Columbo (1971) s10e08 Episode Script

Butterfly in Shades of Grey

Coming up, direct from his Los Angeles studio, the hard-hitting, controversial commentator and analyst, Fielding Chase, who plays no favourites, pulls no punches and tells it like it is.
Stay tuned.
We shall return following a word from your local station.
Come on, Lois, put me through.
I know the show's on the air.
Screw the show.
OK, I'm sorry.
Vicky was supposed to meet me and this guy here a half-hour ago.
What the hell am I supposed to tell him? OK, fine.
Never mind.
So? She's not coming.
I'm sorry, Lou.
The old guy's got her scared to death.
That I could tell by the time I got to page ten of her novel.
- Love and hate, in one neat package.
- So stay another day.
I can't, Gerry.
I promised Mary and the kids I'd join them at the lake.
- But you will show Englander the book? - Soon as I get back.
- You're sure it's all right with the author? - Why wouldn't it be? Look, Lou, Vicky's another Ayn Rand trying to bust loose from her cocoon, and you and me are gonna help her.
Me, I understand.
I'm a literary agent.
What's your angle? - Personal.
- Oh.
You mean Fielding Chase.
Well, if you're so mad at him, why don't you quit? - I need the money.
- You always need the money.
By the way, I was sorry to hear about Murray.
I know you guys were together a long time.
- Yeah.
- Anybody new? Mmmm yeah.
He's Ted.
He's an actor.
Works on a daytime soap opera.
Well? Serious? No.
Murray was pretty special.
It's gonna take some time to work things out.
- Come on, let's order.
- Good idea.
What I mean, Fielding, is you always say these phonies in Congress gotta get their act together.
Like, you know.
I mean, like, the poor.
Because wow, when you think about it - you think about it, I do, we all do.
There's a lot of money there.
Like the deficit? Wow, man.
The kids are gonna have to pay for it, right? I know exactly what you mean, my inarticulate friend.
But you know as well as I do that unless and until the president is empowered with a line-item veto, this country will continue to haemorrhage hundreds of millions of dollars on dams for rivers that don't need damming and roads that lead nowhere.
Thanks for the call.
This is Charlie from Independence, Missouri.
Hello, Charlie.
Hi, Fielding.
A big handshake from the home town of Harry Truman, - our last good president.
- That's debatable.
But since I don't like to speak ill of the dead, let's move on to a livelier topic.
- But I wanna talk about Truman.
- Well, I don't.
Goodbye, Charlie.
Margaret from Blossom, Texas.
You're on the air.
Fielding, you dear man, I'll be 80 Tuesday.
Well, bless you, my darling, and happy birthday to you.
Why, thank you.
All this stuff I keep hearing about this big hole in the sky over Antarctica, it's frightening me.
Oh, yes.
The mysterious ozone depletion.
Tell you what, my darling.
I'll send you a copy of my book.
Read chapter nine.
It destroys the environmental Chicken Littles who would scare decent people like you.
Thank you for your call, and God bless you, sweetheart.
That was Margaret from Blossom, Texas.
And speaking of large holes filled with nothing but a vacuum, my guest next Wednesday, the 14th, is none other than that distinguished senator from back East, the honourable Gordon Madison, who will demonstrate to you good people once and for all why he should be banished permanently to those good old cotton fields back home.
- What happened? - I told you I couldn't come.
- Then you said you'd get a replacement.
- Well, I couldn't.
When I told him I wanted the night off, he had a fit.
I bet he did.
Come on, Gerry.
I can see your friend any time.
Vicky, Lou Caton is more than a friend.
He's a literary agent.
- And he loves your book.
- My book? You showed him my book? Gerry, I gave that to you to read, nobody else.
Were you gonna leave it on your shelf for the next 30 years? Vicky, he loves it! He thinks it's brilliant! - Look, that's very flattering, but - But what? Are you worried about him? You are not his property.
You've got to get on with your life.
There's a big, terrific world out there.
Fielding Chase.
News next.
Back in five.
And we're out.
Mr Winters! I was under the impression you were back East tracking down a story.
A rumour, and it was tracked.
You got my report: It was a dead end.
I don't agree.
When I see smoke curling around Gordon Madison's elegant coiffure can flame be far behind? I busted my butt on your cockamamie lead.
It was nothing, and you know it.
See how they turn on me? Two years ago I plucked him from a police beat on a second-rate paper in a third-rate city.
Taking me from obscurity to complete anonymity.
Thanks, Fielding.
Mr Winters, I do not suffer ingrates well.
I must terminate our arrangement.
- Dad, please.
- What, I'm fired? Good! Thanks again.
I could use the severance pay.
As well as the unemployment cheques.
Come, Victoria.
We have less than 60 seconds.
- Vicky, I'll call you later.
- You will not call her later.
How about if she decides that? - Do you have to keep goading him? - Victoria You're both pig-headed egotists, and tomorrow you'll hire him back.
- Not this time.
- Six seconds, Mr Chase.
- Dad - Not now, Victoria.
Four, three, two And we're back for another hour of National Focus, your obedient servant, Fielding Chase, ready to chat with the brightest of you.
The inarticulate need not bother dialling.
The valuable time of my listeners is far too precious to waste on chatting about gall-bladder operations.
This is National Focus.
What do you want to speak to Fielding about? Mm-hm.
And what's your name? Don't tell me what he said, Phil.
The senator contradicts himself saying hello.
- This happens next week? - Wednesday.
I intend to tear that pretentious popinjay to shreds.
- Why is he even doing your show? - He wants to be re-elected.
He's also under the delusion that he can best me in a battle of wits.
- Fat chance.
- My sentiments exactly.
Check the quote he made to the unions so I can read it back to him, word for word.
- You mean that Teamsters quote? - Exactly.
Thank you, Phil.
- That smells good.
- It's a peace offering on behalf of Gerry.
My God.
What is your interest in that man? It can't be romantic.
He's a friend, that's all.
No, Victoria.
He's a cheap, no-talent hustler who's using you to further his own ambition.
- Dad, he's not like that.
- How would you know? - You're still just a child.
- For God's sake, I'm 25 years old.
Anyway, um "Anyway, um" what? Well, you're gonna find out sooner or later anyway.
I've written a book.
A novel.
A novel? - I'm stunned.
- I know you don't approve.
I'm surprised, that's all.
Gerry's found me an agent.
He thinks it's very good, Dad, and says he can find me a publisher.
Victoria, I couldn't be happier or prouder of you.
I just wish you had let me read it before some stranger.
Well, I guess I was afraid you wouldn't think it good enough.
That's nonsense.
Besides, what I think of it isn't the point.
- This agent, is he any good? - His name is Lou Caton.
- He's with Lionel Englander in New York.
- Englander! Well! He's the best.
Lionel and I go way back.
If you need any help, count on me.
I have an extra copy.
I'll put it on your night stand.
- Of course.
- Thank you! - Yeah? - "Yeah" yourself, old buddy.
- Lou.
Where are you? - In my office.
