Columbo (1971) s08e01 Episode Script

Columbo Goes to the Guillotine

Let's have some light on the lady, please.
Raise your left hand, and what do you see? I see a person with her left hand raised.
That's what you're supposed to see, Paula.
We're still calibrating.
Talk to me, Dr.
My name is Paula Hull.
My doctorate is in parapsychology.
I'm the director of the Anneman Institute for Psychic Research, and I feel very silly talking about myself like this.
Also, everything I just said is a lie.
Too early to tell.
Anybody got a question for Dr.
Hull? How old are you, Paula? Inadmissible question.
All right, we'll ask something else.
What is the head of the Institute doing in the isolation chamber? I don't see why the assistants should have all the fun.
I just thought I'd try it myself this time.
Not yet, Mr.
We're still calibrating.
But the answer does appear false.
Ooh, what do you say to that, Paula? If you really want to know, I'm here because I damn well don't trust anybody else.
Please, Paula.
I have to calibrate my own machine.
The test'll be difficult enough.
No jokes, please.
Polygraph ready.
For the official record, it is Monday, March 14th, the third of our series of tests establishing the telepathic capabilities of our subject, Mr.
Eliot Blake.
Again, we are being observed by a distinguished panel of CIA and Pentagon officials.
Let us begin.
Hull, you'll find in front of you a deck of Zenner cards.
Please shuffle the deck thoroughly, and cut it.
Now place the deck face down in front of you.
When I say begin, you will turn over the cards, one by one, and name each card.
Whether you name each card correctly or incorrectly is entirely up to you.
Is that clear? Yes.
Now, Mr.
Blake, you will attempt to determine, to the best of your ability, whether Dr.
Hull's statements are true or false.
Is that clear? Perfectly.
Very well.
Test number one.
I'm looking at a circle.
Test number two.
Test number three.
Blake? False.
Test 399.
No, no, no.
Test 400.
A wavy line.
And that completes our series at this time.
The third card after a wavy line is always false.
How many times have we been through this? I'm sorry, Eliot, I tried.
Try to understand there's a precision to all this.
And it starts with the premise that you will lose your institute unless you please the military and Mr.
Do you think you've pleased them, Paula? No.
Not yet.
Not yet.
Because you gave them 74% accuracy when you and I agreed to set a level of 86%.
We'll rehearse it again.
The first answer after the square is always true, unless there's an intervening circle, and the second answer after a wavy line is always false, unless that wavy line itself is false.
Or is it true? God, I don't know anymore! So much for our scientific study of extrasensory perception.
Our Mr.
Harrow is not impressed with statistics.
This man is in the market for miracles.
I have the power to astonish him, you, and the entire world, Paula.
But I am not a dancing dog in a carnival.
Eliot, he will be back tomorrow.
We have to show him more.
God, we never should have started this.
We started this for you.
To maintain your funding, my dearest Doctor.
Tomorrow I can resume my work in London.
If that's what you would prefer.
I want you here with me.
Then believe this.
God has blessed me with gifts as far beyond trickery as the stars lie beyond this earth.
You're frightened, Paula.
I know.
I always know.
What you're thinking.
What you're feeling.
Has Dyson arrived yet? Yes, sir, I believe he has.
The Soviet Union is deeply engaged in psychic research for intelligence purposes.
Now, either they're a pack of fools or we're missing a very important bet.
Take a position, Dr.
Our position's obvious, Mr.
In terms of practical results, Eliot's scores are the highest ever recorded at this institute.
Well, in that case, the next time we suspect a double agent in our midst, I'll just frighten him to death with your test scores.
Exactly what do you want of me? Hard proof of your abilities.
The impossible on demand.
That's a fair description.
For a subject of your qualifications.
What flavor of impossible? In general terms, a demonstration that you can, telepathically and precisely, intercept the thoughts and actions of an enemy.
Fair enough? Nothing is that certain in the field of parapsychology.
Oh, I think we can satisfy Mr.
Harrow's fierce thirst for certainty.
On what terms? Our terms.
Are you willing, Mr.
Blake, to submit to one more test? One conducted by an outside authority? I have no objections.
I'm sure you're both familiar with Max Dyson.
April fool, Paula.
Say hello to the bogeyman.
This is your authority? A fake magician? Fake? I'm a magician.
Max the Magnificent.
A pretty good mentalist in my time.
I've certainly learned all the tricks.
You are aware that Mr.
Dyson's made a specialty out of dealing with psychics.
The expression is "exposing charlatans.
" This institute exposes charlatans.
We ought to get along fine.
You're Eliot Blake.
And you're Max, the Magnificent.
Just so we understand each other, I've tested hundreds of you people, your incredible, mystical psychic gifts.
Surely some were genuine.
Not a one.
Nothing I couldn't explain and duplicate.
That's in case anyone here has the idea I'm a believer.
So if you still want to play, these are the protocols.
We'll try some distant viewing.
We'll need a day or two to study the conditions.
