Columbo (1971) s05e03 Episode Script

Identity Crisis

What do you think? I think she's remarkable.
I'm talking about the mugging.
You thought I was dead, didn't you? Oh, yes.
Until I heard of the feats of Geronimo.
Then I knew it had to be you.
Sir, I do have a murder on my hands.
I'm painfully aware of that, Lieutenant.
The man you know as Henderson was one of my best operators.
That's my wife's favorite piece of music.
I know.
You have my house bugged.
Bathroom door here, sir.
What's that over there? That's the wet bar, sir.
Your keys, sir.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Have a nice day, Mr.
Henderson.
Don't worry about it, John.
Believe me.
All right.
I'll be seeing you.
Give my best to Sheila, would you? All right, yes.
Yes.
Yes.
Bye-bye.
Yes? Colorado is a river.
Geronimo is an Indian.
There is no beach like a Long Beach.
An amusement park.
When? In two hours.
Ruth? Yes? Don't let me forget, please.
Have a nice evening, all of you.
Okay.
Mmm-hmm.
Oh, Mr.
Brenner.
I must have mislaid a day somewhere.
Can you come in at 9:00 in the morning? Yes.
I'll return after dinner this evening and put it on tape, and then you can have it and do it.
Once more, be seeing you.
Bye.
We'd have more privacy on a freeway.
Oh, I don't know.
Wasn't it you that said you should never have a clandestine meeting in a clandestine place? Besides which, I've always had a certain perverse affection for amusement parks.
By the way, how is A.
J.
Henderson? A.
J.
Henderson commutes every day from Westport except when he has to go to a regional office for a visit.
A very ordered life.
It makes him worth much more that way.
You thought I was dead, didn't you? Oh, yes.
Until I heard of the feats of Geronimo.
Then I knew it had to be you.
Why didn't you contact me? I have.
Three years, amigo.
Well, one can't be too careful.
Now, let me tell you about this little operation that I'm involved in here.
You'll tell me about the operation in a minute.
First things first, Nelson.
Now, as I remember, we had a certain currency scheme going on down there in banana-land.
Three hundred thousand cruzeiros, as I recall.
Supposing I told you that I was broke? Double agents don't go broke.
They die sometimes, but they don't go broke.
Oh, come along now.
That theory about my being a double agent, you know there's no fact in it.
The Agency doesn't deal in facts, only rumors.
And I have a lot more than rumors, Nelson.
Do you? Oh, come on, relax.
The funds have been safely invested in triple-A bonds.
You'll get your money back plus interest.
When? Of course, I could write you a personal check and then we'd both be tossed into the Potomac.
I said when? I want cash, and I'll worry about the laundering.
I was afraid about that.
You'll get the cash.
Sir! Yes? Sir, I've just taken your photograph.
Have you? Yes, and if you would like a print of it, please stop by the booth on your way out.
I'll have them ready for you.
Oh, really? Yes.
I can stop by anytime? Anytime.
Well, in that case I'll be seeing you.
Okay.
Thank you so much.
Step right up.
Five out of ten How's your eye these days? Deadly, Nelson.
Deadly.
Ten out of ten wins a giant panda! Let's see if we can remember.
Only 35 cents.
Two.
Thank you, gentlemen.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen.
All right.
Knock down the 10 little ducks, win a big giant panda.
Ladies and gentlemen, knock down the 10 little ducks, win a big giant panda.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! Step right up.
Five out of ten wins a prize, ten out of ten wins a giant panda.
Good.
Congratulations, gentlemen.
We have two winners! I usually lose two of these in six months.
Two in the same day is enough to break me.
You can keep mine, buddy.
I'm all heart.
Thank you, pal.
Thank you.
Five out of ten wins you a prize, 10 out of 10 I'll bet you were disappointed when I showed up alive.
Oh, I'm not that greedy.
But the Tupamaro had you cold.
How did you do it? How'd you get away? On day one I had two of their people on ice.
It was a matter of a simple exchange.
Then the Director wanted to make it look like I was dead.
Ah, yes.
The Director.
Tricky fellow, our Director.
What's this caper all about? Now this is a naval code on microfilm in the possession of a crafty old buzzard by the name of Steinmetz.
He'll require a series of meetings to make sure that he's not being set up.
Is he? All we're interested in at the moment is the microfilm.
When and where? Tonight, 11:00.
Sinbad's.
Santa Monica Pier.
Remember the routine that we used in La Paz in 1967? Clickety-click? It's the same one.
Clickety-click.
Why all the jazz? Oh, this is the way that Mr.
Steinmetz would like it.
This Steinmetz.
Yes? Is he an operator? Well, shall we say that he's an old and crafty peddler and that's all.
Excuse me a minute, will you? Hello.
Hi.
Do you like the name Fred? Yeah.
You do? Perhaps you prefer the name Archibald? I don't know any Archibalds.
You don't know any Archibalds? Well, this is Archibald and now you know him.
And now he's yours.
Would you like him? Yeah.
You would? Uh-huh.
All right.
He's yours.
Thank you.
It's my pleasure.
Nice talking to you.
Thank you.
Okay.
This way.
Bye.
Bye.
You'll be needing this.
What's the price? Whatever it takes.
What currency? Dollars or lira.
And they want the drop site where they decide.
I suggest, by the way, that you don't wear your gun.
That undercover I don't go.
The contact may want to frisk you.
Well, let him.
They know I'm an operator.
Or don't they? Well, they do, but they don't know your name or anything else about you.
Why didn't you use one of your men out here? There's too much money involved.
Besides, our Director doesn't want Mr.
Steinmetz tracing back to me.
Then you are setting him up? Perhaps.
But not at this time.
I'll take care of the photo stand for you and I'll be in touch.
Have a nice evening.
Yes, sir.
What's your poison, pal? I'll have a vodka on the rocks.
Vodka on the rocks.
You want a twist in that? No, that's fine.
That's $1.
50.
Pretty, huh? Mmm-hmm.
Hey, the machine doesn't work.
No cigarettes and no money back.
Acting up again? How much you lose? No sweat, pally.
Here you go.
Thank you.
You got something to show me? Okay.
