Columbo (1971) s03e06 Episode Script

Mind Over Mayhem

Heroin? He had heroin? That man is lying! I'll have to expose him myself.
You fool.
You're not a very good liar.
I've got nothin' to hide.
I suspected you 10 minutes after I met you.
All right, Lieutenant, you win.
You're behind this.
Yes.
It's a real mess.
Do they know who did it? He had an accident? What're you getting at, Lieutenant? There is no power on earth that could induce me to keep the lid on this.
Something just computed.
Russia, 4-3-2.
China air attack, Sub-missile attack, China.
Okay, I'll get right on it.
Dr.
Cahill.
Yes, Ross? I'm sorry to disturb you, sir, but Dr.
Nicholson insisted I give this to you at once.
He seemed very agitated, sir.
He's waiting in your office.
All right, Ross.
We'll postpone the rest of World War lll until after lunch, gentlemen.
The results so far are completely unsatisfactory.
As a matter of fact, your retaliatory response indicates a total defeat with a 75% mortality rate for the Western Hemisphere.
I suggest that you abort plan R-17 and devote the rest of the afternoon to preparing and computing an R-18 response.
We'll tackle it again after dinner, hopefully with a more auspicious projection for the free world.
Hold the calls.
Marshall.
Howard.
Now, what the hell is this all about? Precisely what it says.
Your son is not going to receive that award tomorrow.
And why not? Because he is not the scientist of the year.
If anything, he's the fraud of the year.
Howard.
Oh, you must have suspected the truth yourself, deep down.
That theory of molecular matter was way beyond Neil's powers.
Howard, you're a chemist, and I would say that your ability to analyze a man's intellectual capacity is way beyond your powers or is this psychological deduction something your wife came up with considering Neil's been in therapy with her? I assure you, it's more chemical than psychological.
It's on paper in my filing cabinet.
What is? The evidence, Marshall.
Carl Finch developed that theory of molecular activity before he returned to England.
Neil was his research assistant.
He'd have had access to the notes Carl left with me, notes I've just gone over for the first time since Carl's death.
Your son put his own name to the work.
If this is true, why didn't Finch publish his theories himself? Because there was no such thing then as a K-44 computer to verify the equation.
But there is now, right here in this institute, readily available to your son.
Neil is a competent computer analyst, and that's all he is.
What do you intend to do? I've asked my wife to persuade Neil to confess his plagiarism to the National Science Organization and to decline the award at the luncheon in San Francisco tomorrow.
And if she doesn't persuade him? Well, I'll have to expose him myself.
Unless you can persuade him to admit the theft.
He certainly does whatever you tell him to do.
You resent me so much, you're willing to destroy my son.
Oh, it's you who's destroyed him, Marshall, but not with love, with browbeating domination.
He stole the work of a giant to win the approval of a tyrant.
You're a radical, Howard.
Yes, and a dangerous one to you, at the moment.
Now, look, Howard.
Finch is dead.
This isn't gonna do him any good.
It's not gonna do anybody any good.
What will it take to get you to forget the whole thing? Well, if Neil himself does not confess, there is no power on earth that could induce me to keep the lid on this.
Well, you got your acceptance speech ready? Yeah, it's simple enough.
Just thank you and I owe it all to the opportunities afforded me by the Cybernetic Research institute.
You know, sometimes you make humility sound more like a vice than a virtue.
Suppose Suppose I told you I don't deserve this award? Just what I would expect from you.
Self-effacing humility.
Credit to lab assistants, credit to experiments by your predecessors.
That's not what I mean.
Neil, Neil, be as humble as you like.
Einstein was the most modest man I ever met.
Sure, he could afford to be.
He was a genius.
And so are you, according to the National Science Organization.
Right? Right.
I'm very proud.
Checkmate.
Why did he do that? Oh, Dr.
Cahill, hello.
Did you see that? I've got MM-7's emotion mode operating.
He's a sore loser.
He was more impressive when he was unbeatable.
He still is, Doctor.
It's just that I thought it'd be fun to make him a little more human, so I I switched a couple of circuits.
Little more adjustments with that consender and he'll be as temperamental as a chess champion.
He's your baby, Steve.
I daresay perfection can be a bore.
Yes, sir.
As a matter of fact, all work and no play does make Jack a dull boy.
The one provision we didn't make in this institute was recreational facilities for children.
We didn't count on having a boy-genius.
I know.
We're gonna have to get you out of this lab more often.
Yeah? Starting tonight, if you'd like.
My secretary tells me you expressed interest in seeing that movie at the drive-in.
Yes, sir.
The Loves of Frankenstein.
But I can't drive, and she won't take me.
It's R-rated.
No one under 17 allowed unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Well, perhaps I can persuade Murph to be your guardian.
Really? That'd be really neat.
Thanks.
Okay.
Hey, Murph.
Hey! Hi, Doc.
Having a little trouble? Oh, same old problem.
Pilot light keeps going off.
Yeah, well, you'll lick it.
One day, when everybody's using 'em, you'll be the only mechanic that can cope with it.
If you've got enough matches, you won't need a mechanic.
Murph, I'm going to ask you for a small favor.
Sure.
I need somebody to take the young Spelberg boy to the movies tonight.
Oh.
What's the matter? You got other plans? No, no, it's Listen, the kid makes me nervous.
