Columbo (1971) s10e10 Episode Script

Strange Bedfellows

Good morning, sir.
How may I help you? Mr Stiegler.
I'm a friend of Geoffrey Baxter's.
We had a phone conversation.
Ah, yes.
Mr Smith.
- I was expecting you yesterday.
- Yesterday was a problem.
You understand about the price? It's firm.
It has never been fired.
Or even loaded, for that matter.
- You're positive this can't be traced? - But of course it can.
To a shipment stolen two years ago in Boston.
Does it have a history? No.
- This meeting never took place.
- It is forgotten already, Mr Smith.
- What do you think, Pat? - I'd like to see him do it on a race day.
- Thursday soon enough? - Last month was soon enough, sir.
I didn't want to rush him.
A broken-down two-year-old is no good to either of us.
- Your father would've been less cautious.
- I'm not my father.
No, sir.
That you're not.
Horace McVeigh was a gentleman horseman with limited ambitions.
Unlike him, I intend to make Timber Ridge the most successful stable in the country.
- You and your brother, sir.
- Right.
Me and my brother.
Graham? In here.
I wasn't sure you'd be home.
Where did you think I'd be? Have you seen Romano? Yeah.
I told him everything's OK for tomorrow.
So, could I get a drink or something? Come on.
Just one.
You know, kind of like a celebration.
Romano and his boys are gonna clean up, and I mean big time.
They're putting out a couple of hundred thousand thousand here, thousand there, nothing big in any one place.
But the way Fiddle's been running the past few weeks, the odds have got to be Yeah.
I mean, you know, that's the way Bruno figures it.
Mr Romano has it figured correctly.
- I won't do it again, Teddy.
- I know.
I know.
I'm not gonna ask you to, believe me.
Running up a tab like that Was I out of my mind? Now that you bring it up Yeah, well, I'm done.
OK? Vegas, horses, everything.
No more.
That's what you told Dad when you went into your trust fund.
And two years ago when Mom bailed you out.
Come on.
Don't get holy-holy with me, big brother.
This place is still half mine.
Don't forget that.
Without me, you own half of nothing.
I agreed to this deal for one reason only, and that is to save this farm.
We held the Fiddle back for three races so that your greasy friend could wipe your slate clean.
- I know that, and I - This is it, Teddy, so help me.
If you get in trouble with these people again, do not come to me.
Is that clear? Is that perfectly clear? Graham.
Never again.
I swear.
Horn-blower J Cohen brings out the runners for this afternoon's first event.
The first race today begins the $1 "bet a buck", and it also starts the early double.
There's exacta and quinella wagering, and it starts today's early big three.
Well, how's he feeling, Pat? Oh, he's fit as he'll ever be.
Are you by yourself, sir? That's right.
Just came in to check on my Fiddle.
- Where's Emilio? - He should be back shortly.
Find him, will you? I want to talk to him.
He's received his instructions.
Give the horse his head.
That's what you said.
Right, but I'd still like to talk to him.
Ladies and gentlemen, in this, the first race, number 3, Firebird, has been scratched.
Sorry, young fella.
I know how badly you want to win, but not today.
2,000 to win on number six.
Number six, Thank you.
Making a small wager, little brother? Yeah.
Why not? It's easy money, right? Number six.
Well, this little bet of yours just cost your friends some money.
Oh, to hell with them.
They're getting what they want.
So what if I make a few bucks for myself? Lighten up, Graham.
Ladies and gentlemen, the horses for this afternoon's eighth and featured event are now coming onto the track.
There are no late scratches orjockey changes.
We're now pleased to introduce the field for this afternoon's $100,000 event.
Leading the post parade is number one, Easy Taking.
The Fiddle looks fit, Graham.
No pun intended.
Your father had high hopes for him.
I can't understand why he hasn't won.
- I think today he may be ready, Gwen.
- Yeah, put the mortgage on it.
- Am I right, Teddy? - Today's the day.
Well, 17-1, he'll pay a good price if he wins.
There's no "ifs" about it, love.
Uh, cool it, Tiffany, OK? 'Ere, don't be a bleedin' pain, all right? Shenandoah Lass the last one to load.
Goes in quietly.
Gates closed.
The flag is up and away they go.
From one of the outside gates That was a good start.
Fiddling Bull leads.
Easy Taking is showing good speed, and Lady of Madrid comes kicking through to join them and George Be Good.
Four of them almost in a line, flying early on.
Just behind is Shenandoah Lass and Uncle Kunkel is last, but there's no more than five lengths first to last.
Down the back stretch, and Fiddling Bull on the far side has the lead - half a length.
But George Be Good, Lady of Madrid and Easy Taking are all right there.
Still four in a line as they run into the back turn.
In behind that comes Uncle Kunkel, then back to Allegheny who's eight lengths off.
Into the far turn and Fiddling Bull is still the leader on the outside.
Easy Taking, Lady of Madrid and George Be Good keeping the pressure on, though.
They start to swing for home.
Fiddling Bull in the centre, Easy Taking, Lady of Madrid.
George Be Good scraping the paint and kicking on.
Now Fiddling Bull's gonna have to do a little better as Easy Taking gets the lead.
Easy Taking, Lady of Madrid, George Be Good.
And Fiddling Bull can find no more.
- No! Come on! - Easy Taking and Lady of Madrid.
Easy Taking has won it from Lady of Madrid.
George Be Good.
Fiddling Bull dropped back to finish fourth.
What the hell was that, eh? You told me he couldn't lose.
I bet 50 bucks on that bleedin' plough horse.
Sorry, Graham.
Better luck next time.
Teddy! Teddy.
Teddy, wait.
What's wrong with you? - He's gonna kill me.
- No one is gonna kill you.
- Oh, you don't know this guy.
- I've met Bruno Romano.
- I'm dead.
- Strutting around with that fancy gun.
- That gun doesn't scare me.
- Yeah? It should.
- You've got to talk to him, you know.
- No.
No way.
