Columbo (1971) s02e06 Episode Script

A Stitch in Crime

I believe you killed Sharon Martin, and I believe you're trying to kill Dr.
I said, sponge! What's on your mind? What possible reason could I have for killing her? You ask tough questions, Doc.
So does a jury.
Take it away! Dr.
Hiedeman, I think you should I've had enough! Take it away! It's Dr.
Okay, fellas, get him up on the examining table.
Take it easy.
Hold it, gentlemen.
Hold it.
Let's take it easy.
Where do they have Dr.
Hiedeman? Emergency 1.
And what is your diagnosis so far, Doctor? You probably have aortic valve Doctor Shh! You probably have aortic valve disease, or mitral valve disease with additional coronary artery disease.
It's aortic, all right, and that is a very good diagnosis, Doctor.
Is this an emergency or a medical quiz? Severe chest pains.
They just brought him in in an ambulance.
Now, don't get alarmed, Sharon.
Simpson and I have everything in hand.
Now, that's not so bad.
Is his room ready? I don't know.
I'll take care of it.
Thank you, Doctor.
Oh, I think you'd better lie quietly, sir.
Now, don't be so darned efficient, Doctor.
If anyone asks for me, say that I'll be in the lab.
What are you doing here? I thought you went home.
Oh, I had to come out for a drive.
Thought I'd just check up on things.
Everything's stable.
Well, this patient here of yours seems to be getting along a lot better than I expected.
Temperature's back to normal.
Heartbeat's normal too.
Very good, Doctor.
Well, there's no evidence whatever of tissue rejection.
Have you given any more thought to making an announcement? Hmm? Oh.
There's no need to, really.
No real hurry.
Well, there are already rumors around that we're very close to solving the transplant rejection problem.
I've had people ask me for the name of the drug we're developing to counteract rejection.
Oh, don't let that bother you.
Of course, um, Brechman and his group might beat us to it.
So that's the real problem, huh? Who gets the credit.
No, no.
I just think we've done enough testing, that's all.
Listen, I'd like nothing better than for you to go in and give the real operation now.
But I do think we need further tests.
Well, if you say we must wait, we'll wait.
Doctor, your room is ready.
What room? He was just brought in.
Severe chest pains.
Why didn't you tell me? I've taken my own blood pressure.
It's normal now.
Besides Now, just a moment.
As far as your condition is concerned, I'll be the doctor.
You've been postponing this valve operation for weeks.
All right.
No more arguments.
Set up the operation room.
Arrange for the operating room.
Tonight, if possible.
Into the wheelchair, Doctor.
I'm perfectly capable of walking to my own hospital room.
I must say, for a doctor, particularly one of the country's supposedly leading heart specialists Alleged leading heart specialists.
You oughta have more sense, All right, all right.
If you'll pardon my opinion, Doctor.
Now you've got me where you want me.
Hiedeman left his glasses in here.
Oh, there they are.
Um, you might as well take this up too.
Just came in.
Might be important.
And I'll be up to check him out in a few minutes.
I wanna get Bixton to stand by and assist on this one.
You let me know when Hiedeman's ready.
Don't look so worried.
We've done valve replacements before.
He's gonna come through just fine.
How's Hiedeman? Dr.
Mayfield is going to operate this evening.
Is that the cable that came in for Hiedeman? Yes.
Why? Well, I just wonder if he got it all right.
- When did you give it to Dr.
Mayfield? - About an hour ago.
Thank you, Miss Tucker.
Thank you, Vera.
I'll take it from here.
Now I know why I've always disliked hospital rooms so much.
I can hardly wait until I get you sedated.
Yeah? Hmm.
Yeah, I'll just bet you can.
This is for you.
Hmm? Ah.
From Germany? Mm-hmm.
Brechman? Uh-huh.
"We have decided to accept your offer to come and discuss our projects.
" "I seriously believe," he says here, "we need another year of tests at least.
" That's gonna overjoy Dr.
Mayfield, I'm sure.
Oh, I know he's rather impatient, but he'll get used to waiting.
I'm glad you're so certain of that.
Ah, Sharon.
When I went back to get your glasses, I'm sure he was reading your telegram.
Now, Sharon, I know you dislike Dr.
Mayfield, but that's no reason Dr.
Mayfield is an opportunist.
He's been taking half credit for a project that you've been on since the very beginning, and he's not gonna sit still for another doctor.
Sharon, I am disappointed in you.
He is a very brilliant surgeon and is a great help to me in my project.
I don't want to hear anymore about it.
I'm sorry, Doctor.
Besides, if he wasn't such a brilliant surgeon, I wouldn't have him operate on me, would I? Scalpel.
Pressure okay, Charlie? Pressure okay? Retractors.
Lap sponge.
I said, sponge! What's on your mind? Fibrillator on.
What's the matter with you? Sorry, sorry.
All right, he's all yours.
Be gentle.
You made it look easy again.
Thanks, Tom.
I had some expert help.
It's okay.
I'm buyin'.
I guess I ought to congratulate you too.
Thank you.
You seemed, um, a little uneasy today.