What? Well, it's not what he says or does.
It's just my knowing how smart he is.
Well, we'll forget about that for tonight.
You punch your card in for overtime, and, uh, the movies and hamburgers are on me, huh? Okay, Doc, thanks.
Sure.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen if you are quite ready, we will begin the R-18 problem.
Turn on the juice, please.
I left some coffee on for you.
Oh, thank you, dear.
Now, we're starting at 8:00.
So I probably won't be back until late morning.
I'll stop at the market, get some kippers, and we'll have a fine English breakfast.
Oh, you're too good to me.
You're too easy to please.
How many husbands would say that to a wife who's about to stay out all night? True.
But how many husbands whose wives stay out all night can reassure themselves she's monitoring a group-therapy marathon, especially husbands my age with young wives.
I haven't seen any new models I'd trade you in for.
Margaret? Margaret? Much better, ladies and gentlemen.
A very effective retaliation, and without overkill.
Well, I think we could all use a drink.
It's been a hard night.
You're all invited to join me for a nightcap at The Roadhouse.
Hi.
Damn, I I just can't get used to these transmissions.
Lieutenant, I've been dean of this academy for over 20 years, and we have never had a situation like this.
Believe me, sir, I know you've done your best.
If a student fails, we consider it our failure, not his.
To be honest with you, I was afraid of something like this.
We've had a lot of problems with him at home.
Then you do understand we consider it best you withdraw him.
Yes.
I'm very sorry, Lieutenant.
He just sits around the house and drools.
Never moves.
We love him, but a dog should do somethin', even if he just barks now and then.
Yes.
Oh, Lieutenant, it's for you.
Yeah.
Columbo.
Where? I'll be right over.
Uh, I've got to go to work.
My wife and kids, they're visiting my mother-in-law up in Fresno.
You don't suppose you could keep him for another week? I'm sorry.
He demoralizes the other students.
I won't be gone long.
Hey, Milt, what happened? Uh, deceased is Howard Nicholson, male, Caucasian, age 64.
He died last night between 8:00 and 9:00.
Multiple fractures.
Skull, ribs, legs.
It's a real mess.
Hmm.
Any sign of a weapon? No.
You'd better look for a couple of baseball bats.
I'll have a work-up for you in the morning.
Okay, boys, move him out.
Uh, these are the effects from his pockets.
All right? Thanks, Milt.
What do you make of it? Oh, uh, possible robbery.
Victim's watch and wallet are missing.
And a can of heroin.
Heroin? He had heroin? He was a chemist.
He has a a lab in his garage.
We checked.
Apparently the only thing missing is a is a can of heroin he had out there.
I don't understand.
The heroin is in the garage, but he was killed here.
Beats me.
Who found the body? Uh, Margaret Nicholson.
This morning.
Is she here? Yeah, upstairs.
I'll get her.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
One, two, three, four.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
Today's Friday, right? Right.
Last night was Thursday.
Thursday.
Hmm.
Lt.
Columbo, oh, uh, this is Margaret Nicholson.
How do you do, ma'am? I'm sorry to bother you at this time.
I'd like to get this over with as quickly as possible.
Yes, ma'am.
Right away.
I understand you found your father here this morning.
That's right, and he's my husband, not my father.
Oh, I am sorry.
It's It's a common mistake.
Go on, Lieutenant.
You found him here this morning.
You weren't here last night? I was at the institute.
I'm a psychologist.
We were having an all-night therapy session.
I see.
I understand there was some heroin in your husband's laboratory and that's missing.
Yes.
It's gone.
Why did he have heroin? He was doing some drug research for the government.
Hm.
Was he expecting anyone last night? No.
I left shortly before 8:00.
He was working.
In the garage? Right.
And you didn't see anybody? No.
Margaret.
Excuse me.
Margaret, I, uh I am so sorry.
Why don't you stay in one of the staff cottages? Oh, thank you, I was planning to do that.
Oh, uh, This is Lt.
Columbo.
Marshall Cahill.
Prof.
Nicholson was a close friend and associate.
Margaret, why don't you go on? I don't think you should stay here any longer than you have to.
All right.
Lieutenant? I think that's a good idea.
Excuse me.
A terrible thing.
I just can't believe it.
Howard Nicholson.
Excuse me, sir, just what kind of work did the professor do? He was a leading chemist.
He'd been with the institute for almost 10 years.
What's the institute? The Cybernetics Research institute.
What's that? Well, you're you're on the premises right now.
You might call us a think tank, Lieutenant.
All of this acreage is part of the institute.
Oh, think tank.
Oh, I read about that in the paper.
Yeah.
That's That's a place full of geniuses, right? Right.
Uh, may I ask, sir, uh, just what is it that you do here? I'm the director.
Exactly what happened here, Lieutenant? Oh, sir, I'm I'm not too deeply into the case yet, uh, so it's hard for me to say, but, uh, you know, so far, I would say it was very confusing.
Confusing? In what way? Um, well, you know, he was last seen in the garage, he was working in the garage, and the heroin was in the garage.
But the struggle took place here, and the body was found here.
So that makes it hard for me to picture exactly what happened.
Um, two drinks here on the table.
You know, that would indicate the professor knew the killer, and they were having drinks together.
But the missing watch and heroin, you know, that indicates robbery.
Perhaps the robber was somebody who knew him.