I'm gone.
Gone where? Sooner or later, he's gonna find you.
God! - All right, suppose I talk to him? - He's gonna kill you.
I'm not kidding! Nothing's wrong that money can't fix.
- What money? I thought we were broke.
- I can raise some, I think.
It might mean selling Dixie Daisy.
- You'd do that for me? - For us.
I'm in it now too.
I want you to go home, huh? I want you to stay there.
When I've talked to Romano, I'll call you.
The result of the featured event has now been posted official.
Ma, I can't.
I told you, I got plans.
Yeah, a guy.
Is that so terrible? No, he's not married.
That kind of grief, I don't need.
Look, will you stop? I am not coming home after work.
Anyone in there? Plumber.
Anyone in there? Bartender.
What was that again? Scotch and soda.
Easy on the soda.
Easy on the soda.
Oh! Oh, no! Oh! Oh! No.
They're in here! They're in there! Oh, my I felt them! They were climbing all over me! Somebody, they were Over my - Hey, Rudy, what the hell is that? - I don't know, Mr Romano.
- What happened? - There were rats! - Rats? - It's all right, Ethel.
Take a deep breath.
- Water, water.
- Water.
Water for the lady.
Oh, my God, George! Oh, my God, George! All right, calm down.
- Relax.
Take a deep breath.
- We're gonna go sit down.
- Bring that water.
- Get me a doctor.
- Rats? All of a sudden we have rats? - Let's see.
No, don't open the door.
That's all I need, is rats running around.
- Yeah? - Teddy, it's me.
Where have you been? I've been going crazy! Be quiet and listen.
I haven't got much time.
I talked to Romano.
I think we can work this out.
- He's gonna take the money? - I think so.
We have to meet him later on tonight.
Both of us.
I want you to stay there, OK? Don't move, don't call anybody, don't answer the phone.
I'll be there as soon as I can pick up a little cash, OK? - Yeah, sure, but - Just stay put.
I'll be there in an hour.
- On three - I push open the door.
- I shove the bucket in the opening.
- And I drop the traps in.
Here we go.
One two three.
Ouch! Cut the lights.
Are you sure this is the right place? This is it.
It's a minute before midnight.
Where is he? He'll be here.
- Are you OK? - Would you be? You better let me handle this.
- Whoa, wait.
Where are you going? - Going to stretch my legs.
- Yeah, good idea.
- Hey, hey.
Just stay put in case this is a trap.
We may need to haul out of here quickly.
- What? - I thought I saw headlights.
Where? Out there.
I don't see anything.
Hold it there, please.
Sorry, sir.
The road's closed.
Oh, excuse me.
I didn't know.
Go right ahead, sir.
Are you all right? I got a feeling you're gonna find 'em up here - tyre tracks.
Morning, Lieutenant.
You all right, Lieutenant? Clams.
Eating fish nowadays, very dangerous.
I would never eat fish in a restaurant.
Where did you have those clams? Was it in a restaurant? Phil, please.
What have we got here? - Looks to me like a mob hit, sir.
- A mob hit? We're trying to see if there was another car around.
Maybe he met somebody.
No sign of a struggle.
Single shot to the back of the head.
- Who was the guy? - His name's Teddy McVeigh.
I ran his plate numbers.
We didn't touch anything.
That's the way we found him.
Hold this.
- Did you find anything? - Not a thing.
It's clean as a whistle.
I got a couple of smudged latents on the other door handle, though.
"Timber Ridge Farms.
Teddy McVeigh, vice president.
" Timber Ridge Farms.
Why does that sound familiar? Stables, sir.
Horse racing.
- Brindle! - Yes, sir.
If the clams don't kill me, that stuff will.
What's this? It's a ticket on a horse.
The guy bet $2,000 on a horse.
Can you believe that? It must have lost.
Bag it.
Yes, sir.
Oh, he had his car washed.
October 4.
- Bag it.
- Yes, sir.
- And bag the wallet.
- Yes, sir.
- Are there some ashes in that ashtray? - Yes, sir.
- Bag the ashes too.
- Yes, sir.
- Who found the body? - Sheriff's choppers.
They spotted the car from the air.
- Has the family been notified yet? - No, sir.
Not yet.
a Graham McVeigh, the guy's brother.
- The victim didn't come home last night.
- I'll notify the brother.
I'll talk to him.
In the meantime, look around.
See if you can find signs of another car.
Yes, sir.
Sir, the horse is not himself.
I think a vet should have a look at him.
It won't be necessary.
If we rest him for a couple of weeks, he'll be fine.
I can't figure out what happened yesterday.
In the morning, Fiddle was fine.
He was raring to go.
That's yesterday's news, Pat.
Today we move forward.
- Whose car is that? - I don't know.
We're not hiring.
Find the guy and tell him to get the hell out of here.
Hey, you! Yes, you.
This is private property.
- What? LAPD.
What do you want? A Mr Graham McVeigh.
Are you Mr McVeigh? I'm McVeigh.
Is this about my brother? Uh, yes, sir, it is.
What is it? I'm sorry, sir.
These things are never easy to say.
I've been doing this 20 years, I haven't gotten it right yet.
- Has something happened? - Yes, sir.
He's dead, sir.
I'm very sorry.
An accident? No, sir.
He was murdered.
- How? - We found him slumped back in his car in a deserted section of the woods.
He was killed with a single shot to the back of the head.
Those bastards.
- I knew it.
- Sir? Sir, was your brother in some kind of trouble? Trouble? Yeah.
He was in debt.
He'd run up a big tab to some gamblers.
- They were pressuring him to pay.
- You mean they threatened him? I suppose so.
Teddy wouldn't confide in me.
He said he could handle it.
Dammit! It's a terrible thing, sir.
- I can imagine how you feel.
- Can you? I doubt it.
Less than a year ago, my brother and I lost our parents.
And now Teddy's gone, butchered by some thug.
Sir, did he happen to mention any names? He told me next to nothing about his personal business.
