Columbo (1971) s02e07 Episode Script

The Most Dangerous Match

I didn't say you were the murderer.
I said if you were the murderer.
I Wait, listen.
His accident was not an accident.
Will you give me proof, Lieutenant? Believe me, I've been an absolute bundle of nerves.
- Check.
- Wish I could figure out someone who would benefit from his death.
He was given his necessary injections Did anyone else see those lists? No.
Someone with intent to murder packed his bags.
I think that is a possibility, yes.
- He is despicable.
- It could have been a perfect murder! Sir? Mr.
Clayton, sir.
I don't suppose any grand master actually relaxes the evening before a match.
Can you tell us what your schedule is for tonight? Well, this evening, um, a small martini perhaps, a large steak definitely, and a good horror movie, if there's one close by.
Sir, are you telling us you're not concerned about tomorrow's game? Chess is never merely a game, my friend.
And as for tomorrow, well, for me, it's just one more match.
No, please don't quote me on that.
Tomlin Dudek will, I'm sure, prove a most worthy adversary.
After all, he was champion of the world for many years.
- And I'm certain that he'll be giving it his all.
- Mr.
Clayton? Mr.
Clayton, do you know what the reporters from Dudek's country are saying? They are saying that you could never have become champion, you never would have been champion Oh, that again.
if Tomlin Dudek hadn't gotten sick and hadn't had to retire five years ago.
Yes, I've heard and read some of you gentlemen speculating about that a bit.
Most unpatriotic, you know.
Well, come morning, we'll all be settling our lingering little doubts, won't we? Now, if you'll excuse me.
Hey, how about a picture of the two of you together? Yeah! Ah, so the living legend appears.
Excuse me.
Which way to the dining room? Not now.
Please, no more interviews this evening, please.
Here's the world's most legendary chess genius, comes out of retirement just to play you, and you're not even curious enough Curiosity breeds sympathy, my friend.
And sympathy is one emotion a champion cannot afford on the night before the match.
Tomlin Dudek will have mine soon enough.
Well, Mr.
Clayton, good luck on tomorrow morning's match.
Thank you.
Take care.
Excuse me.
Excuse me, please.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Dudek goes directly back to his room.
He needs his rest.
I'm sure you understand.
I'm sure they won't bother you anymore.
Are you all right? I'm fine.
Are you all right, huh? I saw you looking at Clayton with such daggers.
Such emotion.
He is despicable.
He always was and he always will be.
You'll beat him, Mr.
You will beat him at the only thing he really cares about.
So much emotion.
Listen, my little arranger of chess matches, you go with the others, have something good to eat, go dancing, have a good time, huh? I only need something to read and maybe some fresh tobacco.
But I Please.
Please dial the operator.
Huh? Okay.
! You are Emmet Clayton, of course.
What a nice coincidence.
You noticed me in the hotel lobby, just as I noticed you.
And naturally, you knew I'd see you slip away, that I'd be curious, wondering what my opponent was up to on the night before our match.
You are very clever.
Linda Robinson has told me a great deal about you.
She was correct.
Was she? Oh, please, please.
Sit down.
I only mention her as the person who arranged our little match, not as your ex-fiancée.
See, her mother and I were very, very good friends in the old country.
So I didn't think you would be upset if I mentioned her name.
I must warn you, Mr.
I'm very aware of your blatant psychological warfare.
I'm quite immune to it.
Immune, you say.
- Then why did you follow me here? - Well, I Oh, please, please.
Never mind.
Never mind.
I'll let you in on a little secret.
There is something to which I am not immune.
And here they have the best in the whole town.
The hotel bellboy guarantees it.
Uh, snails.
Ah, snails stuffed with butter, garlic.
Good wine, French bread and snails.
Please, please, Mr.
Clayton, I ask only your good company.
- Huh? - I'm very honored, sir.
Oh, incidentally, I saw you slip out of the hotel at lunchtime too.
It is just that reactionary food which my doctor makes me eat in my room.
He goes to the fancy dining room.
I must eat sugar substitutes.
Uh, everything low calories.
They aren't gonna harm you in any way, are they? Of course not.
I take my medications.
It is only that Berozski you know, our leader, my coach, my, uh, nursemaid he's terrified that I will lose my concentration, that I will disgrace our country, that I will crack my tired brain.
Who knows? Well, chess is the ultimate test of the human mind, isn't it? You think so? I always thought it was women.
Hmm? Queen's pawn opening.
Do I expect that tomorrow? Queen's gambit.
Your rook checks my king.
You are very aggressive.
I heard that about you.
Don't think I haven't studied every one of your games.
So, I move my king to queen one, and now Damn music! But it's very good that you have that.
Then you are deaf to everything except your own concentration.
- Doubles it.
- But you heard me say that.
I can lip-read when I want to.
S'il vous plait.
! Gentlemen! Please! And now is my turn.