If the terms are as straightforward as Magnificent Max, I think we can make a contribution to his education in psychic phenomena.
We might even make him a believer.
You realize what this means, Mr.
Blake? Yes.
It could mean the end of my career.
Or possibly yours, Max.
Now we shall see.
Now we shall see.
That's for the past.
Now we're matched against each other.
"Eliot Blake"? I've been reading about you.
European journals.
When did you change your name? When I got out, Max.
Three years after you.
in the shade, or an afternoon of poker in a Ugandan prison.
I read that in your book.
Dyson On Mind Reading.
You're giving away our secrets, Max.
We survived the African slammer.
You were a very good student.
Why not? You taught me everything you knew.
Everything I know.
What are you going to do about the test, Eliot? I'm gonna try and fool you, Max.
Unless you back off.
I can't do that.
You can.
No, no, no.
Gone too far now.
For both of us.
You better be good, kid.
Oh, I am, Max.
I'm very good.
Ready, Mr.
Blake? I'm ready, Max.
Pursuant to instructions from Mr.
Harrow, I've designed today's test to eliminate any possibility of fraud, collusion or deception.
The selected problem is viewing at a distance.
Three military officers in the field will randomly select three distant target images and attempt to project those images to our subject, Eliot Blake, by mental telepathy.
The subject will attempt to intercept these projections via extrasensory perception.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is our test.
All right.
Cars Alpha, Bravo and Charlie, wherever you are, as soon as you can do so safely, pull over to the side of the road and report in.
This is Bravo reporting.
Alpha reporting in.
Charlie reporting.
Gentlemen, you have each been given a sealed package.
Please open it now.
Inside you will find a city map book , an eye shield, a felt-tip pen, a rubber band, a compass, and an instant camera.
To ensure that each of you select an absolutely random viewing target, please put on the eye shield.
Now flip through the pages of the map book and stop at any random page.
Take the felt-tip pen and touch it to the page you've selected.
When you've done that, wrap the rubber band around the map book, and remove the eye shield.
When you get there, report in.
Any objections, Mr.
Blake? It's your test, Max.
This is Bravo.
I'm in position.
Harrow, will you select a direction, north, south, east or west? West.
Lieutenant, turn to the west and take a photograph of what you see.
Now clear your mind of everything else and concentrate intently on the scene before you.
All right, Mr.
Blake, if you're able to receive any images, please record them on your pad.
I have something.
Place your sketch in the drawer on your left.
Back to you, Lieutenant.
Please place the photograph of your target into the fax machine on the seat next to you.
Well, Max? Now we'll see.
We got him.
I think we have some work for you, Mr.
Are you a believer, Max? Congratulations.
Bad idea, your coming here.
I should've said no.
Oh, I wanted this, Max.
What is all this? It's a guillotine.
I don't exactly get rich hiring out to people like Mr.
This I build magic effects.
I have a magic store downstairs.
Do me a favor.
Lie down.
Why did you help me today, Max? Quite a little stunt we pulled.
Maybe we should take it on the road.
Why, Max? You have to ask me that? After what we went through in Uganda? So we cooked up a little illusion for Mr.
I'll survive the insult.
See how you like this.
Beautiful effect, huh? You know, Max, for a moment this afternoon, I really thought that you were going to betray me.
What do you mean? That show that you put on, well, I thought it might be to make it up to me, you know, for what happened in the prison.
Remember, Max? The escape we planned.
And then one day you vanished.
Max the Magnificent was out.
And then the guards knew exactly where to look for my clever little escape tricks.
My God, is that what you think? I think you sold me, Max.
Freedom for you Three more years for me.
That isn't true! And every hour of every night, I dreamt about being like this.
They let me go! Here and now! I gave them money! I never betrayed you.
I never gave them you.
If you want to kill me, you can, but try to remember what we meant to each other in that place.
What we gave each other, and put that together with this craziness.
It doesn't make sense.
Okay, Max.
I had to know.
Your hands are shaking.
Be calm, old friend.
Go back to your machine, hmm? Maybe I will.
No guilt to hide, hmm? You finish up.
And then, well, perhaps we can have a drink, hmm? It's almost done.
Well, you'll need this.
No! What are you doing? Tell me again about our friendship.
You don't understand.
I had to get out of that place.
Oh! Oh, no! You didn't really think I'd ever forgive you, did you, Max? Didn't your wife just have a baby? Yes, sir.
Last month.
A boy.
What'd you name him? Harry.
That's some terrific name for a baby.
What's happening here, Officer? Oh, I don't know, Lieutenant.
The owner, he's the guy behind the bar.
He won't talk to nobody but Homicide.
Nobody else.
You the owner? Who are you? Lieutenant Columbo.
You're the owner? Sergeant Russo, retired.
What's the problem here, Sergeant? Blood.
Well, what's up there? Some kind of workshop.
Belongs to the magic shop next door.
We're getting there, Lieutenant.
Was he in the habit of working late? All night sometimes.
That's why he bolts that door and locks the freight elevator.