No, wait.
He did mention one name last night on the phone.
- Sir? - We had a horse running yesterday.
Fiddling Bull.
Teddy was positive this horse was gonna win.
When he lost, well I never saw my brother so upset.
He ran away.
I caught up with him, but he refused to discuss it.
And then last night we were both at home and he got a phone call.
It was around 8:30, I think.
I couldn't help but overhear.
He was talking to someone named Bruno.
Bruno? That's it? Bruno? Bruno.
Teddy was terrified.
He kept swearing up and down how he'd make things right, how it wasn't his fault.
I didn't know what he was talking about.
Then around 11:30 he went out.
I was in bed already, but I heard him.
I watched him drive off.
I would've assumed he'd gone to Tiffany's house Tiffany, sir? Tiffany Keene.
That's the woman he's been seeing for several months now.
But there was something about that phone call.
So when I got up this morning and Teddy's car was missing, I called Tiffany.
She told me she hadn't seen him since yesterday afternoon at the racetrack.
That's when I called you people to report him missing.
Well, thank you very much, sir.
This Tiffany, would she know anything about this Bruno guy? Possibly.
Would you like her phone number? I've got it in my bag in the car.
That'd be very helpful, sir.
Sir, could I bum a cigarette? I've been dying for one for the past hour.
There's a filthy habit.
- I've been trying to give it up for years.
- Haven't we all? My brother Sal, he got me started at 12 years old.
Now, Sal, he was a real case.
Three packs a day and a cough you could hear in Santa Monica.
And my father, he was the same way.
Now, my wife, she claims it's hereditary.
Your brother, sir.
Your brother.
Did he smoke? Teddy had many vices, but nicotine was not one of them.
Well, there's your exception.
But who knows? Maybe it's not in the genes.
Maybe it's just in ourselves.
I'm afraid you're right.
Are you OK? You look a bit queasy.
Oh, just something I ate.
I'll be fine.
- Yeah? - Bruno Romano? - Yeah.
Who's this? - Graham McVeigh, Teddy's brother.
- Yeah, what can I do for you? - We had a little problem yesterday.
Yeah, you could say that.
I don't want any trouble.
Whatever my brother owes, I want to make good on.
- In cash.
- I don't know what you're talking about.
You can't talk on the phone.
Why don't you stop by my farm tonight at eight o'clock? This'll be just between the two of us.
Like I said, I don't want any trouble.
I still don't know what you mean.
I understand.
Sorry to have bothered you.
Mr Romano.
- Do you mind? - Not at all.
- Where's your brother? - You're hurting me.
- I said, where is your brother? - Not here.
I guess not.
I just heard a news report on the radio.
He's dead.
You forgot to mention that.
- Mention that to you? That's funny.
- What? Do you think I killed him? Yeah.
Who else? Why do you think I got all this money together? If there isn't at least 200,000 there, you're wasting my time.
Take a look.
Can I get you something? No, I'm not staying long.
- What is this? Some kind of a joke? - That's right, Bruno.
The joke's on you.
Oh, hey - Hello, 911? - Do you have an emergency, sir? Yes, I'd like to report a shooting.
A man tried to kill me.
Officer, report your 10-20.
This is Officer Kelleher, Valley Precinct.
We need a meat wagon at Timber Ridge Farms, Chatsworth.
That's east of Topanga on Devonshire approximately a mile and a half.
- Excuse me.
- Hold on.
- Who's the officer in charge? - Lieutenant Schiffer.
Repeat, that's a meat wagon at Timber Ridge Farms, Chatsworth.
That's east of Topanga on Devonshire.
How about a cup of coffee, Mr McVeigh? You look like you could use it.
No, thank you.
I'm OK.
I'm just a little shaken, that's all.
Columbo, what are you doing here? Oh, what do you say, Schiffer? I was just getting to bed early when the captain called me.
Oh, hi, Mr McVeigh.
Are you OK? - I'm fine, Lieutenant.
- You know each other? I'm working on a case involving his brother.
The captain thought I might want to check this out.
We just wrapped your case up for you, Columbo.
See this piece of garbage over there? Bruno Romano.
Not the kind of guy you want to spend Christmas with.
Bruno Romano.
Bruno? Oh, that was the guy on the phone.
What happened here? What happened was that man showed up at my door and forced his way inside.
He started waving his gun in my face.
He demanded that I give him $200,000 in cash to make things right, or I'd get what my brother got.
Oh, this is his gun, huh? That's the gun? .
38 calibre chrome-plated.
I'll order a ballistics test right away.
Ten to one it matches the slug in your case.
He killed my brother, the son of a bitch.
And you killed him.
How'd you manage to do that, Mr McVeigh? I keep a gun under the bar for emergencies.
With all the crime these days, you can't be too careful.
Yes, sir.
- You were lucky you were able to get to it.
- I know that.
Lieutenant Schiffer? The ME just rolled in.
Excuse me.
Yes, sir.
You sure were lucky.
No question about that.
When you opened that door, he could've popped you there, considering the situation, how mad he must've been.
- The situation? - Oh, the race.
It was supposed to be fixed.
What are you talking about? I caught up with Tiffany, the little English girl.
She told me your brother told her yesterday's race was fixed.
Some kind of a payoff to get people off his back.
That's ridiculous.
Fix a race? How could Teddy fix a race? I don't know, but she said you knew about it.
Me? She's crazy.
Well, that's what your brother told her, sir.
Well, Teddy had a way of stretching the truth, but In any case, the race wasn't fixed.
Fiddling Bull finished well out of the money.
- No, wait a minute.
- Sir? - He must've told them about the workout.
- I don't follow.
Four days ago at the track here at our ranch, we worked that horse out in 1:10 flat.
- Is that good, sir? - It's exceptional.
With a workout like that, there was every likelihood that horse would've won.
He must've told them about it.
He may have even said the race was fixed.
Hell, even I said the horse can't lose.
Now I see.
Oh, God.
My poor, dumb, sweet brother must've told them the race was fixed.
