Columbo (1971) s03e01 Episode Script

Lovely But Lethal

Lang, the phone company tells me that you've only had this number for a few months, and that it's a private number.
Someone who mixed up the ingredients, falsified the formula You're under arrest for murder.
You see, this Mr.
Smith has some sort of formula that he's trying to sell.
I found out that they actually use poisons when they make cosmetics.
Belladonna, aconite.
I need that formula.
Make me an offer.
Beautiful, isn't she? Every time I go to the bathroom, there she is.
Next victim, please.
Plasma and sutures ready, nurse? Oh, shut up, Karl.
Take courage, sir.
Just think how many years Dr.
Frankenstein must've spent on his research.
But he only made one little monster.
He didn't live in our jungle.
He didn't have to succeed.
He didn't have to Oh, never mind, that's enough.
A miracle.
That's all I want.
That's all we've ever wanted.
Right, Your Majesty? Here's another variation on the caftan theme, this one flowing and soft, in a soft print, and with its sparkle and glamour right down the front.
Viveca, darling, what are you doing here, peddling false eyelashes, huh? David, love, where did you get the new hairpiece? Surely you don't make anything that clever? Oh! Still my lover, huh? Now, don't be embarrassed because I caught you at a fashion show.
I used to butter up the designers, too, when business was bad.
Well, if those girls are wearing a sample of your new eye shadow, Lang Cosmetics is in trouble.
My, what a sweet little dress.
Don't waste your ammunition, honey.
My secretary, that's all.
Shirley Blane.
Sorry, love.
Seriously, darling I-I-I've been watching Beauty Mark's stocks go down the last two months.
Now Well, since I always like to help a compatriot if they seem to be in trouble Mr.
Lang, why don't you just go gobble up a pill company? It isn't surprising, of course.
You haven't hit with a really good new product since you, uh, pirated those French lipsticks two years ago.
Is that where you stole the silly eye shadow? I'll always think of you as the queen of cosmetics.
But if things do get too bad, if you ever do need to get out of this crazy rollie-coaster business Oh, David, you innocent lamb, are you in for a surprise.
Excuse me, Miss Scott.
I think you dropped your program.
Oh, yes, how silly of me.
Of course I did.
Bye-bye, darling.
I'll send flowers to your funeral.
The sun.
I love the sun.
The Fountain of Youth stuff I'm not happy with yet.
And Vanish, I threw out.
It sounds too much like old-fashioned vanishing cream.
Oh, no, no, no, no.
Miracle is right.
Because it is a miracle.
Imagine, a harmless cream that can actually make wrinkles disappear.
It's like alchemy.
It's the dream of the centuries.
It's what women have longed for since ancient Egypt.
Well, I went ahead and reserved the network television time.
But our credit's not very good, so unless we can start mass production by the end of the month Of course we can.
And I want you to be ready with full-color inserts for all the fashion magazines.
Darling, we're going to put them all out of business.
When David Lang sees the I told you Your Majesty.
Murch, dear.
Dear, come in.
We were just talking Yes, yes.
The fruits of a whole year's labor, my most sublime accomplishment, the dream of all mankind, the dream to save all our skins.
You're wobbling.
Yes, and I have hastened, my queen, from a final secret testing of this elixir, this m-masterpiece of my chemical genius.
Who told you to do any more testing? What if one of your models talks? I thought my orders were quite clear.
On the basis of last week's reports Those reports were wrong.
It was a fluke.
I jumped the gun.
One little sample that broke down.
I tried combination after combination since.
This miracle of ours will never be any more useful for concealing wrinkles than axle grease.
I got your note on the back of the program, dear, but I really haven't time to talk right now.
Oh, I I just thought that you might like to see something that Mr.
Lang did today.
Today I could care less what that devil did.
Not that I'm not grateful for my little pipeline, you understand.
Is something wrong, Miss Scott? Acid stomach.
What have you made a photocopy of now? Oh.
A check.
He didn't see me do it, of course, but Mr.
Lang went to the bank and got that check himself this afternoon and then he came back and locked it in a desk drawer.
I'm happy that David Lang has $200,000 to give anyone.
Who's Harry Smith, his bookie? No, that's not his real name.
It's the name of a man who who's only been to the office once or twice, late at night, when nobody else is there.
Except you, of course.
I appreciate your efforts.
I was only there because Mr.
Lang wanted to trick him.
You see, this Mr.
Smith has some sort of formula that he's trying to sell.
And Mr.
Lang asked me to bring in this older friend of mine and Mr.
Smith rubbed some of the formula on on her skin.
Then when Mr.
Smith was gone, Mr.
Lang tried to take scrapings from her cheek to analyze.
Go on.
Yes, but there wasn't any left.
Because whatever there was, I got.
What is that? Well, on this really old woman that Mr.
Smith brought with him the first time Watch.
Oh, sweetheart, you've got a smudge right there by your eye.
I do? Yes, but I'll I'll rub it off for you.
Here, come sit down.
That's right.
Sit right down.