I did act as if it were my first time out.
I was worried.
Afraid something might happen to him? I mean, the way you were watching me.
I feel foolish.
Well, you needn't have worried.
I told you he was gonna come through just fine.
I'm sorry.
I didn't mean to interrupt.
Go ahead.
The line's busy.
Sharon, what's the matter? Are you feeling all right? Tell me the truth, Sharon.
What's bothering you? What is this? Well, that's-that's suture.
If I remember correctly, we do use suture to sew up in operations.
- May I see it? - It's suture, all right! But I didn't bring this in on the operating tray! And I've handled enough suture to know what it feels like.
This doesn't feel right! Sharon, I don't understand.
What's this all about? If Dr.
Hiedeman dies, you take over the research project.
You do your own transplant operating, and you get full credit.
Do you realize what you're saying? Dr.
Hiedeman survived the operation, but what if you've done something during the operation that may cause him to die? Sharon, I know you're not very fond of me, but I never realized you were so obsessive.
If I were you, I'd have that suture checked out.
If you're so sure that I've done something that's going to make lovable old Hiedeman suddenly drop dead in a few days, I'm sure the police would love to know about it.
I suggest you take your suspicions to them.
But before you lose yourself in your hysteria, would you please mark and file these bottles and put them in the cooler tray? Yes.
Yes, right.
Right, that'll be all right.
Get a couple of good shots of the area.
Hey, watch it.
Be very careful.
Please stay back, folks.
Would you keep them back? We wanna keep this area clear.
Keep the evidence clean.
All right.
Please stay back.
Keep 'em back, would you, please? Yeah.
Lieutenant Columbo.
Over here.
Who's the victim? Name is Sharon Martin.
A nurse at the hospital.
Is there any coffee around? Haven't seen any.
How long has she been dead? Looks like several hours.
Another nurse found her on her way into work this morning.
Hey, you look tired.
I am.
My wife's not feeling too good.
Stomach trouble or somethin'.
She'll be all right.
In the meantime, I'm dead.
I was up half the night.
Did I ask you for coffee? Yeah.
Lieutenant? Yeah? Sir, we're trying to keep this area clean for evidence.
Oh, uh, sorry.
So far, the usual stuff.
Looks like her keys are missing.
Let's see what else we can get.
Okay, boys? Let's, uh, check it out.
All right, take off.
We'll check that report later.
All right, folks, it's all over with.
I think you'd better go home now.
Keep 'em dispersed.
All right, keep moving, folks, please.
It's all over with now.
Here's your orange juice, Lieutenant.
No coffee? We're working on it.
Pretty much of a mess.
Doesn't look like she was molested or anything like that.
Somebody searched her pretty thoroughly, though.
Went through her pocketbook, coat pockets, glove compartment.
Probable murder weapon.
No prints.
Yeah, never are.
Uh, excuse me.
You wanna hold that over here for a minute? This is Dr.
Any calls for me? Nothing? Fine.
Would you get me Surgery, please? Hello, Alex? Dr.
For my 10:00 surgery, would you order up Postponed? Why? Sharon? No.
No, I haven't heard yet.
They found her dead? Oh, no.
Where? Well, what happened? Do they have any idea who did it? We don't know yet.
Just a minute.
Who are you? Uh, Lt.
Columbo, police.
Alex, I'll talk to you later.
Excuse me.
I didn't mean to interrupt, but, uh, I have so much trouble trying to find my way around hospitals.
You know, there's so many wings.
There's a north wing and a south wing Well, what is it you want? No sleep last night.
It's very hard for me to think.
What did you say? I said, what is it you want? Oh.
I'm looking for Dr.
I'm Dr.
Well, I'm very pleased to meet you.
Terrible thing.
- Young girl like that.
- She was my nurse, you know.
- Yeah.
- What was it, robbery? We're not sure of anything yet.
That's really the reason I came up to see you, Doctor.
I thought maybe you could be some help to us.
In what way? Well, since you were close to her Miss Martin I thought maybe you could tell us something about her personal life.
Well, then, you think it wasn't robbery? Doctor, I don't rule anything out.
I just wanna get a complete picture.
Well, I, uh I don't know how much I can tell you about her personal life.
I mean, we worked together, but she was much closer to my associate, Dr.
Yeah, I wanted to see him, but, uh Gee, I don't even want this.
I haven't had coffee yet.
Uh, where was I? Oh, Dr.
Hiedeman, yeah.
I wanted to see him, but I found out he just had an operation.
Well, thanks for reminding me.
I should be checking on him.
I didn't wanna bother him.
He's my patient, you know.
You must be a terrific surgeon.
Well, Dr.
Hiedeman and I do share a mutual respect.
Oh, that? Oh, yeah, he must think you're very good.
No, actually, Doctor, I was referring to your great concentration.
Well, how is that, Lieutenant? Well, when I came in, you see, you were getting the news of your nurse's death on the phone.
I could see you were terribly upset.
But while you were on the phone, you reset your desk clock.
Well, I fail to see the virtue in that.
Oh, you're too modest, Doc.
