilliant, Alex.
Of course, you will.
You always are.
See you afterwards.
Alex, excuse me.
What? Jennifer Welles hasn't shown yet.
What? Jennifer Welles hasn't shown yet! Did you phone her? Yes! The line is busy.
It's been busy for a half hour You phoned, huh? Of course I did! She's always late.
This woman has absolutely no sense of time! Well, so what are we supposed to do? Hello? Operator? I've been trying to reach 5 5 5-7 921 for quite some time.
The line's been busy.
Yes, this is an emergency.
Would you cut in, please? Well, thank you very much.
Thank you.
I mean, this woman is late.
She's late for everything.
She doesn't think there's anyone else in the world alive.
! Darling, please, don't get excited.
This is gonna change.
No, no, it's ridiculous! Hello? Hello, operator? Oh, yes.
Thank you very much.
Okay, thank you.
- There's no one on the line.
- Then she must have left the phone off the hook.
She left the phone off the hook? It's possible! Television cameras are waiting! Look.
Alex.
Shh.
People in their houses all over America, waiting for a concert, and she left the phone off the hook! Why don't you call the police? Why are you You call the police! You call the police.
All right.
I want her canceled out.
You can't cancel her.
! Cancel her out.
I don't care if she arrives right now! We have the Beethoven.
It's all rehearsed.
You tell the orchestra, William.
What if she shows up? I've had it! Hello, operator? Give me the police, please.
Attention, everybody.
I want you all to be real sharp today.
We gotta have a real good performance.
All right.
Ready? Ready on camera three.
Go.
## Would you hold this a second, Lieutenant? Dr.
Benson.
What? I'm sorry.
What did you say? Oh, sure.
It's for you, Lieutenant.
Yeah.
Columbo.
Yeah.
Hi.
Yeah.
Well, I'm at the doctor.
No, it's not serious.
Yes.
I'll be there as soon as I can.
Right.
Bye.
Well, that's all there is to it.
He'll need a booster shot in about a week.
He didn't seem to mind.
Oh, they hardly feel it.
But he will need the booster shot in about a week.
Say, how old is he? Kind of hard to say.
I just picked him up at the pound.
Oh.
His time was up, if you know what I mean.
I'd say he's pretty full grown.
Kinda cute, isn't he? He'll be all right.
Okay, Doc.
Thanks for staying open.
Got these peculiar hours.
Ah, no sweat.
My wife doesn't like music.
She watches murder mysteries.
So whenever the concert's on, I work late.
Right.
There's not gonna be any aftereffects, is there? Oh, no, nothing.
Okay.
I haven't named this guy yet.
You don't have any ideas? There's a name I've always heard, and I've never seen a dog that had it.
Fido.
Fido.
Yeah.
Fido, the Romans used to say.
It's as old as that.
It means "I am faithful.
" Well, roughly.
Fine.
## Wanna get this for me, Doc? Mm-hmm.
William.
It was lovely.
It was really lovely.
The Mozart was beautiful.
Ah, darling.
The Beethoven was so magnificent.
The orchestra, all the work we put into it really paid off.
It was so exciting.
We were at one together! We were fantastic.
Did you hear it? Alex.
Alex.
Jennifer Welles is dead.
The police say she committed suicide.
I can't stand suicide.
Murder is bad, but suicide is sadder.
Did you read this? I browsed through it.
This is what they gave me.
This is the dossier that they gave me.
"Female Caucasian, piano player, born Kenosha, Wisconsin.
" This is what they gave me.
Now look what I find in the scrapbook.
"Miss Wells, London.
Miss Wells, Paris.
Miss Wells.
Miss Wells.
Miss Wells.
" "Genius.
Superb.
Talented.
Magnificent.
Feeling.
Taste.
Fabulous.
" Look what the department gives me.
"Female Caucasian, piano player, born Kenosha, Wisconsin.
" Look what I find in the scrapbook.
Look at these pictures.
Girl has a wonderful shape, don't you think? Look at those eyes.
Bedroom eyes.
Look what the department gives me.
"Female Caucasian, piano player, born Kenosha, Wisconsin.
" No bleach there.
Regular hair.
No fear there.
No heavy makeup.
Got a girl with a body, money and a career.
Got some column items to show the crowd she went with.
Best people.
Dukes, earls, politicians.
Big people.
So add that.
What's missin'? Somethin'.
A man.
The man.
A person, somebody.
Woman like that's gotta have somebody.
Eyes like that.
But that's me.
I'm paranoiac.
Every time I see a dead body, I think it's been murdered.
Can't imagine anyone murdering themselves.
Especially a young girl like that.
Beautiful eyes.
But that's me.
I like to see everyone die of old age.
Excuse me.
What is it, Lieutenant? Sorry? Anything wrong? Oh, no.
I'm just checking on my dog.
He's out in the car.
Did you see the note she left? Uh, in the typewriter? Yeah.
Yeah, I saw it.
Has that been printed yet? No.
I was just gonna check on it.
Uh-huh.
Well, get that printed.
Sergeant, don't touch the paper.
No.
Leave the paper just the way it is.
Sure, sure.
Good.
Sorry, sir.
You can't come in.
I'm Alex Benedict.
Let him in.
Miss Welles was supposed to appear at the Bowl tonight.
Hello.
I'm the conductor of the symphony there.
We're all deeply concerned about what has happened here.
I'm Sergeant Meyer.
Oh.
- Can you tell us anything about Miss Welles? - Not really.
Not about this.
I only knew her as a great artist.
