The Avengers (1961) s04e25 Episode Script

How to Succeed... at Murder

1 Miss Purbright? Yes, Mr Barton? I'm going through these Lloyds returns.
I can't make head or tail of them.
That's my new filing system, Mr Barton.
Oh, is it? Then perhaps you'll be kind enough to come in here and explain it to me! I'm rather busy at the moment, sir.
These invoices for the office equipment Never mind those.
I want you in here! - Now, sir? - Right now.
[Barton] 'Did you hear me, Miss Purbright? Right now! 'And bring all the files.
' [Explosion] [Hissing] [Henrietta] Well, girls, our campaign is progressing.
No doubt you've all heard of Elizabeth's recent success.
But we can't rest on our laurels.
Now is the time to go forward and strike again.
I will now brief you on your next tasks.
It will be necessary to take notes.
Henry? Henry! Oh Yes, Henrietta, right away.
Then make it right away! Right, are we all ready? We'll begin then.
The most pressing task is [Clattering] Have you quite finished, Henry? Ah sorry, dear.
Very well, then.
We will continue.
First with you, Sara.
Your next assignment will be Morton, Sir George Morton.
"a further consignment of 24 prams.
Yours faithfully, etc, etc.
" Letter ends.
There's no need to get that out tonight, Mary.
You can go home now.
- But the Peabody file, sir - I'll attend to that.
Off you go now.
Take a cab home.
Thank you, sir.
Good night, Sir George.
Good night, Mary.
[Door shuts] [Front door shuts] [ Jazz music playing] Sara, darling! Georgie, darling! You look lovely tonight.
Ravishing.
Make yourself comfortable.
I'll mix us a drink.
Scotch on the rocks.
You see? I remembered.
So glad you could come.
I told my wife I'd be late.
Very late.
The staff have all gone off home.
So we can be alone for hours, absolutely hours.
- How nice! - Yes, isn't it? We'll be My dear! [Glass shatters] He was lying there.
I found him.
I was always in first, you see.
Sir George didn't like anybody to be late.
I was always conscientious about being in on time and I'm sure Sir George thought very highly of you, Mary.
But he's dead.
You have to face that.
But his business must go on.
Now that's why I'm here, Mary.
Yes, Mr Rudge.
- I'll do all I can to help.
- Good girl.
Now, these investment sheets, the figures appear correct, but I can't quite link some of them to the individual firms.
Oh, well, they're all cross-referenced here, sir.
Orders flying out are reference here, returns here, payments here, profits, deficits, orders awaiting confirmation and orders completed.
I see.
Hmm.
It's a bit complex, isn't it? Well, it's Sir George's own system.
He always worked that way.
He deliberately made it complex.
Industrial security, he called it.
[Phone rings] Hello? Oh, yes.
Would you put him through, please? Yes, sir.
An offer of ã10,000? Well, we tendered for that on the 21st of the month.
Yes, sir, I can break it down for you.
ã5,000 initial cost, ã1,000 survey, ã2,500 to cover wages.
The remainder in interest at 9%.
Less your overheads, which we will defray on exchange of contracts.
Yes, sir.
I'll attend to that for you.
The contract will be in the post this morning.
Thank you.
Oh, I'm so sorry, Mr Rudge.
Now where were we? Well, I was wondering about the complexity of the system, but you seem to have a very fine grasp of it.
I'm putting you in charge.
There's no other way out of it at the moment.
If I bring somebody in from the outside, it might take him weeks to master this.
But Mr Rudge Just as a temporary measure.
Until I can think something up.
You will do it? - I'll do my best, Mr Rudge.
- Excellent! I'll leave you to hold the fort, then.
If you want me, I'll be in my office.
[Door shuts] Steed.
John Steed.
Oh, yes.
Good morning.
The Ministry told me to expect you, but they didn't explain why.
Since you ask, murders.
Eleven of them.
Quite an epidemic.
All of them prominent businessmen.
That's the only common factor so far.