No, most people, they'd be in such a state of shock, they'd never be able to split their concentration like that the way you did setting your clock there.
Well, it, uh it must've been a purely reflexive reaction.
I really don't remember doing it.
Would you excuse me? Oh, sure, yeah.
Sorry I detained you.
Not at all.
- Is there a coffee machine on this floor? - No.
Hart, please.
Excuse us.
Excuse me, Doctor.
Yes, Lieutenant? Uh May I speak to you personally? Go ahead.
Um, I feel uncomfortable.
In what way? In hospitals, around illness, I, uh I feel kind of queasy.
Well, that's not uncommon, Lieutenant.
I know.
Uh, I faint.
I mean, I actually pass out.
And in my line of work, that's kind of embarrassing.
Is there Is there something that I can do for that? There's only one surefire cure, Lieutenant.
Stay out of hospitals as much as possible.
I'll try, Doctor.
I can't believe it.
I just can't believe it.
I wasn't sure if I should tell you.
No, no.
Of course you should have.
Poor girl.
Have the police made an arrest yet? No.
They've got someone on it.
A Lt.
I'm sure you'll be talking to him.
He's very efficient.
Believe me, if there's anybody that can do anything about it, it's going to be Lt.
All right.
All right.
And since you're such a good doctor, how soon do you think there'll be a change for me? A few days.
Just a few more days.
I'll check you later.
I just can't believe it.
We were so close.
I mean, it's Of course, in a lot of ways, you know, we were far apart.
How is that? I mean, I've always been inner-directed, and she was other-directed.
You know what I mean? No, not really.
I'm career-oriented.
Sharon was motivated by other's wishes.
Do you understand? No.
I have personal, selfish goals, and Sharon was devoted to humanity.
Do you follow? Uh, well, I'm beginning to get some of the drift of it.
Excuse me, Lieutenant.
You were both nurses.
Is that right? Yes.
But Sharon always was devoted to healing.
She always worked in hospitals.
Myself, I work in Beverly Hills for a plastic surgeon, because I selfishly enjoy being with middle- to upper-middle-class people.
However, I don't meet any single men unless they're ready for face lifts.
Uh, tell me Could you tell me a little bit more about your roommate? Well, I just know that Sharon never did anything to harm anyone.
No idea why anyone would come into this apartment and tear it up like this? No.
I have no idea.
Hey, Lieutenant, in here.
Take a look at this, sir.
You have a handkerchief? Yes, sir.
Did you ever see these before? No.
What are they? Why are they hidden under there? What is it? Morphine.
Lieutenant, I know nothing about this.
I had no idea anything like this was hidden Sorry.
I don't mean to interrupt.
Hank, you wanna dust these? Fingerprints? We'll see.
They're clean.
Good of you to come.
I'll see you later.
After the premiere, I got called out on an appendectomy.
Hi, Lucille.
I should've been an orthodontist.
All the ones I know are cleaning up.
A very important patient.
Now, I can't mention his name, but he's very How's it going, Barry? He's very big in the aerospace industry.
Welcome, sir.
Would you care for an hors d'oeuvre? Oh.
Thank you very much.
Yes, I As a matter of fact, I am a bit hungry.
Uh, let's see here.
What is that one there? Oh, that's salmon on toast with caviar and sour cream.
It's delicious.
You don't have anything with just plain cheese, do ya? Oh, yes, sir.
Right over here.
Help yourself.
Thank you.
Collecting evidence, Lieutenant, or just being sociable? Oh.
Hello, Doctor.
I hope you don't mind my helping myself.
Your maid sort of insisted.
Not at all.
Here, have some crab.
Thank you.
Always eager to support my local police, Lieutenant.
Thank you very much.
I really appreciate this, Doctor, because I've been sort of off my schedule all day today, you know.
I had very little sleep last night, and I had that very early call at the hospital, so I missed breakfast.
And I was filling out reports all during lunch.
And, of course, here I am now, so I'm gonna be home late for dinner.
That's very interesting.
But why are you here? Uh Well, I-I had a couple of things I wanted to check out with you.
I think I'll have another one of these.
Uh, I'm sorry if I interrupted your party.
Oh, no, that's perfectly all right.
I was going to cancel it.
I mean, with all that's happened, you know.
But it was just too late.
I know about that.
Oh, yeah.
Um, if you don't mind, you could be a big help.
Of course.
Would you like to step outside? Yeah.
Thank you.
Excuse me.
Take a few olives here, if I may.
They look very good.
Thank you.
A really good pediatrician.
Oh, no, not again.
Harry, you'll never learn, will you? Incidentally, forgive my appearance.
I didn't get a chance to shave this morning.
It's perfectly all right.
Don't worry about it.
Um There's been a new development in the case.
What is that? We went to Miss Martin's apartment.
We found it torn up just like her car.
Really? Yep.
Tell me, Doc, at the hospital, did she have, you know, access to the drug security rooms, places like that? Drugs? Well, uh Why, yes, in Dr.
Hiedeman's and my laboratory.
We use quite a variety of drugs in our research work.
She had access to our supplies.
Why? We went to, um, Miss Martin's apartment, as I told you.