Now, uh, close your eyes.
You know, that must be cigarette ash.
I smoke much too much, too.
Keep your eyes shut.
Thank you, ma'am.
You're welcome.
Isn't that incredible? Wrinkles just disappear, and it lasts all day.
Oh, Viveca, I don't know if you can beat him to this but you know how anxious I am to find a better position.
And the thought of a man like David Lang getting his hands on a discovery like this just makes me sick.
Shirley, tell me one thing.
What does Harry Smith look like? Well, he he's he's about medium height, thick brown hair, not more than 35 years old.
Why isn't your husband home yet? Mrs.
Kelly, I do not pay my lawyers to play squash! You tell him Oh, never mind.
Dd So that's where it was.
How did you get in here? You still keep it in the flower pot.
Well, at least you haven't forgotten that.
There are a lot of things I haven't forgotten, darling.
What are you going to do with that? Don't you know? Peddle it to David Lang as a sample of your wares? Don't worry, dear.
I'm alone.
Poor old Murcheson.
If he only knew.
He really did work a miracle, didn't he? He had some help.
Sure he did.
Someone who mixed up the ingredients, falsified the formula, stole it, and is now going to sell it to the highest bidder? Yeah, something like that, I guess.
Nothing like that.
Because we're going to put the thief away.
Are we? Hello.
This is Viveca Scott.
Yes, Scott.
I'm a personal friend of the Chief's.
I want to be put through to him right away.
Yes, I'll wait.
You still like those, uh, tequila cocktails with the organic cactus juice, right? I've always thought that was an appropriate drink for you.
What's the matter, love? Are the police closed tonight for inventory? You slimy little snake.
Oh, no, Vivi.
I'm your hairy little teddy bear.
Remember me? What do you want for the jar? Uh-oh.
You can have the jar.
But, uh, it isn't worth very much without the formula.
We'll have to negotiate on that.
Where is it? It's not written down anywhere? It's mine.
Is it? You stole it! Prove it.
Karl, I need that formula.
Our sales are down.
We've lost some exclusive outlets.
And that louse David Lang is closing in on me.
I need a Miracle.
Make me an offer.
I never knew you had a sense of humor.
Remember, if we call you the inventor, you'll get royalties on the gross.
Say, um It's not enough, Viveca.
Not nearly enough for a miracle.
What do you want? You want me? Mmm-hmm.
Darling, we have no problem.
I've always liked you.
It was only a matter of respect.
Frankly, I didn't know you had it in you.
Are you surprised? Mmm.
But I like it.
I'll bet you do.
Now you know, love, I always like to mix a little business with pleasure.
The formula is What else? What do you mean, "What else?" Uh-uh! Now that's no way to speak to your new partner.
Partner? Never in a million years! Well, it's either that or you go to work for David Lang.
What do you say, babe? It's up to you.
You have no idea how long I've waited for this moment.
Waited and planned.
And now No thank you, darling.
You're not going to make a sucker out of me like you did Murcheson.
There was a time I'd have given you anything.
Now, quite frankly, I wouldn't give you Oh! Karl? Karl.
Morning, Lieutenant.
Would you like to see the corpse? Uh, no, thanks.
I'll just talk to the doctor.
Hey, Lt.
Columbo! Find something in there? No, my breakfast, that's all.
What time did they get you up this morning, Sergeant? About an hour ago, Lieutenant.
A kid looked through the window there and spotted the body right here, just after daylight.
What was this guy, some kind of scientist? A chemist.
He worked for Beauty Mark Cosmetics.
He must have had two jobs, because we found these smaller pay stubs in the desk there.
And I also found his bank book in there, Lieutenant.
And this magazine I found over there on the table.
What is that, a microscope? Yes, sir.
And, oh, Lieutenant, here's some notes the doctor made.
You know, I haven't seen one of these things since high school.
And there's a blood stain.
The doc seems to think this will match up as a murder weapon.
However, I haven't found any prints.
He was hit from behind, Lieutenant, by a heavy object.
You know, you better be careful.
Feels like there's some broken glass on the floor.
Apparently they broke a drinking glass.
Anyway, Lieutenant, it's all in here.
He died from a fractured skull.
Excuse me one moment, would you, Sergeant? Hey, Lieutenant, what are you looking for? Salt for my egg.
I usually carry a shaker in my pocket.
Here, here's salt.
That's just flour.
Maybe once, not now.
Something else was in there.
Oh, yeah.
What do you think it was? I have no idea, Lieutenant.
Eight-sided bottom.
Yeah, looks that way, looks octagonal.
Hey, Lieutenant, this just might fit in with a theory I'm developing.
As you've probably noticed, this is a hippie neighborhood, right? And this guy Lessing had a lot of chemical supplies lying around.
Suppose somebody thought they were drugs.
Or maybe they were drugs.
Because I want to show you something, Lieutenant.
He didn't get paid very much by Beauty Mark.
Beautiful, isn't she? We haven't really checked on who that is yet, Lieutenant.
You don't know? No.
She is Beauty Mark.