What time was she due at the Bowl? Around 7:30.
We phoned when she didn't come.
Her line was busy.
When we finally reached the operator, there was no one on the line.
That's when my assistant, William Johnson, called you.
The police, you see.
Sergeant, radio call.
Excuse me, please.
Find something? I dropped my flower.
My coat must have knocked it off.
The pin is bent.
I'm Lt.
Columbo.
I'm a fan of yours, a really big fan.
In fact, I just got your latest album.
Thank you.
I didn't realize that you were interested in piano concertos.
No, no.
I'm talking about the album of Strauss waltzes.
"The Blue Danube.
" You know the one I mean? Yes.
I 'd forgotten that.
My wife and I, we both love it.
We play it every once in a while.
You've given us both a great deal of pleasure.
Thank you.
That's very flattering of you.
Did you see this? Isn't that awful? Uh You don't know any reason why Miss Welles might have taken her own life? No, I don't.
It's very shocking.
But then, I didn't know her very well, except professionally.
By the way, you mentioned that Miss Welles was due at the Bowl at 7:30.
What time were you going to arrive, sir? Around 5:30, I think.
My wife dropped me off.
You don't drive? Oh, yes, I drive.
I left my car overnight at my mechanic's.
Why do you ask? No, I was just trying to establish a time sequence.
You know, what time she would have left here.
That's interesting.
Alex! He's a friend of mine.
Oh.
Officer? Paul.
I don't get it.
I just don't get it.
Why? Why would she kill herself? Why? Paul, you knew her very well, you She could not have.
! No.
! She wouldn't! Come and see me tomorrow.
You understand? Come and see me tomorrow.
Go ahead now.
Lieutenant, if there's any way you think I might help, please don't hesitate but to call me.
Pleasure meeting you.
Well.
Yes.
Why'd she do it, Mr.
Benedict? I'm sorry.
The world of music has lost one of its brightest lights.
Jennifer Welles was an incredibly talented artist.
I'm sorry, that's all, folks.
Thanks.
Hi.
Is this your dog? Yeah, I guess it is.
How would you like it if somebody locked you up like that? With the windows closed and everything! - I didn't want him get out.
- Then leave the window open a crack.
Okay.
That's a good idea.
You see, this happens to be my first dog, and I just haven't gotten onto the ropes yet.
I appreciate your telling me that, Miss, uh What's your name? You're not gonna tell me? Well, my name's Lieutenant Columbo.
Okay, then.
My name's Audrey, if you want to know.
You live around here, Audrey? Yes.
But if you're gonna question me, you're gonna have to tell me my rights.
No, that's wrong.
I only have to tell you your rights if you're a suspect.
You're not a suspect.
And besides, I'm just makin' conversation.
I suppose you heard about Miss Welles.
Of course.
She was my friend.
I always took care of Chopin when she had to go away and play a concert.
- Yeah, who's Chopin? - Her bird.
The cockatoo.
Didn't you see him? Oh, yeah.
Now I remember.
Chopin was a composer.
He wrote piano pieces.
She named her bird after him.
I see.
Well, listen, Audrey, it's been nice talkin' to you.
And I appreciate the advice about the dog.
What's his name? You know, I don't know the name yet.
What do you think about "Fido"? Oh, wow.
How'd you ever think of that one? Beethoven.
Would you like to be called Beethoven? Hmm? I guess not.
Janice? Janice.
I'm not asleep.
How was it? Well, a lot of police.
Very depressing.
I thought you were going to your mother's party.
I didn't go.
What is it? What'd you do, take a sleeping pill? Yeah.
A little while ago.
It's starting to take effect.
All right.
Let's go upstairs.
How well did you know her, Alex? Oh, you know.
I don't know.
What is that supposed to mean? You know her phone number by heart.
I know a lot of telephone numbers of people I work with by heart.
Want some water? Yes.
Alex.
What? Never mind.
Go ahead, ask me.
I know what you're gonna ask anyway.
The answer is no, we didn't make love.
In the first place, I have a rule.
Never any complications with people I work with.
And what's in the second place? Me? You're always imagining that I'm leaping into beds all over town.
I've never done that.
Oh, Alex, don't.
I know you.
Why do all these people feel that they know me? I feel like I'm being seen through.
As if I'm in some constant masquerade.
I'm just myself.
Look at me.
I'm just me.
I am what you see.
Now, what do you think happened? You think I made love to Jenifer and then she killed herself for me? No, no, no.
No, I don't.
I I don't know what I'm thinking sometimes.
I'm sorry.
I really am sorry.
I'm just nice, sweet little Janice.
Nice little Janice.
I'm awful.
The things I think! Tell me why.
No, I can't.
Why Why did you marry me? Sometimes I wonder why you married me.
I mean, I'm not talented, I'm nothing.
Why? Why me? Just one reason.
What? I love you.
Ah.
Yes? Mr.
Benedict home? You musician? No, cop.
Cop? Policeman.
C- O-L-U-M-B-O.
Me.
Oh! Come in, please.
You musician.
You stay.
Mr.
Benedict! Mr.
Benedict! Mr.
Benedict.
! All right.
All right.
All right, now.
Take it easy, now.
Take it easy.
I never got to ask you last night what I wanted to ask you.
There's a time and a place for everything.
Last night was the wrong time.
Suicide's depressing Anyway, I happened to be in the neighborhood today That's not true.
I really came out here to see ya.
I don't wanna appear presumptuous All right.
Let's go inside.
We'll be more comfortable.
