Columbo (1971) s05e05 Episode Script

Now You See Him

Anybody could have sneaked up the stairs, knocked on the door.
When Jerome opened the door, they shot him and went right back downstairs again.
At the time of the crime, you said you were performing the water tank trick.
You're not really in that cube, right? Where was I last night when Jesse Jerome got it? Was I here or was I there? You see, what we have to remember is that Mr.
Santini is a master of illusion.
You could create the illusion of being somewhere while you were not.
If you know what you're doing.
Good afternoon, sir.
How are you, George? Hey, that was quite a night we had last night.
Yeah, wasn't it? It's good having you back.
Oh, it's great to be back.
Oh, Mr.
Jerome was looking for you a while back, sir.
Huh? Seemed important.
Uh-huh.
Everything is important to him.
Could you do me a favor, sir? Sure, name it.
Could you make him disappear? Don't tell him I said it.
Oh, trust me, you're safe.
I'll tell you what.
One night, George, just you and I together, we'll go out and have a couple of jars.
You're on, sir.
Santini's packing them in, Jesse, but I need more help.
The kitchen is your responsibility, Harry.
Do as you wish.
Of course it's my responsibility, but good help is hard to find.
Harry, Harry.
Don't bother me with trivialities.
Solve your problems and leave me be.
Santini.
It's good to have you back.
Harry.
Good to be back.
Harry, be a good fellow, shut the door on your way out.
George said you wanted to see me.
Have a shrimp.
Magnificent.
From a special bed off the Yucatán coast.
I have them flown in.
Thank you, no.
Tell me, Santini, last month, before you left for New York, you didn't by chance break into this office and search through my effects? What a silly question.
Of course I did.
And I stole your René, your Picasso, and got a lovely price for your Rubens.
You know I didn't.
I thought not.
It was dreadful of me even to suggest it.
Thank you.
Speaking of New York, I take it that this, too, is some sort of joke.
$5,000 is hardly a joke.
Come, come, dear friend.
I've assimilated the rudiments of arithmetic.
Your eastern tour netted $100,000, 50% of which is Mmm-hmm.
No, no, dear man.
We've been over this before.
Jerome, I'm bored with you bleeding me.
I'm afraid we're going to have to make a change in our little arrangement.
There are no changes.
Sergeant Mueller You see how the very mention of that name renders you completely helpless.
You keep forgetting that I know who you are and where you came from.
I was 21.
I was merely a boy.
No one in the SS was merely a boy, Mueller.
No one in the camps was just a boy.
Unless he was being taken into the oven.
Don't misunderstand me.
If you push me, I will tell the newspapers, the Immigration Service the Israelis Yes, the Israelis.
Oh, how they'd love to get their hands on you.
I think not.
I'm far too valuable to you.
You call that value? Mmm-hmm.
I'd do much better turning you in right now while I still have the chance, before you break in here again, trying to find the old man's letter.
And don't deny that it was you.
Jerome, you really are an animal.
You're lucky.
I'm a businessman.
When that old man recognized you last year, didn't I give you the money to keep him quiet? That was good business.
And when he died and I realized that I was the only one who knew, well, that was very good business, too.
That's why we're such a good team, you and I.
You know, you do rather well considering the circumstances.
Certainly better than spending the rest of your life in an Israeli prison.
I urge you to look at it realistically.
Have the other $45,000 for me tonight before the performance or, believe me, it'll be your last performance anywhere.
Heil Hitler! Have the money for me before the show.
Danny, cut it out.
Go rehearse or something.
I've done that already.
Young man.
Very good.
But if you're going to seduce my daughter, at least have the decency and the courtesy to close the door of my dressing room.
Sir, I'm sorry.
On second thought, it's probably to my advantage to watch your ritualistic mating.
At least that way I can see how far you've gone in the open.
Oh, Dad.
See you later? Maybe grab a late supper after the show? Where? Mama Lucia's.
Sure.
Pick me up around midnight.
Right.
Dad, I'm going to continue seeing him.
We'll discuss your taste later.
At the moment, I'd like to check the props, daughter.
Yes, Father.
When we played our charade We were like children posing Playing at games Acting out names, Guessing the parts we played Oh, what a hit we made We came on next to closing Best on the bills Lovers until We took in a bundle tonight, Mr.
Jerome.
Did Santini ask for me? No, sir.
Fate seemed to pull the strings I turned and you were gone While from the darkened wings The music box played on Sad little serenade Song of my heart's composing I hear it still I always will Best on the bills I got to see my agent about that job in Vegas.
Hey, have a good show.
See you at midnight.
Okay.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, once again to thrill and mystify you, The Cabaret of Magic is proud to present the magnificent illusions of The Great Santini! Oh! Thank you.
Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, each evening here at The Cabaret of Magic, we like to We like to have you participate in our show.
We ask for a volunteer to help Santini.
In the back, yes, of course.
What about a nice hand for Mr.
and Mrs.
Right? Thank you.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, The Cabaret of Magic is proud to present The Great Santini's world famous water tank illusion.
When this cube is shut, bolted and chained, it will be hermetically sealed with the Great Santini inside of it.
There will remain only five cubic feet of oxygen, adequate to keep him alive for just nine minutes and 12 seconds.
To guarantee that the Great Santini cannot get out of the cube, it will be suspended in the tank of water while the time runs out.
Hold it.
Okay, medium rare, mac.
I've got one well done and two medium rare.
Two well done.
My brandy, Mike.
Here you go, sir.
Thank you.
Medium rare coming up.
Watch it, coming through.