The price is $350,000.
$325,000.
I want something for myself.
I'll tell the man $300,000.
Then we'll both get healthy.
It's nice doing business with you.
It's in gold.
Zurich prices, the day of the drop.
I'm gonna have to get back to you on that.
Look, the man wants gold.
You got anything else for me? No.
Steinmetz is gonna have to come up with two frames of that microfilm blown up.
We're gonna have to verify.
I understand, but the old man don't show you nothing without a down payment in gold.
I've already told you, I don't know about that.
Mr.
Steinmetz does.
I'll meet you here tomorrow.
Now that we've met, let's make it earlier.
Good enough.
Geronimo! Well, how was it? There are slight problems.
Nothing important.
Slight problem? Is he safely gone? Yeah.
He's safely gone.
Oh, really? He wants the payoff in gold.
The price of gold in Zurich and What are you doing down here? Just taking the air.
11-A-7, clear.
1- A-13, clear Evening, Lieutenant.
Welcome to Muggers' Haven.
Excuse me.
Photographer.
Photographer! You think you got enough? Step over to the side for a moment.
How you doing, Anderson? Okay, Lieutenant.
All right, fellows.
Give it to me for a minute.
I'll give it back to you.
Just step over to the side.
Everyone out.
Not you, Anderson.
How you been, Cliff? Pretty good, Lieutenant.
What've you got? It looks like a mugging.
That's the third one they've found around here in the last six months.
How long has he been dead? Two hours, tops.
He was hit twice with a blunt instrument.
Once here, and the second blow was here at the base of the skull.
Which one came first? Can't tell? I can't tell, sir.
He's lying on his back.
That's the way we found him.
This one came first.
Kramer got his Polaroid? Yeah.
What's that, Lieutenant? Poker chip, broken.
You can find just about anything on this beach, mostly beer cans.
What's his name? There's no ID, no wallet, nothing.
The mugger cleaned him out.
Except for a pack of unopened cigarettes and a book of matches.
What matches? Sinbad's.
Sinbad's? Yeah.
It's a club up on the pier.
Sergeant Kramer's already up there.
"Love, from Alice.
" Is that his coat? Yeah.
Did you take it off? No.
That's where it was when we got here.
Kramer's in Sinbad's? Yeah.
How do you get there? Go to the parking lot.
There's a staircase.
You take it up.
Walk down the pier and you'll run right into it.
Take it easy, Cliff.
Carry on, fellows! Lieutenant? The bartender here's an ex-cop.
She's an interesting dancer.
I showed him the photos.
He thinks he knows the guy.
Do you mind? I'd like you to meet him.
Hmm? Lieutenant? Louie the bartender, Lieutenant Columbo.
Hi, Lieutenant.
He's the ex-cop? Mmm-hmm.
You're an ex-cop? Yeah.
My old lady didn't like the hours I kept, so, here I am till 2:00 in the morning in this joint.
You guys want a drink? No, thanks.
No, thank you very much.
Lieutenant, Louie says the victim was in here around 11:00.
Good.
Do you know him? Who? The victim.
Never saw him before.
He came in here, had a couple of drinks, then he left.
Oh, wait a minute.
He got his money stuck in that cigarette machine over there.
I gave him back his coins, and he got his cigarettes and he took off.
Who? The victim.
That checks.
They found a full pack on him.
Oh, wait a minute.
There was another guy sitting right here.
A young black guy with a leather jacket and turtleneck sweater.
When your dead man walked out of here, he got up and followed him out.
You sure, Louie? Sure, I'm sure.
He left the whole drink here.
He didn't even touch it.
A fresh drink.
Hey, I notice things like that.
Guess it's my ex-cop training, huh? Lieutenant, are you listening? Yes.
I'm listening.
Who was he? Do you know who he was? Who who was? The guy with the leather jacket that followed the victim out.
But I could make him if he's in the files.
Good.
Stop by downtown, and we'll have a look.
Be glad to.
Hey, be like old home week, huh? You guys finished with me? Did the two guys, did they talk to one another? Well, one was sitting right where you're sitting.
The other was over there where the beer pumps are.
I don't think so.
I'm finished.
I'm finished.
Thank you.
What do you think? I think she's remarkable.
I'm talking about the mugging.
You're doing just fine.
Just keep up what you're doing.
You're gonna find out how the guy got to the beach.
You're gonna check out the cabs.
Just keep up what you're doing.
You're coming? You notice her eyes? Her eyes? Her eyes.
Her eyes.
She's shy.
Moving right along, here are the news headlines at 7:00 a.
m.
on the button.
The situation in the Mideast remains tense.
There's another strike brewing in New York, among the municipal workers this time.
In Washington, the Senate Finance Committee is recommending an across-the-board tax cut.
Locally, the new District Attorney has firmed up his staff appointments.
On the sports scene, the Chinese have announced they are pulling out of the Olympics.
The Dodgers and Angels were both losers last night.
Details on these and other stories coming up after this message.
to be delivered before the Commodity Brokers luncheon.
First of all, I'd like to thank the officers of your association for inviting me here.
It seems like only yesterday I was crushing the grapes in my father's vineyard.
I dropped the fare at the pier about 10:40.
It's definitely this guy in this photo.
And I collected him here.
Thanks.
Thank you.
First of all, I'd like to thank the officers of your association for inviting me here.
It seems like only yesterday I was crushing the grapes in my father's vineyard.
If you don't believe me, I'll show you the bottom of my feet.
One foot still has a cabernet stain, and the other, a Chablis.
These guys with law degrees, they give you all kinds of fancy titles.
Get a load of the latest one, "I'm a president" Good day.
I'm really sorry to have kept you waiting.
That's all right.
We just thought that we'd Just a minute.
Lieutenant! Lieutenant! I had to make a stop.
My secretary said this was urgent.
Please have a seat.
You told him? Didn't get a chance to tell him.
Shoot.
A member of your company was killed last night, sir.
What? We're referring to Mr.
A.
J.
Henderson out of New York.
Henderson? You know him? Why, yes, but I didn't know he was in town.
What happened? He was murdered.
Murdered? We're gonna need an official identification.
What's his name? This is not A.
