Columbo (1971) s03e02 Episode Script

Any Old Port in a Storm

An exciting meal has been ruined by the presence of this liquid filth.
Now you've blown the money.
I'm just happy you didn't report me to my superior.
This Gun for Hire.
No offense to your mother.
Why were you assigned to the case? I mean, you're you're in Homicide, aren't you? I just go where they tell me to.
Of course, the first thing I wanted was a cold beer.
You really are a sly one, Lieutenant.
Titian would have gone mad trying to mix so beautiful a red.
And he would have failed dismally in the attempt.
Color like this was born a hundred years ago in ltaly, suffered through decades of the Piemonte winter, survived a steerage ocean voyage to America and lived to bloom afresh under the rich California sun.
Drink, gentlemen.
It tastes as good as it looks.
Mmm.
It is everything you said, Adrian.
Such a Such a delicate aftertaste.
Are you bottling it for sale? Oh, Lord, no.
We only press It's as much as I can do to stop myself from drinking the entire crop.
A shame.
I know a great many people who would pay a lot of money for it.
The cost would be prohibitive.
I'd rather serve it to my friends and watch their faces than sell it to some Texan bumpkin who'll stick it in the freezer and bring it out with a homemade chili.
I'm from Texas.
Yes, but you, my dear Falcon, are a connoisseur.
Relax, gentlemen.
Help yourselves to a slice of cheese.
I'll be with you in a moment.
I have a superb claret breathing in my office.
What do you think? He's our man.
Yes, definitely.
I can't think of anyone who has done more for the wine business than Adrian Carsini.
Then it's settled.
I thought you'd be here.
Only a fanatic works on Sunday.
My dear little brother.
Would you care for a sip of the wine that made Carsini famous? I'd rather have some wine that made Carsini rich.
Oh, I see.
We're gonna have to listen to the same tired old harangue? Adrian, I need some money.
You know, Ric, you are so remarkably gauche.
It pains me to feel we have the same blood coursing through our veins.
I'm getting married.
Congratulations.
Who is it this time? A waitress or a topless dancer? She happens to be a very nice girl.
All your wives were.
She's waiting for me at the Casa Rojo, you know, in Acapulco.
We're, uh, we're getting married tomorrow.
I got my bags and scuba gear in the car, but But, uh I'm embarrassed.
I don't have the money for airfare.
You don't have the money for the airfare? We'll discuss this later.
You know, Adrian, Papa gave you the cash, but he gave me this property.
Now you've blown the money.
I've let you run this place because I thought, well, maybe you can make a go of it.
But, no, no, you're just like he was.
Our father was a good man.
A good ltalian.
He provided the wine.
My mother was English.
She provided the breeding.
Your mother, on the other hand, appears to have been responsible for all the coarser sides of your nature.
I'll overlook that remark.
You would be wise to do exactly that.
Now, I'm in rather a hurry.
I have three gentlemen in the tasting room who are about to make me the Man of the Year in our industry.
There's a rather splendid wine auction in New York City tomorrow and I intend to be there.
I'm selling the land.
What? The Marino Brothers have made me an offer, and I'm accepting it.
The Marino Brothers? The Marino Brothers? The Marino Brothers? The 69-cents-a-gallon Marino Brothers? They don't make wine.
They don't even make good mouthwash! But they make money, huh.
I mean, you snobs can drink your wine, but I want the cash.
To squander on fast cars and faster women? Don't talk about spending.
You don't know this, but I've kept a complete record of all the company money that you spent on wines that are so fancy and expensive that you'll never drink them.
At least I know how to have fun with money.
You're an adolescent imbecile, Ric.
Do you think I'm gonna sit by and let some muscle-bound hedonist throw me out of what is rightfully mine? Hey.
Don't worry.
You'll be taken care of.
I'm sure the Marino Brothers will let you lick the labels of their new carbonated rose.
You think I'm gonna I I I have given to this land! You think I'm gonna let some ignorant Neapolitan turn it into a wino heaven? I don't think you have any choice.
Yes, I do.
Ric.
Ric.
Oh, Mr.
Carsini! Oh.
Hello, Karen.
I didn't expect you here today.
Well, I had some last-minute things to go over before our trip to New York.
I saw Mr.
Ric's car outside.
Is he with you? He was.
He, uh, went down to the cooperage department, I think.
Now, no paperwork today.
Today is Sunday.
Only a fanatic works on a Sunday.
But, Mr.
Carsini Well, why don't you go back and pack some more splendid gowns? We're going to be in New York for a whole week instead of two days.
I I shall need a a tuxedo and and and several suits.
Oh, yes.
Shall I get tickets for some Broadway shows? Oh, no, no, no, we won't have time for that with all the wine auctions.
You run along now.
I'll see you at the airport.
Gentlemen, you are going to adore this one.
I tried a bottle of it two years ago, but it was still on the uphill side of perfection.
It should be just about right now.
Eh, Falcon, uh, would you do the honors? Adrian, I'm delighted.
Isn't it a pity that so much of a great wine must be lost to the sediment? Yeah.
At least four healthy sips, or two unhealthy swallows.
We, um, we have something to tell you, Adrian.
I thought we'd let you know during the New York trip, but why wait? Is ls there something wrong? Not at all.
The society has decided to make you the Man of the Year.
Oh.
Gentlemen, you honor me beyond my accomplishments.
May our enemies never be as happy as we are at this moment.
I don't know how to thank you, gentlemen, for the honor you've done me.
I can't wait to tell my brother, Ric.
He owns the entire vineyard, you know.
So in a sense, he is as much a recipient of this accolade as I am.
Unfortunately, he's on his way to Acapulco.
I'll tell him as soon as I can.
Ciao.
Congratulations again, Adrian.
Thank you.