I mean, her real name is Viveca Scott, but, uh Listen, every time I go to the bathroom, there she is.
I'm Really.
As long as I can remember, on every one of my wife's jars on the lotion, on the tubes, on the cream I guess you're not married, huh? No, I'm not.
Excuse me, Sergeant.
The kid's boss is outside.
Now? Her? Lieutenant, I told you it was a kid who first spotted Lessing's body, remember? Well, that kid worked for a travel agency.
And it's his boss that's outside.
Be right with you.
That's right, this Mr.
Lessing placed a hurry-up order for all sorts of reservations, plane tickets yesterday afternoon.
Well, when I couldn't reach him by phone last night to confirm, I got a little worried because it is a common racket, you know.
So I didn't have my breakfast this morning.
I sent the boy over here to snoop while I started canceling reservations.
Excuse me, sir.
These are tickets to where? Oh, Paris, uh, George V, then a week on the Riviera.
All deluxe accommodations.
And he was to leave first class today on a 747.
Naturally, I had to guarantee deposits.
Uh, excuse me, sir.
Sergeant, I thought you told me that Mr.
Lessing was hard up? His latest bank statement shows that he had a balance of less than $300.
But here, on the back of this magazine, he apparently did some doodling.
There's dollar signs, figures He did it, or somebody else did.
Yeah, anybody can do this doodling.
There's no check on the handwriting.
Excuse me, Lieutenant.
This Mr.
Lessing was to have been in my office this morning with a check for more than $3,000.
Hear that, Lieutenant? Lessing must've been expecting some money.
It's a funny kind of pencil to doodle with.
All right, Adele, enjoy it.
It's your first drink of the day.
All right, Sylvia, come on.
A little more, a little more violet, Teddy.
Just a touch.
Good for you? Sure.
Ferdy, I thought this was going to be a lipstick layout.
But of course, love.
Just wait till they open their mouths.
I mean, just wait until you see what I've created for you.
Dd Can I help you, sir? I guess I came in the wrong door.
All right, Laura.
Enjoy it.
Miss Scott, right? Yes.
I'm sorry.
Forgive me.
I didn't mean to intrude.
You know, upstairs they told me you'd be down here, but this is some building you got here.
I mean, you got everything Do I know you? You don't know me, ma'am, but I sure know you.
Every time I shave, there you are.
It's a pleasure.
My name is Lt.
I'm from the L.
Uh, do you have a moment? Oh, um, uh, c-carry on, uh, Ferdy.
Come this way, please.
All right, Adele, let's take it from the top.
Murdered? How horrible.
Yes, it's terrible.
What did you say his name was? Lessing? Oh.
Not that nice young man in Dr.
Murcheson's department? The chemist, ma'am, yes.
But I understand he was going to be fired today.
Oh, well, I had nothing to do with him, Lieutenant.
Poor boy.
I wonder if he had any family? No, ma'am, he didn't.
You know, in that connection, maybe you could help me out.
I was upstairs, and I wanted to ask about him, but somebody in the laboratory, you know, they wouldn't let me in there.
Like Fort Knox around here.
I had no idea you had such top secrets in a nice ladies' business like this.
I'll fix that, Lieutenant.
You can go anywhere you want and ask anything you want.
We have no secrets from the police.
Oh, thank you.
I knew you'd say that.
Yes, let me have Darla, please.
Just from the type of person you are.
She's not? Oh.
How long? Oh, no, never mind.
I'll call back.
You know, I gotta tell you honestly that, uh, I feel like I've known you for 100 years.
I feel you're like a member of the family.
I mean, you're like, uh like Lydia E.
Oh, well Thank you.
Oh, well Uh, my secretary is out right now, but I'll take care of it as soon as she returns.
I, um, can't help but think you're wasting your time.
But if you'd like to talk to my personnel director, he could probably tell you more about Mr.
No, I've already spoken to him and he showed me Mr.
Lessing's file.
Oh, listen, you know, in that connection, uh, there was something funny about that, you know.
It was the only file folder in the whole cabinet that had been shoved in backwards.
I I don't understand.
I'm sure it don't mean anything.
I was just wondering about it.
Because personnel files are confidential and the file is usually locked.
So, I was just curious who might have a key and who wouldn't have a key.
Well, um, I have one, and, uh, probably a dozen other people.
I could get you a list if you like.
No, that won't be necessary.
Maybe later.
I won't bother you anymore.
No trouble, Lieutenant.
Lieutenant, you will let me know the minute you have any idea who that poor boy's murderer was, won't you? Oh, yes, ma'am.
Dd Oh, yes, Dora, um, there's a Lt.
Columbo in the building.
I think he's on his way up to the lab now.
Would you please see Miss Scott.
There is something maybe I ought to tell you right now because it might not have been a murderer.
I think it was a woman that killed him.
You do? Or at least a woman was there last night.
You see, on the back of this television magazine that just must have come in the mail just yesterday, there was a lot doodling.
Black figures, black numbers, and dollar signs.
Yes? Mmm.