I got a well done here.
How's your steak coming along? One done, one well.
Here.
Those steaks.
Whose steak is this? Your brandy, sir.
Place it on the table.
Right, sir.
Want to play a new game tonight, Thackery? A new game? Yes, sir.
Haven't been doing too well at the others lately.
I'm going to think of a number from one to four and you will tell me the number.
If I'm wrong, you may come in and collect $5.
But if I'm right, no tip.
Understood? Right, sir.
I understand.
Only, tonight I'm gonna get you.
I'm thinking of a number.
I'm thinking of a number.
What is your number? Four.
Lift the skull from the table and look under it.
I don't know how you do it, Mr.
Santini.
That will be all, Thackery.
Right.
Ladies and gentlemen, a nice hand for the daughter of the Master.
Who is it? How did you Get him out of there.
Take it up, bud, take it up.
Send up some coffee, please.
Coffee, right.
Right away.
Thackery! Yes, Harry? Coffee for Mr.
Jerome.
Right.
I'll take it right up.
Hold it.
That's good, bud.
Bring it down.
A black '62 Buick convertible.
I've been told to stand out here and keep people away from the door.
Have you got any witnesses at all? I have no idea.
We have an When they come out, you'll be able to talk to him, fellas.
That's all I can tell you.
Can you help us in any way? I cannot Excuse me, sir.
Lieutenant Columbo.
Oh, I'm sorry, Lieutenant.
I didn't recognize you.
You look different somehow.
I've had a hair cut.
Who's in charge? Sergeant Wilson, sir.
Wilson? Detective Sergeant John J.
Wilson? That's him.
You know him, Lieutenant? Yes, I've worked with him before.
I want everyone assembled in the main room within 30 minutes.
When Lieutenant Columbo arrives, he's going to want to talk to all of them.
Sir, there's The Lieutenant is a very thorough man.
We won't leave here until he finds the person who did this.
Yes, sir.
Lieutenant? Lieutenant.
Good to see you again, sir.
Wilson.
Yes.
John J.
Detective Sergeant.
How do you do? Excuse me.
Watch my hand.
It's full of grease.
This is my dinner.
Would you like a piece of chicken? No, no, thanks.
Is the body in there? Yes.
It's That's a new raincoat, isn't it, sir? It's from my wife.
Yeah.
Oh, a present.
For my birthday.
Fits beautifully.
You think so? Yes, I must say, it's a fine looking raincoat.
It seems a little stiff to me.
Well, it's new.
You'll get used to it.
Yeah.
You break it in.
So, what do you got? Jesse T.
Jerome.
Born August 3, 1923.
Height, 5'8".
Weight, 174 pounds.
What did you do, weigh him? No, took it off his driver's license.
What was he doing, exercising? Sir? His back is damp.
So are his pants.
Oh.
I'll put that down.
You know, sir, it's a great honor to be working with you again.
I've gained a lot of experience since our last case, you know.
Very good.
Hello? Anybody down here? Santini? Santini, you in there? Yes, who is it? I'm sorry to bother you.
The police want everybody upstairs.
Oh, yes, of course, Harry.
I'll be right there.
One shot through the heart.
The napkin was found on top of his shoulder The shot came from the front? Yes, sir.
The napkin was found on top of his shoulders, and this.
38 caliber revolver was found next to the body.
I suspect it's the murder weapon, though I've learned you can never jump to conclusions.
But you say the time of death was between By Harry Blandford.
Who is that? Well, he's the maître d'.
Sort of a junior partner.
You see, at 9:56, Jerome called from his office to order some coffee sent up.
So he had to have been alive.
Ergo, Jerome died within a 10 minute span.
Yes, that makes sense.
What about the money? The money, sir? There's a lot of money in here.
Is any of that missing? No, no, none of it.
According to the cashier, it appears to all be there, which rules out robbery as a motive.
So, robbery was not a motive.
No, sir.
Let's assume he knew the person that came in.
I got to take off this coat.
I can't think in this coat.
Pardon me? The coat, I can't think in the coat.
Sir See, I think the problem is it could have been anybody.
I mean, unless we trace the gun or pick up some fingerprints Lieutenant? Yes.
Anybody could have sneaked up the stairs, knocked on the door.
When Jerome opened the door, they shot him and went right back downstairs again.
That's what's been bothering me.
Did he open the door? Well, I don't follow you.
Jerome was shot in the heart from the front.
But the body is not here.
The body landed 8 or 10 feet back.
I don't understand that.
Suppose Jerome comes from the office and he opens the door, somebody shoots him, then the bullet enters from the front, but then the body is here, not there.
Suppose Jerome opens the door Somebody he knows.
Opens the door, "How do you do?" "Come on in.
" He follows the person in.
Now he gets shot from the front, but the body falls this way, not that way.
Now, suppose he goes to the door, opens the door, whatever he sees is a threat, he turns, now he runs, now he gets shot.
The body falls just where we found it, but he's shot from the back.
See, I don't understand how this happened.
How does a man get shot from the front and have the body land here? The door has to be open.
The murderer opened the door.
Jerome did not open the door.
Jerome is in his office.
He's anywhere.
He hears the door open.
Now he comes walking forward to see what happened.
The murderer sees him, shoots him from the front, and the body falls just where we found it.
That I can understand.
Sergeant, excuse me, but some of those people downstairs are getting a little restless.
How much longer do we hold them? Oh Sir, I took the liberty of holding some of the patrons quarantine The guests? Yes.
We don't need them.
We You get their names? Yes, sir.
Let them go.