Check! All right, come on! I can't concentrate in this stale pit anyway.
Now, wait, Clayton.
I just happened to think something else.
You know, if we go into the lobby and Berozski sees me, he will put me to bed like a baby.
Is not good.
Also, if he sees us together the night before the match, is also not good.
Well, there must be some other way in.
Come on.
Yes? What in the blazes do you want? Mr.
Clayton, excuse me.
I am Berozski.
Mazoor Berozski.
I took the liberty of calling you several times, sir, but you were out.
Why? I was merely looking for Mr.
I thought perhaps he had dropped by to meet his eminent adversary.
On the night before the match? Oh, come now, Berozski.
These little ploys of yours to interrupt my sleep are about as subtle as a train wreck.
Don't you know where your man is? Mr.
Clayton, I apologize.
It's just a small misunderstanding.
Please believe me.
It's It is just that the hotel is so large, sir.
My apologies, truly.
Good night, sir.
Good night, Mr.
I know that man.
He's probably already called the police, the military, the F.
Come on.
It's your move.
Ah, yes.
Yes, my move.
So And my queen will take your knight.
Surely you expected that.
And then your pawn must take my queen.
Otherwise, my queen would take your bishop, and you would be down two pieces.
Then my rook takes your rook.
And then you must interpose your bishop at king one.
And then my bishop will take your pawn, threatening your queen.
And therefore your queen must take my bishop, at which point my rook takes your bishop.
Checkmate! Oh, please, please.
Never mind.
Never mind.
It's just a bit of luck.
It's nothing.
You have been distracted all evening.
I could see that.
Perhaps there is one too many beautiful ladies here, like Linda Robinson, perhaps? Tomorrow will be better when we both concentrate.
But you were exhausted.
You have been drinking.
Please! Rest yourself, my friend.
I jump you, you jump me.
That's no good.
Ah, take your time, Lieutenant.
On a Sunday morning what else would I be doing except sleeping late, playing with my kids, watching a ball game.
Doc, I'm terribly sorry to get you down here like that, but believe me, I've been an absolute bundle of nerves.
Forget it.
Go ahead.
Jump me.
Doc, you sure he's gonna be all right? I told you, that's the mildest anaesthetic in the book.
You know, my wife went to visit her mother for a few days, and it's like everything was waiting for her to leave so it could happen to me.
First the kitchen sink, and then the pilot light on the stove.
I don't even know where the pilot light is.
And this thing wakes me up at 6:00 a.
scratching that ear.
Scratch, scratch, scratch, always the same ear.
And last night I gotta tell you about last night.
Well, surprising that he could reach it.
What? Foxtails, Lieutenant.
I spend half my life pulling those out.
And of course with a low-slung model like yours, well, he just scoops 'em up like a vacuum cleaner.
- He'll be around in a minute or two.
- Vacuum cleaner? That reminds me, I didn't vacuum the rug.
Well, anyway, last night last night, that was the worst.
For the first time in two years, I figured I'd finally get to go bowling.
My friend Harry's outside.
He's ready to go.
He's honking his horn.
What happens? I get a call.
Big emergency.
Some famous foreign chess player has disappeared.
Did you hear that? So, uh, what happened? Well, before I got to headquarters, I got another call false alarm.
Not only is the gentleman not lying dead in the streets, but you know where he told people he'd been? Listen.
Did it again.
- Where had the man been? - Bowling.
The missing person went bowling.
Doc, that is a definite noise.
What is that? That, Lieutenant, is called snoring.
Hello? Aztec Airlines? I would like please to make a reservation to Mexico City.
I believe there's a plane Yes, yes, that's the one.
Oh, excuse me, please, but we have very poor connection.
One moment, please.
Uh, Dudek.
D- U-D-E-K.
Tomlin Dudek.
Hello? Yes.
Clay Clayton? What is the matter? You You want me to meet you where? Clayton, I don't understand.
Clayton, can you hear me? Yeah.
What is the matter? Are you sick? Are you all right? You want me All right, all right.
Five minutes, please.
Clayton, five minutes, I will be right there, all right? Right.
Yes, all right.
All right.
Oh, excuse me.
Yes, is all right.
You You can go in the room.
Clayton! What are we doing here? Dudek.
Dudek, please, you've gotta help me.
I- I can't take it anymore.
She's making me feel so guilty.
I I can't sleep, I can't think, I I can't anything! I do not understand.
She thinks that she loves me, that I love her, that we're gonna get married.
I don't know what she thinks! Ah, there is a young lady who's making you so upset.
I can't hear you.
I broke my damn hearing aid last night after you left, sitting up there alone.
I swear to you, it was just a lark! A passing little affair! I never meant it to Dudek, look.
She's She's from your own country.
Could you write something for me in her own language? Anything.
I I'll I'll recopy it and-and send it to her.
- What will I write? - Well, I don't know.
Say Just say I-I'm sorry.
I was wrong.
I am very ashamed.