Well, they were written with a black eyebrow pencil.
I spotted it right away because that's what my wife always uses when she makes out her grocery list.
When she goes into her purse, that's the only kind of pencil she can ever find.
Then you're wasting your time here, aren't you, Lieutenant? What do you mean? Talking to a redhead.
Brunettes use black eyebrow pencil.
Dd Do you know if he had any girlfriends? Now, how would I know if he had any girlfriends? I just work here, that's all.
No, I was just thinking, uh, you know, maybe somebody here in the company? Because you can't help noticing, there's an awful lot of female employees around.
Models, Lieutenant.
I mean, you don't think they'd be interested in a mere chemist's salary, do you? Besides, this guy Karl was one of those guys that stuck pretty much to himself.
Guy with a lot of ambition, you know what I mean? I guess he figured if you can't bed the mother hen, why waste time with the chickens? Mind if I ask you something? What are you doing all this for, anyway? Because whenever they stop one of these projects, I gotta get rid of everything the papers, the test materials, everything.
Why? To keep the other companies from finding out.
Come on.
What was that project Mr.
Lessing was working on, anyway? Who knows? They never tell anybody anything.
Just her nibs and a few top executives.
Gee whiz, you'd think that you were building secret weapons around here.
Why, we're not? Do you have any idea how much the women of America spend to make themselves beautiful? Anyway, whatever it was, it didn't work because everybody in this section got canned.
Really? Uh.
Excuse me just one minute.
Um What's the matter? You got to throw this out? Yeah, of course.
Everything goes.
What would I use this for, anyway? I mean it's got no label, it's got no writing, nothing.
Every test product has a special container, Lieutenant.
Like the one you're holding.
Here, let me show you.
Hold this.
Now, there were only a dozen of these.
It's a way of coding, that's all.
Coding, you know what I mean? Different colors, different shapes.
And one is missing.
You mind if I keep this? For what? They've all been sterilized.
There's nothing in them.
Oh, well, it's sort of nice.
You keep things in it.
Cuff links, tie clasp.
I kind of like the bottom.
Eight sides.
What do they call that, octagonal? Oh, Miss Scott, your phone's been ringing and ringing.
I know, Dora.
Never mind.
I don't want to be bothered yet.
Don't let anyone in to see me for a little while.
Miss Scott! I'm sure glad I caught you.
I want to thank you for letting me look around.
Boy, this cosmetic business.
It sure is a long way from just hair curlers and face grease.
You know, I had no idea.
Fellow showed me an eyelash, it was made out of real live mink.
And the third floor, they don't do anything up there but cook up perfume for men.
Am I right? Right.
What's the world coming to? Well, come back anytime you like, Lieutenant, and find out.
Thank you.
I think I've seen enough.
Oh, listen.
There's one other thing I wanted to ask you about.
Uh, the fellow that Lessing worked with, Dr.
Uh, I can't find him, and I was wondering whether you could help me? Apparently, he goofed up on some expensive project that he was working on.
Gee, I've seen this picture every day for 12 years.
You're a beautiful woman.
At any rate, uh, I've got Dr.
Murcheson's telephone number and I've called him, uh, but I haven't had any luck.
Can you help me? Well, just try the nearest saloon.
I'm sure that's the only place he's welcome anymore.
Say, Miss Scott, can I ask you a personal question? Yes.
It's, uh Well, you know, it has to do with these pictures.
You always wear a beauty mark.
Only this morning, you don't have it on.
Oh! Is that all? It's just one of those things I never do before lunchtime, darling.
No, what I was wondering about was, uh, how you put those things on.
I mean, do you stick them on, or do you paint them on, or Well, I can tell you're not interested and your mind's someplace else.
Don't worry about it.
I'll ask somebody else.
Oh, no, Lieutenant, I don't mind telling you.
I use an eyebrow pencil, of course.
A black one.
Bye-bye, ma'am.
Goodbye, sir.
Um, extension 517, please.
Hello, I'd like to speak with Miss Shirley Blane.
You mean she hasn't come to work Oh, I see.
Oh, no, uh, I'll call back.
In about half an hour? Thank you.
Hello? Hello? Hung up.
Phone was ringing every few minutes, so I thought I'd answer it.
I hope you don't mind.
Oh, I'm very sorry that I wasn't here to help you, sir, but I've been very busy taking dictation.
Now, what can I do for you? Yes, I May I get that for you? Thank you.
All those cigarettes yours? Yes.
May I tell you something? Yes.
Whenever I see a pretty young girl like you doing all that smoking, I say to myself: "Why does she take the chance?" Thank you.
Hey, wait a minute.
My cigar.
Now, you were telling me that you're Yeah.
I'm Lt.
I'm from the L.
Isn't that a shame? Good-looking young guy like that.
Yes, I haven't had a chance to read it yet.
Why are you here, Lieutenant? Oh, I just want to see Mr.
Lang for a moment.
The girl in the outer office said maybe you could slip me in.
May I tell him what it's about? Oh, don't bother, I'll do that.