No, no.
No, no? I'm not goin' in there.
I'm not messin' up the room.
I have a wife.
I know what that is.
You arrive in the morning unannounced I never got to ask ya last night what I wanted to ask ya.
Go ahead.
Terrific place.
Terrific.
Thank you.
We like it.
Could I take a look in there? Just a quick look.
Go ahead.
Gotta be a 40-foot living room.
Forty by 20.
Dining room's 1 5 feet deep.
I can't see the rest.
Windows, windows, windows.
Ideal.
This is a dream house.
I'm glad you like it.
You're from New York? Yeah, I'm from New York.
Better out here, right? Well, it's more comfortable.
Can I ask you a personal question? Please.
What do you pay in taxes on this place? $1 8,000 a year.
Three times 1 8, carry the 2 4, seven down, bring down the zero Place cost you 720,000.
Seven hundred fifty thousand.
Could I look in there? Yeah, go ahead.
Listen, uh How did you arrive at that figure, 7 50,000? It's real estate rule of thumb.
It's a trick.
No magic.
I'm not an appraiser or anything like that.
Can I ask you something? Go ahead.
How much you got in the furniture? Oh Two hundred thousand, 1 00,000, give or take 1 00,000.
Something like that.
I'll take it.
Can I ask you a personal question? Yes.
Did you have anything specific that you wanted to talk to me about? No, I'm gonna get to that, but I'm fascinated by money.
Aren't you? Yeah, I'm fascinated by money, for what it can do.
That's all.
Yeah, yeah.
Anyway, what I was gonna ask you is this: How much do you make? I think that's very impertinent.
How much do I make? - Tours? Concerts? - I don't know.
I don't know.
Publishing? Et cetera, et cetera.
I don't know.
I make $11,000 a year.
So at $11,000 a year, I got $7 50,000 for the house, $1 8,000 in taxes, - How much help do you have? - I have five, including the gardener.
You got that, and the money, plus, plus, plus Well, let's say 900,000.
That's 90 years work for me just to live here, without eating.
What's the point? Well, I guess the point got delayed because I got so wrapped up in the house.
I told you that my wife and I are big fans of yours, didn't I? Well, there's a lot of snobbery among the wives.
'Cause in my line of business, we meet a lot of people.
So one lieutenant, he brings home one guy's, and another lieutenant, he brings home another guy's.
So when the wives get together, they can say, "I got an actor, " "I got a district attorney.
" I thought it would be nice if my wife had a conductor's autograph.
Would you mind signing this? What do you want me to say? Just put your name.
That'd be good enough.
Thank you very much.
I appreciate you taking the time.
I'll see you later, love.
Okay.
Kiss.
Mmm.
Bye.
Well, Mike.
All set? Mr.
Benedict.
She's right over there, sir.
Thank you.
Who's that? Don't know.
He said he was a friend of yours.
Lieutenant.
Oh, hi, maestro.
How's everything? Uh, fine.
Would you mind telling me what you think you're doing? What a car.
What a piece of machinery! I mean, just sitting in this thing makes me feel good.
I smell this leather, I feel the felt.
I look at this wood.
I wanna tell you, all my life I wanted a car like this.
Of course, on my salary, forget about it.
If you're through enjoying yourself, I really have some work to do.
Oh, yeah.
Sorry.
Boy, it sounds like a bank vault.
Might as well, it cost enough.
What was wrong with it? Oh, you know, these foreign cars are touchy.
Get sick, they have to be cured.
That's why I have Mike, he's a genius at this sort of thing.
Uh, Lieutenant, you didn't come up here to check on my car, did you? No.
No, sir, I didn't.
I'm gonna be very honest with you, sir.
I came here because I wanted to talk with you.
All right.
I'm here.
I'm very upset by this Jennifer Welles thing.
Yeah.
So am I.
You know, I was up half of the night.
I couldn't sleep.
I kept going over in my mind.
I couldn't figure it out.
Why, why, why would a girl like this young, beautiful, talented girl with everything to live for Why does she take her life like that? Although I didn't know her very well, there's something about artists that I do know.
You see, artists are very, very delicate.
They're strange.
They go up, and they come down, and they go up, and when they come down, they go down, down, down, and they get distraught.
They get full of emotions.
They get unable to cope with anything.
And we don't realize this until it's too late.
Tsk.
Yeah.
You don't sound terribly convinced about that.
No, no.
You're probably right.
Yes.
Well, I have a confession that I would like to make.
May I tell you something? Yes.
I had a thought.
Listen to this.
What if she didn't commit suicide? Isn't that peculiar? Because that's what I was gonna say.
That That I was awake almost all night thinking about the same thing.
No kidding.
Yes, only I rejected the idea.
Why is that? Because suicide, I mean, it's so complex, and we are always, in our normal everyday life, unable to accept it.
But it happens.
People kill themselves all the time.
And in this instance, the evidence seems so overwhelming.
Oh, she could have passed out from the gas.
She could have fallen off that chair, and she could've bumped her head, but, you know, that was a pretty good bump.
You know, someone could've hit her.
That's just an assumption on your part.
Right.
Very difficult to prove.
You know there's something else that bothers me.
I was speaking to that little girl next door.
And this thing will hang me up if I live to be Aren't they beautiful? Hmm? They really knew how to make cars in those days, didn't they? Will you look at the lines on that car? Spoked wheels.
Isn't this a honey? Ah, beautiful car.
Oh, if they would make 'em like that today.
It's beautiful.
Beautiful.