It was not only torn up, but we found two bottles of morphine.
They were hidden there in the bathroom under the wash basin.
What do you make of it? Looks like someone knew she had drugs and wanted 'em pretty bad.
Lieutenant, Sharon was one of the most devoted nurses I ever knew.
Are you inferring that she was mixed up in drugs in some way? I know what you mean.
It shook me too, a woman like that.
But you never know, Doc.
You just don't know.
I mean, today, everything's up for grabs.
You don't know who's involved in what today.
The best people.
By the way, did she ever mention to you the name of a man named, uh named Mac? Mac? I don't think so.
Why? Well, in the laboratory by the telephone, uh, we found this.
That's her handwriting.
It looks like she had an appointment to meet meet a man named Mac this morning.
I'm afraid I never heard of him.
You think this Mac is, what, maybe a maybe an addict? Don't know, Doc.
Do know that somebody busted into her apartment.
That part we do know.
What about her roommate? Was she any help? No, she couldn't give us any idea.
Listen, Doc, do you have anything for an upset stomach? Oh.
Yeah, sure.
Come on inside.
I'll give you something.
Right in back here.
A couple right here.
Do you have this problem often, Lieutenant? Well, it comes and goes, Doc, and usually when I've eaten too fast.
It'll make your cheeks go in.
Take, um take two of these right now.
And I'm gonna write you a prescription.
If you don't feel any better in the morning, you get this filled.
Well, thanks, Doc.
But those should give you some immediate relief.
Thank you very much.
I hope so.
Oh! Bless you.
Bless you.
I'll tell you, this has been a terrible day for me altogether.
I mean, on top of everything else, this case has just got me down.
I know what you mean.
It's all just so hard to believe.
You know, it just it just doesn't sit right with me.
I don't know what it is, especially that fingerprint business.
What fingerprints? That's just it.
There weren't any.
There were no fingerprints in the apartment, and there were none on the murder weapon.
I had it all double-checked, sent it down to the lab, and all they could find was some things that looked like glove smudges.
Well, I-I don't follow.
What does that mean? Well, I mean, here you have this dope addict who's so badly in need of a fix that he wildly attacks Miss Martin in order to get some drugs, and yet he takes the time to put on gloves before he attacks her.
Now, what do you think, Doc? Doesn't sound much like a dope addict, does it? I'm afraid I can't be very much help.
I don't know anything about dope addicts.
Well, of course.
Well, listen, thanks a million.
I mean, it was real nice of you to give me the time.
No trouble at all.
I appreciate that.
Not at all.
Lovely party.
Thank you.
Continue to enjoy yourself.
Thank you.
Hi, Marsha.
This is Dr.
How are you? I know.
It's just terrible.
Must be a strain on you too.
Look, I'm gonna be free in about an hour.
Why don't you and I take a walk? Down at the beach.
And ever since the police left, I've just been sitting there at the apartment not wanting to move.
I just don't know what to do.
Well, I, uh I can imagine how you feel.
I suppose if I, uh, could put it into words, I'd say I feel helpless.
You know, there is something you could do.
The police seem to think that there was somebody who knew that she had those drugs and might've killed her for them.
I know, but who? Well, let's think about it.
Maybe between the two of us, we can come up with an answer.
I wish we could.
Could it have been someone that she dated? No.
She never really dated that much.
I used to try to fix her up once in a while, but she was really totally introverted.
Unfortunately, I didn't know too much about her personal life, except that she lived very quietly and, uh, did some kind of volunteer work at a drug clinic, I think, or something like that.
Right, for veterans.
Marsha, you might've hit on something very important.
Oh, I hope so.
Um, was there anybody in particular? Did you know any of the people that she worked with? No, not really.
I only met a few of'em.
Any particular one? Maybe, uh, a patient? Wait a minute.
There was a guy out there she used to see.
What was his name? Sharon used to talk about somebody named Harry.
Harry! Yes, that was it Harry Alexander.
Oh, Marsha, Marsha.
I think you've come up with something very important.
I hope so.
You should go to the police about it.
What would you like to do now? I think we oughta take you home.
Sure you don't wanna come up for a drink? I'd really better get back.
Wouldn't be any trouble.
Some other time, maybe.
Thank you.
And, Marsha, don't forget to tell the police.
I won't.
Excuse me.
I don't know what's the matter with me.
God bless you.
I'm developing some kind of an allergy.
I'll be with you in a moment.
How are you? Rotten.
Oh, that's better.
I think it was the crab meat.
I'm not used to that.
Or those trees.
Maybe the pollen.
At any rate, uh, Miss Dalton, are you going this way? Yes! My apartment.
Come on.
Thank you.
Because we didn't get much of a chance to talk before.
So that's why I came over again.
You don't mind, do you? No, not at all.
Uh, that was Doctor Mayfield, wasn't it? Yes.
I thought it was.
Well, here we are.
Bless you.
! I've got a great home remedy for that.
Here, I'll get you a glass of water.
It never fails.
What you do is, you take seven consecutive sips.
I didn't sleep last night.
My resistance is down.