You don't mind if I borrow that paper, do you? No.
I'll bring it back.
Sorry, Lieutenant.
Karl Lessing.
I never heard of the man.
You mind taking another look? Well, I never met him, either, as far as I can remember.
Now, why would I? Well, you know, he wasn't actually a scientist like it says there in the paper.
You know, really, he was just an assistant chemist.
You mean over at Beauty Mark.
I read faster than you might think.
Well, I've been there a few times, of course.
I mean, after all, Viveca Scott is one of my oldest and dearest friends.
So it's quite possible that I've run into him sometime or another.
But really, Columbo, look, this is one of the biggest businesses in the country.
I I mean, there are literally thousands of chemists in cosmetics.
Now, why you should come here and question me about some unknown, I I just don't understand.
Hey, I gotta pay that.
Um One moment.
That's it.
That's what? Mr.
Lang, the phone company tells me that you've only had this number for a few months and that it's a private number.
Well? Well, I was sort of wondering why this Karl Lessing would have it.
You see, my office told me that they found this number scribbled on a small piece of paper in Mr.
Lessing's wallet.
Well, why the devil didn't you say that in the first place? Well, I wanted to make sure first, sir.
You see, even the phone company makes mistakes, and, uh, inasmuch as this number was the only thing about you that anybody found Yes, of course.
I mean it it just never Wait a minute.
Find something there, sir? Well, there are a lot of young chemists in and out of here.
You know, we pay the highest wages in the business, so naturally they come here looking for jobs.
Just a second.
Shirley, come in here a minute, will you? We do know Mr.
Lessing was expecting some money.
And maybe a lot of money.
Now, don't get ahead of yourself, Lieutenant.
I haven't offered anyone a job for months.
Oh, Shirley, look, have a look here, huh? It's not a very good picture, but there was a young fellow in here the other day, maybe once before.
I didn't have time to talk to him.
Doesn't look familiar.
Lessing? No, that's the wrong name.
But he was about, uh Well, average height, curly hair.
It was something like, uh, Johnson, Jefferson maybe.
Well, you may be right, sir, but you didn't ask me to fill out a card on him or anything like that.
That's all that there was.
I'm afraid I didn't hear anything he said, Lieutenant.
I'm very sorry, sir, but you see, I'm so busy I don't have time to notice everyone who comes into the office.
Why would he change his name? If he was already working for Viveca? She demands devotion from her handsome young men.
Oh, I don't mean it in quite that way, no.
Well, protocol, discretion, who knows? I still can't figure out how he'd get your private phone number.
Unless he looked at it, Lieutenant? Just as you did? Mmm.
Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
Me, too, sir.
You see, this Lessing was up to something, I think.
But this cosmetics stuff is such a complicated thing.
I mean, all this top secret research going on, and people spying on other people's products.
So, you know, I thought maybe you could give me some clue.
If you're questioning the American system of free enterprise, Lieutenant, you've come to the wrong place.
Besides, here at Lang, we don't need to bother with that sort of thing.
$10 raise.
Did you ever hear of anything so insufferably male? Then what did he say? To that silly policeman? You don't think David Lang would let himself be concerned with anything human like a murder, do you? Maybe.
If you're so sure that the man he wrote the check to, that Harry Smith, is really Karl Lessing, then maybe they got into a fight over the price of the formula or something.
They were trying to cheat each other, weren't they? And you think that Mr.
Lang killed him? Oh, no.
No way.
You see, I saw that picture in the newspaper first this morning.
And then, when Mr.
Lang came in and noticed it there on my desk, well, he didn't say a word.
But I thought for a moment he was going to faint.
Oh, uh Dear, may I see that? I'm sure it's not your size anyway.
And then do you know what he did? Shirley, we can't stay here all day.
Well, he said he was going downstairs for just a moment.
But where he really went was the bank.
I know, because I've got a girlfriend over there.
And do you know what he did? He deposited that $200,000 check right back into his account.
Well, so what? That still doesn't mean he couldn't have murdered Oh, no, I'm positive he $450.
I wonder if I could afford that.
I really have to go.
I know, but, Viveca, dear, if Mr.
Lang didn't kill that nice young man, then who do you suppose did? Shirley, dear, why don't you come out to the farm this afternoon? You know, take that same back road.
There's something I want to talk to you about.
But how can I leave the office? I mean, Mr.
Lang might have errands for me to run, but I don't know if All right, if you can't make it.
I just thought Well, we haven't talked about you yet.
How about 3:00? Good.
That same place that we met before.
Why, Miss Scott, I didn't see you.
Is there something we can show you? No, just slumming my way to lunch.
Legs up.
1, 2, 3, 4.
Together, girls, together.
Legs up.
Up, up.
Legs up.
Up, up.
Legs up.
File in here, girls.
File in line here.
File in line.
All right, girls.
Lay down.
Lay down.
That's right, girls.
Be happy.
Lieutenant! Legs up! What on earth are you doing here? Oh, nothing much, ma'am.