Where else? What about Mary and the kids at the lake? Sally got tonsillitis and we found out the lake was polluted.
Listen, Gerry, when I got back four days ago, I took Victoria's novel to Englander like I promised.
- And? - He hated it.
- That's a bunch of crap.
- I know.
There's something else.
When I was in Englander's office today, he got a call from Fielding Chase.
They're old friends.
There might be a connection.
- But Chase doesn't even know about it.
- Are you sure about that? Now if you'll allow me to conclude on this note of levity even a talk-show host knows when to leave them begging I'll thank you all for allowing me to spend these all-too-brief moments with you.
God bless you all.
Thank you.
Thank you, Fielding, for sharing your thoughts with us today.
In appreciation, the Alfred Kentworth Realty Group would like to present you with this cheque for $25,000, a donation to the Fielding Chase Foundation to help you continue your good work.
Thank you.
Fielding! Good afternoon, Mr Winters.
And good afternoon.
That was quite a performance in there, Fielding.
Last time I looked, you were about to barbecue those guys.
Money talks, huh? If that's an accusation, be prepared to back it up in court.
Those schmucks can waste their money.
I wanna talk about Vicky's book.
- Book? - I just talked to my friend in New York.
- You had her novel rejected.
- That's a lie.
Want me to prove it? I'm a good investigator.
I warn you, my friend, stay away from things that are none of your business.
- Vicky is my business.
- I think not.
Her future is with me, not off pursuing some meaningless pipe dream of a literary career.
You know your problem, Fielding? You're a sick, possessive old man.
You want her tied to you forever.
- She's my child.
- She's your foster daughter.
And in my opinion, your attitude towards her isn't exactly fatherly.
That must've hit close to home, huh? - Stay away from her, Winters! - Or what are you gonna do? Kill me? - Yes! - How? Talk me to death? Let me tell you, old man.
I'll not only take you down professionally, I'm gonna take away Vicky as well.
You count on it.
Disgruntled employee.
Quite honestly, Mr Chase, the senator is doing this broadcast against my advice.
Afraid he can't handle himself? I could debate an empty chair.
The chair might be more responsive.
The senator is more than able to handle you and your listeners - if we play on a level field.
- Meaning? Meaning no dirty tricks.
No rigged phone calls.
I don't need help outthinking the senator.
But I won't be tossing him any softballs either.
No, I don't suppose you will.
Until Wednesday, then.
This is gonna be fun.
By the way, I heard from Senator Clavin this morning.
He's looking for a guest spot in two weeks.
- Call his people and work things out.
- I can't.
- I'm not gonna be here in two weeks.
- What do you mean? I'm flying to New York next Tuesday with Gerry.
- But why? - You know why.
He told me how you killed my book with Englander.
- No, Victoria.
- No, don't tell me no, Dad.
Don't lie to me.
- You told me you liked it.
- I do.
It's good.
But I know in my heart, as you do, it's not the best work you're capable of.
Do you understand the position you're in, child? As my foster daughter, you will come under terrible scrutiny.
My enemies will carve you into pieces to hurt me by hurting you.
- I'm not sure that's true.
- Well, I am, Victoria.
When your mother died 15 years ago, I gave you more than my name.
I took you into my home and my heart.
And I swore I would do everything in my power to nurture you and protect you.
- Dad - Don't you understand that everything I've done has been for you? And when I'm gone, everything I have will be yours.
I'm sorry.
Look, I'm grateful.
You know how grateful I am.
But this is something I have to do.
Come on, Dad.
It's not like I'm running away from home.
You'll always be a big part of my life.
But, please, you have to let me do this.
- Hello.
- Hello, Gerry.
Fielding Chase.
- I've just talked to Victoria.
- If you called to threaten me again No, no, no.
Nothing like that.
Oh, Gerry, I'm so sorry.
I lost my temper and I said some things I shouldn't have.
I can't help you.
She's determined to go.
I know.
I won't try and stop her.
I just want to work things out amicably.
- Meaning what? - I think I can be helpful to both of you.
Look, Gerry, I'd like to meet you tomorrow, say late in the day.
Would you call me at the house at four o'clock and we can arrange to get together? Gerry, I can't beat you on this one.
I just want to salvage something.
I'll call you.
Four o'clock.
I'll be waiting for your call.
And thanks, Gerry.
You won't be unhappy.
I promise.
So it's all set.
Vicky and I will be flying in Tuesday afternoon.
I booked us into the Wyndham.
- Chase can't be too happy.
- He's not.
- Neither was Ted.
- You broke it off? This morning.
He took it pretty well.
I think he saw it coming.
Lou Lou, you're not hearing me.
I don't want a dime for this.
Not even a finder's fee? Me? Yeah, well I'll find something.
To tell you the truth, this job's been making me feel dirty for a long time now.
No, nothing.
I mean it.
I'm doing this for Vicky.
The kid needs a break.
Yeah, I remember.
But hey, what's money anyway? Look, if things get really rough, I can always write a book.
Look, old buddy, I gotta run.
The old man wants me to call him.
I don't know.
Some last-ditch attempt to save face.
It's not gonna work, but what the hell, it'll be fun to hear him grovel.
I'll see you Tuesday.
This is Fielding Chase.
I can't come to the phone right now, but please leave your name and number.
Fielding, it's Gerry.
You wanted me to call.
Gerry! Oh! I'm sorry.
I was outside when I heard the phone ring.
What's the deal? I've been hanging around here alone for an hour to make this call.
- I know.
I'm sorry.
- If you wanna know the truth Gerry! What happened! I thought I heard shots! Answer me! Gerry, are you all right?! - 911.
- I think a man has been shot! - Shot, sir? - I was talking to him on the phone, and then I heard the sound of shots, and then he didn't respond! Take it easy, sir.
To whom were you speaking? His name is Gerry Winters.
- I'm on my way there now.
- What is your name, sir? Fielding Chase.
- We'll send a unit immediately.
- Please hurry! Officer, I'm well aware I'm being a pest, but you said a homicide detective is on his way? Yes, sir.
Should have been here by now.
Mr Chase, I'm not sure you have to stick around, considering who you are.
- I can give the lieutenant your number.
- No, it's important I talk to him personally.
- Davis! - Excuse me.
- There you are, Lieutenant.
- Hey, Davis.
What have we got? White male, Gerald Winters, age 31.
Shot twice in the back, once in the head.
Doc says he was probably dead when he hit the floor.
Gun's over there.
I know this is a silly question, but I don't suppose we got a witness? Funny you should ask.
- You're kidding.
- Not an eyewitness, sir.
An earwitness.
See the fella in the Mercedes? His name is Fielding Chase.
- He has a radio show.
Maybe you heard it.
- No, I don't think I have.
He was on the phone talking with the victim when he got shot.
No kidding! You mean on that phone that he's got there? - No, sir.
He was at his house in Malibu.
- Oh.
You know, I'm thinking of gettin' me one of them.
- What's that? - One of those whatchamacallit phones.
- Cellular.
- Uh, cellular.