You don't breathe in between the sips.
You take each sip in cadence, Maybe I shouldn't have taken those pills.
And then you hold your breath for the count of four.
It always works.
Sit down.
Yeah? Put your cigar down.
Now what do I do with this? I take Seven sips.
In cadence.
Then hold your All right, rhythmically.
Now start.
You don't breathe now.
You breathe later.
Breathe later.
Sips first.
Two Okay, now hold your breath for a count of four.
One, two, three, four.
Do you have a tissue? Oh.
I'm waiting.
I think it's clean.
Uh Oh! Hang on.
This is clean.
Oh, I think that's better.
Hey, that works.
It's all right.
I think that works! Why, that's magic! Th-That's terrific.
Gee, thank you very much.
Uh, Miss Dalton.
I wanted to ask you, uh, some questions about Sharon Martin's personal life.
Oh, yeah.
Well Look, Lieutenant, I think it would be a good idea if you looked up a Harry Alexander he was a patient at the V.
drug clinic when Sharon worked there.
Harry Alexander? Yeah, she was sort of close to him, you know? It was a couple of months back.
I don't think she'd seen him recently.
Well, I'll write that down.
Thank you very much.
You're very helpful.
Do you have a pencil? Oh.
Uh, do you mind if I ask you a question? No.
Certainly not.
When I asked you about Sharon's personal life, what did you think I meant? I don't know.
Uh, her habits, her family life guess it could mean anything.
Do you know that's what most people think? I mean, I ask that question all the time, I say, "Tell me about someone's personal life," and people say to me, well, what do you mean? Do you mean, what time they get home, or who do they see, or what their habits are.
But you didn't do that.
You came right out with the name "Harry Alexander.
'" Well, there's a simple explanation, because I was just discussing him.
- With Doctor Mayfield? - Yes.
Oh, I see.
Alexander's name came into your mind, and you called Dr.
No, Dr.
Mayfield called me, because he was concerned about me.
You know.
- Being depressed.
- Oh, he called you.
I see.
Well, that was very thoughtful of him.
Uh, in other words, it was just a social call, and he brought up the name of Harry Alexander.
He remembered the fellow's name was Harry, and I put it together from there.
I see.
Well, good thinking.
Thank you very much.
Do you have any idea where I can get a hold of Mr.
Alexander? - No, I don't.
I'm sorry.
- Don't be sorry.
Because you've been very helpful.
You have nothing to apologize for.
Thank you very, very much.
You're welcome.
I'm gonna see if I can locate this fellow.
- just do it.
- Doctor, I can't do it.
All you have to do is to go into my lab, and on my desk there's some research papers.
It's very simple.
And bring them in here so I can have a look at them.
And you're supposed to be resting, Doctor.
I'm tired of resting.
No, I won't do it! I'm sorry, you're still a patient, and What is it? Uh, Dr.
Hiedeman? Perhaps you didn't see the sign on the door Nurse? May I have a moment? Uh, I spoke to the doctor downstairs at the desk, and he thought it would be all right if I asked the doctor a few questions.
- Who are you? - Uh, Lt.
Columbo, sir.
- Please put out your cigar.
- No.
Don't put it out.
This is still a sick room, Doctor.
I know what it is.
I also know it's the first human thing I've smelled in two days.
Including your antiseptic presence.
Are you gonna give me my shot, or just stand there looking officious? So long.
And don't forget my research papers.
What is it, Lieutenant? Is it about Nurse Martin? Uh, yeah, Doc.
I just want to ask you a couple questions.
From what I understand, she spent a great deal of time with you the, uh the day before yesterday.
The day of her death.
Is that true? Yes.
Yes, she came in to help me prepare for my operation.
Why? Well, I've been speaking to some of the people around the hospital here, and a couple of nurses said that she seemed odd you know what I mean.
Upset that day.
Did you notice that? Yes.
She did seem a little upset.
Uh, did she say why? No, I just assumed it was because of my operation.
Uh, you see, we've been pretty close through the years.
I-I guess that was the reason, then.
Uh, I want to ask you about this snapshot.
May I ask what's going on in here? Oh, you know Dr.
Mayfield, don't you? Oh, yes.
Hi, Doc.
I, uh I was asking a few questions here.
I spoke Lieutenant, this is not a police smoker.
And I'm afraid your questions are gonna have to wait until later.
Hiedeman is not to be bothered.
I don't really mind.
I do.
I'm sorry, Lieutenant.
No, no, no.
No, no, I understand.
He is the doctor.
No, I understand.
Um, uh Could I have a word with you? Outside.
I'll see you later.
Hope you're feeling better, Dr.
I'll try to.
Uh, Doc, uh Since I can't ask Dr.
Hiedeman, maybe I can ask you.
Ask me what? Does the name Harry Alexander mean anything to you? Alexander.
Harry Alexander? Maybe Sharon's roommate mentioned the name yesterday afternoon? Oh, yes.
Yes, of course.
That's it.
Listen, I really appreciate you following through the way you did.
I know I wouldn't have bothered you.
You gotta leave your party, and Oh, Dr.