So what kind of place is this, anyway? You know, they When they said you were up on your farm, I thought, well, maybe you were raising avocados.
Don't tell me you've never heard of a fat farm? Oh, this is a fat farm.
Gee, you know, it looks more like a temple.
So this is a place where people come to reduce.
Oh, And, uh, mmm, body revitalization.
We have a whole program here: Beauty, and hair design, uh But our main emphasis is on, uh, reducing.
I see.
Get the leg up.
This would be a terrific thing for my wife.
You know, she's got a little problem Well, we'll put her on the list.
Um, it's only $200 a day.
Now, did you have something to say to me? I think we ought to forget about that waiting list and see if I can find a more inexpensive As you can see, Lieutenant, I I'm on a very tight schedule.
If you didn't have anything to say, I really must be going.
Oh, ma'am, listen, don't worry about that.
You go about your business.
No, I'm not gonna interfere with your schedule.
You do whatever you have to do and I'll just tag along and don't you worry about it.
You know who I met today? A fellow named David Lang.
Had some very nice things to say about you.
I can imagine.
But you know what? It's just possible that this Mr.
Lang might know more than he's willing to admit.
I mean, about what Mr.
Lessing might have been up to and how he expected to get more money Lieutenant, David Lang hasn't told the truth about anything for 50 years.
You know, I was wondering about that because, you know, you're so different, and that's what I admire about you.
When you don't like somebody, you you just come right out and you say it.
I mean, when you fired Dr.
Murcheson, and Lessing, and everybody else.
Lieutenant, I have to go in this way.
I'm afraid you're just going to have to come back another day.
Ma'am, you just do whatever you have to do and don't worry about me.
I certainly don't want to interfere with anything.
Nude sunbathing, Lieutenant.
I'll be in town tonight if you'd like to call me then.
Uh, no, that's all right, ma'am.
No, I'll just wait right out here.
You do whatever you have to do.
Uh, oh oh, I just thought of something.
Uh Uh Didn't you say you wanted to talk to Dr.
Murcheson? Uh, yes, but we haven't been able to find him.
That's because I found him.
He's right through that door.
Go right, straight down the corridor, and to your left.
Oh, fine.
All right, well.
Thank you very Uh, I'll T-talk to you later.
Viveca, where have you been? I can't wait.
Lang just thinks I've gone to the store Listen, love, we can't talk now.
Oh! Oh, let me get it.
Let me get it.
Uh, that Lieutenant is here, so we can't talk now anyway.
I bet he'd be rather curious if he saw us together, wouldn't he? Well, no one ever has.
Yes, but there's really no reason why not, is there? Well, no.
Let's just, uh, wait till this silly business is over with, that's all.
Let me walk you to your car.
That's my kidney! Oh! Help! Whoever you are, come liberate me.
Fight for your sex! Oh, good, take off your raincoat, dressing room over there, and take off your clothes, please.
I'll be right with you.
Don't let her do it.
Stand up, man.
Stand up.
Fight! They'll be taking over the world.
Now, you stop that.
We already have.
I'm a policeman and I'm here to see a Dr.
Murcheson, a policeman to see you.
Oh! Rescue the Marines! Get out of here.
Ah, you're a naughty boy.
And I drink too much.
And you drink too much.
Thank you very much.
You're all nice girls.
You know, it would have done you some good, but What a way to sober up.
Uh, Dr.
Murcheson, my name is Lt.
Columbo, I'm from the L.
I know, I know, Viveca told me.
You're looking into Karl Lessing's murder.
Poor kid.
As matter of fact, I am looking into the murder But I wanted to ask you something.
You know, I'm surprised to find you here.
I thought that she was angry at you.
You don't understand her yet, do you? Nobody does.
I don't quite follow what you're saying.
Because she knows I'll always love her.
That's all.
Because I understand.
The Goddess of Beauty, sir, never changes.
That's why she is what she is.
That's all I want, Viveca.
Just just to be like you.
But with my present lousy job, it's Of course, dear.
I'll find a place for you.
That's what I wanted to talk to you about.
On the executive level? Because, you know, that's really the only way to do anything.
But there just isn't time to What're you looking for? Did you lose something? Oh, my cigarettes.
I must've dropped them.
Oh, no, wait.
Someone will see you.
I have some.
This will hold you.
I didn't even know that you smoked.
There's a lot we have to learn about each other.
But we will, don't worry.
Taste terrible? I'm not surprised, with the amount of cigarettes you smoke.
I think that's our first order of business, to get you the cure.
Maybe in Europe.
And then we'll start fixing up your office.
On the top floor, right next to mine.
Thank you, Viveca.
I won't ever tell anybody anything.
Don't worry.
Goodbye, Shirley.
Oh! Couldn't you find, uh, Murcheson? Oh, yes, ma'am, I found him, but, uh I guess he doesn't know very much, or he can't remember very much.
One or the other.
Well, I'm sorry you wasted your time here.
Well, actually, ma'am, it was you that I wanted to talk to.
I'll tell you what I was curious about.