Right, that's a possibility, sir.
But on the other hand you see, if the killer knew Prof.
Nicholson, maybe he just took the watch, the wallet, and the heroin to make it look like a robbery.
But on the other hand, if he knew him, why wouldn't he get rid of those two drinks there on the table? Yeah, I see what you mean.
It is confusing.
Well, perhaps it's the work of a psychopath.
You know, a drug addict.
Hmm.
It's very confusing.
Lieutenant, I'll be at this number if you need anything else.
Oh, thank you very much.
I'll just take Mrs.
Nicholson to her car.
Mrs.
Nicholson.
Excuse me.
Just one more thing.
Was your husband smoking a pipe last evening when you left him? Yes.
Is this his lighter? Mmm-hmm.
It's a special lighter for pipe smokers.
Mmm-hmm.
Hmm.
Was this room cleaned yesterday? As a matter of fact, it was, about 5:00 in the afternoon.
Besides yourself, your husband, and the criminal, was anybody in this room after it was cleaned? No.
Thank you very much.
Could I have a handkerchief? Yeah.
Hmm.
You got anything? No.
What's this? I don't know.
It's shoe polish.
See, that's strange, isn't it? They have the place immaculate, and they got shoe polish on the door.
How do you figure that got there? Well, that beats me.
You find a pipe anywhere? No.
Lieutenant, if I can be of any help to you Lieutenant? Oh, sorry, sir.
I wasn't listening.
Uh, did you see a pipe around here anywhere? Pipe? Yeah, we're lookin' for a missing pipe.
Yours? Prof.
Nicholson's.
He may have left it in the lab.
That's a thought.
I'll take you there.
Excuse me, w-what're you doing? Th-They're under my orders.
We're returning all the files to the institute.
Much of the work here is classified.
Oh, I see.
Go ahead, fellows.
Do you see a pipe? Pipe? No, not yet.
Is it important? I don't know.
Thank you for your help, sir.
I'll be at the institute, Lieutenant, if I can be of any further help.
Yes, sir.
Oh, Doctor.
Yes? One more thing.
I was just curious whether there was anyone around here that you know of that might have a motive to do this kind of thing to Prof.
Nicholson.
No.
Howard was a difficult man.
He offended a great many people, including me, but murder If you ask me, my guess is that the killer is a complete outsider.
Well, I'm sure you're right about that, sir, and I certainly intend to investigate that possibility.
Uh, but if you don't mind, I'd just like to poke around your institute.
Anything you say, Lieutenant.
We'd like to help in any way we can.
We're deeply shocked by this brutal murder.
The sooner it's solved the better.
I'm gonna do my best, sir.
Thank you, Lieutenant.
Listen.
I'm not going away for long.
I'm just gonna talk to this guy.
I'll be right back.
I'll be right back.
I'm just gonna be right here.
I'm gonna talk to this man for a little while.
Excuse me, can you help me? Can you help me? Oh, I'm only allowed to work on institute cars.
Oh, I don't want you to work on my car.
She's runnin' beautiful.
I'm Lt.
Columbo.
I'm fromatherLAPD.
Oh, you investigating the Nicholson murder? Did you know Prof.
Nicholson? Just to say hello to.
He kept pretty much to himself.
Are you in in charge of all these cars here? Yeah, we're testing them.
They've all been converted to natural gas.
It's part of an environmental experiment.
Does everybody at the institute drive these cars? Yeah, that's right.
I'm not going anywhere.
Uh, what happened to this one? Oh, just a little front-end damage.
I rolled out the dents.
Give me a break, would you, please? Uh, whose car is this? Uh, this one checks out to Mr.
Ross, that's, uh, Dr.
Cahill's assistant.
He had an accident? No, he didn't have it.
Dr.
Cahill backed into it last night while it was parked.
Car was parked.
Cahill backed into it.
Uh Could anybody else have driven in this car last night? Oh, no, not a chance.
I keep strict records.
Everybody has to check in and out and record the mileage.
It's part of our grant for the experiment from the ecology people.
Dog, please.
Hm.
Could I see the logbook? Sure.
I'll get it for you.
What's the matter with you? Can't I have a conversation with that man, huh? All right, I'm going over to this car here.
I'm gonna read the odometer.
I'm gonna be right back.
Here you go, Lieutenant.
You checked this out at 5:00? That's right, every day.
And Ross didn't Ross didn't use this car at all last night? No, it never left the parking lot.
Why? Well, there's three more miles on the odometer than you've got here on the log.
Let me see.
I don't get it.
Where can I find Mr.
Ross? Check with Dr.
Cahill's office.
Listen, do me a favor, would you? Yeah.
Uh, would you mind keeping the dog around for a while? I tell you, he's no trouble.
He just don't like to be alone.
He wants to be around a human person.
He don't care who it is.
Okay.
You know, it could be anybody.
So just, uh, unstrap him here and he'll be fine.
I'm gonna leave you, but you're gonna talk with this gentleman.
All right? Is he gonna be all right? Yeah, he's gonna be fine.
Why didn't you call me? You shouldn't have come back so soon.
There's no point in your being here.
I wanted to come back.
You should've stayed at the conference.
You just were awarded their highest honor.
Top men from all over the world, people you should get to know.
Do they know who did it? Who killed him? No.
Not yet.
Neil.
I'll see if Margaret needs anything.