So, what? They bet a lot of money on the race and then when the horse loses, they assume they've been double-crossed.
That's that's what he was talking about.
The $200,000.
That's what they lost, and my brother had to pay for it with his life.
Excuse me, Lieutenant.
I'm gonna get some air.
I gotta run, sir.
I promised the missus this'd be quick.
Whenever there's anything wrong, no matter how little, she worries.
Well, I understand.
You are feeling better? Much better, sir.
After I went through the pink stuff, I went through the blue stuff, and then my wife, God love her, she made some hot soup full of chicken fat and lentils and Whatever it was, I'm feeling pretty good now.
Well, go home and get a good night's rest.
If you have further questions, feel free to ask.
I will, sir.
Actually, sir, uh - I do have one now.
- Really? It's not much of a one.
Just one of those things that doesn't make sense.
Maybe it's not important.
I don't know.
- Well, go ahead.
What is it? - Your brother, sir.
You said he left the track around 4:30 and he drove directly home, and you followed shortly afterwards and he was home when you got there.
- Right.
- This was before 8:30, when Bruno called.
And you said that you both spent the evening at home and you started to retire early and you noticed your brother drive away about 11:30.
That's right.
So you were never in the car with him on that day.
Why? Then it must've been somebody else.
Well, those cigarettes, they're a very popular brand.
I have no idea what you're talking about.
I'm sorry, sir.
I guess I didn't explain.
Your brother, he had his car washed just before he went to the track.
We found this receipt with the time and the date in his wallet.
So your brother had a clean car and he went from the car wash right to the track, and from the track, home.
And then he drove away from home at 11:30, and since nobody else was ever in the car with him and he didn't smoke, I can't figure out how those ashes got in that ashtray.
What? The lab, sir, said those ashes came from the brand of cigarettes that you smoke.
That's why I thought you might've been in the car with him that day.
- Well, I wasn't.
- Right.
But the ashes were, so I'm stuck.
How did they get there? I could think of any number of explanations.
I'm wide open, sir.
Well, working off the top of my head, perhaps the folks at the car wash neglected to vacuum the ashtray.
I thought of that, sir, but there was no butt.
You smoke in a car, you put the butt in the ashtray.
Where else are you going to put it? But there was no butt, sir.
There should've been a butt.
Not necessarily.
Uh The parking valet at the racetrack, for instance, could've been smoking and used the ashtray, but hadn't finished his cigarette.
That's it.
That explains it, sir.
The parking valet.
You don't know how much this was bothering me.
I figured you were in the car and I couldn't understand why.
But you're right, sir.
The parking valet.
Oh, I feel so much better now.
Between that and the chicken soup, I think I'm gonna get a really good night's sleep.
Thank you very much, sir.
If I have any more questions - You know where to reach me.
- Right.
And, uh I'll talk to those valet-parking people.
Yeah, I'll check them out.
I'll see what they have to say and, uh we'll put those ashes to bed.
Go away.
We're closed.
Go away! We're closed! - Are you the guy on the phone? - Yeah, that's me.
Miss Buchinsky? Yeah.
- Does this bother you? - No.
I want you to know, I don't like talking to cops.
You guys give me the creeps.
Thanks for the warning.
On the phone, you said you had something for me.
It's a bunch of garbage.
You see what they're calling him? "Bruno Romano, mob hit man.
" Hit man! He ran a restaurant.
Just because he's got an Italian name and took bets now and then, he's a gangster.
- But he did carry a gun.
- Yeah.
Why not? He used to walk around with a lot of cash.
- What kind of gun was that, ma'am? - How should I know? It was a gun.
It was kind of fancy.
- Chrome-plated? - Whatever.
- Did he carry it in a holster back here? - Yeah, so no one would notice it.
Bruno was a sharp dresser.
He cared about how he looked.
Miss Buchinsky, a ballistic check confirms that his gun was the one used to kill Teddy McVeigh.
- That's not possible.
- Why not? The paper says this guy McVeigh was killed out in the woods sometime between Well, that's right.
Bruno was with me.
Say that again.
That's right.
We closed up about 11, went straight to his place.
- He never left? - He never left.
And don't tell my mother.
She thinks I'm a virgin.
Lorraine? Where's the exterminator's bill? - It's right here.
- Phone number? - There, by the phone.
- You won't believe what these are.
Miss Buchinsky, I can understand Mr Romano was a friend.
You want to protect him But I don't want to see you get yourself in trouble.
I'm not lying, Lieutenant.
Why should I? Bruno is dead.
I can't help him now except maybe to set things straight.
We checked the telephone records.
Two nights ago, Mr Romano made a threatening call to Mr McVeigh from the phone in his office.
I don't believe it.
Was Mr Romano in his office on Thursday at 8:30? Sure.
He always stayed in his office till about nine.
Then he'd come out and mix.
I'll tell you exactly when it was.
It was last month.
Yes, it was.
I'll give you the day.
What day? - Thursday 22.
- Thursday 22.
That's two weeks.
and 14 days later, I got rodents.
When? The night before last.
Two mice in the ladies' room.
I don't believe you! He wants to know why I didn't report this yesterday.
The lady didn't sue me until today.
All right, wise guy.
You want to be exact? She sued me this morning and I'm suing you this afternoon.
- You'll hear from my lawyer.
- What happened? We found two mice.
Lorraine, how big? - They were small.
- You could hardly see them, but the way this lady carried on, we thought there were two crocodiles.
I heard you say this happened the night before yesterday, Thursday.
- What time was that? - I don't know.
8:15, 8:30.
- 8:30.
- Did Mr Romano come out of his office? Of course he did.
This lady was screaming.
We thought there was a dead body in there.
- What did Romano do? - The lady claimed they were rats.
Bruno didn't want them to run into the restaurant, so we put traps in there.
We got them.
This big.
Bruno threw them in the garbage.
- I'd like to see them.
- Who is this guy? - He's from the police.