So if nobody got in there, what happened to him? We got it, Lieutenant.
You'd better not come in.
I give you a time of death somewhere between 11:00 and midnight.
And you can count on it.
Lieutenant, this is the screwdriver we found in his hand.
Look at this, Sergeant.
What do you think of that? This whole place is one big magic trick.
You can't believe anything you see.
Both doors were locked from the inside, the freight elevator locked, the door to the stairs locked.
The safety bolt over there, it's hanging from its chain.
I mean, the guy obviously screwed up.
I'm gonna give you this one as an accident, and you can count on it.
Hey, that was off when I got here.
It was off when I got here, too.
I mean, it could have been a suicide.
But who ever heard of a suicide with a guillotine? I'm still gonna give you this one as an accident.
Have the lab check this out for blood.
You never know.
He was loved, but not by those mind readers and psychics.
They weren't so crazy about him once he got on their case.
But magicians loved him.
I loved him.
I've never seen so many wonderful tricks.
Those beautiful Chinese rings.
And that terrific birdcage.
Once, on a vacation with Mrs.
Columbo, I saw a magician make a tiger disappear right out of a ring.
But I have never seen a trick like that guillotine trick upstairs.
That must be some dangerous trick.
Not if you're careful.
Max built in some safeguards that made it all foolproof.
What happened to Max? That didn't look very foolproof.
How do you explain that? Are you sure you won't join me, Lieutenant? No, thank you very much, sir.
Max must've gotten careless.
Forgot to lock in the safety bolt.
To Max the Magnificent.
To Max, sir.
And all these tricks, you know how they all work? That's my job.
A very beautiful and ancient art.
And the mind reading part, how did all that work? Consultant to universities, corporations, government agencies, exposing those ESP people.
He even wrote a book on it, Dyson On Mind Reading.
Max was so good himself, he never found a psychic who wasn't a fake.
Not a single one.
Until yesterday.
Is that a fact, sir? He conducted a big test out at some think tank institute.
Really shook him up.
Are you sure you won't join me, Lieutenant? Well, Mr.
Spindler, I think I'm off duty now.
There you go.
Max Dyson, a magician's magician.
To Max.
Max the Magnificent.
The psychic who passed Mr.
Dyson's test, ma'am, he must be an extremely gifted person to pass a test like this.
He is indeed, Lieutenant.
The test was an enormous success.
A milestone in authenticated parapsychology.
Now, this Mr.
Blake, could I meet Mr.
Blake? Eliot? Why? Well, it's just police routine, Dr.
Hull, for our report.
When someone dies the way Mr.
Dyson did, in a strange way like that, we have to make out a very full report.
Dyson and Mr.
Blake, have they worked together before? I wouldn't say they'd worked together at all.
If anything, I'd say they worked against each other.
I mean, they met only a few days ago.
Let me see if I can find Eliot for you, hmm? Excuse me.
Lieutenant, would you mind waiting here? Oh, no, ma'am.
Sorry, I thought you wanted me to come.
I'll be right back.
Now, if you'll stay together and follow me, we'll have a look at our special research operations.
Our subjects, incidentally, have been selected from all over the world.
As bizarre as some of these studies may seem, bear in mind that all of these phenomena are also being closely analyzed in the Soviet Union.
Here our researchers are testing some visiting telepaths.
Computer analysis show that these folks are scoring 67%.
That's well above the national norm, but far below Institute standards.
From India.
And here, in this booth, they're testing Turkish twins whose brain waves are perfectly synchronized, a prerequisite for telepathic communication.
And this subject possesses an extraordinary ability to detect colors and shapes with her fingertips.
A form of eyeless vision utilizing an unknown form of electromagnetic radiation that could have military applications as important as radar.
But we humans aren't the only species that exhibit extrasensory perception.
As you can see, plants, too, are subject to fear, a phenomenon that may well replace chemicals as a military defoliant.
This way, please.
In our computer center, we'll see how all this works out in terms of statistical analysis.
It's okay, don't worry.
See, it's not lit.
Lieutenant Columbo? I'm Eliot Blake, and I understand you wanted to see me.
I do, indeed, sir.
Forgive me for wandering off, but all these things, absolutely fascinating.
I'm Lieutenant Columbo.
But you knew who I was right away, sir.
That's incredible.
Well, your ID badge helped, Lieutenant.
Now, how can I help you? Well, I'm not sure, sir.
I'm investigating the death of Max Dyson.
Whenever someone dies, and he isn't under a doctor's care, we have to do these things, Mr.
Is there some place we could talk? The door's marked secret.
Are you sure we should be in here? Everything about this place is secret, Lieutenant.
This is where the Institute does most of its important testing.
It's a fantastic place.
Most of their research is funded by the government.
As you can imagine, the potential military application of extrasensory perception is virtually limitless.
I never thought of that.
Is that what they call an isolation booth, sir? Isolation chamber.
That's where I did my work yesterday.
And passed Mr.
Dyson's test.