If we need them, we'll call them.
Yes, sir.
We don't I'm sorry, sir.
I thought it best to hold them.
I thought there might be some questions that you might have in mind.
What I was about to say, sir, is I don't think that the door was open.
You see, that's a new lock.
I can see that.
It was only installed last week and there's only one key, and that was found on Mr.
Jerome's person.
Now, according to his partner, Jerome locked the door every night while counting the receipts.
Have this lock taken down to the lab.
Have it checked.
Yes, sir.
I'm going downstairs.
I'm gonna look around.
Fine.
Lieutenant.
Yes? Sir! Yes? Lieutenant? Yes? Your Oh, sir? Lieutenant! What is it? Your coat, sir.
You forgot your coat.
I should try and call Danny.
No, I'd prefer to have you home tonight.
Listen, dear heart.
Is that the way backstage? We've both been through a great deal tonight.
Excuse me.
Excuse me, sir.
Sir? The gentleman smoking on the stage.
Forgive me, but backstage is off-limits.
No, I'm just gonna look around for a moment.
I can appreciate that, but I don't care to have my secrets exposed to the world.
Can you understand that? Oh, you are the magician.
How do you do, sir? You look different from your picture out front.
Maybe it's the hat.
Mmm-hmm.
May I know who you are? Lieutenant Columbo.
Los Angeles Police Department.
Homicide.
I'm terribly sorry, Lieutenant.
But you can understand my cautiousness.
Forgive me, I am at your service.
Oh, that's quite all right.
It was a terrible thing It was ghastly.
I was informed of it when I came off stage.
Really? Yes, I was performing at the time.
Apparently, it must have happened during the course of my trick.
I was doing my water tank illusion.
You know, I saw you do that on television.
The wife and I, when you were at Madison Square Garden.
I don't know how you do that, sir.
You're not supposed to.
That's how I manage to stay two steps ahead of my creditors.
I'm sure you do a little better than that.
Just a little bit.
Lieutenant, if you'll forgive me, my daughter is waiting for me.
If there's anything I can do to help, please ask.
Less baring the secrets of my grand illusions.
Thank you very much.
It's my pleasure.
I'm your obedient servant.
Have a good night.
The same to you, sir.
Della? What's going on? I'll tell you later.
Come, let's go.
Good night, boy.
Handmade, with two special baffles.
I figured as much when I saw the key.
That's why I can't figure out how it happened.
How what happened? This lock was picked.
Are you sure? Take a look.
Now, you see those scratches? Somebody picked it open with a thin piece of steel.
Impossible, but it happened.
What else? This is the napkin the killer used to keep the prints off the gun, and also mask any traces of nitrate.
Hmm.
As for the gun, it's a standard Smith & Wesson .
38 caliber revolver.
Now, we matched the serial number with a shipment that was stolen from a wholesaler in San Francisco.
So, there's no record of any ownership, no prints, no nothing.
And there you are.
There I am.
May I borrow this for a while? Mmm-hmm, go ahead.
As long as you sign for it.
Bravo! That's fantastic.
Who's that? I've always wanted to know how those things were done.
Lieutenant Columbo.
I guess you have to have dexterous hands.
How astute of you.
You see, my hands, they wouldn't conceal anything.
Too small.
Mmm-hmm.
Well, you're absolutely right.
Maximum facility.
Large hands, more facile.
How goes your hunt? Sir? The murder of Jesse Jerome.
Come up with any clues yet? Not really, sir, no.
We're stumped.
I was hoping you'd be able to throw some light on it for me.
Would you like my opinion, Lieutenant? Yes, sir.
There was a gun left, right? That's a mark of a pro.
Professional killing.
It's common knowledge that Jesse had syndicated clients.
That might be very helpful.
Thank you very much.
My pleasure.
I don't want you to take this wrong, sir, but I have to account for everybody's whereabouts.
At the time of the crime, you said you were performing the water tank trick.
That's right.
Now, when the cube is in the water tank, you're not really in that cube, right? Perhaps, perhaps not.
No, it's not that I want you to give away any professional secrets, sir.
My dear friend, I'd rather confess to a murder than to do that.
I just don't know what to write down in the report.
You don't know my boss.
If I say you were locked in this cube, chained in without air for 10 minutes and suspended in water, the man's gonna look at me funny.
So it really is a question of an alibi, right? Actually, sir, it's just a question of the report.
Let me tell you, Lieutenant, I probably have the best alibi of anyone who works here.
Anyone.
And the irony is, the worst.
Where was I last night when Jesse Jerome got it? Was I here or was I there? It's fascinating, isn't it? Don't do that to me, sir.
I admit it, you know.
I don't know where in the hell you were.
All I want to do is just please the superior here with this thing.
Let me clear your head up for you.
I had absolutely nothing to do with the crime.
I've spent half my life working in that grand illusion.
It's been wonderful for me and audiences love it.
And I'm not about to divulge the secret.
But if at some point in time you and your superior, and I know he's a tough man, insist that I come up with an alibi, I promise you I'll produce one.
But until that time, at least allow me the privacy of my professional secret.
Is that fair? Fair enough.
Thank you.
Have a good day.
Thank you very much.
My pleasure.
Sir, would you mind if I came to see the show tonight? I'd be honored to have your presence.
Thank you.
Could it be done by 8:00 tonight? You young people.
When I was a young man, time was precious.
You savored it.
Today, everything has to be done yesterday.
But, sir, this is very, very important.
And I would appreciate I'll be a son of a gun.
Where did you find that? I've been looking all over for it.
In the lost and found.