- They're in the Dumpster.
- All right, keep quiet.
- Hey! What are you doing? Get in there.
Let's go.
Take off! Ecco! Tenente.
Benvenuto a mia casa modesta.
Mi piace molto.
Per me questo è un onore favoloso.
- Excuse me? - What do you mean, excuse me? Your name's Columbo.
Don't you speak Italian? I never got the hang of it.
Maybe you can help me.
What's the Italian word for kidnapping? I don't understand.
Were you brought against your will? Kidnapped.
Che fai? Che fai, idiota? Perché è qui quest'uomo qui? Dov'è la gentilità? - Mi scusi, padrone.
- Basta! Silenzio, idiota! Via! Subito! Via! I'm sorry.
You know, these men, they're loyal, but they're stupid.
- Vincenzo Fortelli.
- How do you do, sir? So, it's an honour to have you in my house.
You have a reputation for great intelligence and perseverance.
- You've got quite a reputation yourself.
- Do I? - Prostitution, gambling - Va buono.
Basta, basta.
I mean, I can't disown my past, you know, but now everything is legitimate.
I have a few apartment houses, a few little restaurants Excuse me, sir.
I don't mean to interrupt.
Can we do away with the chitchat? - You brought me here for a reason.
- I did.
I want you to join me for lunch.
- Thank you very much, sir, but - Even a cop's gotta eat sometime, right? Besides, I wanna discuss Bruno Romano with you.
Well, in that case, why not? OK.
OK, do you like vino? I got a classic chianti if you like it.
Uh, no.
No wine for me, sir.
I'm on duty.
Just water will be fine.
- What do you like? With gas or without? - Whatever you have, sir.
I tell you what.
Get a Pellegrino for the lieutenant subito, OK? Now! I'll tell you what we're gonna do.
We're gonna start with a zuppa di vongole, then we follow that with a pasta pomodoro and after that, the pièce de résistance.
I have the chef come in at the table and he makes the greatest veal piccata you've ever had in your life.
Tender and juicy, exquisite - you'll be pleased.
Can we talk about Bruno Romano now? - Yeah.
He didn't kill anybody.
- Why do you say that? Because the night of the murder, he was home all night.
He was with Lorraine, you know.
He never left.
- How do you know? - Because she told me.
I believe her.
It was very difficult for her to admit that she slept with him.
I'm listening.
Now, is the gun you found supposed to be the gun that killed his brother, Teddy? - It's the same gun.
The ballistics match.
- But it's not Bruno's gun.
Bruno's gun has different ballistics.
I mean, the police have a record.
They picked him up in November.
There's a record of different ballistics that the cops have? - But that wasn't in his file.
- Why don't you check the ballistics file? The ballistic files.
I'll do that.
And if you're right, you're right.
You see, the only person that could've taken the gun out of Bruno's hand and replaced it with the murder weapon had to be the same hump that killed him.
Mr Graham McVeigh, OK? Now, this is the bottom line.
Either you get him or I get him.
All right? I'll let you go first, I'll give you time I won't give you too much time but then if you don't get him, I'm gonna have to do it my way.
I understand where you're coming from.
This matter is currently under investigation.
I need answers.
I need time.
It's complicated.
Can we discuss this over lunch? OK? Now, how do you like the soup? - It's very good.
What do you call it again? - Zuppa di vongole.
- What's in it? - Fish stock, white wine, parsley.
And then, uh clams that they flew in from Napoli.
- Clams.
- The finest, freshest clams in the world.
So come on.
We got a lot to eat.
Mangia, mangia, mangia.
They come to the quarter mile and Scot Free's striding away impressively.
Scot Free is clear from Chris's Disaster.
Vince's Vixen on the inside, then it's five back to Cuba Sue and Tart's Dream.
They get to the top of the lane and Scot Free is still striding easy on the lead.
Scot Free gonna take some catching.
Chris's Disaster and Vince's Vixen next.
But Scot Free is still clear as they come for home.
And they would need to sprout wings to catch Scot Free.
Scot Free has absolutely annihilated them.
Chris's Disaster and Vince's Beautiful.
Beautiful! Hell of a race, Randall.
I thought he'd win by more.
The jockey moved too soon.
Congratulations, Randall.
Highland Scot's done it again.
I must admit, his record as a sire is pretty impressive.
By the way, did Randall tell you? Highland Scot's going to service Dixie Daisy.
Really? Graham, that's wonderful.
Thank you.
I couldn't be more delighted.
Or grateful.
Well, I think we could do with another round, don't you? - Mr McVeigh? - Lieutenant.
- How are you, sir? - I haven't seen you for days.
- I've been a little under the weather.
- Not more clams? Uh, well Oh, it's a long story, sir.
This is Lieutenant Columbo.
He's with the LAPD.
- He wrapped up Teddy's murder case.
- Did you? Excellent work.
- Thank you very much.
- Join us and tell us how you did it.
No, I couldn't.
Sir, if you and I could speak privately? It'll just take a minute.
Scotch and soda, please.
Easy on the soda.
Do you mind? Could you wait in there? I'll be with you in just a moment.
Any thoughts on this next race? The official result has been posted.
The winner- number three, Scot Free.
Second place has gone to number two, Vince's Vixen, third was number eight, Chris's Disaster and fourth, number five, Tart's Dream.
- What's up? - Good news, sir.
Yes? You'll be happy to hear that the telephone company has a record of the call from Romano's office to your house, and at the exact time that you stated.
- But I told you that.
- Yes, sir, but I have to verify that myself.
So, I'm happy.
And you're happy.
Anything else? Now we're both in a good mood, let me tell you something that's gonna tickle you.
I dropped in to Romano's restaurant and they told me about an incident.
This happened about the time of the call.
You're not gonna believe this.
This belongs in an Italian comedy.
They hear a scream - suddenly, out of the blue.
They think somebody got stabbed.
They see the woman.
She's hysterical.
And she's saying, "They're in there.
They're in there.
" She's pointing at the ladies' room.