Do you have a moment? Go on.
What I was curious about was, uh, if the murderer stole something from Mr.
Lessing that night What makes you think something was stolen? Well, you see, we know that Mr.
Lessing worked on a modest salary.
Now we find out that he's planning this big expensive trip to Europe.
So, obviously he's expecting Lieutenant, I really don't know what you're talking about.
But I have over a dozen ladies out there waiting for my encouragement.
Please excuse me.
You don't mind if I just tag along, do you? No! I-I'm sorry.
I really am.
But you've taken up enough of my day.
You're cheating.
Remember your goal.
Now, come on.
Come on, that's a girl.
That's it, Mary.
Pay attention, now.
Up! Up! Uh, Charlie.
Yes? Uh, pick up the tempo a little, I'll be back.
Come on, girls.
Up! Down.
You really are a very stubborn man, aren't you, Lieutenant? Do you actually believe that I could've had anything to do with that poor Mr.
Lessing's death? Is that why you're chasing me? Miss Scott, are you aware that Karl Lessing had a photograph of yours which he put in his dartboard and which he used as a target? A what? Now don't get excited.
It doesn't mean anything.
A lot of people wanna throw darts at their bosses.
You know, as a matter of fact, a while back here there was a captain of detectives, and he and I didn't get along.
I used to have fantasies about him.
I always had my hands around his throat.
You belong in a museum.
Have you ever been in Lessing's place? Lessing's? Don't be ridiculous.
I'll tell you why I asked that question: Because we have a little problem trying to figure out how the perpetrator got in.
Now, it occurred to me that, you know, a young guy like that might have girlfriends that he'd give a key to.
But why would one of the girlfriends be interested in one of those red jars? A what? One of those red jars.
You know, the kind that you used in your last research projects? Because the measurements fit.
There's no doubt that what was in that flour tin was one of those eight-sided red jars.
So maybe Mr.
Lessing knew something about that research material that Dr.
Murcheson didn't.
Look, I don't wanna interfere with your exercising.
You go back and do what you were doing.
But listen, you know, that's all just speculation.
That don't mean anything.
Uh, what I really wanna do is clear up some gossip I keep hearing.
And this will be my last question.
Miss Scott, you're a beautiful woman, you got a lot of life in you.
A handsome young man comes to work for you.
Lessing is an attractive single man.
And you heard that I might've dated him a couple of times, is that it? Well, that's quite true.
Do you know how long ago that was? That was two years ago and there've been hundreds since then.
I like young men, Lieutenant, lots of them.
And if that shocks your ancient masculine double standard, I'm sorry.
Sorry, ma'am.
I didn't mean to upset you.
I'd better run along.
You've been very cooperative.
Thank you very, very much.
Oh, say, you wouldn't know what poison ivy looks like, would you? I mean, when you get it? Like right here on this finger, here? Uh I'm afraid I don't.
Broke out a couple of hours ago.
Itches like the devil.
You know, I got a nephew out at U.
He's resident dermatologist out there.
He said it sounded like poison ivy.
A dermatologist? Well! Then it must be, uh, poison ivy.
I tell you, the only problem is, I A guy down in headquarters, Sgt.
Kiester, German guy, his hobby is horticulture.
You know, plants? Uh, he told me there is no poison ivy in Southern California.
Not enough moisture.
Well, then maybe it isn't poison ivy.
Then I went out to U.
I showed it to my nephew.
He looked at it.
He said it is poison ivy.
Lieutenant I did not kill Karl Lessing.
I couldn't kill a fly.
Miss Scott, wait.
I just couldn't stop him.
The cleaning girl had the door open.
It's all right, Dora.
Miss Scott.
Wanna compliment you on your office.
It's very impressive.
Well, thank you.
What can I do for you? Dora, as soon as the directors arrive, would you please send them right in? Actually, I just came here to apologize.
It will only take a second.
Apologize for what? I thought I upset you yesterday.
I regret that.
However, what's done is done.
Uh, did you happen to see this? Oh, yes, I heard about that.
She was a very pretty girl, wasn't she? You didn't happen to know her, did you? No, I only asked because she was Mr.
Lang's secretary.
As a matter of fact we did meet once.
Just the other day.
She was with David at a fashion show.
We spoke, but that's all.
Why? Mmm.
I just thought maybe you could help me, that's all.
Tell you, this guy David Lang, he's the toughest nut to crack I've ever run into.
But listen, never mind.
That's my problem.
There was nothing wrong with this, um, Shirley Blane's death, was there? Well, in a bad car accident like that, it's kind of hard to tell.
But one of the doctors, he thought her eyes were sort of dilated.
Well, what does that mean? Could be drugs.
A quick-acting poison.
You know what I found out? I found out that they actually use poisons when they make cosmetics.
Belladonna, aconite.
Not that much anymore, Lieutenant.
No, huh? Not anymore.
But there was one thing they found.
A copy of an enormous check from Mr.
Lang to a fellow named Harry Smith.
What was funny about this is that the bank tells me that Mr.