You left it in the cafeteria.
I thought somebody stole it.
At police headquarters? All right, put it in my car.
Anything you could do to see to it that I have that by 8:00 tonight Lieutenant.
Would certainly be appreciated.
Sir.
Could I see you for a moment, privately? Mr.
Lassiter, Sergeant Wilson.
How do you do, sir? Yes, how do you do? Well, I'll get started on these cuffs.
Danny Green, the singer, he was having an argument with Mr.
Jerome about his contract and he wanted out.
And he has no alibi.
He said he left the premises to go see his agent, but he didn't see his agent until 11:00.
That's very good legwork, Sergeant, but the singer didn't do it.
No? No.
Mr.
Jerome wanted a lock that couldn't be picked.
Mr.
Lassiter here made it.
That rules out the singer.
Unless, of course, he turns out to be an expert at picking locks.
But you still think it's an inside job? Someone Oh, it is.
Absolutely.
All right.
Well, I'll check everyone else out at the club, sir.
Lieutenant, sir, your coat.
Just leave it in the car.
Best on the bill Lovers until Love left the masquerade Yes, of course, there'll be a performance tonight, even though Mr.
Jerome is no longer with us.
I have a very strong hunch about you, my lady.
Believe in clairvoyancy? Yes.
Your pen.
Tonight, for your benefit, on that stage, I will try to reach Mr.
Jerome.
With your head, if your ESP is working, when I'm up I just wanted to say hello.
Lieutenant Columbo, delighted you're here.
Wonderful crowd you have.
Mr.
Santini.
I was wondering, do you Mr.
Santini.
Mr.
Santini.
Yes, excuse me.
Yes, John? This gentleman is from out of town.
He says he knows you.
How are you? Glad to see you again.
Michael Lally.
The greatest wire act.
He and his brother.
You should have seen them.
How is he? Well, he's still working.
I gave the act up.
I got a little bit too old Mr.
Santini? Excuse me.
Yes? Two minutes to show time.
Thank you, Jimmy.
Excuse me.
Have a drink on me.
Mr.
Santini, I don't want to impose.
Could you do something about my table? Of course.
Where are you sitting, Lieutenant? In the other room.
In there? Jimmy.
Yes, sir? May I have the guest of honor table for the Lieutenant, please? Certainly.
My apologies.
Thank you very much.
This might be a bit embarrassing.
I brought something with me.
It's a little trick.
I thought I'd challenge you with it.
I think you'll get a kick out of it.
I'd be delighted to see it after the performance, please.
Thank you, again.
Hope you enjoy it.
Dom Perignon.
This way, Lieutenant.
Right down here.
Just a second.
I always will Best on the bill Take good care of the Lieutenant.
Thank you very much.
Enjoy yourself.
Good evening.
Can I have your order? Yes, I'll just have a soft drink, please.
Ginger ale.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, The Cabaret of Magic is proud to present The Great Santini! The most beautiful woman in the world, and why not, my beautiful daughter, Della.
Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, each evening here at The Cabaret of Magic, we like to ask a member of our audience, a volunteer, to step forward on the stage to be Santini's attendant or assistant, if you would.
Perhaps a beautiful young woman.
We have a beautiful young man instead.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are honored because this gentleman who stands before you is none other than Lieutenant Columbo of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Welcome, Lieutenant.
Lieutenant, you look like a man who enjoys a game of chance.
You play cards? Yes, sir.
Down at the station? Yes, sir.
Does the Chief know about that, Lieutenant? No, sir.
Lieutenant, do you possess a deck of cards with you? With me? No, sir.
You're sure, not on your person anywhere? Me? No.
Well, unfortunately, I don't have any either, but Well, maybe backstage Lieutenant, what do we have here? You're holding out on us.
Ace of spades, Lieutenant.
Lieutenant, what do we have King of hearts.
King of hearts.
Is that all you Lieutenant! Yeah? What have we here? Three bullets.
That, Lieutenant, is indeed a fine hand in any man's book, but I believe, sir, that I could possibly beat that hand.
Are you holding any more cards? Lieutenant, somewhere on your Do Oh, what have we here, Lieutenant? A full deck! Quite a full deck.
Lovely Della.
Thank you, Della.
Thank you, my lady.
That Thank you, Lieutenant, very much.
No, no, no.
Thank you.
What about a nice hand for Lieutenant Columbo? Thank you very much.
Thank you.
Lights! You know, I'd like to challenge you to a trick.
I brought something with me, a trick I'd like to challenge him with, if I could.
It's You know, down at headquarters, we've got these special handcuffs for dangerous criminals.
They're absolutely foolproof, you can't get out of them, and the boys down at the station, they said nobody could get out of them, and I wagered that you would.
I don't know whether you can, sir, but would you like to try and see whether you could do that? Would you be good enough, sir, though, to explain to my audience that I have never seen these cuffs before, and this is the first time we've ever attempted this? Oh, absolutely, I can vouch for that.
All right.
Absolutely.
I'll raise that up for you.
Make it more convenient.
And there we have them.
Are they secured now, sir? Yes, sir.
To your satisfaction? You can't get out of these.
I know that for a fact.
We shall try.
May I have a drum roll, please? Your handcuffs.
I knew you could do it.
A round of applause for the Lieutenant who tried to outwit the Master.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Thank you very much.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Oh, Lieutenant.
You seem to have forgotten your badge.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, The Cabaret of Magic is proud to present The Great Santini's world famous water tank illusion.
When this cube is shut, bolted and chained, it will be hermetically sealed with the Great Santini inside of it.