Delightful afternoon, thank you.
Okay, don't be late.
Dd Karen, my sweet, as soon as we land, send a letter to my dear brother, Ric.
He's on his way to the Casa Rojo in Acapulco.
Tell him about the Man of the Year award and say I'm looking forward to seeing him on his return in a week or two.
Shall I make it a telegram? Oh, Lord, no.
A letter will suffice.
I dislike sending telegrams, or receiving them.
There's something about a telegram that makes one feel that some kind of tragedy has occurred.
Have you got my checkbook with you? Yes, Mr.
Carsini.
Make out a check for $5,000 to my brother.
$5,000? He's getting married.
It may help to start him off in the right direction.
You're very generous.
What else is money for? Good breeding.
Interesting aftertaste.
But they've left the skins in too long.
I'd say Gewurztraminer, imported, of course.
Vintage '69 or No, '70.
Probably a Chateau Verite.
Well, that's incredible.
Utterly fantastic.
That's exactly what it is.
How in the world did you do it? Simplicity itself.
While the rest of you were savoring the delicate bouquet, I was peeking at the label.
Shall we go in, gentlemen, and stimulate the economy? Quick, Karen.
Come, come, ladies and gentlemen.
Here is a noble wine bottled the very year that California was annexed to the United States.
You're not buying wine, you're buying a bottle of history.
Shall we start the bidding, say at $1,000? Do I hear $1,000? Who'll open the bidding at $1,000? How much have we spent thus far? $1000.
Who'll open $18,000.
I think I really would like that bottle.
Oh, Mr.
Carsini, we bought the other wine in case lots.
This will cost more Yeah, I I I know, I know, Karen.
It's too expensive to drink, and I can't afford it.
But life is short, Karen.
Life is painfully short.
$1,000.
$1,000 I have.
That is a fair beginning.
Now, let's have an auction.
$1,000 I'm bid for this rare and priceless bottle.
$1,000.
Do I hear $2,000? $1,000.
Do I hear $2,000? $2,000.
$2,000.
And to you, sir.
$3,000 I have.
$3,000 I have.
Who will make it $4,000? $4,000 $4,000 I have.
Thank you, sir.
$4,000 I have for this rare and priceless wine.
$4,000, who will make it $5,000? $4,000, do I hear $5,000? Do I hear $5,000? $5,000 I have.
$5,000, do I hear $6,000? $5,000 going to $6,000.
Do we really need it, Mr.
Carsini? Nobody really needs a $5,000 bottle of wine, Karen.
I just don't want anybody else to have it.
$5,000 I have, who will make it $6,000? $5,000 once.
$5,000 twice.
Third and last call.
Sold to Mr.
Adrian Carsini of California for $5,000.
Congratulations, sir.
I don't know how I can help you.
What you want is Missing Persons.
I'm in Homicide.
I know that, Lieutenant.
But I went up to Missing Persons, and there's no one there.
And Ric is not the type of person who would just turn up missing.
The only thing I can suggest to you is to come in the morning, see Capt.
Marvin Krosinsky in Missing Persons.
He's a very capable fellow.
He's a little hard of hearing in his right ear, so stand on his left.
I'm sure something's happened to Ric.
There's nothin' I can do, ma'am, really, uh, until Until a body is found? I didn't want to say that, but that's the fact.
I understand.
How long has he been missing? Three days.
We were supposed to be married in Acapulco.
I waited there until tonight and when I didn't hear from him, I came back to town.
You two didn't have a fight or anything, did you? No, but Maybe he got cold feet.
That's been known to happen.
Was he married before? Three times.
Three times? I guess his feet are warm enough by now.
Does he have any relatives? A half-brother.
And, evidently he expected Ric to be in Acapulco, too, because he sent this letter and a check for $5,000 as a wedding present.
Can I keep this? Certainly.
When was the last time you spoke to him? I spoke to him on the phone Sunday.
He said he'd been scuba diving that morning and that he was now on his way to the winery to speak to his brother.
Well, ma'am, I'm gonna get into this.
I see he's an ltalian, and we ltalians have got to stick together.
Thank you very much, Lieutenant.
And if you need me for anything, I'm usually at one of the numbers on here.
Do you have a picture? Oh, sure.
Hard to find a missing person without a picture.
Here's one of the two of us.
It was taken about three weeks ago.
He's a terrific- looking guy.
I don't blame you for being worried.
You're sure this fellow's ltalian? The family was from Milan.
Oh, from up north.
Oh, yes.
Mmm-hmm.
They make 'em blonde up there.
His full name is Enrico Giussepi Carsini.
Well, you can't get more ltalian than that.
If anything turns up, you'll hear from me.
Thank you, Lieutenant.
Better fasten your seatbelt, Mr.
Carsini, we're landing.
Will you open that wine when we honor you at the dinner? This wine? Never.
Most wines are meant for drinking, but wines like that are meant for buying and selling.
Well, it was a splendid trip, wasn't it? Will you be needing a lift, Mr.
Carsini? No, thank you, Karen.
I left my car in the lot.
Is yours there? No, I'll take a cab.
Right.
Hey, Lieutenant.
Coast Guard spotted the body this morning.
It's too close to shore for them, so they called us.
Any make yet? I called Krosinsky at Missing Persons.
You know, the usual number of absent.
We'll know in a minute.
Hey, can I light that for you? No, no, thanks.
Trying to cut down.
All I do is chew 'em lately.
Why don't you chew a cheaper cigar? I don't want to cut down on my standard of living.
That's some piece of machinery, huh.
Look at that finish.
Hey, you know what.
I bet there's 20 coats of paint, at least.
Easy.
It'd probably cost a whole year's salary.
Easy.
Hey, look at that wood.
You don't have a pencil, do you? No, I don't.