I Just say anything.
Well, I I just couldn't face her.
Dudek, I'm sorry to have to put you Uh-huh.
All right, all right.
I understand.
The problems of you young people with your love affairs.
Thank you, Dudek.
Thank you.
Clayton, calm yourself.
Now where are you going? Where are you going? The match.
I I just can't.
I'm sorry, Dudek.
I We postpone the match! We merely tell them that we mutually agreed to postpone it for a few days.
All right? Come on, Clayton, please.
What are you doing with my bag? Please, ladies and gentlemen.
If I don't mind my distinguished challenger being 20 minutes late, why should you? After all, it is my neck he's supposed to be after.
While we're waiting, let's warm up a bit, shall we? I'll play any five of you at once.
Or 1 0, if you like.
Keeping it friendly, of course.
Hey, Lieutenant? Well, hello, Sergeant.
They got you too, huh? Yeah.
What is it with this guy, keeps disappearing? They found him a little early this time.
That's him they're carting away right now.
He was coming through down here.
He must have slipped.
There's some grease on the floor up there.
Wait a minute.
That big chess match that was supposed to be this morning? That's right.
What was the man doing in the basement? Apparently trying to make an easy exit.
I don't understand.
Well, he he had a cabbie waiting for him outside the service entrance.
A cabbie was waiting for Mr.
Dudek? That's right.
You wanna bring that guy in? You were waiting for a Mr.
Dudek? Yeah, that was the name, sir.
He had a foreign accent, the dispatcher said.
I don't know.
Uh, I was a little late in getting here Do you know where you were gonna take him? Yeah, International Airport.
Okay, thanks a lot.
You bet.
This where he fell, huh? Yeah, that's right.
What kind of a machine is this anyway? That's the latest gizmo for a clean environment.
Chews up everything bottles, cans.
Here, I'll show you.
That's enough.
I get the idea.
Accident, you say, while sneaking out of the hotel, like some criminal on his way to the airport? I say nonsense.
Berozski, he was carrying his flight bag and the cab driver Enough! All this at the very hour he was to prove himself again the greatest master of chess who ever lived? You are a fool, sir.
Excuse me.
Tell me.
What is your rank? Lieutenant? Lieutenant.
Berozski, this is Lieutenant Columbo, homicide department.
A full lieutenant.
How do you do, sir? Well, Lieutenant, I shall rely that your investigative imagination is somewhat better than that of your underling.
Excuse me one moment.
What is that word? What? Oh.
" Dentures.
Pardon me.
Uh, actually, sir, from what I know about chess players, that is, the important ones, they're sort of like geniuses.
Unpredictable and erratic.
And this man, he was under great stress.
Now maybe the psychological strain that he was Nonsense.
Again nonsense.
You did tell Sergeant Douglas here that Mr.
Dudek traveled with his own personal physician.
Does he have a record of erratic behavior? Dr.
Jalnik is not a psychiatrist.
He's what you call a general practitioner.
Dudek is not a well man.
He has diabetes.
But we always have personal physician attending, just as we always have Anton there, Mr.
Dudek's valet and physical instructor.
- And you, sir? - I beg your pardon? May I ask what you do, sir? I assume you're in charge.
I'm the coach to Tomlin Dudek.
Coach? You mean like a football team, something like that? That kind of coach? Is hardly the same, Lieutenant.
Officer? May I talk to you for a moment? Yes, ma'am.
Excuse me.
I I can't explain what might have happened, but I I've been with Tomlin Dudek for months now, ever since I set up this match.
My mother knew him for years and years before that.
So I can tell you, Officer, Mr.
Dudek would never sneak away, not from any obligation, and certainly not from any chess match with Emmet Clayton.
Ma'am, are you all right? Would you like to go up to your room? Maybe you'll feel better.
Lie down? If that is the press, I have no statement.
They are not to be permitted.
Say, what's in this thing here? The usual stuff a guy picks up when he's in a hurry toilet articles, pajamas, couple of extra shirts.
Like I said, Officer, I'm Mr.
Williams with the hotel, in charge of the chess tournament.
It's all right, Gary.
Excuse me, Mr.
Yes, Mr.
What can I do for you? This envelope was in my room.
The maid said she found it under my door.
We noticed the engraved stationery, sir.
We haven't opened it.
It's one of our official envelopes.
Excuse me, sir.
Do you mind if I read that? You're the champion, aren't you? I wanna say it's a great honor to meet you.
I've got a cousin up there in Albany.
He wears thick glasses and thinks you're the greatest thing in the world.
That makes two of them.
- Hello, Linda.
- The envelope, Lieutenant.
Oh, yes.
Excuse me.
Can you translate that for me, please? "I'm sorry.
I was wrong, "and now I am very ashamed.
Please forgive me.
" Wrong? Did he mean wrong to come here? To try for this match? Oh, that poor tortured man.
Is that Mr.