That's right, Lieutenant, I passed his test.
You are the first psychic who ever did that, aren't you, sir? So I'm told.
That's very impressive, sir.
My goodness.
And Mr.
Dyson, what was his reaction to your passing his test? Shock.
Understandable, of course, when you consider he spent his whole life denying the validity of extrasensory perception.
I do understand that, sir.
Hull, she said that you never met Mr.
Dyson until a few days ago.
Is that right, sir? Two days before the test.
Well, forgive me, sir, but that strikes me as very odd, you both being in the same business and all.
We're hardly in the same business, Lieutenant.
I'm a psychic.
Max Dyson was a magician.
He made his living convincing his clients that all psychic phenomena are fraudulent.
For the past 12 years, I've lived in Europe, where the psychic community takes a good deal of pride in policing itself without the aid of people like Max Dyson.
Well, now I've got to admit I'm confused, sir.
What confuses you, Lieutenant? Your feeling the way you do about Mr.
I can't help wondering, why did you agree to be tested by him? Well, that's simple.
Dyson's client insisted upon it.
Do you mind telling me who that client was, sir? I'm sorry, Lieutenant, I can't tell you his name.
Like everything else around here, that's a secret.
Well, there I go asking the wrong questions again.
So whenever I do that, you just stop me, sir, the way you just did.
One more thing, sir.
Can you do me a favor? It'll only take a minute.
Of course, if I can.
Oh, you can, sir.
I'm convinced of that.
Well, what is it, Lieutenant? Can you read my mind? Your mind? Tell me what I'm thinking? Well, I can try.
Over here.
Now, you see, Lieutenant, these are six ESP cards, a square, a circle, a cross, a wavy line, a triangle and a star.
I want you to mentally select one of them, then draw a picture of it in your notebook.
Any card I want? Any card you want.
Just think about it and draw a picture of it.
Is it okay if I change my mind? Of course.
I got it.
Now concentrate intently upon the image that you drew.
You can open your eyes now, Lieutenant.
Is that the card that you were thinking of? That's it.
That's incredible.
And I sense that that was the one that you were thinking of before you changed your mind.
That's right, sir.
That's the exact card.
I was thinking of a circle, and then I changed my mind.
And you knew that.
You knew the exact card.
What I wouldn't give to be able to do that.
In my business, if I knew exactly what the suspect was thinking, well, I would make some wonderful detective.
I imagine you would.
Do the anti-gravico.
Do the rattle bars.
Do the multiplying rabbits.
Do the Svengali deck, Bert.
The Svengali deck.
Which one of you got money? I do.
Show me.
Then we do the Svengali deck.
All right.
Oh, I'll be with you in a minute, Lieutenant.
No hurry, sir.
Now I have here an ordinary deck of cards.
But watch very, very carefully, backs are all the same, faces are all different.
What a bunch of saps.
Bert's hustling them.
You a magician? Me? Nah, just a cop.
You a magician? Watch this.
Pick a card, any one you like.
Got it? Got it.
In the middle.
In the middle.
No, it's not.
It's on the top.
What's your card? Ace of diamonds.
Is this the ace of diamonds? Let's do that again.
In the middle.
In the middle.
And off the top.
That's practice.
Study and practice.
Those kids, they're just kids.
They never even heard of practice.
Let me see your cigar.
Nice and sharp.
I want to thank you for that.
They call this the finger guillotine.
Stick your finger in there.
You sure you know how to work this? Don't worry, Max Dyson taught me.
Now that's a neat trick.
Name's Tommy.
I do birthday parties, bar mitzvahs.
Whatever you need.
Gimme a call sometime.
Now that's called the Svengali deck.
You know how to work this thing? Sure.
I figured you'd ask.
That's why I brought this.
What's that? Your head.
Now, your head goes here.
Okay, Lieutenant.
Now, the first thing the magician does is prove to the audience that this is a real guillotine.
That's the convincer, where the magician shows the blade is really sharp.
Well, that's one thing I'm already convinced.
Now you lie down on the board, face up.
Listen, if I have to lose a finger, okay.
But a whole neck? Oh, come on, Lieutenant.
You're gonna love it.
That's it, just lie back, down there.
You sure you're doing this right? Yeah.
Pretty sure.
Comfy? Good.
Here we go.
How's your neck, Lieutenant? I'm just glad Mrs.
Columbo wasn't here to see this.
She'd have had a heart attack.
I think I just had one.
I had to go and ask how this thing works.
No, you didn't.
You asked me if I knew how to work it.
That's an entirely different thing.
Different than what? Asking me to explain the trick, how the guillotine works.
Well, that's what I was gonna ask you.
You were going to ask me a thing like that? Well, that's what I had in mind.
I can't tell, Lieutenant.
But this is for Max.
Max was a magician.
I'm a magician.
You're not a magician.
Magicians never tell.
I gotta get back downstairs.
Oh, let me know if there's anything I can do to help you, Lieutenant.
Anything at all.
See you later.