Cellular phone, yeah.
- What do you think they cost? - Jeez, I don't know.
You know, there's talk - I don't believe it - that you can get cancer from using them.
- You believe that? - Cancer? Nah! Nah.
I don't know.
I'm gonna check with my cousin Dominic, cos wherever he goes he's got one of those things stuck in his ear, and I don't see no tumour growin' under his brain.
Yeah, at the beach and in his car With his stockbroker all day long.
He says the phone made him a lot of money.
- Have you got a stockbroker? - No, I've got a savings account.
No, I'm thinking of calling my wife.
It's me.
Guess where I'm calling from.
The car.
Lieutenant, Mr Chase is real anxious to talk to you.
Just let me look around here a minute.
Thank you.
We may call you.
No, Arthur, I am not using Gerry's death, and I resent the implication.
The man was an investigator in my employ and there might be a connection.
- Do you mind? This call is very important.
- Oh.
I didn't realise.
I'll just wait here, sir.
Arthur, do you want me to spell it out for you? Crack investigator, killed under mysterious circumstances.
What were the stories he was working on? Was he shot to keep him quiet? I don't know.
"Fielding Chase outraged.
" "Determined to see justice done.
" Good.
Call me at home later.
We'll talk about setting up a press conference.
Uh Mr Chase? - I'm sorry, I don't have time right now.
- I'm from the police, sir.
Lieutenant Columbo, Homicide.
I'm terribly sorry, Lieutenant.
This has been a dreadful experience for me.
The officer told you what happened? He told me you and the victim were talking on the phone when he was shot.
Bizarre! I heard all these noises - shots! Then I called out his name.
No response.
As soon as I realised what had happened, I called 911 and I drove here immediately.
- The police were here when I arrived.
- When was that? I'm not sure exactly.
About 4:30.
Gerry called four o'clock.
I live in the Malibu mountains, about 30 minutes It's about right.
Officer Davis tells me that you have some kind of a radio show.
It's a listener call-in show.
Our topics are social, political.
Gerry was my chief investigator.
I couldn't help overhear that conversation you had with this fella Arthur.
I just wanted to ask you, do you really believe that Mr Winters could have been killed by someone he was investigating? Without question.
I have powerful enemies out there.
Either that or he was shot in the back by a jealous boyfriend.
- A boyfriend, sir? - Yes.
Gerry was gay, Lieutenant.
Not that his sexual orientation made any difference to me.
But those people do have a reputation for unusual behaviour.
I wouldn't know.
Most of my experience has been with crazy husbands killing wives and vice versa.
I know what you mean.
In the event that Gerry's death was related to his work, I have files at home.
Come back with me and I'll give them to you.
They could give you a lead.
That's very generous, but I still have work to do here.
- No problem.
I'll wait here.
- Sure it's no bother? Not at all.
What matters most is bringing Gerry's killer to justice.
- Take whatever time you need.
- Yes, sir.
Oh, one more thing, sir.
Officer Davis tells me that you never actually went inside the house.
I wasn't permitted.
Uh It's a little odd, sir, because just a second ago you said Mr Winters had been shot in the back.
- Yes.
- I was wondering just wondering how you knew that, sir, when you hadn't seen the body? I presume, if Gerry saw someone standing in his house with a gun in his hand, he might have made some small mention of it to me while I was speaking with him.
Good point.
You're absolutely right, sir.
Excuse me.
I'll just be a few moments.
Whew! Wow! This is some house, sir! Yes.
It took me nearly four years to build.
- You don't have a drip, do you? - Drip, sir? An oil leak.
I'm particular about my driveway.
Oh, you mean my car? No, she's fine.
Tight as a drum.
- I had her checked a month ago.
- I'm relieved.
You got a classic, you take care of it.
No, sir.
You don't have to worry about that baby.
I have some material here in the desk.
Here we are.
Here's something we were doing on chemical wastes.
Another - payoffs to state legislators.
That's odd.
I thought there was more material here at home.
Dad? My daughter.
Victoria! In here! Oh, my God! I just heard what happened to Gerry on the news! I know.
I know.
I just came back from there.
This is Lieutenant Columbo of the Homicide Division.
- My daughter Victoria.
- Ma'am.
I was talking to him on the phone when it happened.
- Oh, my God - Yes.
Victoria, there's a possibility that Gerry's death is connected with a story he was investigating.
- I'm giving his files to the lieutenant.
- We think there might be a lead here.
I don't know about you two, but I need a stiff drink.
- Victoria? - No.
- Lieutenant? - I'm on duty, sir.
Well, if you'll excuse me.
Victoria, see if there are any messages, will you? I forgot to check the machine.
My condolences, ma'am.
I gather you were close to the victim.
You have four messages.
First message.
Time: 4:02pm.
It's Gerry.
- That's Gerry and Dad.
- You wanted me to call.
That's the victim? Mr Winters? - That's him talking? - Yes.
outside when I heard the phone ring.
What's the deal? I've been hanging around here alone for an hour to make this call.
- I know.
I'm sorry.
- If you wanna know the truth Oh, my God! - Gerry! - Oh, my God.
- Turn it off! - I thought I heard shots! Victoria, I'm so sorry.
I forgot.
I picked up Gerry's call just as the machine started to record.
Poor girl.
I am such an idiot! This is incredible! We have the murder on tape.
I was outside when I heard the phone ringing.
By the time I got in, the machine was already recording.
- Forgive me.
I must go to my daughter.
- I understand, sir.
- You realise I'll have to take the tape? - Yes, of course! There might be something on here that will give us a lead to the killer.
I don't know just what.
Lieutenant I want this person - this fiend - brought to justice, no matter what it costs.
I'll offer a substantial reward.
That's very generous of you, sir.
It may not be necessary.
If there's anything I can do, anything at all, I'm at your disposal 24 hours a day.
Thank you, sir.
I appreciate it.
Once again, my deepest sympathies on your loss.
Thank you very much.
- Victoria.
- It's open.
Victoria, I'm so sorry.
You should never have had to hear that.
- I didn't realise until it was too late.
- It's all right.
The person who did this, I promise you, I will see that he's brought to justice, however long it takes, however much it costs.
I know you have your heart set on leaving Tuesday, and if you still want to go, I won't try and stop you.
- It's not important, Dad.
- Of course it is.
It's just that I'm as devastated as you are.
I need you now more than ever.
Dad, don't worry about it.
I'll stay.
The rest of it can keep.
The many ways you think a friend might die.
This isn't one of them.
Ted, why don't we sit down? Just give me a moment, please.
- Did you send a card? - Yes, yes.
I don't know, Ernie - Lieutenant? - Oh, uh, good evening, ma'am.
I didn't expect you here.
Do you always attend victims' memorials? Not as a rule.
This is in the line of duty.
Is there some place we can talk? Out there? That'll be fine.
Ma'am, I thought maybe you could help me because well, you and the victim were close friends and well, I do have this problem.