And now she's saying, "Oh, oh, oh, oh.
I felt them on my legs.
" - "Oh, they bit me, they bit me.
" - Rats? - Two little mice.
- For goodness' sakes.
- She was - Terrified.
Of course.
She was, yes.
And the manager, well, he's beside himself because he said, the way she was carrying on, he thought there was crocodiles in there.
- She could sue them.
- She did.
And when I was there today, the manager was going to sue the exterminator.
- I don't blame him.
- But he had nothing to do with it.
- What do you mean? - I saw the mouse.
- And? - Are you interested? Or just being polite? - No, not at all.
- OK.
See, this is not a real mouse.
No, that's rubber.
I got a photo of the actual mouse.
He's in the trash.
He's dead.
Can you see the tail, sir? Or is it too dark? Well, look over here.
It's the same thing.
Here, look at this.
You see, sir, from this point here to here is 114mm.
you can read it.
Now, from the rip of the tail to the rear is 89mm.
So that's a long tail for that size body.
I guess that's why it's called the long-tailed California mouse.
And this species, you don't find them in Los Angeles.
No? No.
Los Angeles was carved out of the desert.
This species you find in or near mountains, mountain meadows.
You'd find them Oh You'd find them up in those mountains near your horse ranch.
That kind of soil.
I don't know what any of this means.
It means the restaurant's got no case against the exterminator.
What he's going to say is, "If a mouse like this was found in that ladies' room, it didn't come there by itself.
Some human put it there.
" - So he's in the clear.
- I don't know about anybody else, but the exterminator's in the clear.
Oh, goodness.
I gotta run.
Uh go back to your friends, sir, and thank you for the time.
My pleasure.
Oh, sir, just one more thing.
The valet, sir.
The valet doesn't smoke.
Well, that's not actually true.
He does, but only cigars and only in his home.
- What are you talking about? - The valet parking.
At the racetrack.
The ashes in the ashtray.
He didn't put them there.
Uh, what's his name? Carlos? Right.
He remembered your brother.
As a matter of fact, they all did, but they wouldn't smoke in his car.
It's against the rules.
They could get fired.
Is there some point you're trying to make? It's just that we've got to keep begging.
It's these little things - ashes, tiny mice they lead you to the big things and, all of a sudden, there it is, clear as day.
OK, sir.
Anything develops, I'll let you know.
- Mr McVeigh? - Yes.
First of all, I'd like to extend my condolences on the death of your brother.
Thank you.
Vincenzo Fortelli.
Ha! Well, I guess you've heard of me, hm? I've heard of you.
Excuse me for arriving unannounced, but I have some urgent business I'd like to discuss with you.
I'm very busy.
Some other time.
That's not convenient for me.
Look, I don't care what's convenient.
You and I have nothing to discuss.
Sorry, my friend, but you're wrong.
You are very wrong.
You see, I, uh I never met your brother, but I had several business dealings with him through an associate of mine, Mr Bruno Romano.
I'm sure you remember the name.
You shot him the other night.
I think you'd better get off my property or I'm gonna call the police.
Oh, no, no, no.
Wait a minute.
Wait a minute! I'm sorry.
I'm sorry you feel like that, you know, but maybe I'd better cut to the bottom line.
Because of your brother, I have incurred losses of almost $200,000 and you are gonna make them good.
Not a chance.
Not even if I had the money, which I don't.
I'm aware of that.
But you've got this lovely farm here, you know.
I'd settle for a 51% interest in that.
You are out of your mind.
- I beg your pardon.
- You are out of your mind! OK.
I mean, insanity is not one of my failings.
I see I have to be specific with you.
So as of six o'clock tomorrow night, you will have your signature on the document that transfers all the controlling interests of this organisation over to me.
All right? And if you don't sign it, I'll have you killed.
Nothing personal.
Just business.
Look, let me think this over.
I may be able to raise the money.
I don't want the money.
I want the farm.
- Wait a minute, now.
- That's it.
I'll see you at six o'clock tomorrow night.
You are crazy.
You hear me? You dirty bastard! You're crazy! You got a foul mouth.
The guy hit 37 home runs, knocked in 103 runs.
- What do you mean, get rid of him? - He also strikes out about 73 times, and with men on base he's batting about.
And for this they're giving him $3.
5 million a year? The guy's a bum.
- Am I right or am I right? - What did you do to this chilli? I didn't do nothing.
It's the same chilli you've eaten here for the past nine years.
That's what it tastes like.
Nine-year-old chilli.
There's something wrong.
Maybe it's your stomach acting up again, Lieutenant.
- Did you put clams in here? - Clams in chilli? Do you think I'm crazy? Lieutenant.
Oh, Mr McVeigh.
What are you doing here? They told me at headquarters you'd be here having lunch.
We have to talk.
- Do you want something to eat? - Uh thank you, no.
Lieutenant, in private.
Oh, this is Sergeant Brindle.
Sergeant, Mr Graham McVeigh.
My condolences on the loss of your brother, Mr McVeigh.
You want your killer? I've got your killer.
My life has been threatened.
- Threatened? - Yes.
- By who? - A man named Fortelli.
Vincenzo Fortelli? That's the guy.
- That's the guy.
- You know him? A man like him? How would we not know him? Sergeant Brindle has been working on this case with me.
This morning, he found out that Fortelli is a half-owner in Bruno Romano's restaurant.
- What happened? - He came by my place about an hour ago.
He demanded I sign over the farm to him by tomorrow, 6pm, or he'll have me killed.
- I think he's serious.
- Oh, he's serious.
Vincenzo Fortelli is a very serious man.
- Then you've got to do something.
- Do what, sir? - Arrest him.
The man threatened my life.
- Were there any witnesses to this threat? - Yes, two gentlemen who worked for him.
- That's not gonna be much help.
Mr McVeigh, we can't pick him up without some sort of substantiation.
You see, sir, the sergeant's right.
Until he makes an active move, our hands are tied.