Dudek's handwriting? Well, sir, I'm afraid that does look like the explanation, doesn't it? I'm sorry, but I can't accept that.
He wasn't afraid of you, Emmet.
He wasn't! Mr.
I know how you must feel.
Please accept my deepest sympathy.
Tomlin Dudek was a great genius.
He'll be remembered for many, many years by every chess player in the world.
Excuse me, Mr.
You're talking as though Mr.
Dudek were already dead.
What? Well, of course he's very badly injured.
He's critical.
But as far as we know, he's still alive.
Well, we I just assumed that Everyone downstairs, uh Well, we know so little that Dr.
Jalnik accompanied him in the ambulance.
We do still have hope.
We must have hope.
We should all be thankful if there's even a slight chance that he might live.
Uh, Mr.
Berozski, sir? Sir? - Excuse me for just one moment.
- Lieutenant, I already told you, you may leave.
Yes, sir.
I understand that.
I'll tell you what I was wondering about.
If you please.
! I'm talking with my embassy.
What's that? I think this is Mr.
Dudek's shirt.
I found it in the laundry sack in there.
So? Well, what I was wondering was, can a diabetic eat garlic? I mean, you told me that he was a diabetic.
Garlic? Of course garlic is all right.
Why not garlic? Sir, I don't believe It's very noticeable.
I mean, you can smell it all over the cuffs here.
He did wear this shirt last night, didn't he? And garlic was not on his diet.
Sir, look, I can understand the position you're in.
I mean, if the man got hit by a truck, that wouldn't be your fault.
But, uh, if he went out and he ate something that he wasn't supposed to eat and he got sick I will not have it insinuated that I was in any way remiss in taking care of Tomlin Dudek.
I'm not insinuating anything.
You know, all I wanna do, I just wanna have this shirt analyzed.
It won't take very long.
It's a routine process.
Strictly routine.
Nothing to it.
Sergeant, would you have that shirt analyzed for me? Thank you very much.
Um Now you listen, Lieutenant.
I'm not responsible.
Anton, did you or did you not last night order for Mr.
Dudek his proper prescribed dinner? Yes, sir, I did.
But just the dishes on the doctor's list.
I saw no garlic.
So! We already know that Dudek slipped out by himself somewhere last night.
So he didn't tell us the truth about where he went to eat his garlic.
So who is responsible, huh? Tell me something.
Why are you still here? You are homicide! No one has died.
Why don't you go home? Yes, sir.
Go home! What do you care about garlic, about shirts? What? I'm glad you asked that question, sir.
Uh, just give me one moment, would you? Um Dentures.
Dentures? What? What? Those are false teeth.
Den Dentures.
Now, he does wear false teeth, doesn't he? So? Seems that the ambulance driver found them.
Well, I never had that problem yet myself, but, uh I remember somebody mentioned toilet articles.
Uh, bear with me one second.
Ah, yes.
Here we are.
Just an ordinary toothbrush.
Now, it seems to me See, my grandfather, he wore dentures ever since he was 40.
And as far as I can recall, he never used just an ordinary toothbrush.
What is it? Sir, I I'm afraid, sir, that this is my toothbrush.
- This is? - We share the bathroom.
You see, I am Mr.
Dudek's physical trainer.
Never mind.
Lieutenant, then Tomlin Dudek could not have packed his own suitcase.
That's what I was trying to get around to, sir, yes.
And if somebody else packed it who didn't know that he wore dentures, then Then his accident was not an accident.
I, uh, thought you'd like to know, sir, that, uh, I think that is a possibility, yes.
Is, uh, Mr.
Dudek out of surgery yet? No, sir.
They're still at it, I'm afraid.
Um, if everything goes all right, how long will it be before he's conscious and able to communicate? Oh, I wouldn't presume to make a guess like that, sir.
At least 1 0 to 2 4 hours, though, I'm sure.
I see.
Thank you.
What happened? Oh, he just gave me this list to take back to the hotel to get some more medications from his hotel room.
Medications? Even if he does make it through the operation, Mr.
Dudek will still need his daily injections the diabetes, the circulatory regulator.
Emmet, if he should die, I just You can't take all the blame for this mess.
You know, Dudek and I ran into each other last night.
We even wound up liking each other, if you can believe that paradox.
Ah, of course, naturally, both of us being addicts, we couldn't resist a couple of quick games.
And you know me, and you're right.
When I can win, I do win.
I suppose it must have shaken his confidence.
I didn't realize how much.
Emmet, I didn't know.
You Linda.
Don't you think you ought to get that stuff to Dr.
Jalnik? There's no hurry.
He doesn't need it before 7:00.
Wow, this is unpronounceable language.
I just have to stay here until I know he's out of surgery.
Well, you've put up with me long enough.
I can't say I blame you.
Hello, Mr.
I guess I just missed you upstairs.
Oh, I was I was just trying to compose a little note to send up with some flowers.