What sort of problem, Lieutenant? The house where Mr Winters lived, at the time of the murder we ascertained that all doors and windows were locked, no sign of forcible entry, which led me to believe that either he let his killer in, which is unlikely, or the killer had a key.
Yes? Which would indicate a friend.
A close friend.
We checked the telephone records and there were a great many calls to a Theodore Malloy.
Ted? Yes, he and Gerry were close.
When you say "close", ma'am - I mean very close.
- Yes, I've been led to believe that.
I just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing.
They were lovers, Lieutenant.
Is that what you're trying to ask me? Yes, ma'am.
Something like that.
This Mr Malloy, would he have a key to Mr Winters' home? Well, yes, I suppose he would.
Yes, I'm sure he does, Lieutenant.
- As a matter of fact, so do I.
- You, ma'am? Really? Yes.
We'd often work on stories together, sometimes at his home.
Our relationship was professional.
And he was a good friend.
I never thought anything else.
This key of yours, do you have it now? Yes.
It's in my purse.
It's funny.
When I arrived at the house yesterday after hearing of Gerry's death, I thought I'd lost it.
It didn't seem to be on my key ring.
- But I guess I was just distraught.
- So you do have the key? Yes.
It was on my key ring this morning when I awoke.
I must've just overlooked it.
- My state of mind was not the best.
- No, ma'am, I don't suppose it was.
This Mr Malloy - Is he here now? - Yes, but it's not a very good time.
Perhaps you could speak to him tomorrow, at the studio.
Studio? Oh, you and he are co-workers? No, not the radio studio.
Ted is an actor on a daytime drama.
Is that like a soap opera? Exactly.
Women Who Love.
Maybe you've heard of it? Uh No, ma'am, I haven't.
Maybe my wife.
She's crazy about those things.
Ma'am, do you mind if I ask you where you were at the time of the shooting? - Why? Am I under suspicion? - No, nothing like that.
But you do have a key, and I'm interested in anybody that's got a key.
I spent all afternoon at the radio station prepping a programme we're doing Wednesday with Senator Madison.
A senator? Wow.
That's some kind of radio show.
Oh, yes.
My father is heard every weeknight on 468 stations throughout the country.
And here I thought he was some kind of disc jockey or something.
To tell you the truth, I don't listen to the radio any more.
The music, I don't understand it.
Perry Como and Louis Armstrong I understand, but these rock guys, they give me an earache.
Well, thank you very much.
I won't trouble you any more.
It's no trouble, Lieutenant.
Oh, ma'am! Just one other thing.
Do you usually go in to the radio station on weekends? No.
Hardly ever.
Except yesterday was a special circumstance.
Oh, so you decided to go in and just do some extra work? No, my father decided.
So it was his idea that you work in the radio station during that afternoon? Yes.
- Why? Is that important? - No, ma'am, no.
Not important at all.
Thanks again.
Listen up, folks! We are running way behind! Let's go! Come on, people, stay alive! Bear with me! You, with the baseball cap! Pay attention, please.
We don't have a lot of time here.
- Let's go, people! - Close the door.
All right, my homeless people! The rest of my homeless people! - Excuse me, miss.
I'm looking for - Over there.
- Over there? No, I'm looking for - And please hurry.
You're late.
I'm late? Let's go, folks.
You, on the box.
You two, sitting.
You, out of the way.
Jennifer Chambers will enter the alley from this direction in a silk evening gown with a bloody bruise on her head, seeming dazed and disoriented.
I want you to notice her, but, please, don't try to act.
- Preston, are we ready yet? - Yes, sir! Right away! I need another homeless person.
You! Stand by the wall, please.
- Are you talking to me, sir? - Yes.
That wall there.
Thank you.
Nice shoes.
I like the touch.
Roll tape! I think there's some mistake, sir.
I'm from the, uh OK, here we go.
OK, good.
Good, good.
- Here it is! - What the hell was that? Who the hell is that? Who the hell is that?! - I'm from the police.
- Oh, no! Cut, cut, cut! What the hell do you think you're doing? - Eric, I'm trying to act, and this clown - I will handle this.
You're fired.
You ruined the shot.
- Another one of your relatives, Preston? - No, I'm I'm from the police.
I tried to explain that.
- A policeman? - Yes, ma'am.
He's a cop! Jennifer Chambers.
This is bizarre! He's from the police! - Who are you looking for? - Ted Malloy.
- He's looking for Ted! - So go.
Go to Ted.
- Over there.
- Over there? OK.
- Sorry.
- Would you go? Go.
- Got everything? - Yes.
- My wife's a great fan of yours.
- Thank you.
- What's Ted done? - Uh - Let's go.
- All right, folks, let's go! Back to one, now! I need another bum for this wall! Let's go! - Mr Malloy? - Yes.
Uh Lieutenant Columbo, LAPD.
Oh, yes.
Victoria told me that you stopped by the funeral home last evening.
- How may I help you? - Is it all right if we talk here? - Yes.
- Cos I don't wanna bother anybody.
- Is it all right? - Feel free.
I just want to ask you a few questions.
I know you're busy.
Yes? - Do you recognise this? - No.
Take a good look.
These brown stains, they mean anything to you? Oh, yes.
This is Dried Pan-Cake make-up.
Yes, sir.
We found this handkerchief snagged on a rose bush in back of Mr Winters' home and we think it was left there by the killer.
I see.
- Theatrical make-up, so you assume - Oh, sir, I don't assume anything.
We also found minute traces of this make-up on the gun that killed Mr Winters.
Also on the rear door knob.
Lieutenant, I didn't kill him.
It is my understanding, sir, that you and the victim had a falling-out.
We started seeing each other around nine days ago, but we knew that was temporary at best.
And when he called to tell me that he was going to New York I was upset.
Did Mr Winters have other friends that were actors? Friends, no.
Acquaintances, perhaps.
Just for the record, sir, where were you Saturday at four o'clock? Well, normally I would be home alone, working.
I'm in the middle of remodelling my home.
But this past Saturday I was downtown at a department store.
Do you have anybody that can vouch for that, sir? Oh, yes.
I would say about a couple of hundred people, to say the least.
See, at the last moment I was joined by two other cast members, and the three of us were there from three until five signing autographs.
Does that cover it, Lieutenant? Yes, sir.
That covers it just fine.
That's a wrap! Homeless, go home! Turn in your vouchers! Of course I told him I wasn't interested.
I mean, I had been taking off my clothes in six straight pictures, and it was time to exhibit myself as an actress, not some piece of meat.
So, rather than lose me, they rewrote the scene.
- It's a sensational film.
- I'm sure it is.
And I'm sure it'll give a boost to your career, Miss Ross.
Which brings me to the topic of our lunch.
I've asked you to join me to confirm that several years ago you had an affair with Senator Gordon Madison.
- What? - No way.
It never happened.
Certainly not.
I'm disappointed at your lack of candour, my dear.
I possess a birth certificate which proves that seven years ago back East you secretly gave birth out of wedlock.
- Now wait a minute - After which you immediately put the child - a daughter - up for adoption.