Would you like to have a car like this, Lieutenant? I got one Uh, a car like this? I'd love it.
I wouldn't even drive it.
I'd park it out in the front of the house and sit and watch it from the kitchen.
Hey, feel this carpeting.
Well, I'd like to have that in my den.
Ankle deep.
You know, that's livin'.
John.
Been dead a few days.
A friend of mine once fell off his boat.
We found him.
Looked the same way.
Very puckered.
How old do you think he was? Well, you guess people's ages at Long Beach, or what? No, I just know him.
Every year on his birthday, he'd throw a big party and I once worked as a waiter for him.
His name's Carsini.
Dd When, when did it happen? They found the body this morning.
Was it a car accident? No, sir, he was scuba diving in the ocean.
He He drowned? I don't think so, Joan.
I think Apparently during a deep dive, his head hit a rock and he lost consciousness and he ran out of oxygen.
He suffocated.
I warned him over and over again to stop going in twice in one day.
It was too tiring.
Should I have the police notify the brother? Joan, would you prefer I have the authorities notify the brother or do you want to do it? You, I-it's better.
They weren't full brothers, they were half-brothers.
Yeah, they weren't that close.
Actually, Ric didn't even like him at all.
All right, I'll have the authorities notify the brother.
How come the two brothers weren't that close? It was the business, and Adrian's eccentricities.
He took a fortune and ran it into a shoestring.
He's also a bit of a snob.
It It was mostly business.
See, Adrian ran it like a hobby, and Ric resented that.
Ric wanted to sell the business so that we could get married.
It didn't make any difference to me, Lieutenant, because I'm very comfortable, but Ric felt D-D-Do you mind if I g-go inside? I think the truth of the matter is getting to me, and Oh, what a blow.
The guy was a heck of an athlete, I'll tell you that.
He was? Yeah.
Knew him eight years.
Diving, eh? Diving.
That's awful.
In a rather bizarre accident, the body of Enrico Carsini heir to the winery that bears his name, was pulled from the surf early this morning.
Carsini was a local sportsman and well known in the area as a playboy.
Preliminary reports appear to indicate that he was scuba diving in a desolate area when the accident occurred.
You may recall in the past that Carsini was an amateur racing driver who won many races, many trophies, but refused to turn professional as he considered himself in for the sport rather than the money.
We asked Dr.
Martinez Never dive without a buddy.
About the case.
Doctor? Our preliminary examination shows that Mr.
Carsini died of suffocation six days ago, rather than drowning.
We found evidence of a sharp blow to the head.
My theory, strictly unofficial, of course, I don't have any buddies left.
Or is he probably struck a rock during a dive was knocked unconscious, and died before he woke up.
Thus, we surmise that he probably ran out of air and died of suffocation.
The time of death I'm sorry that I bothered you.
Six days ago.
The complete report will be issued after the autopsy.
When did he say the fellow died? Six days ago.
Did it rain last Tuesday? I don't remember.
Bartender.
Another beer? Did it rain last Tuesday? Mister, I can't remember what happened this morning.
Got change for a quarter? Yes, sir.
Did it rain last Tuesday? Huh? Last Tuesday, did it rain? Oh, I I don't know.
Operator, may I have the number for the weather bureau, please? No, that's tomorrow's weather.
I want information concerning last week's weather.
What time do they close? Oh.
All right, give me the number for the newspaper, the LA Chronicle.
Thank you.
Excuse me, sir.
Do you happen to remember, did it rain last Tuesday? I'm sorry, I don't remember.
Ma'am? No, I don't.
I don't know if you can help me at this hour or not, sir, but I want information concerning last week's weather.
Okay.
Thank you very much.
Uh, excuse me.
My name is Lt.
Columbo.
I'm with the Los Angeles Police Department.
And I need a little help.
Uh, can anybody here tell me, did it rain last Tuesday? There are many misconceptions about winemaking.
For example, my father was a winemaker and I've never stepped on a grape, except by mistake, in my life.
Now, years ago, in the old days, they did use women to crush the grapes with their feet.
But then the men objected because the girls were always sitting down on the job.
Carsini Wineries have been the recipients of many gold medals and other awards, some of which you'll see displayed in this case right here.
Excuse me, sir.
I don't drink myself, so forgive me if I sound stupid, but Don't be silly.
Go ahead.
I don't know the difference between grapes.
All I know is green or red, or seedless or seeded.
How many different kinds of wines do you make? We specialize in six, but actually there are over 100 including champagne, which we don't produce.
How come you don't produce champagne? Because Mr.
Carsini does not like champagne.
He claims bubbles obscure the flavor.
We buy our bottles in bulk, and keep them here until they're ready to be filled with the various Carsini vintages.
They are shipped in sterilized and brand-new.
But I thought you fellows produced your own bottles.
Actually, we have this agreement with the manufacturer.
We don't make bottles if he doesn't try to make wine.
Ah, just kidding, really.
Mr.
Carsini feels it's better to do one thing really well than a lot of things in a slipshod fashion.
All right, will you follow me, please? Must be a tough boss, Carsini.
I mean, he sounds like he demands perfection.
He does.
But he pays the best wages around for comparable work.
Maybe I could get a job around here.
Do you know anything about wine? Well, my grandfather used to let me stomp on the grapes when we made the stuff at home.
Mr.
Carsini's office? Huh? No.
No.
No.
Uh, Mr.
Carsini Here.
Here.
The office is here.
Uh, Mr Mr Mr.
Ric is dead.
Yeah, so I heard.
You know, I'm surprised that, uh, they didn't close the place out of respect.
Everybody surprised.
Oh, you know what Mr.
Adrian did? He called all the workers this morning.
And he said, "Ric, my brother, was a very special man.
"I'm sure that he would have said to you what I'm saying to you now.