J.
Henderson.
The bellboy at the hotel is positive.
This is the one.
Excuse me.
This is our man.
What does your man do? Well, we have offices all over the world.
Mr.
Henderson's chief function is to periodically check the various branches, be sure we're all operating efficiently.
He is not ours.
Sorry to have troubled you, sir.
Lieutenant, I'd like an explanation.
So would he.
This is really weird, Lieutenant.
Tell me something.
How did you get to this guy? Have you ever been in the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel? It's like Grand Central Station.
Now, I gotta go in there.
I gotta find the desk clerk, right? Yeah.
You gotta find a clerk in Grand Central Station.
Now, don't be like that.
Give me a break.
Just give me a minute to explain.
Yeah.
I got a minute.
Go ahead.
So I gotta go in.
So I find him.
I find him.
Now, I gotta show him a photo of our guy.
Does he know him? Does he remember him? The guy laughs.
Yeah.
So he laughs.
Does he remember him? Shakes his head.
So now I gotta find the other clerks.
I gotta find the bell captain and the bellhops.
So, finally I find a guy who remembers walking him to his room.
Now I know it's Henderson.
Now, I gotta go back to the desk because down at the desk I gotta get his registration card.
Do you know what he uses as a business reference? The Winston Advertising Agency.
That's right.
Now the guy's gotta be nuts to do that.
Maybe he's smarter than we think.
I don't know.
Did you check his room? Yeah.
Just some clothes.
He signed in about 4:00.
You told me he took a cab to the beach at 10:00 p.
m.
What did he do between 4:00 and 10:00? This much I can tell you.
He came down and he asked the desk clerk how long it would take to get to the Pike Long Beach Amusement Park.
All right.
Take a break.
Give me the photo.
What was that again? What was what again? The fish, the pike.
The Pike's Long Beach Amusement Park.
Excuse me, ma'am.
Just one moment.
Yes? Have you ever seen this man before? No.
Are you sure? Positive.
He was in the park yesterday afternoon.
No.
I'm positive I've never seen him.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! Step right up.
Only 35 cents.
Win yourself a big prize.
Five out of ten wins you a prize.
Everything all right? Ten out of ten wins you a giant Yesterday, there was a fellow here in the amusement park.
I wanna see whether you remember him.
This is his picture.
Boy, he He looks dead, don't he? How could I ever forget him? He and his friend, they beat me out of two $20 pandas.
But Now, this guy, he was all right.
He gave it back.
Is that it up there? Yeah.
Yeah.
What do you have to do to win one of them things? Knock down the ducks, Yeah, my wife would go for that.
Oh, no, sir, Lieutenant.
Hey, you're a pro.
Oh, forget about it.
If I'm standing on the dock, I couldn't hit the water.
The man that was with him, if you saw him again, would you know him? Yeah.
I think so.
Well, if he comes by, you give me a call.
Yeah.
Yeah.
I'll be glad to.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! Step right up.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen.
Step right up.
Only 35 cents.
Win yourself a big prize.
Five out of ten gets a prize Would you care for one, sir? Yes, I would.
Well, step right over here and sit down right in that chair.
And look right into the camera.
That's it.
Does she take a picture of everybody that comes through here? Look straight ahead, sir.
That Right That's it.
Smile.
Yeah.
Did you hear what I said? Yes, sir.
This'll take about 90 seconds.
I'll have a pin-up button for you.
Yeah, well, we take what we can, but we can't cover everybody.
We do pretty good.
All right.
Now, you're doing this.
That takes about 90 seconds.
That's right.
What's she doing? That's a Polaroid system, sir.
I mean, it's a one-shot deal.
What's the interest? Well, here's my interest.
What do you call yourself? Don.
All right now, Don.
You take a Polaroid like you just did of me.
The lady, she does something else.
Well, that's a Polaroid system, too.
You see, she just makes a print and holds the negative.
Now, you can order up a print right now, or you can order up an enlargement.
What does she do with them? Hey, look at that.
Isn't that great? That's terrific.
Can I talk with the lady? Joyce! Listen, this is a fellow from the police department.
He wants to talk to you.
Take him over to the shop, and I'll cover for you.
Okay.
Come on.
Would you like a photo? Right this way.
Joyce.
That's it, huh? Joyce.
Art.
Here.
These are ready to be developed and then filed.
Okay? I'm gonna show you something.
It's a picture of a dead man, so just take it easy.
Okay.
Sure is, isn't he? Do you recognize him? No.
No.
He was in the park yesterday.
Do you remember taking his picture? Gee, I take so many pictures.
No.
All right.
Let me check over something.
You take as many pictures as you can, right? That's right.
And you hand out cards, right? Uh-huh.
And you take people's names, right? That's right.
And they can order a print immediately or they can come back, or they can write for an enlargement.
That's right.
Now, what about the ones that you don't sell? Well, I keep them about a week and then I get rid of them.
So you got a lot left over from yesterday? Yeah, I do.
May I see them? Sure.
Come on in the back.
I'll show you what's left.
An old man, men, family, couple of girls, an old man That's it.
That's it.
That's all the unsold photographs from yesterday? That's the works.
There's not another pile? No.
And he's not in there? No.
You're sure? Quite sure.
What about the photographs that you didn't sell? What about them? Don't they have a negative? You want to see the negatives? I do.
I'm gonna get you the negatives.
Negatives.
Negatives.
You know, you can't really see faces on the negatives.
I mean, when you hold them up, you can't make them out.
I think you'll have to have them printed up.
Do you have a magnifying glass? It's over there.
You know, I might not even have taken his picture.
I mean, just because he was here, he may not have come by.
And maybe he bought it, so maybe I don't even have it.
I think it's these.
This is it.
I thought you said that he wasn't here.
He's not.
Who is this? That's a fat lady.
Who is that behind the fat lady? It's your friend.
I'm not gonna say anything.
Shows you what a little perseverance can do.
Now, wait a minute.
Just a second.
Let's not rush.
Standing next to the guy behind the fat lady is a piece of a guy in a blue jacket.
They could be together.
Now let's see if we can find a bigger piece of the guy who is standing next to my guy who is behind the fat lady.