Neil.
Stay out of it.
It can't do you any good.
Yes? Lt.
Columbo to see you, sir.
Send him in.
Oh, it's too late now.
You can't go back.
It would look very odd.
Just keep to yourself and stay away from the press people.
How're you doing? Doctor.
Lieutenant, welcome.
Aren't you Neil Cahill? My son.
Lt.
Columbo.
I read about you in the newspapers.
I want to congratulate you.
Thank you, Lieutenant.
If there's anything I can do We'll have lunch sometime.
I'll call you.
Come in, Lieutenant, come in.
You must be mighty proud of him.
Yes, I am.
Well, Lieutenant, what can I do for you? Anything new on the case? Yes, as a matter of fact, there is.
What? I found the missing pipe.
And? On the driveway.
Outside.
Yes? Well, that got me to thinking, sir, and, uh, excuse me, just one moment.
You know, this case is so full of confusing details that, excuse me, uh, I said to myself, "What I'm gonna do is, "I'm gonna make a tape-record "of everything that I think about the case and all the questions I want to ask.
" That's very ingenious of you, Lieutenant.
Oh, I used to take notes, but it got to be a lot of trouble.
I was always losing my pencil.
Sometimes I lost the whole notebook.
Bad dog! Bad dog! Oh, this is embarrassing.
I'm tryin' to housebreak my dog, and nothin' seems to work.
Why was the pipe on the driveway? Right.
Why was the pipe on the driveway? Obviously, he must have dropped it there.
Yes, but when? You see, Mrs.
Nicholson told me that Prof.
Nicholson had his pipe when she left.
He had it with him in the lab, the lab that's in the garage.
Then he dropped it between the lab and the house.
Exactly.
Here's the problem there Um, excuse me, one moment, sir.
Oh, here it is.
It's nothing to show.
It looks like this pipe has been run over by a car.
What are you getting at, Lieutenant? Um Uh What if the victim was killed by a car? What if the victim was killed by a car? That's what occurred to me, sir.
Maybe Prof.
Nicholson was hit by a car in his own driveway.
Does the coroner confirm that? Yes, sir, he does.
He tells me that the bodily injuries were consistent with that of a hit-and-run victim.
Then, uh, how did the body get inside the house? Could have dragged himself in.
No.
No, no, not with that scuff mark.
What? Scuff mark, sir.
I found a scuff mark on the living room door.
Shoe polish.
I checked.
Definitely came off of Prof.
Nicholson's shoes.
And what did that tell you? I don't know.
In my mind that reinforces the theory that the body was moved.
So what you're saying, in effect, is that somebody killed Nicholson outside and then carried him inside.
Well, why would anybody want to do a thing like that? I don't know.
Well if he moved the body, then the signs of struggle are fake, and if they're fake then the two glasses, and the watch, wallet, and heroin, they all could be fake.
I don't know.
The only thing I know, whoever did this, he had a brain.
You know what I mean? Not the average guy off the street.
And this is a think tank, and you got a lot of brilliant minds around here, and you yourself said Prof.
Nicholson had enemies here at the institute.
Oh, yeah, well, the brilliant minds are stockpiled here.
You'd like to probe a few of them? Is that what you're asking me? Quite frankly, yes.
I would like to see a Mr.
Ross.
I believe he's your assistant.
Right away.
Uh, send Ross in.
Yes, sir.
Why Ross? I noticed the fellow from the motor pool, he was repairing the front end of Ross's car.
What are you laughing at? Well, I'm afraid I'll have to disappoint you, Lieutenant, but, uh, Ross's car and I had a little collision in the parking lot out here last night.
I heard about that.
I know what you're getting at.
If Ross ran down Nicholson, the front of his car might have evidence of it and the collision with my car would've destroyed it, hm? I am afraid so.
Well, that's a bad break.
Yes, sir.
It is.
Of course, not for Ross.
Not if he's guilty.
Lieutenant, I've known Ross for a long time.
I respect that, sir but, you know, I checked the log with the garage man.
He's got three miles on his car that shouldn't be there.
And from here to Nicholson's house, roundtrip, just about three miles.
Well, uh, how do you know somebody else didn't take Ross's car? Well, we can't be certain at this point.
Excuse me, where do you get those cigars? I'll let you in on a little secret, Lieutenant.
They're from Cuba.
A friend of mine brings them in for me.
They They look terrific.
You know, these fellows that I smoke, I pick these up here, at the supermarket.
Be my guest.
Oh.
Thank you very much.
I'll just take one.
Yes? Mr.
Ross is here, sir.
Send him in.
I'll save this for a special occasion.
Yes, sir.
Uh, come in, Ross.
This is Lt.
Columbo.
He's investigating the Nicholson murder.
Yes.
Oh, this is just a routine question.
Where were you last night between 8:00 and 9:00? I was in my apartment, here at the institute.
Any way you can substantiate that? No, I I was alone.
I see.
That's all I wanted to know.
Thank you very much.
I don't understand.
Am I a suspect? No, sir.
No, you're not the suspect.
No, not at all.
Just covering all bases.
Anything else? No, sir.
Thank you, Ross.
Lieutenant, I realize it isn't my place to say anything, but why did you tell him he wasn't the suspect? To throw him off his guard? He's not a suspect.
Since when? Since I saw him.
He's too small.