There will remain only five cubic feet of oxygen, adequate to keep him alive for just nine minutes and 12 seconds.
Lieutenant, what can I do for you? Does Mr.
Santini do this trick at the same time every night? Like clockwork.
Okay, take it away, bud.
No one's allowed to Oh, Lieutenant, okay.
To guarantee that the Great Santini cannot get out of the cube, it will be suspended in the tank of water while the time runs out.
Lieutenant, I can't let you go down there.
Oh, I just wanted Santini's orders.
I'm only doing what I'm told.
Has Santini come backstage yet? Of course not, sir.
He's in that cube.
Sir, about the other possible suspects, Harry Blandford.
He owned 25% of the club.
Now with Jerome dead, he owns it all.
Later, Wilson.
Yes, sir.
Sliced carrots.
Slice them up I tell you every night, you slice it thin and you keep it rare.
And I need about 100 servings tonight at least.
You keep it thin, and you keep it rare.
Right? Good.
Luigi, remember, lettuce doesn't swim.
Not too much dressing.
Hey, you're the guy from the agency.
Take that coat off, put this one on, you get yourself a tray, you join World War III.
Police.
Police? What's below the stage? Where is Sergeant Wilson? I'm Lieutenant Columbo.
What's below the stage? It's a basement.
It's a storage room.
How do I get there? Go through that door and down the stairs to the left.
Hey, Lieutenant Columbo.
Yeah? I am Harry Blandford.
Harry Blandford.
I was Mr.
Jerome's partner.
Yeah, call me later.
Mr.
Santini? Mr.
Santini? Mr.
Santini? Come in, Lieutenant.
I've been expecting you.
Good evening.
Feel privileged, Lieutenant.
I usually don't allow anyone in here.
I had a very strong suspicion you'd be looking for me tonight.
Thank you, sir.
Careful.
That's how you do it.
Yes, that's how it's done.
I am not in the cube.
I'm right here.
And that should certainly satisfy your report.
Yes, sir, that's certainly going to sound better.
I mean, I couldn't write that That you were chained in a cube and dumped in a tank of water without air for 10 minutes.
Well, let's see.
Whereabouts during crime, Mr.
Santini in basement room.
I couldn't very well stop you from finding out and now that you do know, I would very much appreciate your telling as few people as possible.
Well, certainly, sir.
Can you verify that? Can I verify what? That you were actually here? You really are something.
My good man, where could I have gone? If I had indeed exited through these two doors here, made a sharp left turn, ran down the passageway, gone up the stairwell, the stage manager would have seen me.
Check with him.
My alternative was to go out these doors, up that stairwell, which would have led me directly into the kitchen, where at least a dozen people would have been aware of my presence.
Well, that certainly makes sense, sir.
Thank you.
Listen, I gotta hand it to you about those handcuffs.
You sure got them off fast.
Whew! We all have our particular talents, Lieutenant.
Mine happens to be illusion and yours, I suspect, is reality, and a rather grim one at that.
Well, you cleared up one thing.
You know, that lock was supposed to be pick-proof? You showed it wasn't.
At least, not for a man of your ability.
Whew! Oh, any lock could be picked, Lieutenant, if you know how.
I guess you have to keep pretty good track of the time.
I mean, you get up on the stage late, you'll blow the whole trick.
Absolutely.
Have you had any luck tracing the gun? No, sir.
Could have belonged to anybody.
And what about the napkin? Oh, nothing special.
Just a napkin from the kitchen.
Uh-huh.
Wouldn't be anything like this? You son of a gun, you devil, you.
You did it again.
You really must excuse me now.
Oh, incidentally, Lieutenant, I neglected to have my usual brandy this evening.
It's right here on the table if you care to imbibe.
What did Brandy? Oh, didn't I tell you? I always have brandy brought to me exactly at the same time each evening.
It calms the nerves.
Excuse me, could you tell me who brought Mr.
Santini his brandy last night? Excuse me, I hate to bother you, but Can I have everybody's attention, please? This is police business! Thank you very much.
I just want to talk to the individual who brought Mr.
Santini his brandy last night.
I did.
May I speak to you over there, please? Right, sir.
You can go back to work.
Thank you very much.
You'll have to make it fast, sir.
Got a boiled lobster and a creamed crab ready for table 18.
About this brandy.
What is that? Is that a regular thing? Oh, yes.
During every performance.
I think the old boy needs it to calm his nerves.
And you always take it down to him during that 10 minutes? Yes, sir.
You took him the brandy last night and he was there? Yes, sir.
My lobster and my crab, sir? Right.
You're positive? I know his voice, Lieutenant.
It was him.
What do you mean his voice? You didn't see him? Not actually.
But he was moving around in there.
That I saw.
You're sure? Yes.
Every night he likes to play a mind trick on me.
Last night he asked me to pick a number from one to four.
What do you mean? A number from one to four.
He didn't guess it right, I'd go through the door and he'd give me $5.
So how could he have not been there? If that's what you're thinking.
Thackery, we've got hungry people waiting out there.
Right, Harry.
Boiled lobster and creamed crab.
I'll hop right to it.
Did he guess the right number? Yeah.
Lieutenant Columbo! Lieutenant Columbo! I'd appreciate it if you'd stayed out of my kitchen during dinner hours, right? I'm sorry, I'm a pest, but I'm very confused.
Yeah, you look it.
Simmons, get a wine list over to table 31 right away.
Fast! Mr.
Blandford, one more thing and I'll get out of your way.
You were in and out of the kitchen all night during the evening.