" He wanted you and everybody here, including me, to work.
That was, Ric would want you to work? Yeah.
He was that kind of man? Was he that kind of man? No.
No.
No? Is there a phone around? Phone? Yeah, right there.
I want to speak to someone down there that can give me the weather of last Tuesday.
That's Tuesday the 18th.
I'll hold.
You don't say.
You don't say.
I hear you.
I hear you.
Thank you very much.
Yes, thank you very much, Lieutenant.
Much better.
Uh, Miss Stacey, I just want to ask you one question, if you don't mind.
Go ahead.
How did your boyfriend feel about his car? Sometimes I think he loved it more than he loved me.
He did? Thank you very much.
Is that it? That's it.
Yes? Is Mr.
Carsini in? Your name, please? Is he in? I must have your name.
Why would you want my name when you have such a nice name yourself? Karen Fielding, I think that's a lovely name.
Look, whoever you are, I'm a busy woman and I don't have time for games.
My name is Lt.
Columbo.
I'm with the Police Department.
Oh.
Mr.
Carsini is not in his office right now.
I see.
Is he in mourning? No, he's in the lab.
I can have him here in a few minutes.
Don't bother, ma'am.
That's all right.
Point me in the right direction.
I'll find him.
I'm good at that.
I'm sorry about Mr.
Ric, sir.
We in the lab share your grief.
Oh, well, the Lord giveth and the Lord You know, it was a shock for all of us.
It's hard to believe that I'm now the last surviving member of my family.
Are you going to change anything here? I mean, uh, some of us were wondering Oh, no, no, no, no.
No.
No.
Don't worry about a thing, Jerry.
The winery will go on doing what it's always done: Providing the very best wine we can.
That's the way Ric would've wanted it.
Mr.
Carsini? Yes? May I speak to you for a moment? Your secretary sent me over.
If it's about a position, the personnel office is open from 9:00 to 5:00.
The man you want to see there is Let's go to my office.
It will only take a moment, sir.
I know how valuable your time is.
Oh, please, sir, I would rather you didn't smoke.
Ha, I'm sorry.
The fumes destroy the delicate taste of good wine.
I I know some people believe that a good cigar goes with their glass of wine, but I'm afraid I feel they clash.
I'm sure you understand.
Absolutely.
You are going to adore this wine.
Can you tell me what it is? No, sir.
You mean what kind of wine it is? Yeah.
Oh, no.
You're an ltalian, aren't you? Yes, sir, on both sides.
Well, you should know about good wine.
It goes with the heritage.
Well, I guess I kind of missed up in that department.
I got to tell you somethin' else.
I'm probably the only ltalian in the world who can't sing, either.
That's very amusing.
Well, Mr.
Columbo, I don't want to rush you.
Take all the time you need, but I have some wine here to decant.
So if you don't mind, I'll go on doing what I have to do and we can talk.
If that's acceptable to you.
Absolutely.
Did you say you were a lieutenant? Yes, sir, a lieutenant.
Hmm.
What exactly do you want of me? Well, sir, I imagine you must be pretty shook up by your brother's death.
Not at all.
I don't understand.
I'm amazed he lived as long as he did.
But he was such a young man, he was in such good condition.
Ric took too many chances.
Auto racing, skydiving, all this underwater rubbish.
Of course, I'm saddened by his death.
One doesn't lose a brother and remain emotionless.
I I I have to take solace from the fact that he had such a happy life.
Wasn't the sort of life I'd choose for myself, but it was good for him.
What did you say you'll do there? Decant? Yeah.
Yeah.
You see, I have a taster's luncheon at 1:00.
It is now precisely 10:30.
And this particular wine needs to breathe for two and one-half hours.
I'm simply pouring the wine from the bottle into the decanter to let it breathe a little bit.
The important thing is that the sediment inside the bottle remains inside.
It's quite a little art.
One mistake now could be disaster.
There.
Hmm.
That's one thing I don't allow anyone else to do for me.
According to my records, sir, you were the last person to see your brother alive.
Was I? Uh I certainly saw him on the Sunday, the Sunday before last.
W-Was that the day he died? The closest we could come, sir, was Tuesday the 18th.
Are you sure you saw him on a Sunday? Couldn't have been a Monday or a Tuesday? Um, yeah, excuse me, one moment.
Uh-huh.
Uh, Karen? Yes, Mr.
Carsini? Would you come in here for a moment? I just want to check up on a date.
So much has happened during the last week.
Yes? Uh, Karen, do you happen to recollect exactly which day, uh, Ric came to the office? Yes, he was here on the 16th.
How can you be sure it was the 16th? It was the same day we left for New York.
I see.
And how long were you in New York? Seven glorious days in Fun City.
Will that be all? Yes, thank you, Karen.
And you say, um, my brother died two days after that? Yes.
Well, then I certainly couldn't be the last one to see him alive.
Unless he went into hiding for two days, and that certainly doesn't sound like Ric.
Is this an official interrogation, Lieutenant? No, sir, I'm not going to write anything down.
No, I just thought we'd chat and sip some wine.
Couple of things that bother me.
Don't ever try to get last week's weather at 11:00 at night.
It's no fun.
Uh, the weather for Tuesday the 18th.
Intermittent showers.
Would your brother go swimming on a rainy day like that? Doesn't really make much difference if the person is underneath the water.
Does it? I suppose not.
You know, that car was out there for five or six days.
I can't imagine why nobody reported seeing it.
By all accounts, it's a pretty desolate spot.
And you know what people are, Lieutenant.
They don't like to get involved.
Hmm.
Girl told me that he loved that car.
Sorry? Is that a a statement or a question? Well, it just doesn't make any sense.
Uh "Complete weather report, Tuesday the 18th.
"High 48.
Low 42.