Oh, I don't think they'll allow any flowers in there yet, sir.
Probably just as well.
Frankly, I I have great difficulty to to find the appropriate words for the occasion.
Well, if if you'll excuse me, Lieutenant.
Clayton! Your pen.
You left it on the seat there.
Thank you.
Just that little running.
Boy, I'm in lousy shape.
Listen, uh, would you like to get some ice cream? What do you say you and I go and get some ice cream and get our minds off this whole thing just for a minute? What do you say? If you're able to do that, Lieutenant, you're a better man than I.
Well, I I'm gonna tell you the truth, sir.
What I really had in mind is I just wanted to get you someplace and get you talkin' about chess, and I thought I'd maybe pick up some free pointers, 'cause I'd love to learn the game.
If you'd love to learn the game, I suggest a correspondence course.
Taxi! Oh, you don't have a car? Oh, good heavens.
Come along with me.
I'm parked right over there.
These fellas here, they'll charge you a fortune.
Look, Lieutenant, I'm quite capable of finding my own way back to the hotel.
Clayton, I better be truthful with you.
I can't get this mess off my mind either, no more no more than you can.
And I would appreciate it very much, sir, if you'd ride along with me.
Obviously, you have a fine mind and I'm gonna be frank there are a couple of things that I'm really muddled about.
Oh? In what way? Well, for instance, do you remember that sad, confused little note that Mr.
Dudek pushed underneath your door? I don't understand that.
Well, as upset as he must have been, I it's a wonder he was able to write anything at all.
I'll tell you what I don't understand most about it though.
If the man is sitting in his room with his own official stationery, and he seals the note in his own official envelope, how come he wrote the note itself on just some plain little piece of white paper from a pad? You're asking me why someone in an irrational state failed to act in a rational manner.
Obviously, he scribbled on whatever was at hand.
Except that, uh, I couldn't find a notepad like that anywhere in his room, and I looked everywhere.
I mean, now do you see what I mean? Uh, this way, sir.
Right here.
You see, it's, uh it's just picayune little things like that.
Now, for instance, here's another one.
See what you can make of this.
And just because of a wrongly packed toothbrush, you're ready to imply attempted murder? A far more logical assumption would be that some stupid bellhop packed his bags for him and just threw in the wrong toothbrush.
You know, you're right.
I never thought about that.
Thank you very much.
Oh, listen.
There's something I can check out with you right now, if you don't mind.
I understand you were five or six minutes late yourself to that match this morning.
It is my habit, Lieutenant, to take a brisk walk before an important match.
As it happens, this morning I stopped to pick up a new transistor for my hearing aid.
It went out on me last night.
I wonder why he didn't sign it.
- Sign what? - That note he put under your door, sir.
He didn't sign it.
Well, I suppose he assumed we'd well, we'd know it came from him, which we did.
I wish I could figure out someone who would benefit from his death.
I think you've got something there, Lieutenant.
Lieutenant, you just missed the turn-in to the hotel.
Oh, gosh, I'm sorry.
Uh, let me see.
I think if I go down here a few blocks and make a right, I'll be all right.
There's a terrific restaurant around here, and I'm famished.
What do you think? I told you I'm not hungry.
If you'd just kindly drive me back to my hotel, I'd be most grateful.
Not hungry at all? You don't wanna keep me company? I'm just gonna grab a bite.
Oh, there it is.
You don't really mind stopping here for a moment, do you? Kind of dark in here, isn't it? Mmm.
Something sure smells good.
Anybody home? This booth all right? Hmm? Oh, fine.
Have you ever had snails? Yes, I'm quite fond of them.
You're gonna love these.
Sir! Coming, monsieur.
Partial to French foods, are you, Lieutenant? I like fish, anything that comes out of the water.
Good afternoon, gentlemen.
Your pleasure today? We'll have two orders of snails.
Deux plats des escargots.
Was it a good photograph? - Beg pardon, sir? - The one this gentleman or one of his cohorts showed you.
Was it flattering? - Oui, monsieur.
- Good.
You can make that one order.
Now that he's identified me, which is why you brought me here, I don't suppose you have any further questions.
I have a further question.
Lieutenant, you're a pleasant enough man.
You work hard, and I respect your motivations.
But please, stop this pretense.
Would you excuse us for a moment, please? Oui.
Oui, monsieur.
Why did you conceal the fact that you and Dudek met here in the restaurant? I didn't conceal it.
You certainly didn't volunteer it.
We started checking out French restaurants because we found garlic stains on Mr.
Dudek's shirt.
What it boils down to, if someone didn't get lucky and smell garlic on the shirtsleeves of a diabetic, we never would have known you two were here.
Well, why didn't you ask me? Or Miss Robinson? - Miss Robinson knew about it? - No, I told her about it.
She's at the hospital now.
There's a phone there.
Call her, check it out.
- You're not going to call her? - No.
You see, you were wrong about my concealing information.