Would you know if there was a new man on last night, however briefly? Look, let me tell you something about the kitchen, huh? We run on a short staff, so we run short.
We call the employment agency, they send over a temporary.
That's a temporary.
The guy comes in here, I say, "Get a red coat, grab a tray, go on out there.
" That's it.
So you wouldn't know if a stranger walked through here? Are you kidding me? I wouldn't notice if my mother came in here and she kissed me.
Why? I'm trying to explain something that is not explainable.
It sounds like you're talking to Santini.
Hey, Carlos, get some flatware out here.
We're running short.
And hustle it up.
Good morning, sir.
Good morning.
What a nasty-looking thing.
Nasty and lethal.
Observe.
A simple carrot.
A flick of the wrist, a downward thrust and A very handy kitchen device.
On the other hand, hardly mystifying.
Now let me demonstrate the magical aspect of this device, sir.
Will you assist me? I'd like to demonstrate this wonderful illusion.
You do have faith, don't you? You don't mean my hand? Please.
In there? Yes, please.
In there.
And you want me to put my hand in there? Yes, right in there, please, sir.
What are you going to do? Now just place your hand a little further in this, sir, if you will.
What are you going to do? Fully guaranteed for two years against all defects and it comes with three extra blades.
$89.
95.
Oh! I'll be a son of a gun.
Don't ever do that again.
Thank you very much.
That's a hell of a trick.
Yes.
Are you interested, Mr Columbo is my name.
No.
Columbo.
Excellent.
Very good.
Is that the Great Columbo? No, just Lieutenant.
Police.
Investigating a murder.
The murder of Jesse Jerome.
Oh, dear Jesse.
To know him was to detest him.
I was in San Marino that night, Lieutenant, at my in-laws'.
Sir, you're not under suspicion.
No, I just want a little information.
Let's say that a man is in one room, but he wants someone to think he's in another room.
To make his voice come from another room.
Do you have a trick like that? No, not really.
I assume you're talking about some kind of radio device.
I'm talking about making your voice come from another room.
Well, someone could speak into a small concealed mike and have his voice come from somewhere else.
Right.
Well, that's not really magic, Lieutenant.
More like the gaff in a head act.
The gaff in a head act? A head act.
Mind reading.
You know, a guy up on the stage and an assistant in the audience, usually a broad, and she asks some guy in the 20th row if he has something he wants to ask the swami, so he whispers it to her.
But what the mark don't know is the broad is rigged with a mike and the guy on the stage has a little receiver behind his ear.
So, if you had a couple of those things and an amplifier, you could create the illusion of being somewhere while you were not.
If you know what you're doing.
Do you have something I could look at? Sure.
Mr.
Lally? Yeah, what can I do for you? Do you remember me? Yeah, you were at the Cabaret club the other night.
Yeah, I sure was.
Come on in.
Thanks.
Help yourself to a beer in the fridge.
What do you pay here? $40 a month.
Maid service? Are you kidding? Maid service? And where is the bathroom? In the hallway.
Hotplate yours? That's my hotplate.
Still not bad.
What did you think of that magician? Oh, he's always been great.
You know, I would've bet money that he couldn't get out of those cuffs.
Don't ever bet against Santini.
He's the cream of cream.
They tell me you go way back with him.
Oh, yeah, way back, when me and my brothers were the top wire act in Europe.
He was the gaff in the head act, and he always brought it off very smooth, very smart.
That's where he got his start.
Was his name Santini then? No, no, not then.
It was Arlington or Kensington, something English, but he had an accent you could chop off with an axe.
Oh, what kind of an accent? I think it was German.
Where'd you first meet him? In Budapest.
Maybe the accent was Hungarian.
But it didn't go along with this English name.
Then zippo.
Five years later, we run into him in Oslo.
The accent's gone, he's very British, and now he's carrying an Italian name.
Santini? The Great Santini.
So the name stuck, and now the accent is American? Yeah, but he grew into a master of accents.
I think he can even imitate you.
I figure he's the kind of man that he could do almost anything if he put his mind to it.
You mean his hand to it.
Right.
What's his real name? I don't know, I never did know.
The television yours? Yeah, that's mine and the hotplate is mine.
The rest belongs to the joint.
What time do you have? The tub.
Is there a tub in the john? No, no, no.
There's one shower on the third floor for everybody.
Listen, thanks.
Don't mention it.
My agents are putting together a completely new tour and I'm going to require a new assistant.
Whatever happened to your daughter? Well, unfortunately, the poor child has gone soft on a rather mediocre singer.
She lacks taste.
Genetically, I don't quite understand it.
Well, maybe it comes from her mother's side of the family.
Not likely, since she was the lady who taught me everything I know.
Seriously, though, I I wish you would consider it.
I have a feeling you'd make a marvelous traveling companion.
I'll think about it.
Please do.
I shouldn't be long.
You stay put now or I'll revoke your driving privileges.
I'm gonna leave this coat in the car.
If somebody tries to lift it, you look the other way.
Yes, may I help you, sir? Oh, no.
What's the matter? Someone I thought I'd seen the last of.
Do you have a match, sir? Yes, sir.
Well, do you think you could make him disappear, too? It's a splendid suggestion, but in his case, I think, rather doubtful.
I'm just gonna join that gentleman at that table for a moment, if you don't mind.
Thank you very much.
Mr.
Santini, I'm sorry.
I didn't mean to intrude.
I'm sure you didn't.
This will only take a moment, unless you prefer my waiting until you're finished.