Of all the magi we have known, this was the wisest.
Let us pray now for our brother of the earthly mysteries, Max Dyson.
His inquiring mind and vast knowledge embraced all the enigmas of our secret science.
In theory, he was unexcelled.
In execution, perfect.
In his brief, illuminating journey, he unlocked all the arcane secrets of those who came before.
Now he has been summoned by the grand master of the universe to join his mystic circle, and to be initiated into the most miraculous mystery of them all.
Max the Magnificent has performed his most breathtaking vanishing act.
In a twinkling, he is gone from our stage.
We applaud him and sing farewell.
Blake, sir.
Excuse me, Mr.
Yes, Lieutenant.
It was a very enjoyable funeral.
Very moving.
For a moment there, sir, I believe you had a tear in your eye.
Did I? Well, to tell you the truth, I thought that was, well, it was peculiar, Mr.
Considering that you were what we might call professional adversaries.
If a man weeps at all, Lieutenant, he weeps at funerals.
But you hardly knew him, sir.
There are those here who loved him.
One respects that.
I understand, sir.
What I want to do, Mr.
Blake, I want to talk to you about my problem, my report on exactly what happened when Mr.
Dyson lost his head, so to speak.
I really do have to be getting back to the Institute.
Which brings me to another point, sir.
Whenever I'm stuck on a case, whenever I don't know what to do, my wife, Mrs.
Columbo, she always hands me an article from one of those supermarket magazines about some psychic that goes to the scene of the crime, feels around for the vibrations, and he solves the case.
Yes, Lieutenant, such things are quite common in parapsychology journals.
There was a very successful Dutch psychic that Exactly, sir.
That's what I want to ask you.
Could you do that for me? I'm sorry, I've never done such a thing.
Well, it could be a very important experiment, Mr.
I hate to bother you like this, but could you come down to where Mr.
Dyson died and see if you could sense anything? I agree, Lieutenant.
Perhaps I could try.
Well, that's all I can ask, sir.
Sorry I'm late, Lieutenant.
Oh, no, sir.
I used the time to start Mr.
Dyson's book.
Did you know he had written a book? On mind reading, sir.
So, this is where it all happened, hmm? Well, it's not just a book on how to pretend to read minds.
It's all about Mr.
Dyson's life.
Did you know that he was in a prison in Uganda? No.
I didn't know that, either.
This is some sort of safety device? Yes, sir.
I believe it's called a safety bolt.
That's the way it was hanging the night he died.
The reason Mr.
Dyson ended up there in that African prison, so he says, one card trick too many.
The game was poker.
There was some kind of an argument there, some kind of Oh, here I go on about Mr.
Dyson, and you came here to help me.
I'm sorry, sir, I'll just sit down over here, and you go right ahead, Mr.
Exactly what is it that you expect of me, Lieutenant? I thought maybe you could sense.
Sense? Vibrations.
Like how Mr.
Dyson died in this room.
Are you sensing something? Please, Lieutenant.
I'm sorry, sir.
I'm sorry.
There is an emotional mist in this place.
A residue of despair, and hopelessness.
Pain beyond belief.
And here An ache of anguish as tangible as brick.
A passion to escape from life itself.
Torment, death, and freedom.
To end it all.
I'm sorry, Lieutenant, I I don't think I can get any more.
Suicide? What a terrible, terrible way to die.
That's the most incredible thing I've ever seen.
To draw all that right out of the air.
The atmosphere.
The residue.
So it seems.
But it couldn't have been suicide.
The emotional track was as strong as perfume.
Why would the man commit suicide, sir? I observed him to be a broken man.
After his test with the Institute, well, his entire universe was shattered.
After his lifelong claim that all psychics were frauds, well, he had nowhere left to stand.
Well, that could explain suicide, sir, but what about this? Cabbage? Cabbage.
And wait till you see this.
A three-pound corned beef.
Corned beef.
Corned beef and cabbage, sir.
Why would a man go to the market and buy yourself a three-pound corned beef and pick out two head of cabbage, and then go home and cut off his own head? Well, he could have bought these things at any time, Lieutenant.
You're right again, sir.
But what about this? The receipt from the market.
You see the time? And the date? Do you see what I mean, sir? Yes, Lieutenant.
Then I agree.
We must eliminate suicide.
As you understand suicide.
Still, my impressions of this place are pain, despair and hopelessness.
Suicide has many modes.
Sometimes the victim can, um disguise it to himself, provoke an accident, and perish.
An accident, Lieutenant.
That's terrific sensing, sir.
An accident that the victim wants to happen.
But it couldn't have been an accident.
I don't think I follow.
It's this screwdriver, sir.
To the guillotine, please.
It's the same screwdriver that we found in the victim's hand when we found him lying like this, only without a head, sir.
No head and a screwdriver.
Can you see how the screwdriver is in this hand, sir? Yes, Lieutenant.
I can see very clearly.
Now, in this position, before the blade came down, the only screws he could reach were here, right here.
Right here inside this track, sir.