Isn't it something? Where was I? You were saying something about a little girl.
Right.
How'd I get off that? Well, what's the difference.
About the girl, right.
Yeah, she was a very good friend of Jenifer.
She told me that.
- She used to go in there and take care of Chopin.
- Chopin? The little pet bird she had.
Cockatoo.
Never mentioned it to you? Yes, I guess.
I've simply forgotten.
I guess you forgot the name.
Right.
Anyway, she had this pet bird Very strange.
- What do you mean, strange? How strange? - Had this bird for years.
Now, you have to love those birds to keep 'em, because they're plenty of trouble.
Believe me.
This is what I can't figure out.
Why didn't she take the trouble to save that bird before she turned on the gas? She was simply distraught and just forgot.
I mean, what about the suicide note? You know there's something funny about that.
You know, most of those notes are written by hand.
This one was typed.
She typed everything.
I have to go.
How'd you know that? Come on.
Let's walk and talk.
How do you know that? She had about the most illegible scrawl in the world.
She couldn't read her own handwriting.
All of her rehearsal notes to me, they were always typed.
Oh.
You must have checked the typewriter for her fingerprints.
Yeah.
Yeah, they were all hers.
There you are.
Listen, you don't mind if I go, do you? I'm a little late.
Oh.
Listen, I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with me like this.
You know, this is a lonely business, and it's nice just to have someone that you well, just air out your thoughts with.
I know it's shocking shocking when you think about suicide.
The word.
Now, see, I can understand how she might have killed herself.
But what possible reason for someone to kill her? Right.
That's right.
You got me there.
I feel so sorry for you, really.
Good luck to you.
Be careful.
Careful.
Excuse me.
If you have a moment, could you take a look at my car? Sure.
You've got some terrific old automobiles here.
Thanks.
They are lovely, aren't they? That one there, that's the love of my life.
That's my favorite too.
Wonderful car.
Lovely old car, that one.
Now.
There it is.
This is your car? This is my car.
Well, exactly what do you think is wrong with it? Tell you the truth, I think the engine is missing.
But you know I can't be sure.
Because the shock absorbers, they're so old that the whole ride is very bumpy.
I'll start it up for you.
Open the hood.
I guess you don't have these kind of problems with a car like Mr.
Benedict's.
Not quite, no.
What was wrong with his car? Nothing serious, I suppose.
No.
He just felt it was idling a little too fast for him.
What do you think of this? You ever thought about getting a new car? No.
I already have two cars.
Of course my wife's car is nothing special.
That's just for transportation.
You understand.
I only work on foreign cars.
This is a foreign car.
I know, but There are limits, mate.
You know.
Uh, listen Excuse me, I just thought of something.
You know, you seem very cramped here and I was wondering.
What do you do? You leave all these valuable cars out at night? Not the customer's cars, no.
They get locked up every night.
Oh, I see.
You only leave your own cars out, the ones for sale.
That's right.
Thank you.
- Here's your table, sir.
- Everett! Ah! Imagine seeing you here.
Lunch here every day, Liz.
Hi, Janice.
Hello.
You know Bill Durkee, don't you? Mrs.
Fielding.
- American News Service.
Of course.
- Hello, Mrs.
Benedict.
How are you? Liz, I'm so sorry about the Welles girl.
City editor tried to reach me last night, but I was out on the yacht.
There isn't anything more you could tell us, Mrs.
Benedict, about why she may have killed herself? I I don't Didn't even know her.
I thought perhaps your husband might have an idea.
Poor little thing.
Such a lovely talent.
Oh, that reminds me.
I was dictating some notes to my secretary this morning.
I have asked the symphony board to approve a scholarship donation in the name of Jenifer Welles.
I'm so glad I bumped into you.
- What do you think? - Good idea.
I'll spread it in all my morning papers.
- May I keep this? - Yes.
Might even replace some of the tabloid stuff.
You can't blame reporters.
- There's always a good deal of guessing when someone famous - But it would be nice if we could just stop any unpleasant publicity, don't you think? For the sake of our wonderful symphony organization? You see, Mr.
Durkee, Miss Welles was not Well, she was really not one of us.
She was rather new in town, and heaven knows what her background was.
Okay, Lizzy.
I'm still on the board too, remember? We'll see that nobody gets hurt by this.
Don't you worry.
Bye, Janice.
Bye-bye.
You too.
Have a nice lunch.
So that's why you wanted to eat here.
Well, I don't want Alex to be pestered and upset by any nonsense.
We've a very important season coming up.
Mother, what was she like? Who? The Welles girl? Very nice in Chopin.
But I don't think she had the technique for the concerts.
No, I mean personally.
Was she Do you think she was the kind of woman men would have found attractive, for instance? Why would you ask that? What a silly question.
She was a pianist, the poor dear.
Something that should concern none of us.
Now I'll order for you.
? Dat-dat-dat-dat-dat-da ## Forgive me, I didn't mean to you know, use your piano, but I just couldn't resist this thing.
I've wanted to play the piano ever since I was a kid, but I could never afford it.
You play beautifully.
Thank you.
I haven't heard "Chopsticks" since I was a little boy.
Right.
You know, you're you're quite a magician.
Not too many people could find me here.
How did you do this? Oh, I just called your wife.
She's a very accommodating person.
Oh, yes.
She's a very charming woman, delightful woman.
All right, Columbo.
What can I do for you this time? Yes, sir.
I came here because the other day we were talking about that suicide note, and I've got something I thought you might find interesting.