Lieutenant, what is it about me that you find so irresistible? Well, you know how it is, sir, I gotta check out all the leads until I get my man.
Could have been a woman, you know.
Of course.
There was a homicide at the club.
The owner was murdered.
Please sit.
Ironically, it happened during the course of my act.
Oh, forgive me, Lieutenant Columbo, this is Miss McCarthy.
How do you do, ma'am? Would you like to order cocktail? No, nothing for me.
Do you know a Michael Lally, sir? Yes, of course I know Michael Lally.
And you know very well I know him because you saw me talking to him last night in the club.
Well, according to Mr.
Lally, when he first knew you in Europe, you were going under another name.
Kensington or Arlington.
What of it? You didn't think Santini was really my name, did you? "Does not look Italian.
" That's the very first note I made, sir.
How astute.
But you do use the name of Santini on your passport.
Why, Lieutenant, you've been checking up on me.
Well, I really don't have any choice, sir.
Why are you so preoccupied to find out my real identity? Your origin may be more humble than you make it appear.
And what about you, Lieutenant? Beneath that ruffled exterior, there ticks away the heart of an empiricist philosopher, probing for the truth at all costs.
I'm just doing my job.
But you make it sound so proletarian.
And my job, if you will, has to do with appearances.
I'm not what I appear to be and then again, neither are you.
Mr.
Lally remembers that in the old days you spoke with a different accent.
Was it this one, mein Herr? Or perhaps this one, guvnor.
Is it better? All right.
Or maybe it sounded like this.
Ooh, you're a remarkable man, Mr.
Santini.
How keen of you to notice it.
I could do my East Ukrainian but unfortunately, Miss McCarthy and I have an appointment.
If you'll excuse us, Lieutenant.
Could you at least tell me which name it was? Was it Arlington or was it Kensington? Well, neither, actually.
It was Washington.
Do you have a first name on that, sir? Martha.
Sir, you sent for me? Yes, Wilson, I Lieutenant, I've got an idea.
The waiter, Thackery.
He was the one who brought the coffee up to Jerome, remember? All right, Jerome left the door open for him.
Thackery goes upstairs, goes inside, shoots Jerome, then he fools around with the lock to make it look like somebody picked it.
That's very good.
The magician did it.
What? Mr.
Santini killed Mr.
Jerome.
Santini? Santini was in the basement.
You yourself said he was down there playing the trick with Thackery.
He was going to personally hand Thackery $5 if Santini couldn't guess the number.
Well, his voice was in the basement.
He wasn't there.
Only his voice.
You see, what we have to remember is that Mr.
Santini is a master of illusion.
He makes you believe what he wants you to believe.
Pick a number from one to four.
Pick a number? Pick any number from one to four.
I got it.
What is it? Two.
Lift up the telephone receiver.
Turn it over.
"I knew you were thinking of number two.
" How did you do that? If you had picked number four, I would tell you to look under the ashtray.
"I knew you were thinking of number four.
" If you had said number one, I'd tell you to pick up the hole punch.
"I knew you were thinking of number one.
" If you had picked number three "I knew you were thinking of number three.
" That's Where did you learn this? That trick cost me $17.
35 in a magic shop.
Oh, that's expensive.
All right, let's say Santini wasn't in the basement.
I mean, let's say Santini did it.
But what's the motive? I mean, there has to be a motive.
Yes, there is always a motive.
We just have to find it.
Come on.
Where are we going? We can't find a motive here.
Yeah, where are we going to find it? I don't know.
So where are we going? Wilson, will you I forgot my coat.
Coat? We'll get some air.
Right.
Think.
Lieutenant, what happened to your new coat? Oh, that? It didn't fit.
The wife, she's gonna change it for something new.
Oh.
Excuse me, mac, you were just sitting down? I beg your pardon.
Wilson, this man was just sitting down.
Forgive me.
Would you turn around? I just want to see the back of your shirt.
Perspiration.
You were sitting? Yes, I was sitting.
Where were you sitting? That corner chair right over there.
Leather.
Wilson, take this down.
Just before Mr.
Jerome was killed, we know he was sitting.
The next question is where was he sitting? There are seven chairs and a couch.
Where was he sitting? Well, his jacket was on this chair.
So he could have been sitting in this chair.
There was a glass of wine on the desk and the reading glasses.
He could have been He was sweating.
Yes.
His shirt was damp.
You can see the discoloration.
It starts at the belt and works halfway up the back.
So we rule out all the chairs with cloth.
He was sitting on leather.
Sit in that chair.
That's a high-back leather chair.
We rule that out.
The sweat line would come to the shoulders.
High-back leather chair.
We rule that out.
He was sitting in this chair.
Sweat line hits in the right place.
So, we know where he was sitting.
What was he doing? Well, we know he came up to check the cash receipts.
But the cash box was never opened.
The reading glasses.
There were reading glasses on the desk.
He might have been reading.
Was there reading material around? Books, papers or letters? No.
He wasn't reading.
No, nothing, sir.
The telephone! He might have been on the telephone, talking on the telephone.
Here for 40 minutes? Maybe part of the time.
I don't see any connection between taking out reading glasses and making a call.
He could have been writing.
The pad is bare.
He never did what he came up here to do.
He came up here to count his money, double-locked the door, put the money on his desk but he never opened the box.
Why? Was it because he got absorbed in listening to music? Or did he have something more important to do? I would assume it was because he had something more important to do.
I think he had something more important to do.
What was it? Lieutenant Columbo.
Good afternoon.