I beg your pardon? He's too small for the scuff mark.
Remember I mentioned the scuff mark on the door? Well, the height of that mark tells me the body was carried.
It wasn't dragged.
That fellow's too small to have carried Prof.
Nicholson high enough in his arms for the shoes to make that mark.
Your methodology fascinates me, Lieutenant, but I've got a lecture scheduled.
Anything else I can do for you? Oh, excuse me, just one moment.
Why did car have extra miles? Did anyone else have access to the car? I just want to make those notes.
Don't wanna forget that.
Thank you very much.
Uh, Lieutenant, before you go, there is one other thing I'd like to show you.
Trouble? Just a replacement, Doctor.
It's okay now.
Lieutenant, this, uh, K-44 computer you see here is the only one of its kind in the world.
Ultra-sophisticated.
Really? Now, I don't expect you to appreciate all this.
Oh, no, no, I I appreciate it.
Hmm.
Actually, the reason I asked you to come up to this room was that I figured sooner or later you'd get around to asking me where I was on the night of the murder.
Why, that's very thoughtful of you, Doctor.
I can't imagine how I forgot to ask that question.
I was right here, operating the K-44.
Can you substantiate that, sir? I didn't think you'd forget that.
Not directly, no, but, uh, by remote control.
Mmm-hmm.
Beg your pardon? You see, this K-44 is remoted to a room we have in the basement that we call the War Room.
Scientists, technicians, officers from the armed services work out defense problems down there that I set up on the K-44.
And since the problem last night was one of my own devising, I'm the only person who could've possibly projected it down to the War Room.
I understand that, I think.
In other words, if you stopped doin' what you're doin' up here then nothing'll happen there.
Exactly.
And not only do I have an alibi, but everybody involved in the problem has one, too.
Well, that eliminates a lot of people.
Right.
While you're about it, you might check out Margaret Nicholson's encounter-group marathon last night.
That way you can eliminate them as well.
Wonderful.
You don't seem too pleased.
Well, you know, Doctor, I've been runnin' into people by the dozens who couldn't have murdered Prof.
Nicholson.
I wish I could run into one who could have.
No, no, c-come on, don't.
Leave me alone.
He likes you.
Hey, listen, Lieutenant, I like him, too, but I just can't seem to get any work done.
Does anybody else have a key to Mr.
Ross's car? Yeah.
I've got duplicates to all of them.
But just about anybody could've sneaked in here last night and grabbed Ross's key off the board.
Where were you between I went to a drive-in movie with a kid.
Well, I guess it's as good an alibi as Dr.
Cahill's, if the kid will confirm it.
He sure will.
You'll find him in a lab in the administration building.
It's marked MM-7.
His name is Stephen Spelberg.
Uh, S-Stephen Spelberg? Yes, sir.
But I prefer Steve.
Steve.
Okay, Steve.
Uh, my name is Lt.
Columbo.
I'm from the LAPD.
Are you investigating Prof.
Nicholson's murder? That's right, son.
That's what I'm doing.
He doesn't look like a police dog.
Well, he isn't.
He's a policeman's dog.
Believe me, there's a big difference.
Are you gonna question me? Oh, no, not really.
I'm just gonna ask you one question.
Did you go to the movies last night with the fellow from the motor pool? Yeah.
What's his name? What, the dog? Well, he doesn't have a name.
My wife and I, we could never agree on one.
We just say "Hey," or "Dog," or whistle.
Doesn't make any difference.
He don't come when you call him, anyway.
What do you do here? You You help your father in here? My father's a barber in San Jose.
This is my lab.
This is your lab? I might as well tell you right now, Lieutenant I'm a boy genius.
Oh, well, that's good.
Not always, it isn't.
People treat you like some kind of freak when they find out no matter how normal you act.
Well, I'll try not to do that.
Well, uh, you know, I think maybe you're a little smarter than most kids, Steve, but in other ways, I guess you you're just like other kids, aren't you? I am.
Say, guess what I wanted to be when I was three? That's easy.
You wanted to be a cop.
How'd you know? All kids, they want to be cops.
And, you know, I could tell by the way you asked me.
Also the fact that I am a cop, you know.
That's what I wanted to be, all right, but I couldn't.
Why not? I was too smart.
Oh, no offense, Lieutenant.
That's all right, I don't mind.
What do you do around here, Steve? I got a grant to work on MM-7.
MM-7? Some kind of spy stuff? Oh, no, sir, nothing like that.
Here, let me show you.
MM-7, come here and shake hands with the man in the raincoat.
Don't be frightened, Lieutenant.
It's not a monster.
Go ahead.
Shake hands.
How do you do? I'll tell you, that's somethin'.
That's the most wonderful thing I've ever seen.
Thank you.
I made it myself.
I call it MM-7 because it's the seventh model of the original.
You know what the original was? No.
A Mickey Mouse robot I built when I was five.
How many other things can it do? Well, almost everything a man can do, if you program it with these black boxes, here.
Or else you design a new black box for whatever you want it to do.
Uh-huh.
Boy, could my wife ever use him.
Everybody can use a robot, Lieutenant.
There are a lot of annoying jobs people don't like to do that robots will be doing someday.
Listen, talking about annoying jobs, you like dogs, don't you? Yes, sir.
Would you do me a favor? Would you and the robot take care of my dog? I got a lot of things to do, and the dog doesn't like to be alone.