Uh, this is the typewriter.
- This is Jennifer Welles's.
- Yeah, how'd you know? I simply surmised it.
I, uh, I was there the other night.
You remember that? Oh.
Oh, gee.
You're very observant.
Well, thank you very much.
Uh, now, I don't know how much typing you do.
Not too much.
I have a secretary that handles most of that for me.
Now, look.
I'm gonna explain something to you, and the minute you don't understand it, feel free to stop me.
All right, I will.
Okay.
Now, this is complicated.
I want to get it clear myself.
A person puts a piece of paper in the typewriter and he types something.
Then he takes it out.
Then he puts the paper down.
Now he remembers he wants to add something else.
All right? He picks up the paper, puts it into the typewriter, and rolls the paper down so that the keys are lined up exactly the way they were before.
You're still with me.
I'm standing here.
Right.
Okay.
That's good.
That's good.
Now, here's the problem.
If you were to type over a letter, you'd always be a little bit off.
Come here.
Watch what I mean.
If I show it to you, you'll see what I mean.
I'm gonna take the letter "S" here, and I'm gonna type over the original "S.
" Take a look.
You see what I mean? The second "S" doesn't match with the first "S.
" That's because you rolled the paper back in wrong after you took it out.
That paper is just the way we found it.
That paper's never been touched.
Ah, I see.
Well, let me see if I can understand what you're saying.
You're suggesting that the paper was typed, taken out and then put back.
That's right.
Now, here's the problem with that theory.
Why would a woman who's gonna commit suicide type a good-bye note, put it in the machine and take it out again? - I don't know.
- All right.
Suppose she didn't type it.
Suppose somebody else typed it.
All right, who? Who did it? Whoever murdered her.
You know, Lieutenant, you're really a cocky fellow.
You're very sure of this, aren't you? I think that there is a very distinct possibility of murder in this case.
Yes.
I think there's a possibility, but I don't think it's distinct.
Suppose the murderer in this case was a friend of hers.
Suppose the murderer was a man who had access to her house, came whenever he wanted to, typed up that letter beforehand, when she wasn't around.
Okay.
Promise me you'll think about it.
When you come up with the correct answer, you'll let me know.
I'm gonna take a nap now.
Will you excuse me? Suppose it was you.
I heard you say something, but I wasn't sure what you said.
I said, "Suppose it was you.
" I'm not saying it was you, sir.
I was just thinking out loud.
You know, you're an audacious fellow.
I have a theory, and I would like to use you as an example, if you don't mind.
Oh, please, use me as your example.
Uh, suppose Here.
You take your car to Mike's Garage.
Your wife picks you up.
She drives you here.
You're really intrigued with my little car, aren't you? Well, I am, sort of, because you see Mike didn't find anything wrong with it.
And it would be a wonderful place to leave it if you wanted to prove you didn't have a car.
Why would I wanna prove that? Well, if you didn't have a car, how would you get to Miss Welles's apartment and back in time for the performance? You can't take a cab, because they keep records, and there's no buses.
You can't rent a car, because you have to show your license.
Getting in and out of here undetected, that wouldn't be too tough.
You know your way around pretty good.
All right, all right.
Go on.
Then you walk to Mike's place.
It's only 31 /2 minutes.
I timed it.
You get in somehow through an open window, whatever.
You take out the car.
You drive to Miss Welles's apartment, commit the crime, replace the car, and you walk back here.
Is that it? Well, I don't know.
I think it's a little thin, Lieutenant especially that bit about the car.
You know, that business about the car.
Oh, yeah.
I don't think that's very good.
Right, right.
That is thin.
Yeah.
The car.
Except for the fact that you forgot about the mileage.
I forgot the mileage? Yeah.
You know when you bring a car into a garage, they note down the mileage.
And I looked at your car the morning after the crime.
And the speedometer showed nine miles more than when you brought it in.
Of course, you drove that route from Mike's Garage to Miss Welles's house.
Exactly nine miles.
I think you might have something there, Lieutenant.
Of course, one of the garage mechanics could have taken my car and driven it around just to test it.
They don't remember that, sir.
They don't remember that? No, sir.
Well, I'm having a little difficulty imagining this hypothetical court case.
There's no real proof.
There's uncertain garage mechanics.
No, I don't think your theory holds up too well, Lieutenant.
You see, I didn't kill Jennifer Welles.
And it looks almost like a certainty to me that her untimely death will go down as an official suicide.
Well, sir, I want to thank you very much for your time.
Anytime, Lieutenant.
Right.
Here, I don't want to forget my cigar.
Good day.
Oh, listen.
Just one more thing.
Uh I know you don't agree, but at least I've convinced my superiors that Jenifer Welles was murdered it was not a suicide.
And they've officially assigned me to the case.
That's my specialty, you know: homicide.
Hey, hey, man, this place is closed.
Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt.
Say, aren't you Paul Rifkin? Yeah.
Do I know you? Yeah, from the other night.
The homicide guy.
Oh, yeah, yeah.
The cop.
How are ya? All right.
I thought you played in a symphony orchestra.
Well, that's for serious.
This is fun.
I get paid for both.
I can always use a little extra bread.
You guys are terrific.
Really terrific.
Oh, yeah.
Fantastic.
So.
Oh, no.
No, I happened to be in the neighborhood.
I stopped next door.
I bought a cigar, the guy was out of a match, I heard the music.
I came in, I thought I'd get a match.
Do you have a match? I got a match.
Hey, guys.
Run through "Lover Man.