You know Sergeant Wilson? How do you do? Do you know how unnerving it is for everyone who works with me and works in this building because you and your men are snooping around? Now, is there any chance that you could be a little less conspicuous? It is unnerving.
My apologies, sir.
Thank you.
Now, may I know how long you and Dr.
Watson here are going to be poking around? Well, we are making progress, sir.
Oh.
Anything significant? Tell Mr.
Santini about the trick that I played on you today.
The Lieutenant's become a magician.
Go on, tell him about it.
He'll get a kick out of it.
The Lieutenant asked me to think of a number between one and four, and then he would guess the number that I was thinking and prove it.
And there was no doubt about it.
The number was two.
I was thinking of the number two.
He asked me the number I was thinking and I told him two.
And then he asked me to look under the telephone.
I looked under the telephone and there was a little slip of paper and on it said, "I knew you were thinking of number two.
" Bravo.
That's magic, wizardry.
Actually, Dunninger used it in his act.
It's an old standby.
Now, you said you were making some progress.
Yes, sir, we've determined where Mr.
Jerome was just before the murder.
Of course, he was right here in the office.
Where in the office? Now, how would I know that? He was sitting in this chair.
Do you know that for a fact? Yes.
What were we talking about before Mr.
Santini came in? Well, we were concerned with what Mr.
Jerome was doing while he was sitting in the chair.
Right.
We were concentrating on the reading glasses.
Right.
Actually, sir, we were concerned with the motive.
Right.
You see, sir, we're stumped with the motive.
Do you have a suspect? Yes.
You do? We do, but we don't have a motive for you.
Oh.
I am the suspect.
How interesting.
Well, finding a motive should be a piece of cake for a couple of clever men like you.
And I promise you I will not disappear before your very eyes when you come to arrest me.
The reading glasses.
You know, Lieutenant, you would wear reading glasses if you were typing.
Yes, you would wear reading glasses if you were typing, but there was no paper in the typewriter.
And there was no typewritten documents in either the desk, in the drawers or on top.
There is nothing in this room to indicate that that man was typing.
What's this? What's what, sir? This.
Looks like a golf ball.
That's how it types, sir.
The ball types the letters.
But it's not moving.
The typewriter.
This thing is not moving.
Carriage.
This is the carriage, but there is no carriage on this typewriter.
You see, the ball moves from left to right.
Allow me to demonstrate, sir, please.
You see, I used one of these at the Academy Typing School.
Oh, I didn't know they had one.
Oh, yes.
I'll be a son of a gun.
Oh, it's a remarkable machine, Lieutenant.
Very modern.
See this? This is a disposable carbon ribbon for a very crisp image.
Top speed of this machine I'd say is about 220 words a minute.
Beautiful.
Beautiful machine.
Well, sir, shall we get cracking? "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party.
" Lieutenant, shall we continue the search? Very good, Wilson.
Very good.
Thank you, sir.
Thank you.
Harry, what's going on? That Lieutenant's got Danny Green up in Jesse's office.
Something's about to break on the murder.
Why do you suppose he wants to see me? He didn't say.
I've got work to do.
You're crazy.
Santini couldn't have done it.
He killed him, Mr.
Green, and I can prove it.
I can prove how and I can prove why.
Blackmail.
Blackmail? Come on.
Blackmail.
Jesse Jerome knew that Santini was really Stefan Mueller, a former SS guard at the end of World War II.
And when Jesse Jerome threatened to expose him, Mueller killed him.
But how? He was in the basement.
I can prove it.
When he gets here I'm gonna show you how he did it.
There's no sense running, sir.
There's no place to run to.
I just heard you talking upstairs in the room with Green.
No, sir, we were never up there.
It's an easy illusion to create.
All you need is some miniature radio equipment.
The receiver, a wireless mike and a transmitter.
You used something like this the other night.
You used it when you fooled the waiter into thinking you were still in the basement when you were performing that "pick a number from one to four" trick, when in reality you were upstairs, killing Jesse Jerome.
Bravo.
Wrong, but an interesting theory.
More than that.
It shows opportunity.
And the letter shows motive.
A letter? A letter addressed to the Department of Immigration and Naturalization.
It identifies you as a war criminal.
Means, opportunity, and motive.
It's enough to convict for first degree murder.
It's impossible.
It's a trick and not a very good one.
A trick? No.
That's the letter.
Oh, no, Lieutenant.
No, you see, this letter was burned.
So much for your letter.
There's the letter.
I hope you were watching carefully.
That's my best trick.
Of course, I don't have your style, but I get pretty good results.
You can burn that one, too, if you like.
There's plenty more where that came from.
Wilson.
You made one mistake.
You did not look closely enough at that typewriter.
If you had, you would have seen that it used a plastic carbon ribbon.
Disposable carbon ribbon, sir.
The kind you don't reuse.
And when the key strikes the ribbon, it punches out a letter that is clearly visible on the used ribbon.
You can see it.
I want you to see for yourself.
If you look carefully at this section of the ribbon, you'll see that it says, "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party.
" I typed that.
Sergeant Wilson typed that.
But Jesse Jerome typed something else.
And if we unwind the entire used section of the ribbon, we see what Mr.
Jerome typed.
"Department of Immigration and Naturalization, Washington D.
C.
"Enclosed find a letter which proves "that Santini is in reality an ex-Nazi" "named Stefan Mueller.
" I don't think there's any need for me to go any further, is there, sir? No.
Means, opportunity, motive.
And I thought I'd performed the perfect murder.
Perfect murder, sir.
Oh, I'm sorry, there is no such thing as a perfect murder.
That's just an illusion.
Officer.