Look through these photographs.
Okay.
How you doing? Wait a minute.
Wait a minute.
What What do you think about that? Same color.
My goodness.
You've done it.
That's him.
Okay.
Let me see, let me see.
That's the both of them.
They're together.
Hey, you know what? Yesterday this new guy here, he bought both the print and the negative from me.
I remember because he gave me $20 for them.
Can you blow this up? This extra demand for our extra supply is gonna make a proper marriage in this market place.
You're worried about the Chinese? I tell you, don't worry about the Chinese.
You know why? Because they can pull out of the Olympics, but they can't pull out of soybeans! I tell you this, they gonna be our big buyers.
I guarantee you! Now, you know what it's like from the growers' side of things.
No matter the high cost of fertilizer Got the wrong room.
no matter the laws against insecticides Mr.
Brenner? we are going to have a big year! Yes.
You have the wrong room.
Your secretary said that I could find you here.
My name is Columbo.
Now, if there are any sour grapes I'm sorry to bother you, sir.
This is very important.
Do you know an A.
J.
Henderson from New York? I'm gonna promise you that next year No, I don't.
You have the wrong room, sir.
I had this blown up.
You might want to take a look at it.
Well, that was taken last night in an amusement park in Long Beach.
Absolutely marvelous.
You've done it again, my good friend.
That was a fine speech.
Wonderful speech.
That Moustache Pete dialogue always gets everybody.
You gonna come to the table? I'll be with you in a moment.
I'll see you all a little later.
All right.
But don't you stay too long.
Yes, that was a terrific speech Nice to meet you.
Step over here a minute, will you, please? Take a seat.
According to witnesses, you were seen with Mr.
Henderson yesterday afternoon.
I didn't quite catch your name.
Lieutenant Columbo, Los Angeles Police Department.
Sorry for the reception.
Not knowing who you were, and since I intended to pirate Mr.
Henderson away from his firm to my firm, I naturally denied knowing him.
Until what time, sir, were you with Mr.
Henderson? Oh, I suppose I left him between 5:30 and 6:00, something of that nature.
Do you have any idea what Mr.
Henderson's plans were after he left you? Not at all.
I had imagined that he was going back to the hotel to have a Oh, yes! Yes.
He did say that he was going to take a drive out to the beach.
To see it at night.
Never seen it before.
East Coast man, you know.
Apparently that's just what he did, sir.
He was found murdered there last night in a place called Muggers' Haven.
Muggers' Haven.
Well Yes, sir.
That's such an extraordinary Forgive me, please.
The strangest thing is, one of the reasons I gave him for moving out here away from New York, that the crime rate was not quite so high.
Isn't that bizarre? That is ironic.
Do you have any suspects? Yes, sir, we do, but we don't know who he is yet.
Someone who appeared to follow him out of a nightclub out there at the beach.
How did you contact me so quickly? Oh, that's a long story, sir.
But when I got the photograph, someone at the firm where Mr.
Henderson worked identified you.
They said you were a very famous consultant, and they also said, sir, that the A.
J.
Henderson that works for their firm is alive and living in Westport, Connecticut, and doing business out of New York.
Then you must be mistaken.
No, sir, I'm not.
You mean to suggest that the Henderson that I met with yesterday was not with Winston Advertising? That's right, sir.
I don't understand.
Initially, you see, he called me from New York and evinced an interest in working for my firm.
And I said, "Yes, surely, of course, we'll see about it.
" Meanwhile, I checked him out, found, in fact, that he was an able accounting executive and said next time he was over here we'd meet, and we did and And that was yesterday.
He must've been impersonating.
Impersonating? Why? I don't know.
Did you hire him? Too late now, isn't it? I was going to.
I liked him.
I thought Most impressed by him.
Too late now.
Dead.
All very sad.
Most puzzling, isn't it? Well, it certainly is to me, sir.
I can't make head nor tail of this whole thing.
You'll have to excuse me.
I have I have things to do here.
You'll appreciate we all have to do our little bits from time to time.
If I can help you in any way whatsoever, please don't hesitate to contact me, now that you know where I am.
Oh, thank you very much, sir.
Thank you.
Good day, sir.
Good afternoon, sir.
Nelson.
Good to see you again.
And you.
Would you care for some coffee or I didn't fly out from Washington to have coffee, Nelson.
What happened here? Oh, you mean Geronimo? Yes, damn it, Geronimo.
Well, it was all set.
A meeting was arranged for him with a representative of Steinmetz, and the next thing I knew, he was dead.
Do you think Steinmetz did it? Most unlikely.
We'll have to have someone pay him a visit.
I wouldn't advise that, sir, even if you could find him.
You see, he still has the microfilm, and after all, that is our primary objective, is it not? Yes, you're right.
As far as I can tell, it was a simple mugging.
Of all the ways to lose a top operator.
Yes.
It's unbelievable! It is.
We're running late, sir.
I'm I'm sorry about this, sir.
Yes, well, I had to be in Mexico City this afternoon anyway.
You know a Lieutenant Columbo? Oh, yes, indeed.
He's a local homicide officer.
He discovered that I was with Geronimo a few hours before he was killed.
He's running a check on you.
That's understandable, but I made the excuse that I was trying to get him to join my firm.
Place him under surveillance.
Very well.
We don't want any locals finding out about our operations.
All right, sir.
Have a good trip.
Right.
Bye, Nelson.
All right.
Change my itinerary.
I'll be coming back here from Mexico City.
Yes, sir.
That's him.
That's the guy.
Melville.
Is that his name? Well, that's the guy that followed your man out of the bar.
You're sure? Sure, I'm sure.
Melville? Melville.
Well, that's the guy.
Lawrence Melville? Yeah.
I'm Melville.
Lieutenant Columbo, LAPD.
Sure.
I was having a drink at Sinbad's, but I don't know no A.
J.
Henderson.
The bartender said you followed him out.
He's mistaken, man.
Come down to headquarters tomorrow.
We'll talk about it then.
Okay.
I'll be there.
Good afternoon, sir.
Lieutenant Columbo, what an unexpected pleasure.
I know it's Sunday.
I was in the neighborhood.