Mayfield, would you sign this? Very nice.
Very nice.
Lieutenant, after you left yesterday, it got me to thinking.
Thank you.
You're welcome.
After all, I want to do whatever I can.
Thank you.
Uh, Miss Martin was seeing this Alexander fellow a couple of months back.
Do you know anything about that? Not much.
She brought him around once or twice, I think.
I'm not sure.
Why? Well, I'm still digging into Miss Martin's personal life.
You know anything about him? Alexander? No.
I'm afraid not.
No, huh? That's too bad.
Columbo, telephone.
Wh-Where do I go? Right over here.
By the way, Doc, I sure want to thank ya.
What for? Those pills for my stomach.
They were terrific.
Good, I'm glad.
And I want to thank you again for getting Mrs.
Martin's roommate to help us.
Well, I just thought that, possibly, she could be useful.
You were right, and I'm very grateful.
You have a call for Lt.
Thank you.
Could I see the Robertson chart, please? Somebody want to speak to me? Right here, Doctor.
Thank you.
Just a minute.
How is that for timing? We just located Harry Alexander.
Yes? In the orange shirt? Excuse me, uh, Harry Alexander? Yeah.
What can I do for you? Uh Lt.
I'm, uh I'd like to talk to you.
What about? Privately.
Can't we make it some other time? Just take it easy, son.
Take it easy.
Take a walk over here.
You know, I'm investigating a murder of a friend of yours.
Sharon Martin.
Yeah, what about it? Well, I thought maybe you could help me.
I haven't seen her in six months.
I know that.
Well, why are you asking me, then? There's evidence to indicate that she was killed over some drugs.
Oh, yeah.
Listen, Lieutenant, I'm completely straight.
I'm nowhere near any of that stuff anymore.
I'm straight.
But you were a close friend of Miss Martin's.
Yeah, she was special to me.
Tell me about it.
I met her when I was in withdrawal therapy.
And we got to be close.
Okay? Why haven't you seen her in six months? What's that got to do with you? Don't be foolish.
You're an intelligent person.
Why'd you stop seeing her? She said that we were close because of my dependency on her.
Like she was my doctor, and it was bad for me, and it was replacing one crutch with another crutch so she broke it off.
I never would have.
- She was a beautiful person.
- You have any idea who might have killed her over drugs? No.
Why don't you check over at the V.
? Maybe she was still working there.
I checked with them.
After you left, she quit.
Look, Lieutenant, like I told you, I'm clean.
If my boss ever finds out that I've ever even been near that stuff I mean, ever It's just "kiss the job good-bye.
" - You know a Dr.
Mayfield? - Yeah.
I met him once or twice at the hospital.
- Anybody ever call you Mac? - No.
I didn't think so.
Thank you.
Dodds, please.
Well, anyway, I said hello, but just like I told you, she practically walked on past me.
Well, I could see she was upset.
So I called to her.
You know, she was always very friendly to me.
Even though I'm not a nurse or anything.
But she just went right on by.
And you say you usually come to work around midnight? Well, when I have night duty.
Would you excuse us, please? Oh, yes, Doctor.
Oh! What do you say, Doc? Lieutenant, what are you doing here? I'm still looking for a substantial piece of evidence.
That's what I'm doin'.
In my wastebasket? You know that fella Mac she had an appointment with? I have a feeling there's an important clue there.
And I'm lookin' for something anything that'll have me figure out who this "Mac" guy is, you see, uh That's my problem.
Who's Mac? You don't mind if I look around in there, do you? Be my guest.
Uh, I'll We'll clean that up later.
I thought you'd be busy arresting that addict boyfriend of Sharon Martin's.
You're right, Doc.
I- I did go out to see the guy.
But he seemed clean.
Claimed he broke the habit.
Says he hasn't even seen Sharon Martin in six months.
And you believed him? Yeah.
Yeah, I guess I believed him.
I'm not a policeman, but I can't imagine that you'd dismiss a suspect like him just because he claimed he hadn't seen her.
Yeah, that's true.
But I'll tell you.
I'm finding it hard to believe that her murder had anything to do with drugs.
I mean, you have those glove prints on the murder weapon, and, I'll tell ya.
The more I speak to people around here people like yourself the more I find it hard to believe that she's the type of woman that would get involved in that kind of thing at all.
What about the evidence? Those bottles in her apartment? That looks funny, doesn't it? Yeah.
I been thinking about that.
The only answer I can come up with is that, uh, maybe somebody put 'em there to make it look like that's why she was killed.
Is this the cabinet where you kept those drug vials? - Yes.
That's it.
- Besides yourself, who else had access to, uh, this cabinet? As far as I know, no one has access to that cabinet outside of myself and Dr.
Are you insinuating that I put those bottles in her apartment? - No, I was just - Lieutenant.
I had no motive for killing her.
Well, you're right about that.
No motive at all.
Hey, take it easy, fella.
You know that cleaning woman just now? You know, she said something strange to me? She said she saw Sharon Martin, and she was upset.
After the operation.
I'm afraid I don't understand.