Like this, sir.
But this screwdriver, this is just a regular screwdriver, what they call a slotted screwdriver, for regular screws.
But if you'll look at this screw, sir, you see here? You see that kind of screw? That's a Phillips head screw.
That's a completely different kind of screw.
And a Phillips head screw, that takes a completely different kind of screwdriver.
Like this one here, sir.
And we found it on the floor along with a lot of other tools near the guillotine.
Do you see the difference, sir? Do you see what that means, sir? What do you think it means, Lieutenant? Well, to me it means that Mr.
Dyson couldn't have had the slotted screwdriver in his hand, not when he died.
What would he be doing with it? And it means that Mr.
Dyson must've been working with the Phillips head screwdriver.
And when he died, the Phillips head screwdriver, it fell on the floor like this.
And here's the really interesting part.
Somebody, somebody who was here, must've picked up the other screwdriver by mistake, and put it into Mr.
Dyson's hand, maybe to make it look like an accident.
But it wasn't an accident, sir.
That's what these two screwdrivers tell us.
Well, if it couldn't have been an accident, Lieutenant, and it couldn't have been suicide, are you intimating that Max Dyson was, um, murdered? Oh, no, sir.
I'm saying it straight out that the man was murdered, because we have to consider this, too.
When the police came, they found this part, what they call the collar, it was lying here, like this.
Way over here.
And the lab boys, they found strong traces of blood, Mr.
Dyson's blood, on this collar.
Which means that when he was killed, the collar was like this.
And the murderer, would that be the same one that put the screwdriver back into Mr.
Dyson's hand? And the murderer, he took the collar off and he laid it over here.
So all of this would look like an accident.
But it certainly was a murder, sir.
But the newspapers said that the workshop was locked from the inside.
Two doors, both locked.
Yes, sir.
The elevator door and the door to the stairs.
Well, if that's true, and Max Dyson was murdered, how did the murderer get out? That is very puzzling, Mr.
Very puzzling indeed.
And I was hoping you could help us with that.
Me? How could I? Vibrations, sir.
Maybe what the murderer was feeling or thinking.
Well, so far, Lieutenant, I seem to be picking up all the wrong vibrations.
I'm sorry, I don't seem to have been very much help.
Well, don't you worry about it, Mr.
Now that we've come this far, we're certainly gonna find the murderer.
And when we do, maybe you can help us by reading his mind.
You must consider very carefully, Eliot, if you choose to enter my employment, there will be consequences.
I undertake that your wages will be handsome, your life comfortable and your work rewarding.
Understood? Yes, I understand.
These are circumstances as unusual as your own abilities, and I can give very little time for your decision.
If you accept, a plane will arrive tomorrow night to remove us from this environment.
In your case, it will be forever.
Eliot Blake will vanish.
You will get a new identity, a new name, a new life.
Understood? Yes.
You let me know by tomorrow night.
Good afternoon, Lieutenant.
What a pleasant surprise.
I hope I'm not disturbing you, sir.
Not at all.
I'm just doing some reading.
London Psychic Society? They just made you an honorary member there, didn't they, Mr.
Blake? Now, how on earth did you know that? I was reading your curriculum vitae that the Institute put out.
I was very impressed, sir.
What is a curriculum vitae? Like a resume, Lieutenant.
You seem to be taking quite an interest in me.
And you've gotten me very interested in mind reading.
Do you remember the experiment you did with me over at the Institute? The one with the Zenner cards? I tried it out on Mrs.
Successfully, I hope? I'm gonna let you be the judge of that.
Columbo, she was absolutely astounded.
Just pick out one of those cards, sir.
Any one you want.
You sure you don't want to change your mind? Quite sure.
Okay, sir.
Now you just draw on this blank sheet of paper the card that you were thinking of.
Okay, concentrate on that card.
You're thinking of a star.
Am I right, sir? Perfectly done, Lieutenant.
You see, everybody possesses a degree of psychic ability.
It's just a question of development.
Oh, no, sir, I'm not psychic.
That was just a trick.
I read it in Mr.
Dyson's book.
I don't know whether I should tell you this or not, sir, because you're not a magician.
And magicians, you know, they can't reveal their secrets.
But all I did was watch the end of the pencil.
I watched how it moved.
And I could tell right away what picture you were drawing.
Well, you certainly fooled me.
I was convinced that you had actually read my mind.
Oh, no, sir, no.
No, I'm not psychic.
I just wish I was psychic.
Because this case, it's still got me puzzled.
What's puzzling you now, Lieutenant? I was looking at your curricular vitae.
You were born in Uganda.
Yes, my father was in business there.
I think I told you, sir, that Mr.
Dyson, he spent time in Uganda, too.
You didn't happen to know him, by any chance? I've told you, Lieutenant.
I didn't know him at all.
I seem to remember your telling me that Mr.
Dyson also spent some time in a Ugandan prison.
Since I left there when I was six, it's hardly likely that I should have met him.
I could have figured that out myself.
It's right here.