You gotta wait till he kills me before you do anything? Well, we could, sir, but just for a few days.
It can't be forever.
Sooner or later, we're gonna have to back off.
You see the problem, sir? I don't believe this.
Lieutenant, why don't we put a couple of guys on Mr McVeigh? Kind of a loose tail.
Then if Fortelli made a move and we caught him at it - Yeah.
- It sure would be nice to nail this guy.
I could talk to the captain about that.
He might go for that for a few days.
You're gonna be at risk, sir.
Oh, like I'm not at risk already? Let me see what I can work out.
- Columbo.
This is Graham McVeigh.
Fortelli's men are chasing me.
They're gonna try to kill me.
- Columbo's not here.
- Where is he? - Sgt Brindle's covering.
- Get him! Yes, I'll hold, but hurry! Mr McVeigh, this is Sergeant Brindle.
Where are you? Sand Pine Road, heading south towards Charleston.
Got it.
When you get to Charleston, take a left and head to the freeway.
We'll intercept on the frontage road.
Brindle, do not screw up.
These guys are trying to kill me! We'll be there.
Step out of the car.
Keep your hands above your head.
Face the car and put your hands on the roof, now! Randall.
Graham McVeigh.
Oh, fine.
You heard? Yes, well, I did have a few exciting moments this morning.
Well, it's a long story, Randall.
Suffice it to say, never let your relatives get you embroiled with gangsters.
No, no, no.
It's fine now.
These two thugs are in jail.
What? Um Forgive me, Randall.
I was distracted by something.
I called regarding the servicing of Dixie Daisy.
Uh Randall, may I call you back on this, please? Thank you.
Oh, good afternoon, sir.
This is some place you got here.
Property as far as the eye can see.
Does your land extend to the other side of the mountain? - Yes, it does.
- Oh, boy.
The privacy must be terrific.
Yes, the privacy is terrific.
My place, it's nice, but you know how it is.
It's one house on top of the other.
If you look out the back window, you see the guy next door mowing his lawn.
All right, Columbo.
You didn't come to discuss the scenery.
The two men that we picked up this morning - had to let them go.
What? They were bumping me with their car.
They had guns.
But those weapons they were carrying, they were carrying them legally.
- Wait a minute.
These - They have no criminal record.
There's no outstanding warrants and, under the circumstances, the DA was unwilling to file charges.
- Well, that's just wonderful.
- Sir, it's not as bad as you think.
Vincenzo Fortelli has been put on notice.
He knows we're involved.
He would be very foolish to pursue any action against you.
You stirred up a hornets' nest and left me with it.
No, that's not true, sir.
Here's my card.
There's my number at headquarters, here's my number at home.
Any time you think you might be in trouble, you call me and I'll be there.
Thank you.
You have no idea how comforting this is.
Sir, in my heart, I know you're right.
I mean, I can't, uh I can't justify the position we left you in.
It's Have you got a light? This seems to have gone out.
I just wish it could've ended differently.
Thank you.
Gee, that reminds me.
You know, looking at that lighter reminds me.
I have to show you the sketch.
I have it right here, sir.
This is a police artist's sketch of a man who was sitting at Romano's bar at the time the lady became hysterical over the mice.
A man at the bar? What are you talking about? The phone call to your brother, sir, the night your brother was killed.
- Bruno Romano didn't make it.
- But you checked the phone records.
Oh, there was a call from his phone all right, but he didn't make it.
You see, we narrowed down the time frame and at the exact time the call was made, Romano was in the ladies' room with Rudy the bartender and the waiter.
They were trying to catch the mice.
No, sir.
That call was placed on that phone by someone else.
- You must be mistaken.
- No, sir.
There's no mistake.
Then Romano had somebody make the call - one of his henchmen.
I don't think so, sir.
Didn't you tell me your brother referred to the caller as Bruno? Why would he call a henchman Bruno? If it was a henchman, his name was Bruno.
If it was Romano, his name was Bruno.
Whoever made the call, his name was Bruno.
Maybe the man in the sketch, sir.
Maybe his name is Bruno.
Does he work for Bruno Romano? - All I know now is he's a man at the bar.
- Then why are we even discussing him? I asked the bartender, sir, if there were any unfamiliar people in the place about the time that the lady screamed over the mice.
And he mentioned this fella at the end of the bar.
He remembered him very well because of the lighter.
Gold lighter, very much like the one you use, sir.
He said the guy looked like a mountain man and he found it odd that he would be using an elegant gold lighter.
I'm going through this in my mind.
The bartender remembers a man at the bar because the way he dressed clashed with his expensive lighter.
What am I missing? Why are we discussing him? Suppose you recognise this man as someone you've seen with your brother.
He could be one of the gamblers.
He could've been a hired killer.
He could've been the man that went in and made that call.
Uh, he ordered he ordered scotch and soda, easy on the soda.
I think that's the way you take it, sir, if I remember the words out at the track.
I do take it that way, yes.
So does that, uh jog your memory in any way? No.
No, I've never seen this man with my brother.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, sir.
- Are we still friends? - Oh, of course.
Why would you ask? I just don't want you to feel insulted when I tell you to leave.
You're leaving.
Yes, sir.
Oh, sir? - Just one more thing.
- No, Lieutenant.
There is no "just one more thing".
You sign here, Graham, and here.
And also this one.
- What's this one? - A promissory note, giving me a 10% interest in any foal from Highland Scot and Dixie Daisy.
Isn't that a bit stiff? Walter Sterling would've asked for 20, Graham.
Forgive me.
I'm feeling a bit of pressure lately.
Ruth, come in.
I have documents for you to file.
Yes, sir.
- How are you fixed for cash? - OK for the moment.
If you find yourself strapped, Graham, don't be shy.
Thank you, Randall.
I appreciate it.
- Here are those papers, Ruth.
- Yes, sir.
Oh, Mr McVeigh.
While you were in here, Lieutenant Columbo called.
- He left a message.
- I'm sure he did.