This is quite a place you have here, and remote.
I had a hard time finding it.
How did you get in? Oh, the gate.
It was open.
I just drove.
Oh, did you? Excuse me.
You remember Yvonne and Bob here? I have to leave you for a moment.
I'll see you a little later.
Eli! Would you care for a drink, Lieutenant? Thank you very much.
But I could use one of those.
Help yourself.
Thank you very much.
I'm really sorry to bust in on you like this, but I'm sure you'll understand.
I'm just a policeman, and wherever the line takes me, that's where I have to go.
I have the same problem myself from time to time.
Thank you very much, Eli.
Shall we move away from the madding crowd and talk in a little more peace and quiet? I think I explained my one little deception to you.
As far as I can see, there's nothing else to tell.
Not quite, sir.
You still haven't told me where you were when Mr.
Henderson was killed.
Oh, I see what you're after now.
Well, let me see if I can tell you.
I returned to my office that evening.
I wrote down and dictated You remember the one.
You were there.
You heard it.
You can check with my secretary if you like.
Her name's Ruth.
Lieutenant, I think that I should warn you that I am not an unworldly man.
I have powerful and important friends even in the police department.
I respectfully request that you do not harass me.
Why, sir, I would never do that.
I know.
I understand your problem, but you must understand mine.
It's a very bizarre situation.
Because of a misplaced confidence in a man that I knew as Henderson, I find myself in this ridiculous predicament with you.
Oh, and it's all very understandable, sir.
As a matter of fact, I have a lead on that suspect that I mentioned.
Do you? Do you know a Lawrence Melville? Melville.
No, I don't.
And this time I'm not lying to you.
He's black, 28, and been arrested and convicted for assault.
Do you know whether or not Henderson knew Melville? I didn't know Melville, I hardly knew Henderson.
As a matter of fact, I didn't know Henderson at all.
Do muggers usually know their victims? No, sir, at least not on a personal basis, but I have a hunch that Melville isn't a mugger.
Now you're confusing me, Lieutenant.
Well, you see, sir, Henderson was hit once right here.
Mmm-hmm.
And then when he went down, the assailant hit him again on the back of the neck, right here at the base of the skull.
Hmm.
Mr.
Henderson must have known him, otherwise how did he get hit from the front? Couldn't the mugger have asked him for his valuables, and when he was refused, then hit him from the front? Oh, it could've happened that way, no doubt about it.
Well, isn't it true there was no identification on Henderson's person? Right.
Nothing at all.
And isn't it logical then, to assume that the mugger took the victim's cash and credit cards? Oh, they were removed, all right.
Then why are you making more out of it than that? His coat was off.
His coat was off? Yes.
That's it? That's it.
Except for the life of me, I cannot figure out why would a mugger take off a victim's coat unless he was gonna remove something other than cash or credit cards.
Well, not being a mugger, I'm afraid I can't help you there.
Tell me, how did you first come upon this Melville as a suspect? He was seen at Sinbad's following Henderson out.
Seems as though you've got a pretty tight case.
No.
Too many loose ends.
I bring this into the DA, he'd shoot me right down.
I better run along, sir.
I'm sorry to have interrupted your Sunday.
Not at all.
I've enjoyed speaking to you once again.
I'll see you to your car.
This will be your car.
Yes, sir.
There are only three like it in the country.
Interesting model.
Allow me.
Just between us, sir.
Mmm-hmm? Somebody's following me.
Now, who would be following a cop? Well, that's what I'm trying to figure out.
Can't be the collection company.
The car's paid for.
Take care.
Hello.
This is Steinmetz.
I received your message.
Two miles north of the small grocery store in Topanga Canyon, make a left.
Four hundred yards.
Be sure you're not followed.
You are here.
Mr.
Steinmetz.
You scared the hell out of me! Come, my car.
Come.
Be careful.
Always be careful.
Careful? This is spooky.
Why are we meeting way out here in the boondocks? Here.
Here.
You go in front.
No, wait.
Wait.
When first you work for me, I tell you explicit, this is very serious business you are in.
I know.
And you laid down some heavy bread to back it up.
But if I'd have known it was gonna be this serious, I'd have stayed in the street.
Of what do you talk? I'm talking about heat from some heavy little dude named Columbo, and I'm talking about that government man you put me next to that's now dead.
I am aware of this.
And you're also aware it's my head that's on the chopping block? When you are in the business of buying and selling information on the international market, you will have to have sometimes a little heat.
Well, listen, they got enough on me now to put me away! Did you kill him? No, I didn't kill him.
I did what you told me to do, that's all.
Then you have nothing to worry about.
How did the man die, Mr.
Steinmetz? I don't know.
I do not know.
It was not a part of my venture.
I do not know.
Well, what happens now? Well, we have to reestablish contact with the other people.
What do I tell the cop? Nothing.
Nothing! But they asked me about if I know a man named Brenner.
That is good.
It means they have a suspect.
You just relax.
Well, okay.
That's all I wanted.
Just a little down home reassurance.
You take this key to this car and take this car tonight.
This car? What for? This is a cover car for another member of my organization.
It has to be at Sixth and Alvarado by midnight tonight.
What about my car? Your car will be at your home by the time you return.
You sure are strange, Mr.
Steinmetz.
It's a strange world.
From now, you will be paid week by week.
Now you're talking.
We still use the same drop site? Mmm-hmm.
Until I tell you that we are going to change it.
Take care of that car, it's my pride and joy.
Sixth and Alvarado, here I come.
You should've talked to us.
I should've talked to somebody.
But I didn't do nothing wrong, no, sir.
Hey, how's this? No, no.
He looked a lot older than that.
He had a big nose, and the nose Where did you say you met this Steinmetz, again? In a bar.
In a Lookit.
He Listen, he had a moustache.
Okay.
Okay.
Yeah.
In a bar? He laid some bread down, knew everything about me.
My record.
And you don't know how to get in touch with him? Like I told you, we had this drop site.
It's like a mailbox where we leave messages.
We just exchanged them, that's all.
No, lookie here.
You got to put the glasses and then take this off all over here.
Take it off this copy, and get this moustache right.
Yeah.
Yeah.