Well, it just seems kinda funny, doesn't it? I mean, since it was so successful? That she'd still be upset? Right in the middle of the room.
Hypodermic needle, plus, one of those little bottles of drugs we found in Nurse Martin's place.
Right in the middle of the room.
I wouldn't worry about it, Lieutenant.
We all make mistakes.
Yeah, yeah.
I guess we do.
- What mistakes? - Obviously, you misjudged this man when you first met him, for one.
Oh, that one.
I don't think so.
Why not? Well, Alexander was drugged.
I'll give you that.
I mean, he had a fresh needle mark in his arm.
Right about here.
On the left arm? And yet, when I saw him yesterday, he was smoking.
Excuse me.
Well, anyway, uh I noticed he was left-handed.
Well, now, what do that prove? Well, I guess it's something you wouldn't know about.
Just seems awkward to me.
You know.
Why would a left-handed man give himself a shot in his left arm? Then you don't believe that he killed Sharon Martin.
To tell you the truth, I doubt it.
But I think someone's going to an awful lot of trouble to make it look that way.
Only two people knew about Alexander.
- Marsha and me.
- That's true.
Maybe Marsha knows more than she's telling.
Oh, actually, I think she knows less than she's telling.
I have a lecture.
You'll have to excuse me.
Lieutenant, what possible reason could I have for killing her? - You ask tough questions, Doc.
- So does a jury.
After the operation? Are you certain? That's what the cleaning woman on the floor said.
Why should she be upset after the operation? That's the point, Doctor.
I don't know.
It was successful.
I know.
Everything went very well.
You would think she'd be relieved.
Just doesn't make any sense.
What does she think of Dr.
Mayfield? Huh? Oh.
Well, she felt that Dr.
Mayfield is a little too self-involved.
She never seemed to realize that talented people are often like that.
Why, Lieutenant? What are you getting at? What's the matter? What is it? "Marcus and Carlson Medical Supply Company.
" What? That's it! "M-A-C.
" That's it.
Of course! Capitals! I should've thought of that before.
- May I use this? - Surely.
Miss? Yes, Operator? Uh, this is Lt.
Columbo, police.
Would you put me through to a Marcus and Carlson Medical Supply Company? Yeah, I-I'll hold on.
Isn't that something? Capitals? I should've known all along.
Those were initials she was writing.
That wasn't a man's name.
- Who was writing what? - Sharon Martin made a note in her appointment book for Tuesday, the day after the operation.
" I thought it was Hello? Hello? Yes? This is Lt.
Columbo, police.
I'm just checking something out.
Could you help me, dear? Do you remember whether or not a Sharon Martin on Tuesday morning, that's the day before yesterday made an appointment with anybody over there? Yeah.
She did.
Yeah? Uh-huh.
All right.
No, no.
That'll be all right.
Thank you very much.
What'd you find out? She made the appointment, all right.
With a chemist.
8:00 Tuesday morning.
The receptionist remembers, because she was so insistent, and, uh She was so upset when she called.
But she didn't know what she was upset about.
Why should she see the chemist? And why be so upset? - I'll see you later, Doc.
- Marcus and Carlson.
Marcus and Carlson Here we are.
Just one of the supply houses we buy from.
I can't imagine what she'd want to talk to one of the chemists about.
Let's see.
Here we are.
There's bedpans and clamps.
And tweezers.
And scissors.
As far as I can tell from these invoices, the only thing we buy from them with a chemical base is suture.
That's the thread that they use to sew people up with.
Yeah, well, it's a little bit stronger than thread, of course.
Could you give me an example of exactly how it's used? Surgically.
Come on with me.
Boy, we're in luck today.
Irving is performing a resection.
He's going to be using a lot of suture.
Do you think that we could just, uh, talk about the sutures? Hey, here's a wonderful example.
Look how Dr.
Irving is sewing up that colon.
Yes, I see.
It's very impressive.
Oh, he's got wonderful hands! Do you think that you could just talk about this suture? Just sort of describe it in so many words? Oh, sure.
Well, in this operation, they're using dissolving suture as opposed to the permanent kind.
I see.
Permanent? Yes.
Suture you use when you want something to stay permanently.
Uh Oh, there There are different kinds than permanent? Yeah, dissolving kind.
Of course, it's a different it's a different color and a different texture.
"Dissolving"? Yeah.
It's made to hold for a few days, and then it just dissolves away.
Uh, you mean it just It just goes away into nothing? Yeah.
In a few days, or when the wound heals, or when its use is over.
Um, is there any time in a heart valve operation that you shouldn't use dissolving sutures? Oh, you should never use it in a heart valve.
You see, when the when the suture dissolves, then the valve would separate.
What was that? When the suture would dissolve, why, the valve would separate.
I see.
Um, and how long after the operation would it take for the valve to separate? Oh, normally, a couple of weeks.
But in the case of a heart valve job, why, the pressure would make the suture give way in a matter of days.
I see.
Matter of days.
Is that what you said? Yeah.
Thank you.
I feel fine.
Why should I have another specialist? Barry Mayfield's one of the best surgeons in the country.
No doubt about it.
That's right.