Sure.
Oh, that's wonderful.
Thank you very much.
Okay.
So I'll see you later.
What's this world coming to? It's the second time in two days I've been treated like a kid.
What was the other time? Uh, when Dr.
Cahill asked me to go to the movies yesterday.
He's never done that before.
Is that a fact? Does that mean something, Lieutenant? Oh, I don't know, Steve.
When people do something for the first time, detectives always get curious.
Oh, okay.
Uh, Steve, Look, I don't want to impose on you, but if you can make that robot do all those things, you think you can housebreak my dog? Well, Lieutenant, zoology isn't my field, but I'll give it a crack.
Come on, boy.
Come on, come over here.
MM-7, walk the dog.
Uh, good afternoon, Lieutenant.
Oh, hello, Mrs.
Nicholson.
I guess it's Dr.
Nicholson, isn't it? Were you looking for me? Yes.
They told me I'd find you down here.
I was wondering if you've made any progress.
No.
I've cleared a lot of people, but I haven't caught anybody.
For a policeman, I guess that's bad.
Yes, ma'am.
Everybody seems to have an ironclad alibi.
It begins to look more and more like the work of some dope-crazed psychotic.
Not to me.
Even with that missing can of heroin? You know how that can was labeled? That was labeled I got it here somewhere.
Here we are.
"C21 H23 NO5.
" Who would know that was heroin? That's the chemical formula for heroin.
I looked it up.
I would never know that was heroin, and I don't think a junkie would either.
I guess you've got a point.
Uh, may I ask what you're looking for in my husband's file? To tell you the truth, I don't know.
But Dr.
Cahill told me this was classified material, and when they were moving this file out, I noticed that only the top drawer locked.
The other three drawers, they slide free.
So I figured the classified material is only in the top drawer.
It is.
Right.
But your husband's keys, and that included the key to the top drawer, were in his pocket.
So the thief, I mean, if there was a thief, he wasn't after classified material.
You think he may have been after something that was in one of the open files? It's possible.
Maybe you can help me there.
Like, your husband, he was a very organized man.
I mean, the lab was neat, everything was in place.
You're quite right.
He wasn't an easy man to keep house for.
That's right, the house was spotless, except for that scuff mark on the living room door.
I heard you noticed that.
You're very observant.
Some people say I'm snoopy.
Anyway, see, this filing cabinet is alphabetical, and in this row you have everything from "A" to "G.
" This index card tells you everything that is in this drawer.
Mmm-hmm.
See, under "A," you have Aaronson, Ackroyd, Archibald.
Under "B," Baker and Burkhardt.
Well, those are colleagues, correspondence.
Under "C," there's nothing.
Got two under "D.
" Davis, Drake.
Under "E," nothing.
Under "F," one.
Only one under "F '.
" Finch? Yes.
Carl Finch, a a very distinguished British physicist who worked here for a while then returned to England.
Well, he died some time ago.
Mmm-hmm.
That doesn't explain it.
Explain what? Everything this card indicates is here, is here, except what's under "F '.
" You can't think of any reason why Finch should be missing? No.
I don't want to offend you, Doctor, but you're not a very good liar.
Lieutenant.
You said they told you that you could find me down here.
Now, the only person who knew I was here was the judge who issued me the search warrant.
Now, I'm just guessing, but I have a feeling you didn't come down here looking for me.
I think you came down here, and it had something to do with these files.
It might've had something to do with the missing Finch file.
If you've got something to tell me about that, I wish you'd do it.
All right, Lieutenant, you win.
I'm not a very good liar.
I guess my profession has programmed me to level with people.
But it also imposes a restriction.
I'd like to help solve my husband's murder, but I can't talk about anything that might involve a patient's confidence.
As a police officer, I'm sure you know that whatever passes between a doctor and patient is as privileged as what passes between a priest and a penitent.
Yes, ma'am.
I understand that, but I'd like to ask you a question.
If it doesn't violate your ethic, I'd appreciate it if you'd give me an answer.
I'll try.
Do you have any idea who killed your husband, and why? I'm sorry.
I can't help you.
Goodbye.
Come in.
Dr.
Cahill.
Listen, I can come back when you're not busy.
That's all right.
I'm just unpacking.
How's it going? Not well.
Mind if I sit down? My feet are killing me.
Sure.
Not making much progress, huh? I got somethin', but, uh, the motive is uncertain.
Everybody's got an alibi.
However Well, it wasn't built in a day.
Um, I wanted to ask you Oh, here we are.
According to the motor pool log, you took the car out last night.
22 miles.
It's 11 miles roundtrip to the airport.
So what? How come the double mileage? Oh, I I cancelled out my earlier flight, and I took the 10:00.
That doesn't account for the extra miles.
All right.
I went back to the lodge to see Margaret.
Mrs.
Nicholson.
I had to talk to her about something.
You mind telling me what? No, I can't tell you that.
How long were you with her? Just a few minutes.
So you had an hour to kill before you had to get back to the airport.
I take it you mean to use that phrase, "to kill.
" You mean that literally.
No.
I was just using a figure of speech.
I'm not making an accusation.
Well, I sat at the airport for an hour, reading a magazine.
That's all.
I've got nothin' to hide.
I appreciate your time.
Oh, one other thing.
Professor and Mrs.
Nicholson, were they happily married? Yes, they were.