"Overcast all day.
Threatening clouds "and scattered showers in the morning, continuous light-to-heavy rains in the afternoon.
" Can't imagine why he would leave the top down.
I'm afraid I don't know anything about motorcars.
My life begins and ends with wine.
Hmm.
Wait a minute.
I can think of a possible explanation.
Can you, sir? Yeah, let us for a moment hypothesize that Ric put the top up.
But didn't fasten it because he was coming back to the car.
Now, with this rainfall we get very high winds from time to time.
The wind must've flipped the top back and voila! Possibility, sir.
More wine? No.
No.
Oh, boy.
You all right? I didn't realize I drank that much.
What do you call that stuff? Cabernet Sauvignon.
Usually I don't drink anything I can't pronounce, but I got a lot to learn.
First thing I got to learn is how to hold my Cabernet Sauvignon.
Thank you very much.
It was a pleasure.
Say, would you mind if I came back again? Unofficially? What for? To be frank, learn more about wines.
I see where my education has been badly neglected.
Didn't your family ever drink wines at home? Closest we ever came to it was my father's job during Prohibition.
Bootlegger? No, he was the tail gunner on a beer truck.
Lieutenant, it's for you.
Oh, thank you very much.
I left this number.
I hope you don't mind.
Not at all.
Drive carefully now.
Medical examiner? Oh, Good.
Two days? Two days? Empty.
Strange.
Thanks.
Thank you very much.
Do you know your way out, Lieutenant? Oh, Miss Fielding, I'm sorry about being flip like I was before.
That's not like me.
I don't want you to be angry at me.
It's quite all right, Lieutenant.
Lieutenant.
Could I pop in here for a moment? Oh, let me buzz first.
It'll take just a second.
Sir? You really think it gets that windy up there? Pardon me? Your brother's car.
I'm talking about the convertible tops.
You know, they're pretty heavy.
I could see where a wind might come along and flip the top open.
Maybe even halfway back.
Maybe three-quarters.
But not all the way down.
Did you see the car? Yes, sir, I did.
Do you remember how the convertible top was? Well, I'm not very good on details.
That's why I write everything down.
Uh My handwriting is so bad, sometimes I think I should have been a doctor.
Uh, um, uh Ah, here it is.
Top down.
Hmm.
Doesn't say how far down.
Well, what's the difference.
There's a photograph.
I'll check the picture on it.
See you around, sir.
Right.
I'll try and make this as painless as possible.
I just spoke to the medical examiner.
Was Ric any kind of a health fanatic? No.
Was Ric on any kind of a strange diet? Is there any reason why Ric wouldn't eat for days on end? None.
Never.
He was a tremendous eater.
He was an athlete.
Burned it right out.
Yeah, matter of fact, I can't think of anything he didn't like eating.
Except Brussels sprouts.
I can't figure this thing out.
Why? The medical examiner told me that Ric hadn't eaten anything for two days prior to his death.
That doesn't make any sense.
That kind of fasting makes a person weak.
Does it seem logical to you that a person would starve himself for two days and then go scuba diving? No.
I thought you'd say that.
Oh, no, Lieutenant.
You go right ahead.
Ask anything you want.
Now, you understand that this is just a routine questioning.
Nobody's accusing anybody of anything.
Of course.
You have a pencil I can borrow? Hmm, here.
Oh.
Thank you very much.
Oh, that's a beauty.
Now, you gentlemen were with Mr.
Carsini on Sunday the 16th the day he left for New York? Yes, we were all together in his tasting room.
Did you happen to see his brother? No.
Mr.
Stein? No, I didn't see his brother.
From the time that you got there until you left, you were always with Mr.
Carsini? Yes.
He never left the room? No.
Well, there was that one time when he got that incredible bottle of claret.
How long was he gone? Well, not long, four or five minutes.
I remember now it took him a little longer because his secretary came in and he was talking to her.
He mentioned that.
Then what happened? Well, nothing.
We just had a wonderful time.
He brought back this superb bottle of claret.
He was in a very good mood.
We were looking forward to the moment when we'd tell him that he'd A little bit more slowly.
Well, we were looking forward to the moment when we would tell him that he had won the award.
I felt very good about that.
He, he deserved it.
And, of course, I took a particular delight in the fact that he allowed me to decant the claret.
Adrian then made a toast, which I remember.
"May our enemies never be as happy as we are at this moment.
" He allowed you to decant the claret? Yes.
I was honored.
A man needs a very steady hand for that.
Oh, yes, very steady.
Thank you very much.
Thank you, sir.
Would you care for a bit of wine, Lieutenant? We have a very fine Chablis.
No, thank you.
I'm still a little hung over from Mr.
Carsini's Cabernet whatchamacallit.
Oh, Lieutenant.
My pencil.
Oh.
My friend, they tell me that you know more about wine than just about anybody.
Correction.
Than anybody.
I want to you to teach me everything you know.
It took me 40 years to acquire my expertise.
Well, what can you do in an hour-and-a-half? Oh, just the very basics.
Let's start with this.
How can you tell a good wine from an average wine? By the price.
I think you're really gonna like this wine.
It's, uh Don't tell me.
Let me guess.
Sensitive breeding.
Rich bouquet.
Strong vinosity.
Well, it's a Burgundy.
I'm just not sure whether it's a Pinot Noir or a Gamay.
That's really excellent.
You astound me.
It is, in fact, a Pinot Noir.
How'd you guess it? I know Carsini only makes three red wines, two Burgundies, Pinot Noir and a Gamay and one claret, Cabernet Sauvignon.
You served me the Cabernet Sauvignon the other day.
It didn't taste like this.
So I know that this has to be a Burgundy.
And it's either a Pinot Noir or a Gamay.
You really are a sly one, Lieutenant.