Yeah.
Like a goatee on there.
Okay.
What about the credit cards in the glove compartment? They belong to Henderson.
Look, I'm telling you.
I don't know nothing about that.
I swear, it's like I told that Lieutenant Columbo.
I didn't touch that man.
We just talked about this microfilm, that's all.
That's all we did, honest, Sergeant.
Hey, how's this? This okay? Yeah.
That's Mr.
Steinmetz.
Now you're getting close to him.
All you got to do is just make him a little older, get him a little tighter under here, his nose was just bigger, glasses off the You got him, though.
I can't absolutely verify that Mr.
Brenner came back that night and wrote his speech.
But that's what he said he was going to do.
And you found the tape sitting on your desk when you came in the following morning? Right.
At 9:00.
I typed it up and gave it to Mr.
Brenner shortly before 10:00, when he rushed in, picked it up and went off to his meeting with Mr.
Good morning.
Good morning, Mr.
Brenner.
Morning, Ruth.
Good morning, sir.
This way, Mr.
Columbo.
No calls for five minutes.
What the hell are you doing here? Mr.
Brenner, you told me yourself that I should check with your secretary.
That's what I'm doing.
That was before your suspect turned up with Henderson's credit cards.
How do you know that, sir? I told you already, Lieutenant, I have friends in the police department.
I have friends across the country.
All over the world.
I also know that your suspect has accused a man named Steinmetz of trying to kill him.
Your information is very good, sir.
We don't believe that Steinmetz wanted him dead.
You don't? The officer from the bomb squad told us that if you wanted a man dead, you'd use a lot more plastic explosives in the car than what we found.
And you would put it in the engine rather than in the driver's door.
I fail to understand you.
You have suspects all over the place.
You have Melville, you have Steinmetz and yet you still insist on suspecting me.
Yes, sir, I do feel you are involved, I have to admit that.
Did anyone see me on the pier? The answer is no.
Do I know Melville? Again the answer is negative.
I could go on and on, but I suggest that we leave it where it is.
Your secretary doesn't provide an alibi at all, sir.
You simply told her that you were coming back here.
Can you prove that you actually did come back? As you well know, these offices are empty in the evening and I don't need to prove it.
Neither do I require an alibi.
If you have an accusation to make, do it.
No accusation.
In that event, good morning.
And, Lieutenant, let me assure you that you are delving into areas over which you have no authority.
For the last time I ask you, don't harass me.
Colorado calling the Director.
Now entering Travel Town, out.
Here you are, honey.
Thank you.
How goes it, Lieutenant? I can't complain, Arthur.
How's by you? Don't ask.
How's your dog? He's swimming.
Is this charred enough for you, Lieutenant? Yeah, that's perfect.
Where's he swimming? Well, a fellow down the block built a pool, so he goes over there in the mornings.
Leave me his address, Lieutenant.
I wanna join him! Art, it's just a normal-sized pool.
It's not a lake.
Two hot dogs.
Hey, you know you're pretty? Did you know that? No.
Huh? Sure you are.
You know it, huh? I don't blame you.
Is that your sister? Mmm-hmm.
You're pretty, too.
Thank you.
You guys got a dog? Yeah.
You know where my dog is? No.
He's swimming.
He goes swimming every morning.
I didn't know that dog swims.
Oh, he can swim.
He can swim just like a fish.
You know what his name is? What? Dog.
Just plain old Dog? Yeah.
That's what I call him.
Just Dog.
Nothing else.
Let's take a walk.
See you later.
This way.
Inside.
Come in.
Watch your step.
I hope you don't mind.
I don't carry a gun, sir.
It's not a gun we're looking for.
I know you've seen that.
Yes, sir.
What is it that he is looking for? A bug.
I don't have any bugs, sir.
Now, you don't mind if I satisfy myself in that regard? No, sir.
Now, I want you to look at this.
I want you to pay strict attention.
You're the head man? Yes.
It's only on rare occasions I take a local law enforcement officer into my confidence.
Only when the situation absolutely warrants it.
Whatever it is, sir, I won't breathe a word.
Good.
Now, it seems in your investigation of a homicide, you stumbled upon one of my most valued counter-intelligence men.
I have? He is, in fact, in charge of the West Coast region.
A lot of sensitive, highly important information from the Pacific and South America funnels through him.
I had no idea.
I realize that.
That's why I am here.
Nelson Brenner's cover is deep and foolproof.
All the more reason to emphasize the confidentiality of our conversation.
Nelson Brenner.
Well, that certainly explains a great many strange things.
I thought it would.
Hey, can we come up, please? Let's walk.
Whatever inconsistencies bother you, Lieutenant, come as a direct result of Brenner trying to protect the Agency.
It's fantastic.
I hope you understand.
I ran a check on this man.
I sent to Washington.
Yes, I know.
I got it right here in my pocket.
You'd never know this man was a spy.
Operator.
Operator? Operator.
Spy's old hat.
They're referred to as operators.
What do you fellows do? You fabricate this stuff here? Pleased to have met you, Lieutenant.
Likewise, sir.
One more thing, sir.
This will only take a moment.
Are you familiar with a man named Steinmetz? Forget about him.
But you do know him? Yes.
Forget about him.
Sir, I do have a murder on my hands.
I'm painfully aware of that, Lieutenant.
The man you know as Henderson was one of my best operators.
But, you see, sir, this Mr.
Steinmetz, in my judgment, is somehow implicated here, and I can't find a trace of him.
Neither can we.
And we've been after him a lot longer than you have.
But we'll get him, one of these days.
One more thing, sir.
Do your operators carry a gun? They do.
What'll it be, sir? Give me two.
Two gallons, sir? No.
$2, please.
Wait a minute! Right.
All right.
Go ahead.
What'll it be? Gas.
Just regular gas.
Make it $3.
Make it $3.
25.
$3.
45, $3.
55.
Oh, gee Want me to wipe your windshield, sir? No, that's all right.
Don't bother.
I can see through it.
Just keep it rolling.
Keep it rolling! All right.
Forty.
What's up there now? $4.
37.
$4.
37.
$2, $2.
50, $2.
70, $2.
80, $3.
10.