" ## You're not for real, Lieutenant.
The only thing next door is a Laundromat.
It used to be a cigar store.
You're not a jazz freak.
You made a special trip over here to see me.
Why? I thought that you were very upset the other night, Paul.
I'm better now.
Life goes on, right? You know that every expert in this case believes that Jennifer Welles killed herself? If that's so, why are you here? 'Cause you don't believe it.
You think she was murdered.
You're the cops.
You figure it out.
That's what I'm trying to do, and I came here for help.
Listen! I was there the other night.
I heard what you said.
I heard what you said to Mr.
Benedict.
That woman cannot kill herself.
"No way.
" That's exactly what you said.
I was in shock.
Well, you must have known her pretty well.
Oh well, I can just, uh see the little wheels go clickety click.
Yeah.
We had a little number.
She broke it off.
I wasn't destroyed or anything.
I, uh We were good friends afterwards.
Why'd she break it off? She said she'd discovered an important new man.
What does that mean, "important"? Does that mean it was important because she was in love with him? Or important because he was a famous man? You're playing word games.
I'm not ready for this.
But you do think if the man was involved I don't think anything! I was in shock.
All right? Is that it? Thank you for the time.
Mm-hmm.
Listen, Paul.
Do you happen to know the name of the other guy? I never asked.
Sure.
Why would a guy ask his girl the name of the other man? Oh, it skipped! Oh, that's all for now, Doug.
Thank you, Doug.
Okay.
See you Tuesday.
Hello! May I help you? I'm from the police, ma'am.
Uh, Lieutenant Columbo.
Oh? Well, I'm I'm Mrs.
Benedict.
How do you do, ma'am.
What can I do to help you? Oh, well, actually, I just stopped by to see your husband.
The maid gave me permission to wait here.
I hope you don't mind.
No, of course not.
Beautiful place you have here.
Thank you.
Thanks very much.
Really beautiful.
You do your own gardening? Well, we have a gardener, but I like to do the flowers whenever I can.
Beauties.
What are they, carnations? Yes, that's right.
They are.
They're Dianthus caryophyllus, that's the technical name, but that's Border carnation, they they grow smaller and a little bit scrubbier than the florist carnations.
Terrific for a lapel flower.
Well, I grow them especially for Alex.
You know, he likes to, uh, wear a boutonniere when he conducts.
- How about a glass of ice tea? - Oh, no.
Thank you very much.
You sure? Sure.
Would Would you mind me asking you, Mr.
Columbo, what what you wanted to talk to Alex about, exactly? Oh, yeah.
That, uh Mm, throat.
Think I will have a little of that tea.
No, I was, uh, talking to your husband about Miss Welles.
I want to talk to everyone that knew her intimately.
Oh, I I beg your pardon.
I really don't think that Alex knew her better than any of the other artists that he works with.
Oh, no.
I meant no offense.
I only meant working together such long hours, two people and We have this new development in the case.
I thought he'd be able to help me.
Well, I don't know what you mean.
What case? Oh, maybe you haven't heard.
We think Miss Welles was murdered.
- Murdered? - Yeah, we think so.
Yeah.
I just learned that she was having an affair with someone.
Oh, well, I'm I'm really not interested in that, Lieutenant.
I, um And I certainly don't think that Alex could be of any help to you.
Why do you say that, ma'am? Well, because Alex doesn't mix in with the, uh, private lives of the artists.
You know that for certain? Well, of course I do.
What are you implying? No.
I'm not implying anything.
No, I I just didn't know how you knew what he didn't do or what he I'm really not interested in talking about this any further.
Will you excuse me, please? Lieutenant.
What is it, darling? This gentleman would like to speak with you.
Gee, I didn't mean to get off on the wrong foot with her like that.
Look here, Lieutenant, I'm getting a little weary of your harassment.
I'm sorry.
I really am.
I'd better go.
I'll tell you what happened.
I heard Miss Welles was having an affair with some other man, and I came over here because I thought maybe you had heard something.
Of course, she put me straight on that.
Give her my apologies, 'cause I know I upset her.
Well, he's gone.
Well, why did he come here? Oh, don't let him annoy you.
I think he's just trying to make a name for himself.
What is it, Alex? What is it he's after? Uh, I don't know, exactly.
I don't think he knows either.
Alex, is there any is there anything you should tell me? Janice, stop it.
I'm getting tired of your insecurities.
Now, stop hounding me.
I'm sorry.
I didn't mean to get mad at you.
I'm not mad at you.
Give me a smile.
That's not much of a smile Come on.
Eat your food.
Hi, Audrey.
Hi.
You remember me? Of course, you're the man with the dog.
Have you named him yet? No.
I'm I'm still working on that.
Listen.
I got to tell you something.
I'm very impressed with you.
Oh, really? Is it my body or my mind? Well, it's both really.
No, seriously, Audrey, give me a break.
What I'm trying to say is, that for a young girl, you're a very independent-minded person.
Don't bother with any male chauvinistic compliments.
Is that what that was? Look.
I'm sorry.
Forgive me.
If you're trying to butter me up, that's not the way.
So, what do you want to know? You're gonna ask about Jenifer, aren't you? You got me.
Yes.
Okay.
Ask.
If I don't want to tell you, I won't.
If I do, I will.
All right.
That's fair enough.
Now, this is what I want to ask you.
Did you spend a lot of time in Jenifer's apartment? Sure, she used to tell me how to handle men.
Ah, did you meet many of her men friends? Not exactly.