I've been doin' a little research.
You know, up until now, I thought that wines were only to drink.
But I find out that people actually invest in them.
Oh, yeah.
And the longer you keep them, the more valuable they get.
I've heard that some wines cost as much as $100 a bottle.
Well, that's really a fairly medium price.
I I have paid as much as $5,000.
$5,000? $5,000 for a bottle of wine.
You know, my father never made $5000 in one year? Can you imagine drinking a year's pay in one night? Can I see? Is it possible for me to see one of those expensive bottles? Not drink it.
Just see it.
Well, I, uh, I keep them in a locked vault.
I've never seen anythin' like it.
Uh-uh.
I'd really appreciate it.
Well, if you really want to, I'd be delighted to show them to you.
Like a crypt.
I think I saw something like this in a vampire movie.
To me it's a very beautiful room.
Why do they keep wines in a place like this? To protect the wine against extreme heat.
Right now, it's no problem, but in the summer it gets very hot outside and that could damage the wine.
That's why I keep a humidifier and air conditioner turned on the whole time.
I was wondering what that noise was.
Hmm.
Oh.
Do you have a phone, sir? Yes, of course, what's the problem? I'd like to call my wife.
It'll only take a moment.
Be my guest.
It's in the office.
Thank you.
It's nothing serious.
Remember the day we went on the picnic and it got so hot we had to come home? Was it last week or the week before? What day last week? How hot did it get? All right, I'll go to the weather bureau.
Head of lettuce and two quarts of milk.
All right.
Thank you very much.
Sorry to hold you up.
Oh, that's all right.
I have to remember: Head of lettuce and two quarts of milk.
Tell you, I'd sure hate to get accidentally trapped in here.
It reminds me of that Edgar Allan Poe short story, The Cask of I know what it is.
It begins with an "A.
" I just can't pronounce it.
Amontillado.
Of course, if somebody did get trapped in here, they'd sure have plenty to drink.
Nobody could get trapped in here.
The door locks from the outside only.
That's a beautiful bottle.
How much is that fella worth? Oh, that's something I picked up in, uh, in Spain in 1958.
It's worth about $1,000.
Amazing.
These bottles are actually beautiful.
Yes, I I think so.
Here's an old one.
I can't read that label.
Oh, that's a a claret.
That's a Bordeaux Rouge.
It's worth about $1,500.
Claret? Oh, that's what you served Mr.
Falcon and Mr.
Stein that Sunday when you went to New York.
Yeah, that was also a claret.
Uh, may I? I remember that.
They mentioned that.
Of course, that was a cheaper wine you gave them.
That was an ordinary wine, wasn't it? On the contrary, it was one of my most precious wines.
My father put that down in 1947.
Really? Hmm.
Strange.
Why? It was a special occasion.
I thought it merited a rather special wine.
No, sir, I was referring to the fact that you didn't decant the wine yourself.
You said you never allow anyone else to decant precious wine.
Well, didn't I decant it? I don't recollect.
I have a statement here, sir, from Oh.
Oh, yes, I remember.
I do remember.
Uh, I thought it would be a nice gesture.
You see, I knew he was going to give me this award, Man of the Year.
I thought it would show my appreciation.
Besides, Mr.
Falcon is more than capable.
He has a very steady hand.
Yes.
Hmm.
Have you seen enough? Are you sure somebody couldn't accidentally be trapped in here? Lieutenant, you really are one of a kind.
Do you want me to prove it to you? I'll tell you what I'm going to do.
I'm going to go outside.
I'm going to close the door.
And I'm not going to tell you how to open it.
I'm gonna see how long it takes you to find your way out.
It's very simple.
All you have to do is push it.
Didn't I tell you? You shouldn't be so skeptical.
Your brother's check, that $5,000 check, I meant to bring it out this afternoon.
Sir, I forgot it.
I'll get it to you.
Oh, just tear it up.
Uh, it was a very generous gesture on your part, sir, regardless of how things worked out.
It was a wedding present.
Are you driving back into town, Lieutenant? Just what are your plans? Oh, uh I think I'll be running along now, sir.
Thank you very much, I certainly enjoyed it.
Appreciate your time.
Bye.
Uh, Lie-Lieutenant.
Lieutenant, when are you going to release my brother's body? It was his wish to be cremated and I'll check on that this afternoon, sir.
Probably a few days.
Well, wh-what's the delay in an accident case? Beats me, sir.
Why were you assigned to the case? I mean, you're you're in Homicide, aren't you? I just go where they tell me to, sir.
Well, doesn't look right to me.
It looks like they, uh, they suspect someone of foul play.
Well, maybe they do, sir, but you have nothing to worry about.
You were 3,000 miles away at the time of his death.
Right? Right.
I'll be running along.
Oh.
Mr.
Carsini.
Sir, I just remembered one of the reasons they're not releasing your brother's body.
I forgot to tell you the other day.
Well, do you know your brother's car? It stayed out on that cliff for a week.
During that time, it rained and then we had some sun.
But when we saw the car the morning we found the body it looked like it just came off a showroom floor.
What's your point? No water marks.
Can you explain that? No, I can't.
Well, there must be a reason for it.
There always is.
When you find it, will you tell me? Believe me, sir, you'll be the first to know.
Yes? Uh, Miss Fielding? Isn't it a little late for police business? Oh, this is kind of unofficial.
All right.
But there's an Alan Ladd movie I want to see on at 11:00.
Well, I'll be out of here long before then.
Well, go on.
About that trip that you took to New York.
What about it? We were both in New York on business.
Look, I don't see how I can help you.
Neither of us were here when Mr.
Ric died.
Did you see Ric Carsini leave the winery on that Sunday? I, I saw him arrive and I saw him leave.
He was in the building about 15 minutes, then he drove off.