Right, stop it.
Stop it! I have $3.
80.
What do I have now? Gentleman over there thinks you could use this, sir.
Gentleman over where? Over here, sir.
I just met the Director.
The head man.
Yes, I know.
You know already? I knew before.
You knew it before that I met him? I knew it before that you were going to meet him.
Jeez, the way you guys operate.
It's fantastic.
We could use a couple of guys like you down in the department.
All the lies are explained now.
Yes, sir.
I guess they are.
It's a weight off my mind, too.
In fact, I'm going to take the rest of the day off.
Why don't you join me up at my house for a cocktail or something, and we can discuss old times.
You rather fascinate me.
Oh, that's very, very nice of you, sir, but I still got a couple of things I gotta do.
Sir, we have other customers.
I've gotta check back down at the station.
Those guys are always bugging me.
You know what I mean.
I know.
Wait a minute.
Sir! I still got this $10! Come in, please.
Your coat, sir.
Mr.
Brenner will be here in a moment.
Mr.
Columbo to see you, sir.
Mmm-hmm.
Right away, sir.
I'm terribly sorry to keep you waiting.
I'm having dinner for a few friends this evening.
I was just checking the menu with the chef.
Oh, that's all right, sir.
That's no problem.
Here's your $10.
And then afterwards we're having a little piano recital.
Please come in.
I've ordered some hors d'oeuvres for you.
Make yourself comfortable.
Oh, thank you, sir.
This is quite a place to be comfortable.
But I do want to clear up this $10, sir.
That's why I'm here.
I can spare it, you know.
Oh, I know you can, sir.
It's just that I'd like to keep my accounts up to date.
Well, maybe I don't, but my wife likes to keep everything straight.
You know what I mean.
Hmm.
Is that an original painting, sir? Oh, yes.
Nearly everything here is original.
That was done in Austria, 1761.
The Discovery of America.
The Discovery of America.
Is it all in there? Nearly.
Isn't that fantastic! Look at that.
The Discovery of America.
I think I'm just gonna leave this $10 here on the table, sir.
That way it's out of my hands.
Relax.
Relax.
Take a minute.
Try one of these.
Try a few of them, in fact.
All right, sir.
Thank you, sir.
This looks good.
May I, sir? Please.
What would you like in the way of libation? Oh, nothing when I'm on duty.
But you're finished for the day, aren't you? Well, nearly, sir.
Do you have any wine? Cellar full.
Just a glass.
What kind would you like? Oh, red.
A little music? That's quite a music box you got there, sir.
That must have set you back a few dollars.
A few.
Do you like music? Well, I hear it all the time.
My wife is crazy about music.
Really? Classical? Yeah, Beethoven, what's-his-name, the guy that wrote Marriage of Figaro Mozart.
That fellow and She likes rock music, too.
When the nieces are around, it's on the air all the time.
A lot of rock.
How about this? That's Puccini.
That's No, that's Madame Butterfly! Yes.
That's That's my wife's favorite piece of music.
I know.
You know? You have my house bugged.
I know.
But since the Director met with you, I've had it removed.
It's just, I'm glad my wife didn't know about that.
Tuning.
Boy, that's some system you got there, sir.
Hydrophonic.
Gee, I wish my wife could hear it like this.
Yes.
Well, it helps to calm the nerves, you know.
Are you nervous, sir? Oh, yes.
We all need our little antidotes, and I happen to know one of yours.
And what would that be, sir? Cigar.
Well, as a matter of fact, yes.
I have some very special ones in my den.
Would you care to sample them with me? We can take this with us.
Just through here.
And here are the little darlings.
Do you have a cutter? A what, sir? A cigar cutter.
No, I don't carry them.
Well, in that case, do you mind if I do it for you? Not at all, sir.
You have all the experience.
You like to play games, sir? Yes.
I know this one.
Backgammon.
I've seen that before.
And I know poker.
Do you mind? Go ahead.
What's this? Mah Jongg.
What? Mah Jongg.
You play all these games for money, sir? Yes, indeed.
Do you like to gamble, sir? What else is there? Your cigar.
Matches are over here.
How do you find the cigar? Real class, sir.
Cuban? The Bay of Pigs wasn't a total disaster.
Here we are.
See how you like it.
Happy days.
Who is that lady there in that picture? That one, the Princess of Thailand.
My goodness.
And look at these, sir, the medals you've won.
You did well in the war.
Reasonably well.
Look at those medals.
Where was that, sir? Korea.
My goodness.
What is this? That you wouldn't be able to understand.
It's in Latin.
A little gift from the University of Bavaria.
Distinguished Achievement Award, University of the State of New York, Trustees, Columbia University.
Certificate for service, driving a racing car.
Quite a life, sir.
I find it dull.
Quite a life.
What kind of a plane is that, sir? That? That's the T-33 Silverstar.
Oh, yes.
And that's you standing right beside it? Mmm-hmm.
Yes.
I seem to remember reading about that.
It was quite famous during the war, wasn't it? The best known trainer of the period.
Well, you're a hero, sir.
And you have power and you live in a magnificent house.
You're a hero.
The languages you speak How can you say your life is dull? Mah Jongg.
What time do you have, sir? Oh, I have to run.
I almost forgot, sir.
I'm taking my wife out to dinner.
Forgive me.
You've been very gracious.
I'll get your coat.
It's been a fantastic day, sir.
Oh, yes, indeed.
May I help you with your coat? Thank you.
I appreciate the $10.
I'll tell you, I hope I never run into that kind of a fix again.
Safe journey.
Oh, I almost forgot.
This is a sketch that we worked up on Steinmetz.
Melville says that this is a reasonable facsimile.
Steinmetz.
So this is Steinmetz? You've never seen him before? No.
No, I have never seen him.
If this is not a breach of security, sir, could you tell me how you made contact? By telephone or through a representative of his.
I see.
'Cause I've checked every Steinmetz in the city and so far I haven't been able to find anyone who even comes close to this description.
Well, by now, Lieutenant, you should know that no one in our business is ever who he says he is.
Of course.
I should've known that myself.
By the way, may I have a copy of that for our leader, the Director? Why don't you take this one, sir? I have another copy for myself.