Anything else puzzling you, Lieutenant? Oh, yes, there are a lot of things that are puzzling me.
But I'm not gonna take up any more of your time.
You've been very cooperative, sir, and I appreciate it.
Good day.
Good day, Lieutenant.
Yes, Mr.
Eliot Blake will be checking out late tomorrow.
Suite 211.
The Anneman Institute will be taking care of the bill.
Yes, Dr.
Paula Hull.
Thank you.
Who was that? What? Oh, that was room service.
I thought you might like some champagne, hmm? Well, you're quite a vintage yourself.
Paula, what would you say if I told you that I was going away for a while? Hmm? For how long? Quite a long time.
It's Harrow, isn't it? He's made me a proposition.
I'm giving it some thought.
Will you give me some thought? Always.
You're going with him, aren't you, Eliot? I don't know yet.
Oh, come off it.
I know everything you think and feel.
I'm psychic that way.
Now that Harrow believes in you, will you tell him you're not a dancing dog? Will you persuade him that you need to help each other, just a touch of corruption, now that it's Mr.
Harrow providing you with hotel suites and champagne? That's enough, Paula.
Try to read my thoughts.
They're very vulgar, Eliot.
They'll tell you what you can do to yourself.
I ain't telling no guillotine trick.
Well, the other trick then.
Map book, eye shield, rubber band, a felt-tip pen, a compass and an instant camera.
That right? Right.
And the psychic draws a picture of what the drivers see? I saw the pictures.
That's some trick.
Do you know how it's done? Maybe I can figure it out.
How? It's a trick.
You remember it's a trick and you don't forget it's a trick.
Then you start to figure it out.
Buy me another burger and shake and I'll set to work on it.
Well, you can make money disappear, kid.
I'll give you that.
You understand what ends here and what begins.
Aboard that plane, Eliot Blake will cease to exist.
I don't remember anyone named Eliot Blake.
Good evening, Mr.
And you're Mr.
I remember you, sir, from the wonderful funeral.
Lieutenant Columbo.
Forgive me for arriving like this, but the pilot, he was good enough to pick me up over at the runway.
I'm sure it had to do with the, uh, the court order, Mr.
What do you want, Lieutenant? Well, let me put it this way, sir.
I would like to show you a kind of magic show.
It could be a terrific magic show, sir.
And I think you'd enjoy it, too, Mr.
I'm not under the jurisdiction of any judge.
Well, whatever you say, sir.
But Mr.
Blake, he certainly is.
He's a very serious judge.
Here we are, Mr.
Blake, Mr.
This is where we're going to have our show.
If you'll just take a seat over there.
It's going to be a kind of psychic demonstration.
Car Bravo ready for instructions.
Car Alpha, ready.
Car Charlie reporting.
Back already? Are you involved in all of this? I'm just an observer, Eliot.
Just like you.
This demonstration, who's the psychic you're showing off? Why, that'll be me, sir.
Can you hear me, Mr.
Dyson? Yeah, you're okay.
Here I am in the isolation chamber, looking at myself in a mirror.
Our demonstration tonight is viewing at a distance.
And I'm going to try and imitate the famous psychic, Mr.
Eliot Blake.
The young man out there, he's a friend of mine.
He's going to pretend to be Max Dyson.
And we're going to use all of Mr.
Dyson's rules, just like when he tested Mr.
Are you ready, Mr.
Dyson? Ready, Mr.
Cars Alpha, Bravo and Charlie, you may stop and open your packages now.
You'll find a city map book, an eye shield, an instant camera, and a bunch of other stuff.
Car Bravo, coming on target.
Alpha, I'm on the money.
This is Bravo, do you have a direction for me? Alpha's got the picture.
Car Charlie reporting on target.
Car Bravo having difficulty with the scanner.
This is Charlie looking to the west.
Let me get this picture.
Car Bravo scanning, it's coming through.
Car Alpha coming in.
Charlie scanning.
Got a pretty picture.
I'm concentrating.
Car Bravo concentrating on the target.
Car Alpha.
How long do you want me to concentrate? How'd I do? Lieutenant, that's getting to be a very popular stunt.
Everybody's doing it.
All cars are released at this time.
How do you explain this, Eliot? Congratulations, Lieutenant.
Well, from you, sir, that's high praise.
Well, there is only one explanation.
Lieutenant Columbo is extraordinarily gifted.
Oh, no.
Oh, no, sir.
I don't begin to have Mr.
Blake's gifts.
This, it was just a magician's trick taking advantage of the fact that you can get people to believe almost anything.
Really? Will you tell us how your trick is done, Lieutenant? Well, I'd like to, Mr.
But we're not allowed to tell.
But it's a very simple trick, it's almost obvious.
I'm sure you can figure it out.
Maybe Mr.
Blake can help you.
So nice of you to invite me, Lieutenant.
Yet again.
You blew my act.
So what other plans do you have for my life? Well, sir, if you can just give this string a good hard tug, I'd appreciate that.