Bit warm in here.
Did you notice? Oh, dear.
Almost forgot.
There's something I wanted to show you.
Kind of scares me, carrying this around.
It looks so valuable.
It's very beautiful.
They tell me these are all hand carved.
Solid ivory.
Very old.
Knight, bishop, rook, pawn.
You know, I'll tell you why I brought this here.
It wasn't just because it was so beautiful.
Uh This particular set belongs to Tomlin Dudek, and that bothered me.
- As a matter of fact, I couldn't sleep last night.
- Really? Mmm.
Yeah, seems to me that if an artist takes a trip, well, he's gonna bring a sketchpad, he's gonna bring his pencil.
If a pool player goes somewhere, he's gonna take his pool cue.
I couldn't figure out, why would a great chess player forget to pack his chess set, particularly if it was a valuable one? That's a very telling observation.
- Do you think so? - I do.
What you're saying is that someone with intent to murder packed his bag, someone who didn't know that he always carried his chess set with him.
I wouldn't do a thing like that, not in a million years.
You see, I always carry my chess set with me.
Here it is.
Can't argue with that logic.
There's one other question, Mr.
Why did you tell Miss Robinson instead of telling the police? Uh, excuse me one moment, Lieutenant.
Proprietor? Would you mind coming back here a moment, please? Oui, monsieur? I was here last night with another gentleman.
Is that right? Oui, monsieur.
I've said so to the police.
And, uh, we were playing chess on this tablecloth, in this booth.
You were quite annoyed.
Uh, yes, sir.
Would you mind telling us who won that game of chess? - Beg pardon, sir? - Who won? Who lost? - Uh - I was kind of wondering that myself.
Well, a-all I know is I was I was, uh, standing at the table, pouring the wine when the little, round gentleman with the accent, he pushed forward the salt, and, uh, this gentleman pushed out the pepper, and pretty soon they were pushing all the things on the table, and I didn't know what they were doing.
Later on, I-I found out that they were playing chess.
But I have never seen anything like that.
As to who won or who lost, je ne sais pas I don't know.
Thank you.
You've been most helpful.
Oui, monsieur.
I won that game.
If I could have trusted the police to keep it confidential, I would have told you, but for 20 bucks, any reporter could buy that story.
Now, it may not make any difference to you, Lieutenant, but it certainly does to me.
Tomlin Dudek was a great chess player, and at this time, it would have been tasteless, cruel and unnecessary to even mention the existence, let alone the result of a match which he lost.
Now, does that answer your questions, Lieutenant? It certainly does, sir, and I can see how strongly you feel about it.
So you beat him right here, in this booth, on a tablecloth.
- Correct.
- Too bad you didn't bring your portable chess set.
I left it at the hotel.
I was going out for dinner, so I forgot it.
You wouldn't arrest me for that, would you, Lieutenant? Lot of people forgetting chess sets these days.
Now, Mr.
Clayton, your story is very, very sound.
All we have to do now is just wait for Mr.
Dudek to recover so he can verify it.
Must be coming from you.
Hmm? Oh! Yeah.
Yeah, it's this thing here.
One of the doctors loaned it to me at the hospital, in case he wants to get me in a hurry.
I need a telephone.
Is there a telephone? Phone? Do you have a phone? Your phone.
By the cash register.
Thank you.
Hello? Uh, this is Lieutenant Columbo.
My number here is 5 What was that? Oh, sure.
Put me right through.
She can put me right through.
She's ringing now.
Doctor? Yes, sir.
Lieutenant Columbo.
But he is gonna be all right? He's moving.
Ah, that's terrific.
All right.
I'll be right over.
Thank you, sir.
Thank you very much.
See, my dog had a little operation, and the vet was kind of upset because I had to leave him there, but he's just fine, he's moving around.
He says his tail's moving a mile a minute, so that's terrific.
I- I'm gonna run along.
Small world.
Listen, I was just up to see Mr.
I returned that chess set.
He had some very nice things to say about you.
That's very kind of him.
Any news of Mr.
Dudek? Oh, yes, some very good news, sir.
Jalnik called from the hospital.
He said that Dudek is out of surgery, and it looks good.
"Stable" is what he said.
All the vital functions look stable.
Thank heaven.
Do you know if Miss Robinson and the doctor are gonna come back here now? I don't know about Miss Robinson.
The doctor's gonna stay at the hospital.
He's a pretty conscientious guy.
Say, I called you a little earlier on the house phone, but you seemed to be out someplace.
Well? Well, you probably won't even remember this, sir, but, uh Sir, you aren't champion the you're.
I beg your pardon? Very first sentence you ever said to me, Lieutenant backwards.
That was the backwards of the very first thing I said to you? You can remember that? I wish you could remember what you were going to say to me, Lieutenant.
I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a hurry.
Well, that's a terrific feat.
No, that's really remarkable.
I've never seen that done before.
Oh, yes.