I have to ask that question, under the circumstances.
Because she's so much younger than he, because she's so attractive.
It has to be considered.
Did it ever occur to you she married him because she loved him? I'm happy to know it's true.
Oh, excuse me.
Sorry, ma'am.
Come right in.
Just leaving.
Neil, what's the matter? He thinks I murdered Howard.
You're not just guilty about the plagiarism.
Now you're beginning to feel guilty about a murder you didn't commit.
I'm telling you, he thinks I did it.
I don't think he does.
He's a lot wiser about people than he cares to show, or perhaps than we recognize.
He's a cop.
He's got to hang this on somebody.
He's no different from the rest of us.
Winning is all that counts.
Failure is the one sin.
I don't believe that.
But even if it's true, it's his problem, not yours.
You know, you've always wanted me to admit I stole that theory from Finch.
But you never laid it on the line.
Neil, maybe you're right.
Maybe I tried too hard to make you bring it out yourself because I I felt deeply that you should.
Maybe I should've ordered you to do it, prescribed it, like a doctor.
After all, I am a doctor.
Would you have done it if I'd told you to? Yes.
Then do it, Neil.
Do it.
Neil, calm down.
There's no need to get upset.
The lieutenant can't break this case, and he's grasping at straws.
But, Dad, he thinks I murdered Nicholson.
Nonsense.
I did have a motive, you know.
What are you talking about? What I mean is, someone could think I had a motive if if Nicholson knew, and I think he did.
Knew what? That I stole the theory of molecular matter.
And did you? I'm sorry, Dad.
I know what this must be for you, but it was Carl Finch's work.
I suppose I'm partly responsible.
I guess you sought the honor as much for me as for yourself.
No.
I don't want to lay this on you.
It's all my fault.
Neil, we we can both live with this thing together.
Finch is dead.
So is Nicholson.
We'll just keep this thing between us.
If it ever got out, it would implicate you in Nicholson's murder.
Dad, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but You're my son.
There's nothing in the world I wouldn't do for you.
You don't understand.
I wanted to tell you first, and then And then tell Columbo? Yeah.
And let him arrest you for murder? I want to tell the truth for a change.
Noble, but I won't let you.
Dad, I have to.
Neil! The lieutenant's looking for an easy way out of this case, and that'll be you, if you give him the opportunity.
Now, we just won't say a word about this to anyone.
And then you let me handle the Lieutenant, huh? You know, Steve and Janet are still in Hawaii.
Maybe we can spend a little time with them.
We both need some time off.
What do you say? Well, I've got to see that group from the UN, and then I've got to go to Portland tonight.
We'll talk again when I come back tomorrow.
Sorry, Lieutenant, it doesn't compute.
That means it doesn't make sense, doesn't add up? That's right.
Well, thanks, anyway, Steve.
It was worth a try.
Tell you what I will do.
I'll keep on adding any new evidence you turn up to this docket.
Maybe something finally will compute.
Meanwhile I'll keep on resequencing this data.
There must be hundreds of possible combinations.
I appreciate that, Steve.
But I don't wanna keep you from your work.
That's okay.
I'll program MM-7 to do it.
That is my work.
You mean, the robot can operate this computer? Sure.
I told you.
It can do almost everything a man can do if you program it correctly.
Hold it.
What's wrong? Something just computed.
No matter what your logistic and geographical programs are, we can fight your war for you, right here in this room and help you find a viable interception, defense, and retaliatory program.
Excuse me, gentlemen.
There seems to be some sort of mechanical foul-up in the Master Control Room.
Dr.
Ross, will you please take over? Yes.
As Dr.
Cahill was saying, from this room We'll discuss this later, young man.
You get back to your lab.
Yes, sir.
I noticed you know how to turn him off, Doctor.
So, I guess, you know how to turn him on, too.
And program it.
Lieutenant, you've obviously been conducting an experiment calculated to demonstrate that MM-7 could have operated the computer the night of the murder.
Boy, you just saved a lot of time there, Doctor.
Yes, sir, you sure did.
That's exactly what we were doing.
It was my fault, not the boy's.
I doubt it.
You don't even have the brains for it.
So let me save you some more time.
There is no way on earth you can prove that the robot was at the computer that night, let alone that I programmed him to operate it.
Which is what you suspect, isn't it? Yes, sir.
Well, he doesn't leave fingerprints.
You can't take him into a back room and beat a confession out of him with a rubber hose.
You can't even arrest him and then get him to turn state's evidence with the promise of immunity.
So all you have, at the moment, is a theory.
Right now, you are in an institution where any staff member, including your little friend Steve, will tell you a theory isn't worth a damn unless it can be proved.
It's the same way at the institution that I work at, Doctor.
Right.
And the only thing you can prove is that I don't have an alibi for the night of the murder.
Well, Lieutenant, within one square mile of here, there are 10,000 innocent people who also don't have an alibi for the night of the murder.
So I suggest you take your investigation elsewhere.
You're disrupting this organization.
Good day, Lieutenant.
Hello.
This is Lt.
Columbo.
I'm sorry to disturb you.
Could I come over there for a few minutes? What about? I'd like to ask you some questions about a Carl Finch.
What kind of questions? It's Columbo.
He wants to talk about Finch.
He must've stumbled onto something.
Oh, come on, Neil.