- What the hell is going on? - Mr Chase, it's not what you think.
My question: Is the child Senator Madison's? - No.
- Oh, really? I have two eyewitnesses who will swear that Senator Madison visited you not once but several times during your confinement at St Anne's Home.
That's true.
I'm sorry, Howard.
I should have told you.
But it was seven years ago! You were 17 at the time, legally a minor.
Look, the baby was not the senator's.
My mother worked for him as a housekeeper.
When he found out, he offered to help because that's just the kind of guy he is.
He paid a few bills and helped find a home for the baby.
- I see.
- It's the truth! The father was a boy I knew in school.
Neither of us was ready for marriage.
Look, I know this is news.
But does it have to come out? I mean, I made a mistake, but don't screw up the rest of my life.
That's hardly my intention, my dear.
The purpose of our lunch was to get the facts.
Now you have nothing to fear.
- That's very decent of you.
- Not at all, Howard.
May I suggest you get Miss Ross out of here before she attracts more attention.
You bet.
Come on, kid.
Let's go get you cleaned up.
And, DeeDee, say thank you to the man.
More coffee.
Yes, sir.
Collier? I've just confirmed the story.
It's as I suspected.
You call in at 8:45 on the back line.
Victoria'll patch you through immediately.
And if we need to chat any further, I'll call you.
Excuse me, sir, but may I help you? I don't think so.
But thanks anyway.
- How are you, Mr Chase? - Well, Lieutenant.
Please join me.
Fritz? Thank you very much.
Say hello to Lieutenant Colombo of the Los Angeles Police Department, Fritz.
- Delighted to meet you, Lieutenant.
- Nice meeting you, sir.
- Care to join me in some coffee? - No, thank you.
- Dessert, perhaps? - No, I'm fine.
Actually, could I have a cup of tea with honey? Would that be too much trouble? - Not at all, Lieutenant.
- Thank you very much.
I have this tickle in my throat.
Got a cold comin' on and You know how it is this time of year.
My wife's been playing nursemaid to me, filling me with tea and honey for a week now.
- Do you feel any better? - No, sir, but I don't feel worse.
My wife, she likes to play nursemaid.
It makes her happy.
And when she's happy, I'm happy.
- Well, Lieutenant, what can I do for you? - Uh - How do you like that thing, sir? - What? The phone.
I'm thinking of buying one.
- Indispensable.
- Really? There's people that are saying you can get cancer from those things.
- The radiation in your ear.
- Ridiculous.
It is, huh? It's just that my wife saw this guy on television, he said he grew a tumour.
One is liable to hear almost anything on television these days, none of it necessarily true.
So you don't worry about it? There's nothing to worry about? - Can we get down to business? - Absolutely, sir.
But first, I gotta apologise.
You know, when I first met you that day, I had no idea.
I found this in the barbershop, and when I saw your picture, you could've knocked me over with a ping-pong ball.
How many people listen to you every night? Ten million? Twelve million? - It's fantastic! - Thank you.
And when I told my wife I met you, she says, "Know who listens to him every night? Your cousin Dominic.
" She says Dominic never misses your show.
Not for a Dodger game, not even for the Lakers.
I'm very flattered.
Sir, I wonder, would you be so kind as to sign this "To Dominic"? Just "To Dominic".
Nothing fancy.
And then put your name.
He'll get a kick out of this.
Dominic, he don't have much of a life.
And now, can we get to the point, if there is one? Yes, sir.
It's about the tape on your answering machine.
We listened to that over and over and there's nothing there, no kind of clue.
- Too bad.
- Yeah.
You can hear the killer approach the body and hesitate, probably to check if it was dead, and you can just make out him leaving through the back door.
So we figure that's how he came in and out - through the back.
Makes sense.
A shrewd killer would hardly park out front and prance through the front door where anyone could see him.
Oh, and by the way, we found the handkerchief.
What handkerchief? - Your tea, sir.
- Oh.
Thank you very much.
Mmm! Smells terrific.
Yeah, there was this handkerchief out back, stuck in a rose bush, stained with theatrical make-up, and we found traces of the same make-up on the gun handle and the rear door knob.
I heard that Gerry was involved with an actor.
Is that what you think, sir? That he was killed by an actor? It's a natural conclusion.
A lovers' spat.
These things happen.
Well, this particular actor uh What's his name? Um Twist it.
Oh! There you go.
That is something.
Never saw that before.
Well, I live and learn.
Yeah, uh This particular actor - yes, Mr Malloy we cleared him, sir.
- Did you? - He's got a rock-solid alibi.
Lucky fellow.
Unless, of course, he hired somebody to do it.
That's something a really clever killer might do establish an unshakeable alibi for himself while somebody else does the dirty work.
Oh, this is hot.
And that's just the way I like it.
If there's anything I can't stand, it's lukewarm tea.
Anyway, sir, can you think of somebody else who might have had a motive to kill Mr Winters? Besides yourself, of course.
- What the hell are you talking about? - The hotel, the other day.
You threatened the victim, sir.
In front of a dozen witnesses.
Oh, I see.
I lose my temper and say something silly and some tourists take me at face value.
Really, Lieutenant, you can't be serious.
I have a short temper.
I must've fired - and hired - Gerry Winters a dozen times in the past few years.
Well, if you say so, sir.
But it's lucky for you you were on the phone with the guy when he got killed.
Another homicide detective could've taken that threat to heart.
Well, I hate to cut this short, but I'm due back at the radio station.
Please, you finish your tea.
And if there's anything else, don't hesitate.
I won't.
And thank you very much.
Tea's terrific.
I feel better already.
Oh! Mr Chase! Excuse me! Sir! Just one more thing, sir.
- And what would that be? - It's about the files.
Mr Winters' files.
- Yes? - I was talking to your daughter.
She told me that most of his files were at the office and not at your house.
So? Just curious, sir, if that's true, why you took me back to your house and not the radio station.
Lieutenant, it's true that most of the complete files are at the radio station.
But I knew that my daughter was working there at that time.
Forgive me if this sounds cowardly, but I didn't want to be the one to have to tell her what had happened.
- If there's nothing more, you'll excuse me.
- Certainly, sir.
Sorry to bother you.
And thanks again for the tea! - Excuse me.
Miss Chase? - Yes.
- I'm Lou Caton.
- Oh.
I couldn't get through to you on the phone, so I flew here this morning.
- Your receptionist told me you were here.
- Mr Caton I'm sorry about Gerry.
- He was a wonderful friend to both of us.
- Yes, he was.
I'm sure he told you how much I admire your novel.
- Yes, and I'm very flattered, but - What's more, I'd like to represent you.
But I was told my book was rejected.
It was - by the man I used to work for.
I quit this morning.
Well, I'm sorry, Mr Caton.
You've taken a long trip for nothing.
All I can think of is helping my father through some difficult times.
- Besides, he said he'd get me a publisher.
- You can't be serious.
Fielding Chase was the man who had your book sabotaged at my agency.
- Didn't Gerry tell you this? - That is a monstrous accusation.