What I was going to say to you.
What was that? Oh.
About your hearing aid, yes.
You told me that you went to get it fixed, and that's why you were a few minutes late to the chess match.
Well, you were right about that, sir.
Supreme Optical and Medical Supply Company, three blocks down the line.
They confirmed that.
Thank you, Lieutenant.
Oh! Mr.
Gee, I almost forgot.
This is fascinating.
You know, we found Mr.
Dudek's chess journal.
I want to tell you, you chess players are a remarkable bunch.
Apparently, what he did he recorded every game, every move he ever played.
- Do you do that? - Yes, but only the important matches.
What a memory.
Naturally, I was interested in the game in the French restaurant, and sure enough, there it was.
Back of the book, the very last game he recorded.
Thought you might be interested.
Um, no names.
Just the date Wednesday, October 20, black versus white, and every move.
Here on the last page, I notice that black resigned on the 41st move.
- Is that about the way it happened? - Obviously.
I'll tell you why I'm confused.
It's because I remember the proprietor saying that he came over to the table, and he was pouring the wine.
And when the game started, the little, round fellow with the accent pushed out the salt, and then you responded with the pepper.
- So I thought that you were black.
- No.
Just wanted to get that cleared up.
Thank you very much.
Not at all.
I'm sorry.
I didn't know about the medicines.
No, no, it's all right.
He gave me a list.
Just a few more things.
Yes? Hello to you too, but Oh.
Lieutenant? Lieutenant, it's for you.
Do you mind? Yes, I would.
Yes, Sergeant.
What? Sure, I can.
I can get over there right now.
Yes, I'm leaving right now, immediately.
And don't forget your friend.
Doc, if you don't mind, just a little while longer.
I've got a crisis.
I've got to go over to the hospital right now.
Lieutenant Columbo? I'm Dr.
He's right down here.
What's happened? I don't know.
He was looking so stable, then suddenly something just What do you mean, "something"? He was given his necessary injections 40 minutes ago.
Fifteen minutes later, this started happening.
- Joe? - We ain't winnin'.
! Tomlin! Tomlin! Can you hear me? Tomlin! Tomlin! Is he gone? Dr.
Sullivan? Somebody tried to kill this man once.
That's why he's here.
Do you have an explanation for this? No, sir, I don't.
It's baffling.
It sure is.
What about those injections Dr.
Jalnik gave him? Why, he's had those medications before, and he's come through perfectly fine.
They couldn't have anything to do with it? No, sir.
The last set that he gave him did they come from outside the hospital? Yes, sir.
That's right.
I want to see those syringes.
I want to bring 'em down to the lab.
I want my people to be able to I'm sorry, Lieutenant.
They were disposable.
If they're empty, they're taken out of the room immediately.
That's hospital safety rules.
Statement? Reaction? Regarding what? Tomlin Dudek is dead.
I just heard it from another reporter at the hospital.
Oh, no.
When? I just called over there to check, and they told me It just happened? Oh, he died just 1 0 minutes ago, sir.
So any statement you'd like to No.
No, I-I'm just too shocked right now.
I'm sorry.
Maybe later? Yeah.
Yeah, perhaps later.
Miss Robinson? Oh, I'm sorry.
I May I sit down for a moment? I know it's a bad time, and I know you'd rather be alone.
It'll only take a moment.
Of course.
Thank you.
Berozski's saying that everything that happened to Mr.
Dudek wasn't an accident.
He was such a gentleman.
He had no enemies, Mr.
, uh I'm sorry.
I'm afraid he did have at least one enemy, ma'am.
Just bear with me for one moment.
Uh, those medications that you brought to Dr.
Jalnik in the hospital? Did you give them to the doctor directly? Yes.
You personally handed it to him? A list of medicines that he gave you so you'd know what to bring him Did anyone else see that list? No.
Are you sure? Why do you ask? Are you sure? Didn't you talk with Mr.
Clayton at the hospital? Didn't he tell you about meeting Dudek in the French restaurant, playing chess? Wasn't that the time that you had that list? Uh, yes, he did see the list, but he only glanced at it for a second or two.
How did he see it? Um Show me how he saw it.
Make believe this is the list.
The list was on my lap.
He said to hurry up and, uh, get the me-medications.
And then he took the list, but he gave it right back.
He actually picked up the list? He held it in his hand? He picked it up like this and held it? Yeah, just like you did.
Well, he gave it right back.
Thank you very much.
Hey, Frank! Give me a hand up here, will ya? Garbage.
Hey, how'd you get here? Get outta here.
! Beat it.
! Hey, I'm sorry.
He's mine.
He enjoys garbage.
I don't know why.
- What's his name? - I don't know.
He doesn't like any of the ones I give him, so call him anything.
- Hey, hey! - Hey! Hey.
! Hold him.
! Oh! Okay, fella.
Okay, fella.
That was close, wasn't it? Hmm? Ah, dog like that wouldn't get hurt much in there.