He asked you to meet him tonight at the Bay Leaf at nine o'clock.
- The Bay Leaf? A very good restaurant.
- Did he say why? He said he's found a way to neutralise VF for good.
He said you'd understand.
Thank you.
Thank you.
- Good evening, sir.
Just one? - There'll be two of us.
I believe there's a reservation.
Columbo? Yes, Columbo for two.
You're the first to arrive.
Would you like to be seated? - Why not? - All right.
This way, please.
- Something to drink, sir? - Scotch and soda, easy on the soda.
Very good.
- Scotch and soda, easy on the soda.
- Yeah, got it.
Would you care to order, sir? The kitchen closes at ten.
- Just one of these.
- Scotch and soda? Right.
- Here you are, sir.
- Uh Tell you what.
- Is there something wrong, sir? - No.
My party forgot to show, that's all.
- Un ossobuco fantastico.
- Grazie.
- Answer, dammit! - Hello.
- Columbo? - This is Lieutenant Columbo.
Who's this? Graham McVeigh.
Where the hell are you? Oh, how are you doing, Mr McVeigh? I'm at home.
I'm watching TV with the missus.
You were supposed to meet me an hour ago.
- What are you talking about, sir? - You left a message.
I didn't leave any message.
Oh, God, it's a trap.
Fortelli's here.
Those two goons of his are outside the door.
All right, sir.
Don't panic.
I'm on my way.
Where are you? I'm at the Bay Leaf.
It's on Kelsey, just east of Wilshire.
Sir, you stay put.
They're not gonna pull anything while you're inside.
I can be there in 20 minutes.
Now, wait for me.
All right, I'll wait.
But hurry, Columbo.
Hurry! I'm sorry, sir.
No smoking in this area.
- What? Am I gonna bother somebody? - Would you care to sit at the bar, sir? No, thank you.
- Are you OK? - You see those two guys outside? - Yeah, I saw them.
- How could I have been so stupid? No harm done.
Come on.
Let's get out of here.
- We're leaving.
- You can leave.
He stays.
- I'm a police officer.
- I know.
Then you'll know we're leaving.
Both of us.
Basta! What the hell are you doing? Are you crazy? Didn't I tell you outside, don't come in? All right.
Shut up.
Go by the door.
You used my name to get this man down here.
If I used mine, do you think he'd come? You've disappointed me.
You had nearly a week.
We got a guy who killed his brother and one of my best friends running free.
- I'm working on it.
- Yes, so you'd have me believe.
- So what do you want? - I want what I always wanted.
- You mean murder.
- You oughta know.
Look, I am sorry about Keep your mouth shut, you fat ball of slime, or I'll break your back.
I'll kill you.
- I know about the gun.
- What gun? - What are you talking about? - The other gun.
- What other gun? - Will you stop playing dumb? I can't stand it when cops play dumb.
They think it's smart.
It's not, it's stupid.
The other gun! If you're talking about the gun found on Romano's person when the cops picked him up in November, it's true.
The ballistics don't match with the gun found in his dead hand.
That's right.
That is the other gun.
- But I don't have that gun.
- You don't believe any of this? What I believe and what I can prove is two different things.
But I'm not through yet.
- Oh, yes, you are.
You're through.
- Since when are you my boss? You haven't brought up any proof.
You haven't come up with anything.
- Proof? No.
Not yet.
- You're empty-handed, right? - I'm still working on it.
- You're not working on anything.
The investigation's over.
It's through.
This guy belongs to me now.
Oh, my God! You can't just kill this man.
Why not? He killed two people.
If I left him with you, he'd never see the inside of a courtroom.
Is that justice? - But, sir - But nothing! God, I'm fed up with "buts".
I am the boss in this matter.
You understand that? I am the judge, the jury and the executioner.
Now, there's just one loose end.
And I suppose that's me.
You're very quick.
I'll give you a choice.
You can walk out of here and never come back keep your mouth shut.
The other choice, I don't think I have to go into much detail about.
You're not gonna kill a police officer.
Wouldn't be the first time.
- Columbo, for God's sakes! - I'm sorry, sir.
They don't pay me enough for this kind of stuff.
Columbo! Columbo, wait! - You can't just let them kill me! - I'm sorry, sir.
I gotta look out for myself.
- Wait! Wait! - You killed two people.
I can't prove it.
If I could prove it, maybe I'd fight for you, but the way it is maybe that's the best way all around.
You want a confession? All right! I confess! - Forget it.
- Do you hear me? I killed both of them! You'll say anything to save your skin.
When you get outside you'll repudiate it.
All right, you want proof? I'll give you proof! I'll give you the gun! Romano's gun.
The gun you found I bought in a pawnshop somewhere.
Romano's gun, I took out and I buried in my back yard underneath the birdbath.
Will that do it for you? It might.
Hang on a minute.
- Yes, Lieutenant? - You got that warrant? - Yes, sir.
- The other gun.
It's buried in the back yard.
It's under the birdbath.
Back yard, under the birdbath.
- You want me to call you back? - No, I'll hold.
- We got it.
- OK.
They found it.
Mr Fortelli, you want justice and I'm gonna give it to you.
Is that OK? Is that enough? Well, if your system prevails, fine.
If not, we'll do it my way.
I think what he's saying, Mr McVeigh, is if you get some fancy lawyer to save you on a technicality, he won't be saving you.
All right.
Let's go.
- Nice work, Friselli.
- Thank you, Lieutenant.
- Nice work, Officer - Bernstein, sir.
Bernstein? That's not Italian.
- It's on my mother's side.
- Oh, OK.
Thank you.
May I ask you a question? If we hadn't pulled that off in there, would you have killed McVeigh? What do you ask me such a dumb question for? We did pull it off, all right? - Come on.
I'll buy you a drink.
- No, thanks.
Why not? You're not on duty.
No, sir, I'm not.
It's just that I'm a cream soda type guy.
And you're not.
That's Italian for goodbye? Get out of here.
Take care.