Every time he'd come around, I'd have to leave.
Who's he? The one in the tuxedo.
Darling, please.
Just one second.
The one in the tuxedo, did he come often? Yeah.
In fact, I saw him leave her apartment the same day she You know.
Did you know his name? No.
If you saw him again, would you recognize him? Of course.
How are you? Is it all right to go in? I'm from the police.
Oh, sure.
It's just a rehearsal.
Fine.
Thank you very much.
What are they rehearsing? They're scoring the music for a documentary film.
I see.
Thank you.
Is it all right to smoke? Oh, sure.
It's okay.
All right.
Thank you very much, gentlemen.
Jimmy, what did you think? Beautiful.
Great.
That's it.
Shall we try to make one? Uh, I want to I want to speak to Paul a second.
Just hold on one second, gentlemen.
Uh, Paul, let me show you something.
When you come in, you know, it's - ? Da-da-da-dam, bom-bom ## - Mr.
Benedict.
Yeah.
More dynamics.
Mr.
Benedict.
Explosive Excuse me.
Sir.
My friend, enough is enough.
Forgive me.
I'm terribly sorry about bursting in like this, but Enough is enough.
This is really important.
Will you explain to the orchestra what's so important? Do you see this little girl here? Well, the night Miss Welles was murdered, Audrey here and she's a friend of Miss Welles and a neighbor and she saw a man in a tuxedo leaving her apartment.
Now, Audrey, do you see that man here now? Sure.
You want to point him out? That's him.
I know it isn't very nice publicity, but I hate to see us lose a brilliant musician.
But the man's been accused of murder! Jennifer Welles was a beautiful musician too.
He isn't accused of murder.
He's being questioned.
That's right, he's just being questioned.
Nevertheless Nevertheless, there are sufficient grounds to dismiss this Paul Rifkin.
Why was he trying to hide? He's unsavory anyway, with his surly manner And his excessive drinking.
His excessive drinking has nothing to do with this meeting, Louise.
Am I too late for the lynching? This is not a lynching, Alex.
What do you want? I just dropped in to defend Paul.
I thought he might need a friend.
Well it's noble of you to come galloping to the rescue, but there's no reason to assume that we're planning a hanging.
May I say that Paul Rifkin is a rare and special talent.
So we've heard, but surely there are others just as good.
Maybe, maybe, but I don't think that's the point.
I'd say if you fire Paul, you hurt the orchestra.
That's my only feeling.
- What about the damage caused by the scandal? - Hear, hear.
I think it's an accepted custom to presume innocence until proven guilty.
No? Thank you, Arthur.
I'm positive that Paul will be cleared.
I think you ought to give him a break.
Paul's been in a lot of trouble in his life, but it's been a long time since then.
I think he's straightened out beautifully.
What kind of trouble, Mr.
Benedict? I really don't think that's the point.
- And I really think we should be the judges of that.
- You have the floor, Alex.
Well, I I met Paul at the Juilliard School of Music.
I was lecturing there at the time.
He was suffering from a rather nightmarish family background.
He loved music.
He was a natural talent.
He bumped into some people, and got himself into a scrape, and ended up in jail.
It's been a long climb for Paul, but I think he's made it.
- What were the charges? - It's been eight years.
Let's give him a break.
What was the charge? Assault.
Oh! I see.
I mention this only to show that Paul needs our sympathy and support.
Because whatever happened to him was just bad luck.
It could have happened to anyone.
Might have happened to you.
You have a powerful friend and supporter, Mr.
Rifkin.
Alex Benedict tried his best to defend you.
That's great, but there's nothing to defend.
He won our sympathy by telling us about your unfortunate background, including your struggle against some bad associations.
- Associations? - It seems you had questionable taste in friends.
Well, some of them were busted for smoking grass.
So what? Two members of the board of trustees are on indictment for breaking antitrust laws.
I wouldn't try to be funny, Mr.
Rifkin.
I smoke grass sometimes, just about like you drink gin.
Didn't you ever have a drink of gin during Prohibition, when gin was illegal? And let's not get smart about how old I am.
If you're trying to win me over, you're not making it, sonny.
I'm not trying to win anybody over.
I just don't like getting ripped off for something that I didn't do.
Well you must admit you have a talent for attracting trouble.
You have a jail record for assault on a woman.
Well, Mr.
Benedict really gave me quite a defense.
Yeah, I punched a lady, right in the nose.
She was trying to steal my wallet when I was asleep.
I woke up swinging, and hit her before I knew what I was doing.
Nobody believed me.
Well I'm not interested in the sordid details, and I'm not judging you.
I didn't kill Jenifer! I couldn't.
Never.
- Why not? - I loved her! Uh, look, uh, Mrs.
Fielding.
I'm just about flipped out lately.
It's true.
I was there the day that it happened.
I've already told this to the lieutenant.
I was really hung up on her.
I mean, all the way, and it wasn't like that with her.
You don't have to tell me all this.
No, I want to tell you, and I want the lieutenant to tell you.
Three months ago, she fell in love with somebody else, really bad.
And it broke me up.
I couldn't stop seeing her, and she let me in between seeing him.
I was there a lot.
But whenever he was coming I had to split.
She wouldn't tell me who it was.
She said it had to be a secret.
And I was there that evening.
I went to the door.
Nobody answered.
And that's all That's all there is to tell.
It's the truth.
The lieutenant believes me.
Tell her.
That's right.
I don't believe he did it.
You think it was the other man.
Well, the other man's always a possibility.