Hmm.
Excuse me for just a moment.
"Norman, security guard: "'I saw Mr.
Ric arrive at approximately 12:30, but I never saw him leave.
"' Well, Norman is the winery's best customer.
Mr.
Carsini only keeps him on because he couldn't get a job anywhere else.
I think that does it.
I'm closin' up this case.
I'm glad you finally see the truth.
May I use your phone? Yes.
Thank you very much.
This should just take a second.
Ah, which one is it? What? Which Alan Ladd movie is it? This Gun for Hire.
Oh, that's a good one.
That's the one where he has the broken wrist.
Hello, Mr.
Carsini? This is Lt.
Columbo.
Look, I feel like I've made a fool of myself.
No, there was one thing that was bothering me.
I just spoke to your secretary and she straightened the whole thing out.
I'm really calling you to apologize for giving you such a hard time.
No, it's not okay.
Don't be so gracious.
I want to make it up to you.
I want to buy you and Karen a meal in the best restaurant in town.
No.
No, I want you to pick out the restaurant and I'm going to pick up the check.
I insist.
I've heard of it.
Tomorrow night.
Fine.
If I can get a baby-sitter, I'll bring my wife along.
Lovely.
See you tomorrow.
I wish I could watch it with you.
Well, maybe I'll catch the last few minutes at home.
Thank you very much.
See you tomorrow.
Thank you.
I'm sorry to bother you.
I wanted to ask you one more question.
What is it? How long have you worked for Mr.
Carsini? Well, that long? You must like him very much.
I'll see you tomorrow.
You know, it's after 6:30, Karen.
We have to hurry if we're to meet Lt.
Columbo.
Do you have everything here, or do you have to go back to the house? No, I'm fine, Mr.
Carsini.
You know, it's funny.
Here we are, going out on what normally would be described as a date and you're still calling me Mr.
Carsini.
Well, I I No, no, no, no, it's it's it's perfectly proper.
Things have always been quite proper between us.
Perhaps, just for tonight we could suspend the formalities and you may call me Adrian.
Thank you, Adrian.
Maybe, if all goes well, after tonight we'll suspend the formalities altogether.
Ah, that would be very nice.
I still wish we weren't having dinner with that man, though.
Lt.
Columbo? Why not? He still suspects you of killing your brother.
Does he? He has no cause.
After all, I was 3,000 miles away.
I know.
And so does he.
But he still suspects you.
Do you suspect me? Well, you've been quite a different person the last week.
Even in New York, at certain moments you seemed very preoccupied.
I asked you a specific question.
Do you suspect me? I'd like an answer.
No.
Good.
Well, let's go to dinner.
Well, you sure don't see very many of these things around.
I got over 100,000 miles on it.
You take care of your car, it'll take care of you.
Columbo.
Columbo.
Oui.
Monsieur Columbo, party of three.
Dd Walk this way, please.
Uh, we trust you will enjoy the dinner.
Thank you.
Uh, sir, could you please send me the wine steward? But of course.
Uh, white wine steward or the red wine steward? Columbo.
What is this? A table by the kitchen? This will never do.
I'm sorry, Monsieur Carsini, but when he walked in Just get us a better table and stop simpering.
Immediately.
I wonder what this check is gonna look like.
I tell you, I always get nervous when a place has a menu that doesn't include the prices.
J.
P.
Morgan was once asked how much his yacht would cost.
His reply, if I remember correctly, was: "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it.
" In this restaurant, if you have to look at the prices on the menu, you can't afford to eat here.
Well, sir, it was good, wasn't it? Superb.
That's the important thing.
And equally superb was your wine selection.
I must admit I would never have thought of Moselle with the oysters or Zinfandel with the meat.
I'm astounded by your newly-acquired knowledge.
I can't wait to hear what you've planned for our after-dinner wine.
I tell you, I did my homework very well on that.
Wait one moment.
Uh I know exactly what I want.
I'm just praying that they have it.
You got a minute? No.
Bring me a bottle of Ferrier Vintage Port, 1945.
Ferrier, '45? You do have it, don't you? My dear Columbo, I'm afraid you've set this man an impossible task.
I'm familiar with this particular vintage port and I would hasten to wager that he does not have it in his cellar.
Moreover, the price would be prohibitive.
Allow me to check on it, sir.
I hope they have it.
I also hope my wife doesn't find out what this meal costs.
Where is your wife? You said she might come along.
Well, we're having trouble with the baby-sitter.
Our regular girl has her finals tomorrow and everybody else is down there at the rock concert.
You know what it is when you have kids.
My dear Lieutenant, it's not fair for you to pay for this entire meal.
At least, let me take up half of it.
No, no, I insist.
No.
Not on your life.
I deserve to pay for this.
You know, I embarrassed you by suspecting you.
No, no, sir.
This is on me.
Uh, the fact is I'm just happy you didn't report me to my superior.
I should be grateful to you.
We had one bottle, sir.
Oh, terrific.
Good heavens.
Thank you.
My dear Karen, I implore you not to smoke.
You'll ruin an exciting taste experience with the bitterness of the tobacco.
Very well, Mr Adrian.
Ahem.
Tastes terrific to me.
Drinks all around.
Drinks all Wonderful.
What body.
This is dreadful.
Monsieur This is dreadful.
Don't you realize that a great wine is like a great work of art? It has to be nurtured, it has to be taken care of.
You have subjected this port to a temperature in excess of 150 degrees.
Such disdain cannot and must not be tolerated.
I advise you not to pay for the check.
But, sir, I think that This wine has been oxidized by overheating.
Where did you keep it, on top of the stove? Don't you know any delicate wine spoils by being subjected to a rapid change in temperature? Serving this iodine is an insult! Is there something wrong? Is there something wrong? Everything is wrong! An exciting meal has been ruined by the presence of this liquid filth.