Be seeing you.
I hope so, sir.
Have a nice evening.
My best to your lady.
Della.
The Commodity speech of last week, we have a copy? Yes, sir, it's in the files.
Do you mind bringing one in, please? Thank you.
Columbo.
You'll like that.
Isn't that unusual, to get a speech just a half-hour before you're gonna deliver it? No.
No, no.
Because I read it twice, it make an impression in my mind, like this.
Really? You know, me, sometimes I forget my own telephone number.
Thank you, Della.
Very nice.
Very nice.
Let me see if this is the speech.
Suppose you want it rewritten? There's no time.
Rewritten? For what? Nelson, he writes a speech, says just what I want to say, that's all.
Then he adds a touch of spaghetti humor, you know? And everything's all right.
Oh, he's brilliant, Columbo.
Brilliant man! Very.
Is it possible that I take this? Sure.
I have a copy here, you know.
Thank you very much.
It's so nice meeting you.
Is it possible to have a few more grapes? Grapes? Oh! Is it possible you ask? Look at that.
No! No! Come on! It's such a pleasure to talking to a paisano.
Grazie.
Listen, you be sure to call me.
We have lunch together, all right? Arrivederci, Columbo.
Ciao.
Let's get back to earth.
Good morning, Mr.
Brenner.
I'm a simple farmer in the Imperial Valley.
It just happens to be Good morning.
My papa, from whom I learned the business, told me years ago when I started out, "Salvatore, to be a successful, "you gotta know two things.
"Who buys and who sells your crop.
" "And the weather.
" Well, we gotta the water down in our Valley.
That takes care of the weather.
This is important.
Your secretary was kind enough to provide this tape.
Of course, I have a warrant for it.
You told a lot of lies, sir.
Of course, most of them can be explained in your capacity as a spy, but not the big one.
Not your whereabouts at the time of the murder.
What strikes you about this picture? The T-33 Silverstar.
I see that you visited with me again.
In my absence.
I have a warrant for that, too, sir.
You have a warrant for everything.
What strikes you about that picture? I was younger and more beautiful then.
Not that it was taken Not the fact that, at that time, your hairline is receding.
How stupid of me.
What strikes me, sir, looking at you now, 15 years later, is that you now have a healthy crop of hair.
Luxuriant.
I wear a piece.
A hairpiece.
That's what I told the art guy down at headquarters.
I said, "Figure this fellow to be bald," and working on that assumption, sir, he took an air brush and he removed all your hair.
This is the same picture.
Removed all of it? Yes.
And then he put on a wig and he added a moustache and a beard and some glasses.
Steinmetz! Our dear old friend Mr.
Steinmetz.
That's marvelous.
Very clever fellows you've got.
It's really wonderful.
I want you to hear the tape.
Yes.
I'll hear it.
By all means, go ahead.
It's terrific.
Pay strict attention to the early part.
to be delivered before the Commodity Brokers luncheon.
Right here.
That sound.
That sound, sir, is the closing of Venetian blinds.
That's the sound.
So I closed the blinds.
What's so special about that? That direction is east.
Please don't give me a lesson in geography.
At five minutes past six, the sun came up.
An hour or so later, give or take a few moments, the sun angles into the building in this direction and it hits right here at your desk.
You came in the following morning, sir, to finish your speech.
And you sat down and when you started to dictate, the early morning sun got in your eyes and you then arose, went to the window and closed the blinds.
I see.
I closed the blinds for privacy.
But you're on the third floor, sir.
Yes.
Why would you require privacy? Well, there are other buildings in the neighborhood.
Higher buildings.
But they're all office buildings, sir.
There's no one in them at night.
This is an office building.
I was in it at night.
Why should not other people be in their offices? Why don't you play the tape, carry on from there, and you will see that, in fact, it had to be night.
Any particular section, sir? Right on, from there.
Now, you listen very carefully.
First of all, I'd like to thank the officers of your association for inviting me here.
It seems like only yesterday I was crushing the grapes in my father's vineyard.
If you don't believe me, I'll show you the bottom of my feet.
One foot still has a cabernet stain There! and the other There! Did you hear that? a Chablis.
Yes, sir.
I heard it.
You heard the chimes? These guys with law degrees I did.
Did you count them? They give you Yes, sir.
There are 11.
Eleven? So it had to be It could not have been You can check with my secretary.
No, sir.
It couldn't have been at night.
Couldn't have been night.
Feel about over-production, but it's gonna be all right.
There's a food shortage all over the world.
It had to be morning, sir.
There's no reason for the price to fall.
Look at Southeast Asia.
They need our crops more than ever now, because of the tragic events there in the past 10 years.
This extra demand for our extra supply is gonna make for a proper marriage in the market place.
And if you're worried about the Chinese, don't be.
They may pull out of the Olympics but not out of the soybeans.
You've lost me again, Mr.
Columbo.
I did some checking.
Newspapers, wire services, TV newsrooms.
I checked everywhere, and I ended up calling the Peking News Bureau.
Did you? And at 6:20 a.
m.
six hours and 20 minutes past midnight, seven hours and 20 minutes past the time that you claim that you were writing this speech, and to the shock of the world, the Chinese pulled out of the Olympics.
Did they? You couldn't have written that speech the night before.
There's no way in the world.
It hadn't happened yet.
What made you stay on it? Was it the Was it the coat? Yes, sir.
I couldn't figure out why it was removed.
You see, I know that a mugger can take a guy's money without taking off his coat.
And then it occurred to me that Mr.
Henderson was a secret agent.
And that secret agents wear guns.
Shoulder holsters.
And that Mr.
Henderson Had one.
Was a secret agent.
He was.
And you couldn't afford to have that fact known.
So, in order to remove his shoulder holster I had to Remove the coat.
remove the coat.
Why didn't you put it back on again? Oh, I was going to, but apart from muggers on the beach, Mr.
Columbo, they also have loving couples.
And I was interrupted at the scene of the crime.
Would you like to hear something funny? I'd love to.
Today, the Chinese, they changed their minds.
Did they, again? They're back in the Games.
In the Games.
Mah Jongg.
Mah Jongg.