I keep wondering why you tried to hide this.
Why you didn't come forward before.
Because I figured I'd lose my job.
That I wouldn't have a chance to explain anything.
Mr.
Rifkin, I am concerned with my orchestra.
I have spent 25 years making it what it is today and gouging people for money to build the symphony association.
Aside from my daughter, this is my baby.
And if anybody tries to hurt either one of them, he's out the ax anybody.
But under the circumstances, let's say you're not fired.
However, until this case is cleared up, you'll have to be suspended with salary.
Thank you.
Thank you, Mrs.
Fielding.
Now, be a good boy and vanish quietly.
Good-bye.
Good-bye, Lieutenant.
Lieutenant Columbo.
Are you there? Oh, uh Would you like a drink? Did you mean that? Anybody could get axed? Without exception.
Would you like a drink? Even the maestro? He could get axed? You mean Alex? - Yes.
- Especially Alex.
You mind if I have a drink? Okay, Lieutenant.
Here's a tag that proves he's had his rabies shot.
Now you can get him a license.
Thanks, Doctor.
License? Gee, I never thought of that.
Well, you'd better.
It's the law.
Cop'll arrest you if he finds him.
Right.
All right.
Come on, dog.
Hey, you got a name for him yet? No.
I was thinking of watching him and giving him a name that fit something he did, but all he does is sleep and drool.
This dog needs a name that'll give him some stature.
Needs all the help he can get.
How about Jet? Munch? Say, isn't that I get the impression I heard this concert before.
Yeah.
Is that the one they played last week? The educational channel reruns the tapes of the concerts on Saturday mornings.
That was the night Jennifer Welles was supposed to play.
- You know anything about that case? - So it's on tape.
They got it on tape.
I never thought of that.
All right.
I think we should up-bow on the fourth beat.
Bar 29 Have a little crescendo on the downbeat.
All right, ladies and gentlemen.
Let's try it again Quasi una fantasia, uh? Excuse me.
Uh, what does that mean, what he just said? It's Latin for "like a fantasy.
" Oh, thank you very much.
All right, ladies and gentleman.
That's all for today.
We'll try it tomorrow when you feel more like working.
Thank you very much.
All right, darling.
Shall we go? Maestro? Excuse me.
I hate to keep bothering you people, but I have something which I think will interest you.
Mr.
Columbo, nothing you could possibly say could interest me.
Believe that.
Just come to the TV booth.
It's only gonna take two minutes to get this whole thing cleared up.
It'll be the last time you ever see me.
I promise that.
- The last time.
- Absolutely the last.
Alex? Well, I'm sorry.
We can't.
Please.
Well, let's get this thing cleared up once and for all, all right? Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Right this way.
What is this all about? Well, this is a film projector, Mrs.
Benedict, and this is videotape equipment.
You can sit right here, anyplace.
Make yourself comfortable.
Would you like something to drink coffee? Something cold? Lieutenant, could we please get on with this? Certainly.
Mr.
Benedict.
Uh Now, you always wear a flower in your lapel when you conduct a concert.
One of your wife's garden flowers, is that right? Yes, I do.
Ah, Frank, would you roll the tape? ## That's the opening night concert, am I right? Obviously.
Stop.
! Thank you, Frank.
Tell me, if you always wear a flower, where is it? I don't always wear a flower.
And that night he probably forgot it because he was very upset about Jenifer Welles not showing up.
But I remember you picked up a flower at Miss Welles's apartment.
Under the piano? You said you dropped it? I don't recall doing anything like that.
Frank, would you turn out the lights? Frank, better turn on the lights.
How do you work this thing? The knob on the right.
Would you operate it for me? Sure.
Frank, want to turn off the lights? Thanks.
Why'd she do it, Mr.
Benedict? I'm sorry.
All I can say is the world of music has lost one of its brightest lights.
Jennifer Welles was an incredibly talented artist.
I'm sorry.
That's all Freeze! There's the flower.
Now, that's plain as day.
Where did it come from? I don't know.
What difference does it make? Well, on the tape at the concert, you weren't wearing a flower.
Now, on this film coming out of Miss Welles's apartment, you have a flower.
Where did it come from? Are you actually trying to pin this murder on me with with that? Yes! Because the only place you could've gotten it was at Miss Welles's apartment when you picked it up at the piano.
And that means you had to have been there earlier.
I'm very disappointed in you, Columbo.
I simply went into my dressing room, pinned on my flower after the concert and left.
Janice always brought in cut flowers every day, didn't you? Why would you put it on after the concert? Why would you put it on after the concert? I don't know.
I was in shock.
Confused.
I'd just heard that Miss Welles was dead.
Mrs.
Benedict, is that the way you remember it? You were there.
Did he put on a flower after the concert? It's all right, love.
Go ahead.
No.
No, he didn't button on a flower afterwards.
Let me just see you alone one moment.
I could have stood for anything, Alex.
Anything in the world, but not murder.
I'm guilty.
You know that.
Just for the record, I love you.
I've always loved you.
I hope you don't have to go through your life Lieutenant? Uh May I speak to you alone? Uh This is humiliating.
I admit you're a great detective.
You knew from the very beginning, didn't you? I mean right from the start.
I'd like to go.
Is there anyone I could Officer? Would you take Mr.
Benedict downtown? All right.
Good-bye, genius.
Bye, Frank.
Gentlemen.
I'm sorry, ma'am.
Yes.
So am I.
Officer? Would you escort Mrs.
Benedict home? Frank, you wanna play that again? The concert?