Now, sir, if you'll just pull on one of the ends.
It worked perfect, sir! Perfect! It worked just perfect, sir.
Just like in the book.
Locked Room Magic.
I tell you, this case has been some education for me.
Do you think that's the way Mr.
Dyson's murderer did it? I mean, leaving by the freight elevator and then locking the door from the inside? It's not a subject I dwell on.
You think it was a magician that locked the door like that? And a magician who knew the guillotine trick? A magician? Mr.
Blake, I know I asked you here, but why did you come? Curiosity.
I had to know how you worked it out.
Dyson's procedures, drawing the pictures.
I know you're expecting cabbages, sir.
If you'll oblige me, sir? And the marking pen and the rubber band.
And if you'll just put this on, sir.
Now, if you'll just riffle through the map book and pick any page at random, just so we know it's random.
Now the marking pen, sir, just punch it down, any place at random.
Now I'll take the marking pen and the eye shield, Mr.
And if you'll just slip on the rubber band to mark your page.
The page and the point that you marked is the corner of Arroyo and Holly Drive in Pasadena.
And if you went there and you looked north, I think you could draw a picture of a bridge with a big archway.
Is that the way you did it, sir? You looking for a confession, Lieutenant? For being a magician instead of a real psychic? I don't think that's a crime, sir.
Not even when you use a special map book where all the pages are exactly the same.
And the pen is a special pen, which won't make a mark on the page.
Because the mark is already there.
The same mark in the same place on every page.
Arroyo and Holly Drive.
Arroyo and Holly Drive.
Arroyo and Holly Drive.
I don't care where you look, it's always going to be the same.
And an eye shield, so you can't see that the mark is already there.
And a rubber band, so you can't turn back and see that all the pages are alike.
I think you missed your calling, Lieutenant.
As a psychic or a magician? Now, Max Dyson, he was a magician.
And he knew ahead of time where the drivers were going and the four directions that they could look.
And you knew that, too, Mr.
So you and Mr.
Dyson must've known each other.
So you could work the trick together.
Well done again, Lieutenant.
When Max Dyson and I met a few days ago, we got together and rigged the test.
Why would he do that, sir? I paid him.
Max wasn't the most honest person in the world.
And to my astonishment, I discovered some time ago that I wasn't, either.
Now that you've perceived these secrets of the human heart, I shall wish you a good night.
I think you killed him, sir.
It was just a thought.
You're a very thoughtful person, Lieutenant.
I've asked you a lot of questions, Mr.
And I'm sorry to say your answers have not been strictly truthful.
Been reading my mind again? No, sir, I've been reading an old State Department report, about how life was going for an American and an Englishman in a Ugandan prison.
Would that be you and Mr.
Dyson, sir? And if I told you that Mr.
Dyson sold you out to get himself out of prison, would you call that a strong motive for murder? Would you agree with that as a motive, sir? You'd make a bizarre executioner, Lieutenant.
You'd ask the condemned man if he agreed with the rope.
Well, sir, we don't have you condemned yet.
Even if we consider this.
A cartridge? A cartridge.
Like the one I found here the other day.
And I thought maybe the murderer left it.
Maybe when he decided to kill Mr.
Dyson with the guillotine to make it look like an accident instead of shooting him.
All that from a cartridge? Well, this is where I found it.
And then, after you came here to help me, the cartridge was gone.
That was very good the way you palmed it, Mr.
I wish I could learn to do that.
And finally, there's the guillotine.
Do you mind, sir? How hideous and beautiful.
Fantastic effect.
And I couldn't figure out how it worked, and nobody would tell me.
So I had to try and figure it out myself.
Do you mind, sir? And I had to keep telling myself it's a trick.
So I could think about it as a trick.
And I finally figured out the trick is right there in the collar.
Where it's marked safe and danger.
Maybe another blade in there, the safe blade.
Am I warm, sir? What a pity Max isn't with us.
You could have asked him.
I don't think he would've told me.
Blake, would you mind fitting that collar over me, the safe way? Are you sure you trust me, Lieutenant? Why not, sir? You're a magician.
And the case I have against you, well, I have to admit, it's not much of a case.
Then it's my pleasure.
You were saying, Lieutenant, about your case? All I have is motives, some lies, the missing cartridge.
No, sir, I'd need at least one more piece of evidence.
And if I know you, sir, you're not gonna give it to me.
But I'm gonna keep trying to convict you, Mr.
Because you did murder Mr.
It was you who killed him, sir.
That's something we both have to face.
Not a doubt in the world.
No doubt at all.
Just a matter of time.
No, there is no time, Lieutenant.
Time is just a magic trick.
And that, sir, is the last piece of evidence.
It's the labels, sir.
Safe and danger.
I have to admit I was very cynical, Mr.
I reversed the labels.
You seem very startled.
Is it something I've done? It's like hiccups, sir.
Sometimes, it takes a shock to bring you out of it.
You're under arrest for the crime of murder.
And I'll have to apply the penalty, sir.