- Please, just leave me alone.
- I'm sorry.
Look Miss Chase? Yes, Warren.
I'll send you the manuscript of my daughter's novel early next week.
No, my friend.
You're under no obligation to like it - even though it is quite good.
In fact, if you could find it in your heart to despise it, I would be very grateful.
I have plans for my daughter which do not include her traipsing off to God knows where like some latter-day Gertrude Stein.
And, as New York's pre-eminent publisher, your kind but firm rejection might dissuade her from pursuing this fantasy.
And for your help I would be eternally grateful.
Thank you, Warren.
A pleasure chatting with you.
Expect the manuscript next week.
Dad, what is this? This week's issue of the news report, I expect.
The item on the first page.
"Ambassador Hendricks and the Drug Cartel.
" - You know it isn't true.
- Do I? Research checked three different sources.
These allegations are unsubstantiated.
Unsubstantiated maybe, but, true or false, the story has merit.
- You can't do this! - We're in a war with these people.
The only way to beat them is to attack and expose.
Attack and expose.
I'll leave the pussyfooting to the politicians.
My name is on the masthead as associate editor.
I can't be a party to this.
Victoria, wait.
Victoria! Victoria I'm sorry.
You're absolutely right.
- Does that mean the item's out? - Until I can have it re-investigated.
- Satisfactory? - I suppose so.
Can we have a smile? A bigger smile? Come on.
- Find something to replace the item.
- I'll see what we have.
- Oh, hello, Mr Chase.
- Lieutenant.
Just going over Mr Winters' case files.
Your daughter said it was all right.
- And have you come up with anything? - Not much, sir, no.
Well, that's not exactly true.
There is one thing that bothers me.
Are you burning ragweed in here, or did somebody die? Excuse me, sir.
That'd be my cigar.
Let me get rid of that.
Yeah, it's a filthy habit.
I should've given it up a long time ago.
Even my wife has been yellin' at me.
The other night she put me out on the porch.
- No gun? - I beg your pardon, sir? No gun.
You're a character.
I'll have to remember that.
Thank you, sir.
- You mentioned there was one thing? - Right, sir.
And it was nothing that I found.
It was something that I didn't find.
- What are you doing? - I'm trying to get the smell out, sir.
The windows don't open.
What is it you didn't find? Did you know that, in all these file folders, all 33, there's only one that has anything to do with an actor? Actually, an actress.
- Goes by the name of - Deirdre Ross.
I'm familiar with Gerry's workload.
What's your point? My point, sir, is, because of the handkerchief - You remember the handkerchief? - Yes.
- It had theatrical make-up on it.
- Yes, I remember.
And there were traces of this make-up on the gun - And on the door handle.
I remember.
- Exactly.
So my point is Is that? Oh, my goodness.
Smoke, sir.
Smoke! I'll just put a little coffee on it.
Where was I? Oh, yes.
My point.
My point, sir, is that the presence of the handkerchief rules out everybody in the files, all 33 people.
- What a sweeping statement.
- Well, sir, I thought like everyone else, that the handkerchief was used to wipe off the prints.
None of those people in the file, sir, none of them use theatrical make-up.
So there's no reason for it to be there.
Why was it there? There's no explanation for it being there unless someone planted it deliberately to point us at the actor.
- I never thought of that.
- Why would you? I mean, you wouldn't.
But why would that rule out all the people in the file, all 33 of them? I don't know how people like this politicians in Washington, Wall Street brokers how would they know that nine days ago Gerry and Ted started a gay relationship? I mean, those fellas, they were very discreet.
I see.
You're right.
The killer would have to be someone who knew Gerry personally.
There you go, sir.
That's the ticket.
Well, I wish I could help you, but, quite frankly, I knew very little about Gerry outside of the office.
Our relationship was strictly business.
- But you were at his house.
- You're mistaken.
I don't think so, sir.
No, I don't think so.
Here it is.
April 2nd, birthday party for the deceased, Sunday afternoon.
Photo, you and your daughter around the cake.
Oh, I've been to his house! I thought you meant recently.
Did I give that impression, sir? I'm sorry.
But you were there for that birthday party.
Oh, yes.
And a dull and dreary affair it was.
- If there's nothing more - Not a thing.
I'll just gather up these files and return 'em to your daughter.
Oh, Mr Chase! - There is, sir, just one more thing.
- There's always just one more thing.
Do you have a problem with short-term memory? You should see a physician.
Maybe we could discuss this privately in your office? I don't have the time.
Sir? I'm having trouble with the phone call.
Five minutes.
But only five.
Here's the thing, sir.
We check phone records as a matter of routine.
For example, Mr Winters called the radio station a lot, obviously.
Also Mr Malloy.
Also Mr Lou Caton, literary agent.
By the way, I spoke to him briefly.
He wants to represent a book written by your daughter.
- Would you get to the point? - Sorry, sir.
Well, we not only checked out Mr Winters' phone, sir, we checked out yours.
- Mine? - Your house in the mountains in Malibu.
And here's my problem, sir.
You said that you spoke with Mr Winters and that you heard shots, and then, when he didn't answer, you called 911.
Then you got in your car and you drove to Mr Winters' house.
Well, sir, that's not true.
The phone company has no record of your having made a 911 call from your house.
Is that it? Is that your problem? Good Lord, Lieutenant.
You waste more time worrying about minutiae.
Sir, I don't think it's minutiae.
I never said I made the call from the house.
- Are you sure? - Absolutely.
I was so distraught with what I heard that I rushed down to the car to drive to Gerry's.
Only when I was on the road did I have the presence of mind to notify the police.
I called 911 from the car phone.
From the car! Well, there you go, sir! That explains it! - If that is finally it - And that explains the other thing.
- What other thing? - The time.
- I've been troubled by the time.
- What are you talking about? You have a computer-voice time code on your answering machine, and when I played back the tape, I was able to place the time of the shots at exactly 4:02.
- Yes.
Gerry called me at precisely 4:00.
- And 911 received your call at 4:06.
And I'm thinking all day: What did you do during those four minutes? Four minutes is a long time.
But yes, now I see what happened.
You heard the shots, then you ran from the house, you got in your car, you started the car down the road And then, when I had a chance to think more clearly, I called police emergency.
You don't know how glad I am to have this explained to me.
I was beginning to think I was going out of my mind.
Well, sir, I don't want to take any more of your time.
I know you're busy.
But I do want to thank you.
Thank you very much.
Martha! Martha! - Good morning, Mr Chase.
- Morning.
Is my daughter up yet? I'd like to talk to her.
Oh, she left, sir.
Just as I was arriving.
She said she had some work to catch up on at the office.
- So early? - Would you like breakfast, sir? No, later.
What's that, sir? Is that smoke? Mr Chase! Mr Chase! Well, well, well.
The ubiquitous Lieutenant Columbo.
And it's only 8:47.
Martha, a funny little man from the police is going to make an appearance.
I'll be in the exercise room.
I'm at the gate! It didn't open! Thank you very much! Sorry for the trouble.