And I'm not attempting in any way to say - I know anything about medicine I don't.
All I'm saying is - Lieutenant! I thought I told you that Dr.
Hiedeman was not to be disturbed.
Now, if you insist upon ignoring my orders, I have no alternative but to call your superiors.
Good-bye, Lieutenant.
Take care of yourself.
You don't have a match, do you? Doc? Doc? Doc! You got a second? You know what I've been learning a little about? Suture.
You going somewhere? Matter of fact, I was.
I don't want to hold you up.
But I found out all about the different kinds.
You know, they have permanent suture, and that there's dissolving suture - Exactly what is your point, Lieutenant? - I'm not sure I have one.
You going down? But for instance, you take Dr.
Hiedeman's operation.
For an example.
Suppose somebody used dissolving sutures to tie up things in his heart when they were supposed to be using permanent sutures.
Like that valve that you put in.
The stitches in there They would give way in a few days, wouldn't they? It would kill him, wouldn't it? Yes, it would.
See, now, I don't know anything about operating on anybody.
I don't know anything like that, but, uh, with this fellow's heart condition the way it was, wouldn't everybody just think he died of heart failure? A surgeon wouldn't make a mistake like that.
Dissolving suture is an entirely different color.
Doctor Hart, please.
Doctor Hart.
You're right.
It is a different color.
I noticed that when the fellow showed 'em to me.
Well, you know, I'll bet somebody could take some dye or something and color one to make it look like the other.
I mean, you could fix it up so that no one would know the difference.
That would be murder, wouldn't it, Lieutenant? Yes, yes.
Yes, it certainly would.
Uh, because that would explain why Miss Martin was so bothered after the operation, and it would explain why she wanted to see the chemist at the company that made the suture.
That's murder.
That certainly is.
No question about it.
What's so funny? Excuse me, Lieutenant.
I had to play it as though you were serious.
You don't really believe all those foolish things you say, do you? I believe you killed Sharon Martin, and I believe you're trying to kill Dr.
Lieutenant Columbo, you're remarkable.
You have intelligence, you have perception, you have great tenacity.
- You've got everything except proof.
- I want you to take good care of Dr.
Hiedeman, because if he dies, we're gonna have to have an autopsy, aren't we? I mean, we're gonna have to know whether a heart attack killed him, or whether it was just dissolving suture.
Third floor nurses' station, please.
Have the afternoon medicines gone out yet? Thank you.
Miss Smith, please.
Okay, I'll check.
Will you hold on, please? Dr.
Hart, please.
Doctor? Something I can do for you? I was just checking Dr.
Hiedeman's dosage.
Has he had his 3:00 yet? No.
I was just about to take it now.
Oh, fine.
I just can't breathe I can't breathe It's all right, Doctor.
He's on his way.
Call Surgery.
Get an operating room.
It's the new valve.
It's not operating properly.
We'll have to replace it.
More suture, please.
All right.
He's all yours.
Now, take it slow.
Be careful.
- All right.
- Please pardon the interruption.
I'm Lt.
Columbo, police.
Some of these gentlemen are doctors.
I know this is unorthodox, but we do have a search warrant.
Just bear with us for a moment.
Be sure to check out everything.
The attendants, everything on this table.
And the patient too.
You better get him to the recovery room.
Lieutenant, what is this little drama all about? You just replaced a valve on Dr.
Hiedeman, is that right? That's correct.
Then you had to replace the sutures.
I think our lab should take a look at those old sutures.
I don't have to stand for this.
I'm sorry, Doctor.
You can't leave just yet.
I've never seen anything like this in my life! In the middle of a surgical area? I suppose you realize that your superiors will be hearing from the Board of Medicine.
This will just take a moment.
You'll have to be searched.
Are you sure? Yes, I am.
Anything, Doctor? Oh, nothing.
Thank you, Miss Morgan.
What about it, Doctor? I kept watch as you asked, Lieutenant.
There wasn't a false move.
He didn't leave the sutures you're looking for in the patient.
I just checked out the tray.
They all look like permanent, acceptable sutures to me.
Lieutenant, nothing.
We turned that room inside out.
I mean, inch by inch.
Sergeant Lattman and those other doctors went over the operating table, the patient Nothing's gone in or out of there without it being searched with a magnifying glass.
No suture.
Thank you.
You look a little dismayed, Lieutenant.
Now, if it's not asking too much, do you mind if I continue with my day's work? It certainly looks like it's one on me, doesn't it? You know, I really believed it all fit together? All the pieces, everything, the killing of the nurse, everything? Well, it goes to show you, Doc.
Maybe I been at this job too long.
You win.
You're finally rid of me.
You'll be all right, Lieutenant.
I'm sure you'll find others to harass.
So long, Doc.
You know, in a way I have to congratulate you.
Up until now, you really had me going.
I mean, here you are, you're a surgeon, a man that's gotta be cool.
Even when you're angry, you're controlled.
You never lose yourself.
That's why it struck me funny when you blew up in the operating room and you grabbed me and pushed me.
You know there was only one thing we didn't search.
You know what it was? It was me.