It is not our intention There will be no check for this table.
We have our reputation to uphold.
Listen, I insist.
We had a good meal.
I apologize.
I apologize.
We had a very good meal.
I must pay.
Thank you very much.
No, it's all right.
Thank you.
Thank you.
What is it? That's a heck of a way to beat the check.
I'm gonna have to remember that.
I'm sorry I lost my temper.
But that port, that was really very bad.
It was bad, wasn't it? Mmm-hmm.
I couldn't tell.
Could you? No.
Such a subtle difference.
And that's just because of the heat.
Mmm-hmm.
Amazing.
Oh, that reminds me.
I have to have my refrigerator fixed.
You remember that day here, last week Well, you weren't here, were you? Oh, you were in New York.
Oh, right.
We had a day here, last week.
I want to tell you.
You know, the temperature went up to 109.
Strangest weather.
Took my wife and my kid out on a picnic.
You know, it got so hot we had to come back.
Of course, the first thing I wanted was a cold beer.
Took the stuff out of the icebox.
The stuff was just as warm as coffee.
I don't know how the English drink it that way.
No offense to your mother.
I guess she didn't drink much beer.
Well, anyway, I don't think we'll be seeing one another again.
It's been a pleasure.
It's very nice meeting you.
Miss Fielding, lovely meeting you.
And I want to thank you very much for helping me close out the case.
Me? Oh, yes, ma'am.
If you hadn't told me that you saw Ric leaving the winery that Sunday, quite frankly, I'd still have my suspicions.
But you showed me it doesn't pay to be cynical.
Thank you.
Your car's ready, Mr.
Carsini.
Thanks for the dinner.
You're welcome.
Why did you lie, Karen? I thought I was helping you.
Thank you.
Come again.
There was no need for you to endanger yourself.
After all, you are only an employee.
I wanted to help you.
I thought you would be in trouble if I didn't say anything.
And I care about you, Adrian, don't you see? I don't have anything else.
I care about you.
dutiful, quiet secretary.
Sterile and passionless.
Then, in the face of danger, the truth emerges.
Remarkable.
Do you feel anything towards me? I don't know, Karen.
I really don't know.
You did have something to do with Mr.
Ric's death, didn't you? Is that why you lied? Because you thought I killed him? I wouldn't blame you for it.
He wanted to take away the only thing you ever loved.
We'll discuss this in the morning, Karen.
Nobody would blame you for it.
You could always say it was an accident.
There was no need for you to lie, Karen.
Columbo had no proof whatsoever.
Now you have a hold over me.
And I don't like being in that position.
Why, why don't we take a vacation, Adrian? Just the two of us.
Go away somewhere, get to know each other.
I have a better idea.
You go to Paris.
There's another wine convention in the offing.
You could work out the itineraries for us.
I'll join you shortly.
You're trying to get rid of me.
Karen, it's, it's very late and I have a number of things to do.
You're trying to turn me back into an employee.
You were never anything but an employee.
Not anymore, Adrian.
Not anymore.
I'm your partner now.
And I intend getting a great deal more from you than $700 a month and two weeks' paid vacation.
I gave you Now it's your turn to give me something.
You can't force me into loving you, Karen.
Maybe not.
But you don't have to love me to marry me.
Lots of marriages have been built on much less.
We'll talk about it in the morning.
They were all ruined, weren't they? Well, these are just some inferior wines I was trying to Chateau d'lssan, 1938? Inferior? Well, a great label doesn't always denote a great wine.
Thursday the 20th.
That's what did it, sir.
You know, it got very hot in that vault with the ventilation turned off.
That one day, that Thursday, it hit 109 degrees outside.
So inside, the temperature went way up.
Over 150 degrees.
Wine overheated.
That was it.
That's why I mentioned that hot day outside the restaurant.
I knew it would ring a bell.
I figured you'd have to get around to disposing of the wine, sooner or later.
It must be killing you to throw all this stuff away.
Yeah, you have no idea, it's like How did you know? How did I know? Well, sir.
Do you mind if I smoke? Well, now I did a terrible thing, sir.
You remember the day when we were in the vault and I kept saying if somebody got locked in, there'd be no way to get out? In order to prove me wrong, you closed the door and left me in there alone? Well, I took that opportunity to steal a bottle of port, your port.
Ferrier Vintage Port, 1945.
That's right, sir.
That bottle of wine in the restaurant, that was your wine.
See, the wine steward was in on it.
And you did the rest.
I surely did, didn't I? That's ironic.
Sir.
Well, I-I'm probably one of the few men in the world who could've told you that wine was spoiled and told you it was because it was overheated.
Yes, sir.
It required a very delicate palate.
Is that some kind of a record for that day in the year? No, sir.
Notebook.
No, sir, it hit 111 in 1938, and 111 in 1870.
The weather bureau doesn't keep records before then.
That's a pity.
I would have liked it to be a record.
Shall we go? Uh, we'll take my car, sir.
It's parked right around the corner.
I'll send somebody to pick up yours.
Do I get a confession, sir? Oh, yes, I'll confess.
There's no remorse attached to it.
It's a great weight off my mind, as a matter of fact.
Why is that, sir? Well, you see, Karen guessed the truth.
She's turning the thumbscrews on me.
She's quite a little iron maiden, that lady.
I guess freedom is purely relative.
Who's gonna look after all this? The grapes, the plant? It'll go on, sir.
It's the only place in my entire life where I was ever really happy.
I took the liberty of bringing along a surprise.
Huh? Montefiascone.
That's an excellent dessert wine.
I was hoping you'd like it.
And very suitable for the final course.
You've learned very well, Lieutenant.
Thank you, sir.
That's the nicest thing anybody's ever said to me.