He's on a fishing expedition.
Columbo Oh, hello, Doc.
Apparently you didn't get my message a few minutes ago.
Now, listen.
My son and I are going to dinner, and when we return, I don't want to find you on the premises.
If I do, I'm gonna contact your superiors.
Come on, Neil.
There's some people I want you to meet.
Dad, I really don't feel like it now.
I think I'd better have a talk with Margaret.
You talk to her as much as you like.
But when I get back from Portland tomorrow afternoon, you and I are gonna take that vacation to Hawaii.
What're you gonna do, Lieutenant? I've got to talk to my wife.
When a case gets too tough, I've got to talk to my wife.
Is she a policewoman? No.
Actually, she doesn't talk about the case.
She talks about everything else.
It takes my mind off it.
Oh, so you're fresh when you come back.
Something like that.
Are you coming back? Not unless I get somethin'.
Dr.
Cahill? Yes? Uh, just a few questions.
NBC News, Portland.
I'm Kimble.
I'm from the Portland Chronicle.
We'd like to get a few comments on that story your son broke in Los Angeles earlier tonight.
What story? You don't know? I've been on a plane, gentlemen.
We understand your son called the wire services and announced he'd plagiarized that theory of molecular matter.
No comment.
No comment on anything.
Any developments in the Nicholson case? What is the earliest plane to Los Angeles? I'll have the bell captain help you, sir.
Dr.
Cahill Can you leave me alone? You're behind this.
Dad I'd like to speak to Neil alone.
You might've told me.
I didn't want to be talked out of it.
I knew you could do that.
You didn't seem to have any trouble getting yourself talked into it.
Dad, try to understand.
Understand what? What about me? What about the institute? You've destroyed its credibility.
I made it perfectly clear the institute was blameless.
And I was quoted correctly.
My resignation ought to help.
I don't want to hurt you, you know that.
You have.
I am sorry.
What the hell do you want? I owe you an apology.
I should never have considered you a suspect.
All right.
It's accepted.
Now get out.
I'm here to arrest your son for the murder of Prof.
Nicholson.
That's a damn poor joke, Lieutenant.
Neil.
It's not a joke.
Neil, don't say a word.
That's very good advice.
It can be used against you.
I'd like to say something, Lieutenant.
You know, you have a very transparent mind, which in no way implies clear thinking.
You're assuming that my son's admission that he stole Prof.
Finch's theory provides him with a motive for murdering Nicholson, who could've exposed him, huh? That's right, sir.
I did make that assumption.
That's all it is, an assumption.
You can't prove a thing.
Oh, I can prove it.
I can prove a lot of things.
I don't need that motive.
He had another motive.
A less complicated motive.
Give me that report.
One of the oldest motives we get down in homicide.
What the devil are you driving at? Woman married to a man twice her age, and a young lover.
That's a lie! Neil, don't let him entrap you.
I don't have to entrap him.
I've got plenty of evidence.
You can't have.
By your own admission, you cancelled your 8:00 flight and came here to talk to Margaret Nicholson.
Yeah, that's right.
You left her at You were here on the grounds of the institute and the murder took place between 8:00 and 9:00.
You drove car number eight? I think so.
Don't think, son.
Give me that log.
Car number eight, signed out to Neil Cahill.
I had the tires removed from car number eight and run through our lab.
In the tread of one of those tires was some grains of impacted tobacco.
Give me that tobacco.
This is the same tobacco that Prof.
Nicholson imported from England.
This is the same tobacco that he used in his pipe, the same pipe that was crushed in his driveway by the car that killed him.
The same car that you signed out for, the car that you were driving.
This is a frame-up.
I am not finished.
Mr.
Whitehead? Where are you employed, Mr.
Whitehead? At the Shangri-la Motel in Palm Springs.
Do you recognize anybody in this room? That gentleman and the lady that left a minute ago.
I've never seen you before in my life.
Where have you seen this gentleman and that lady before, Mr.
Whitehead? At the motel, sir.
On the weekends, uh, for the last few months.
They check in as man and wife.
You fool.
Dad, I swear to you, that man is lying! Arrest him and book him.
Thank you very much, Mr.
Whitehead.
Advise him of his rights in the car on the way down.
Lieutenant.
Lieutenant.
Lieutenant.
Right here, Doctor.
All right, Lieutenant, you win.
I did it.
Did you, Doctor? I don't know whether or not you could really hang this on Neil.
You're a strange man.
It was a bluff I couldn't afford to call.
How did you know? I suspected you You see this match? It wasn't used to light a cigarette.
It was used to light this cigar, and it's burned from top to bottom, just like this match, burned from top to bottom.
But this match was found in an ashtray in Prof.
Nicholson's living room.
The room was cleaned at 5:00.
After 5:00, there were only three people in it.
Mrs.
Nicholson, but she doesn't smoke, Nicholson himself, who smoked a pipe but who used a lighter, and the third person, the murderer.
That first day I couldn't give a hoot in hell about a thief.
I was lookin' for a cigar smoker and there you were.
No, sir.
The problem wasn't so much who did it.
The problem was why you did it.
Son doesn't smoke cigars.
Father smokes cigars.
Father loves his son.
The father loves his son.
You did it to protect your boy.
That's what I was banking on.
That's why I staged that scene in there.
I apologize for the frame-up.
Your son will be released in an hour.