Good morning, ma'am.
Lieutenant Columbo to see Mr Chase.
Come in.
He's expecting you.
- May I take your coat, sir? - No, I don't think I'm gonna stay long.
- Your name is? - Martha, sir.
I was here on Saturday.
I didn't see you, Martha.
I work only weekdays, sir.
Mr Chase and his daughter prefer privacy on weekends.
This way, sir.
Stay tuned for "The News at Noon" on WLBD, Channel Six, following this public-service announcement.
He protects all living things in the forest.
But he can't do it alone.
- Good morning, sir! - Good morning, Lieutenant.
- I hope I'm not intruding.
- As a matter of fact, you are.
It's the time of day I work on my muscle tone, as well as catch up on the news of the day.
- I've an important broadcast this evening.
- Right, sir.
The senator.
I'll try and make this brief.
Uh Just let me get rid of this.
- Don't bother with the cigar, Lieutenant.
- It'll just take a second, sir.
"News at Noon".
Am I goin' crazy? Did he say "noon"? - It's just nine o'clock.
- That's the East Coast feed.
Sir? The satellite dish is picking up an East Coast station.
- Satellite? - Yes, Lieutenant.
Cable TV hasn't yet reached into this wilderness.
Because of the mountains, we can't get a decent picture from a normal TV signal.
Consequently, most of us around here have a satellite dish.
You know, I've heard about those.
A fella told me - is it true? - you can get 100 channels on this.
- 200.
You said something about brevity? - Oh, yes, sir.
Would it be possible, sir, to turn down the TV? This is kind of important.
In the interest of getting things going.
I'm having a problem, sir with the key.
The key? What key? It is my belief that whoever killed Mr Winters let himself in unobserved with a key through the back door.
But when we checked, there weren't that many people with the key.
He didn't Perhaps there was no key and the killer was already inside, let in earlier by Gerry.
Uh, no, sir.
On the tape, the victim very clearly states that he was alone.
So there was a key.
What's that got to do with me? You, sir? Nothing.
But it may have a lot to do with your daughter.
What about her? We've identified only four people that had keys to Mr Winters' apartment, and all four have unshakeable alibis - all except your daughter.
Lieutenant My daughter was working that afternoon at the radio station.
Uh Not exactly, sir.
She was working in your offices in the building, but working alone.
Very frankly, I can't find anybody who can verify her whereabouts at the time of the shots.
This is ridiculous.
She could have easily come and gone undetected.
I mean, I can see the scenario, sir.
She makes up some excuse about having to work in the offices Lieutenant, you're a fool.
Not only is your notion preposterous, but it was my idea that my daughter work at the office.
- Your idea? - My idea.
And I can assure you, my daughter did not kill anyone.
Uh Just one more thing, sir.
Just a little, confused, small thing.
You keep calling her your daughter, but actually, sir, I understand that is not exactly true.
But she is my daughter.
Perhaps not biologically, but in every other sense.
I took her into my home when she was ten and I raised her as my own.
Well, that was a very generous thing to do, sir.
Generous? Selfish? I wonder.
Many years ago when I was a very young man, I was very much in love with Victoria's mother.
Stupidly, I let her walk out of my life and she married another man.
I kept track of her through the years, and, when her husband died, I went to see her.
I don't know what I expected.
Perhaps to rekindle a flame that had never died.
But I was too late.
She told me she had cancer - inoperable.
Only months to live.
I promised her that I would raise Victoria as my own.
And I kept that vow, Lieutenant.
I love that child, as if she were my own flesh and blood.
I understand your depth of feeling, sir, and I'm going back to that station I understand your depth of feeling, sir, and I'm going back to that station and try my best to find somebody who can clear her name.
You haven't heard me.
Her name doesn't need clearing.
She's innocent.
If you insist on pursuing this lunacy, you will be a very unhappy policeman.
I'm just trying to do my job.
Then do it away from me - and my daughter.
Sir, I can be wrong.
I realise that.
The light is dawning! How encouraging.
Uh, yes, sir.
Now I recall.
She said to me at one point that she temporarily lost her key.
There you are! You see? Unfortunately, that was the afternoon of the murder, a Saturday, when she drove off to the house and she thought the key was gone from her key ring, but it turned up the next morning.
Which, of course, doesn't make any sense because the only people in the house at that time were her and you.
- Was that some sort of accusation? - No.
I I think she probably overlooked the key in the first place, and it must've been there the whole time.
Wouldn't you think? Goodbye, Lieutenant.
Can you find your own way out? Good.
You'll forgive me if I don't wish you a very pleasant day.
This is Beth, from Carson City, Nevada.
- I have a question for Senator Madison.
- Go ahead.
How do you think you're gonna get re-elected, Senator, considering your votes on ERA? - It's like you don't know or care.
- Of course I care, Beth, but I don't support any measure which legislates benefits to one particular group, whether they be male, female, Black, Hispanic or whatever, at the expense of any other group.
Thank you, Senator Madison, and thank you, Beth.
Local news next.
This is Fielding Chase here with Senator Gordon Madison.
Back in five.
- Yes, yes.
- Thank you.
What do you think? - You've been pulling your punches.
- Calm before the storm.
A call will come in on the back line.
A man named Collier.
Patch him through and put him at the top of the list.
These are supposed to be random calls.
This isn't fair.
Victoria Stop acting like a child.
These things are done all the time.
Right about now, this programme needs a jolt, and Collier is going to supply it.
- Dad! - Don't argue, Victoria.
Just do it.
I want you to take each of these tapes and - Excuse me, sir - Go away, Columbo.
- Could I have just one minute? - I don't have a minute.
I just want to apologise, sir.
I had a bad afternoon - a very bad afternoon.
After you called the mayor, he called the commissioner, the commissioner called my captain and I was on the carpet for an hour.
I told you before and I'm telling you now: Stay out of my life.
I just want you to know how badly I feel.
If I had known I was bothering you You were - and you are.
Now please leave before I call security and have you removed.
My father's been under a great strain the past few days.
He hasn't been himself.
But I think you should leave.
We're back in 20 seconds.
- The senator, how is he doing? - He's holding his own.
The night's young yet.
And five, four, three, two And we're back for another hour with Senator Gordon Madison, who, by his own admission, faces stiff opposition in his re-election bid.
Senator, thank you for joining us on National Focus.
My pleasure, Fielding.
I am delighted to be able to reach out to your many listeners, many of whom share my philosophy.
Many of them who don't.
You may make some converts, but Yes? Yes, I was told you'd be calling.
Please hold.
- They get precious little of that here.
- Amen to that, my friend.
Now back to the phones.
This is Collier from Roanoke, Virginia.
- Mr Chase? - This is he.
You're on the air with Senator Madison.
I gotta tell you, I'm not a real big fan of yours, Mr Chase.
Thank you.
What else do you have to say besides displaying your ignorance? But that guy you got with you, that senator, he's a real piece of work.
- Hey, Senator.
- Yes, I'm here.