Lang drew this check the morning before Mr.
Lessing was murdered and brought it back, and put it back into his account the afternoon after he was murdered.
Well, what does David say? What does a clam say? Well, his closet is rather full of snakes.
Once he opens his mouth on anything No, but really, Lieutenant, I think, uh, just because David was once a chemist himself doesn't mean that he'd try to use drugs on anything as horrible as that.
He was? He was a chemist? Well, that might be very helpful to me.
Thank you.
That just might help me.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
I'm gonna get out of your hair, Miss Scott.
I see you have other things to do.
Say, I was going to show you something funny.
Doesn't that look awful? But I tell you, it sure stops the itching.
Incidentally, that was poison ivy.
My nephew got the report in this morning.
Oh, you poor thing.
But I tell you, that's not the funniest part.
Here's the funny part.
You know, the problem was, where did I get the darned stuff? Because they don't have any here in California, except maybe in one place.
Lessing's place.
Hard to believe.
What are those? Oh, we always take a lot of photographs.
You don't want to see that.
Uh, here we are.
I guess what Mr.
Lessing did was, I guess he had a second job and he worked for a medical lab every once in a while.
Ah, that looks like Latin.
But I couldn't guess that because I'd only taken Spanish.
But you know what that means? Not poison ivy? Exactly.
That's the extract of poison ivy.
That's called "urushiol.
" And that's the stuff that makes your hand itch.
Now, he must've had a jar around, you know, somewhere around the apartment, and somewhere I must've touched it.
So I sent a whole crew of guys out there and now they're going to comb that place and see whether they can come up with that.
Do you have the time? I think I have mine.
Oh, dear.
Uh, Miss Scott, I wanna thank you for being so patient.
And I wanna thank you for being so nice yesterday.
Oh, anytime, Lieutenant.
Oh, Viveca, not the whip.
I'm doing it.
I've got 15 miles on this thing already.
Murch, dear, I wasn't going to bother you with this for a while but I'm curious about something and I just have to know the answer.
I love you.
What else? If I brought you a quarter of a cup of something, could you analyze it for me right away? Viveca, if it's over 86 proof Oh, stop being foolish.
I'll call you in a few minutes.
Oh, uh, Murch, um, don't tell anyone.
Do I ever? Sorry to disturb you, ma'am, but I have a court order here to search these premises.
All right, you fellows check back in there.
You stand here.
Excuse me, ma'am.
This is outrageous.
Who's responsible for this? What are you looking for? Let me put it this way.
If you found a little red jar with an eight-sided bottom, would you get promoted? Just take it easy, lady.
Just take it easy.
I'm taking it easy.
As a matter of fact, I could offer you a drink and help you search if I weren't so furious.
No luck yet, Lieutenant.
No luck at all.
Lieutenant, would you please do what you have to do and get out of here? How long is this going to take? Damnedest case I've ever seen.
Will you answer me? How long is this going to take? I found the poison ivy.
That's good.
Where? At Lessing's place.
I know at Lessing's, but where? It was in the bottom drawer of the file cabinet.
The drawer was locked.
You were nowhere near that drawer.
I know.
I never opened the drawer.
Still trying to figure out where I got my poison ivy.
Poor thing.
Still worried about your itch.
You worried about yours? No.
I couldn't help noticing, ma'am, the past few days you've been scratching your hand and wearing gloves.
So? Been out of state recently? No.
Neither have I.
Lieutenant, you amaze me.
Number one, you don't even know if I have poison ivy.
The doctor will tell us that.
Number two, even if I do have it, it has nothing to do with Karl Lessing because I never touched that vial.
You're under arrest for murder.
Sergeant, would you step out of the room for a moment? Hey, Lieutenant, another second is all Don't worry about it.
All right, fellows, let's go.
Did you ever have the feeling when you're about to go on a trip that you forgot something? You know, just as you get in the cab to go to the airport, you have an anxious feeling that you forgot something, that something is missing? That's the feeling I got the first time I saw that microscope.
I remember I turned and I saw it, and I said, "ls that a microscope?" I started walking toward it, and I remember the fingerprint man, he was talking.
I didn't hear him good because I was distracted by the feeling that something was missing.
You know what I mean? That can be very annoying.
It was, until an hour ago.
I ran into George, my brother-in-law.
He's just back from Mexico today.
He said, "Take a look at these.
" He knows that I love family pictures.
He took these out, handed them to me, and he said: "These are the best slides I've ever taken.
" Slides.
That's when it hit me.
Where there's a microscope, there's always a slide.
You see, we got our poison ivy in the same place.
We both touched the slide.
You touched it when you picked up the microscope and hit him.
That's when the slide broke.
I got it when I put my hand on the floor and it touched a piece of glass.
I remember because I said: "Fellows, feels like there's broken glass here.
" The fingerprint man, he thought the glass came from a drinking glass.
Very good, Lieutenant.
Officer! Officer, take care of Miss Scott, and I'll be right with you.
Um, Give your brother-in-law a message for me.
Something appropriate.