Wouldn't get hurt? What's the matter with you? Mashed up in that thing.
Fella, take it easy.
Let me show you something.
Watch this.
It's a safety device.
Anything hits there when she's grinding up, off she goes.
- It turns itself off? - Sure.
Just load it up, hit the switch.
Again, Lieutenant? This is the final gathering.
What better way to pay tribute to that great Tomlin Dudek? These ladies and gentlemen are here by special invitation.
Among them are some of the What is it, Lieutenant? I didn't realize that you were in the middle of this.
I'll wait till later.
I don't wanna disturb you.
You do that, and it's mate.
Now, what were you saying, Lieutenant? Oh, I don't want to, uh, throw your concentration, sir.
Not a chance.
Well, why don't you make your next move? No, please, go on.
The game that I'm really concerned about is the game that you had with Dudek in the French restaurant.
You see, everything is motive, sir.
If you had lost that game I told you, Lieutenant, I didn't lose.
I also told you that Linda Robinson would confirm that.
Rook takes pawn.
But, you see, sir, that's only what you said, and, technically, that's hearsay.
She wasn't actually there.
I have 1 0 games going at once.
Loathe as you are to rely on hearsay, I suggest you judge for yourself my humble abilities.
Ah, I see you put yourself in the same pickle as Alekhine in one of his matches against, uh, Nimzovich in 1914.
There's that memory again.
That's really amazing.
I really mean that.
Rook to king bishop.
Mistake, my friend.
You fell into the trap.
Now, I want you to think about that.
And if you'd like to have some supper this evening, I suggest that you resign.
Well, you certainly are proving it, sir.
There's no question about it.
Well, thank you, Lieutenant.
Capablanca used to play In 1 922, Frank Marshall played and lost only eight.
One week later, he replayed every single move of 1 53 games perfectly.
Uh, what I meant, sir, is that you've proven your ability to memorize Dr.
Jalnik's medication list with only a glance or two.
That's an amazing thing to be able to do.
No, no.
Another two moves, and you'll Oh, I see.
All right.
Let's try that.
Now, you work on that.
What are you talking about, Lieutenant? What glance or two? Are you trying to imply that I copied Jalnik's medication list? That's not only reaching, it's defamatory.
No, sir, I said "memorized.
" I didn't say "copied.
" You brought that up.
But come to think of it, you know, maybe that's what you were doing.
Remember when I saw you in the hospital? You were sitting there and you were writing.
Maybe you were copying.
- You're absurd.
- Excuse me, Mr.
Clayton, sir? Could you? Certainly.
About your pen, sir? Thank you, Mr.
Thank you.
Sir? About your pen Do you remember when you left it at the hospital on the seat, and I came running after you to return it? Check.
Well, I took the liberty Ah, new game.
Yes, sir.
I took the liberty, before I ran after you with the pen, to scribble with it on some paper.
That's very clever of you, Lieutenant.
The boy down there at the lab, he tells me it's definitely the same ink and possibly the very same pen that Mr.
Dudek used to write his farewell note with.
Circumstantial trivia.
That could be true, sir, but if you put it all together, maybe the grand jury will feel differently.
Do you really think that the finest chess player in the world would make even half the mistakes that you ascribe to me? Mr.
Clayton, sir? I- I'm afraid that's check and mate, sir.
What? Just a foolish blunder.
It could happen to anybody.
All right, now, prove it to me.
Prove it.
Prove something! Prove it! What the devil is this place? This is the basement, sir.
This equipment here is the latest thing in clean environment.
Takes bottles, cans, all kinds of garbage and crushes them up.
Now, Mr.
Clayton, right there at the top of the stairs, that's where Dudek fell.
Hit the chute, slid down, came to this machinery.
Now, if you were the murderer If! Will you give me proof, Lieutenant? I didn't say you were the murderer.
I said, if you were the murderer I Wait! Listen.
It could have passed for a terrific accident.
Where is your proof, Lieutenant? It could have been a perfect murder.
Will you give me the proof? Can you read my lips now? Mr.
I wanted to tell you that this machine turns itself off automatically! That's why Dudek wasn't killed when he fell.
Machine just shut off! Will you stop this rambling conjecture and get out of my way! Why are you detaining me, Lieutenant? It would be easier if I did not have to shout, but the damn machine! Well, turn the damn thing off! I'll tell you what bothered me.
What bothered me was, if someone pushes a man into a grinding machine in order to kill him, then the machine suddenly stops, why doesn't he turn the machine back on again? The switch is right over there.
Then I remembered that you told me your hearing aid went out the night before, and you only got it fixed the next morning.
Now I understand.
You didn't turn it back on again because you never knew it was off.
You didn't hear it go off then, just like you didn't hear it go off now.
I'm sorry, Mr.
Clayton, but along with all the other trivial evidence that we've talked about, the murderer in this case just had to be a deaf man.