When you gonna tell about that affair you had a few years back with that movie star, uh Deirdre Ross? What? Everybody knows she had your kid, then put it up for adoption.
When was that? About seven years ago? I'm not really sure.
Sir, this is a very serious allegation.
St Anne's Home for Unwed Mothers, just across the state line.
Don't tell me you don't know about it.
Hell, I got witnesses.
Look, this is absolutely untrue.
I can explain about this.
Explain? What are you saying, Senator? You know this woman? This actress? Yes, I knew her, but I Sir, this is a very grave accusation.
You say you have proof? What proof? Medical records, adoption papers, eyewitnesses.
Look, this is total nonsense.
I knew Miss Ross, of course.
Her mother worked for me.
She was only 17, man.
17! If you ask me, a guy like you oughta be strung up.
Mr Chase, I don't even understand why you have a lowlife like this on your show.
Victoria! - Go away.
- I have to talk to you.
- I said go away.
- Please open the door.
- Leave me alone.
- Victoria! Leave me alone, please! Just leave me alone! Victoria? Victoria.
Where are you going? Who is that out there? Louis Caton, a literary agent.
I'm flying with him to New York.
- About last night.
I'm sorry.
- So am I.
I don't want to fight with you.
One of us might say something we might regret.
So let's just say that I'm going off on my own to try and make it as a writer.
- I want to help you.
I told you.
- You told me a lot of things.
- And I believed too many of them.
- You're not leaving.
I won't permit it.
- You won't permit it? - Poor choice of words.
You know, I finally realised that Gerry was right, but I was too frightened or loyal or maybe even too stupid to listen to him.
- If I don't leave now, I'll never get away.
- Wait.
Don't leave me.
I need you.
You don't need me.
You don't need anybody except yourself.
Never mind me.
What you did to Senator Madison last night was unforgivable.
You smeared an innocent man with a despicable lie! - You don't understand.
- Yes, I do.
All too well.
I'll call you from New York.
- You poisoned her against me.
- No, Dad.
- I'll destroy you, Caton, I swear to God! - You'll try, but I'll take my chances.
Victoria What are you doing in here? Oh! Good morning, sir.
How did you get in here? Uh, through the patio, sir.
Mr Caton drove me up this morning.
My own car is laid up in the shop.
You know, sir, I can see the resemblance.
Beautiful woman, that lady.
And warm, too.
You can see it in the eyes.
- You were told to stay away from me.
- That I was, sir.
But in a murder investigation you have to go where the trail leads you to.
- The trail leads here? - Yes, sir, I'm afraid it does.
Perhaps if you were to speak directly to your chief of police.
I will, but that won't change the fact that you killed Mr Winters to stop him running off with your daughter.
Victoria running off with Gerry Winters? I hardly think so.
- Fielding Chase.
I want the chief.
- I don't mean in a romantic sense.
He was helping her escape from you.
- We have a witness.
- What witness? A man who says you offered him $10,000 to kill Gerry Winters.
- Arrant nonsense.
- I don't think so, sir.
This guy, he sounds very credible.
Lieutenant, do you have any idea how many enemies I have out there? People who would do or say anything to bring me down.
- Where is this person? - He's down at headquarters.
Suppose we just see about this.
I'll confront your witness.
I'll destroy him.
And after that, I'll start on you.
Then maybe the rest of the Los Angeles Police Department.
- You don't mind driving? - Looking forward to it! I'm beginning to appreciate what some of my listeners call "police harassment".
- It's an ugly experience.
- It wasn't my intention Save it, Lieutenant.
That routine of yours is becoming tiresome.
Looks like some kind of an accident, sir.
Slow down, man! Hey! Get somebody down here.
We need help.
- What happened? Somebody get hurt? - A coyote crossed the road and Wally fell.
It's my leg.
I think it's all right.
I'm not sure.
Let me take a look at it.
- Looks bruised.
- Doesn't look like a break.
- What do you think? - I don't know.
- Have you put pressure on it? - Not yet.
Maybe you oughta try standing and see.
I'm all right.
- Feel all right? - Yeah.
It's fine.
- Thanks a lot.
- You're welcome.
- It's fine.
Thanks a lot.
- No problem.
Is there a problem, sir? Obviously.
- Maybe it's the battery.
- Lights work.
Why don't you pop the hood and let me take a look? - You a mechanic, Columbo? - No, sir, but whenever I have a problem, I start pushing those wires around and sometimes it works like a charm.
You push wires around in your car.
Leave mine alone.
Yes, sir.
So, what do you wanna do? You wanna call AAA? Wonderful idea.
- What's the problem? - I can't seem to get through.
You wanna try mine? - You have a phone? - Yeah, but I didn't buy it.
You know, they're $800.
I told the guy, "Look, that's a lot of money.
I wanna try it out first.
" So he gave me this as a loaner.
Is yours a PhoneTech, sir? - Yes, it is.
- That's what I got.
I figure: Get the best.
But I'll tell you the truth What's the number for the AAA, sir? I'll tell you the truth, I tried this yesterday afternoon and so far I haven't been able to get it to work.
Apparently you've let your batteries run down.
No, cos I put fresh babies in here myself.
See? I can't get through.
You know what it might be? It might be the mountains.
Like with your TV reception.
The reason you got that whatchamacallit - the dish, the satellite! The mountains! - Maybe here you can't get a clear signal.
- Perhaps not.
Which is odd, because of what you said Just a second, sir.
Didn't you say? Yes, you did.
You said when you left your house after you heard the shots, you called 911 from your car.
But how could you call from here? You can't get a signal through.
That's because I didn't call from this spot.
It was further up the road.
I don't see how, sir.
Given the time frame, it had to be somewhere around here.
And just to be sure, I came out yesterday afternoon with - like I said - this, and I tried here, and I tried a mile down that way, and another mile up that way.
It doesn't make any difference.
No matter where you call from on this whole road, you can't get through.
- You're wrong, Lieutenant.
- No, sir, I'm not wrong.
You were nowheres near this place on the day of the killing.
Yes, well, we could debate that, but frankly, I think it would be a lot more productive if I got some tools and tried to get the engine started.
I think you were parked near Mr Winters' home.
After you killed him you called from his neighbourhood, where you could get through.
You have the tape of my conversation with Gerry Winters when he was shot.
And I think we both know how you did that, sir.
The only way it could've been done: You on the extension phone in his den, and your answering machine recording as if you were actually at home.
The coroner said the shots came from the direction of the den.
And the forensic guy says there were no fingerprints on the phone in the den.
Which says to me it had to be wiped off by somebody.
Suppose you're right.
Aren't you being stupid, confronting me with this, alone, on a deserted stretch of road? - I know you're not armed.
- Yes, sir, I may be unarmed, but I'm certainly not alone.
A few of the folks from headquarters out for some exercise.
I see.
And there isn't any witness at headquarters? Uh, no, sir, I'm afraid not.
You know, Columbo, I think possibly I may have misread you.
It's possible, sir.
It's possible.
Let's go, sir.