- Why come to me? - I'd like your help, Mr Rudge.
Willingly.
But how? You were at Sir George Morton's office this morning.
- Yes.
- Checking the books? I made a cursory examination.
Is it conceivable that Sir George's murder might have been used to cover up for another crime, say embezzlement? - Quite impossible.
- Oh, dear.
It so happens I made a detailed examination of Sir George's books just two days ago.
- Everything was in perfect order.
- I see.
His staff are loyal and efficient.
His secretary, in particular.
The idea that one of them might embezzle Out of the question, Mr Steed.
- Well, thank you anyway.
Good day.
- Good day, Mr Steed.
[Rings] [Door opens and shuts] - [Woman] Yes, sir.
- Ah, Miss Penny.
Take a memo.
"To the minister.
"My dear minister.
"Re: the man you sent to see me this morning.
"Far be it from me to advise you, "but I felt that he was over-dramatising.
"Hysterical even.
"The very idea that such a plot, "as he suggested, might even exist, "seems to me to be in the realms of fantasy.
" [Henrietta] You dealt with Morton so efficiently, Sara, that I've decided to use you again.
The man's name is Jack Finlay.
Henry will give you details of the clubs he frequents.
Henry? Finlay has a reputation as a woman chaser.
Let's hope he will take to you, my dear.
Oh, he will.
I'll make sure of that.
Oh, Jack.
You know, I can't believe I've only just met you.
I feel as if I've known you for ages.
Hmm.
That's nice.
From another admirer? [Sara chuckles] - [Finlay] Wow.
That's very cute.
- Mm.
- And it works, too.
- It doesn't! It does! Sara, calling HQ.
Insurance? - No link between the beneficiaries.
- How about the shareholders? Somebody bumps off the big boss, cleans up on the stock market.
Won't work.
Half the victims had private companies.
- Shares weren't available to the public.
- Someone with a personal grudge? Could be.
- But you don't think so? - I don't think so.
Eleven apparently unconnected gentlemen, prosperous, respectable [Phone rings] Steed here.
Yes.
Where? I'm on my way.
Correction, for eleven gentlemen read twelve.
Apparently, he's Jack Finlay of Finlay & Company.
A prosperous businessman? With companies in the City of London.
And he has an accountant called Joshua Rudge.
Rudge? I don't know him.
But I do.
I met him earlier today.
- What's that perfume you're wearing? - I'm not today.
- [Sniffs] It's very pleasant.
- Sweet.
[Sniffs] Too sweet for aftershave.
Don't move.
There was a woman in here recently? It might help to find out who it was.
- Tyre pump.
- Ah See if you can get it identified.
I'm going to see Joshua Rudge.
Mr Rudge? [Charm bracelet jingling] [Sniffs] [Grunts] [Woman] And what is the nature of your business, Mrs Peel? It's, erm rather personal.
One moment.
- Very well.
Mr Hooter will see you.
- Thank you.
Oh! Excuse me.
Oh, good afternoon, sir.
I expect your wife sent you to collect her parcel? - Mr Hooter? - Yes.
Mr JJ Hooter? Indisputably.
- What can I do for you? - I'd like you to identify some perfume.
Indeed.
Is it one of my own creations? - I don't know.
- Where is this perfume? Are you aware, Mrs Peel, that there are many more convenient perfume sprays on the market? I myself manufacture at least 100 different varieties.
Well, it was all I had.
I'll explain later.
A question of identification, you say? Then you have certainly come to the right person.
My proboscis, Mrs Peel, is probably the most sensitive in Europe.
- I shall be glad to assist you.
- Thank you.
But first, I must prepare.
I wear this to protect my sinuses and membranes.
Whilst wearing it, no obnoxious effluvia can assault my nostrils.
It is highly necessary.
You see, I smell a great deal.
You do? I mean you do.
My nose is in great demand.
Perfumers' exhibitions, Paris, Tokyo, New York.
I have smelled all over the world.
There you see the splendid beast, naked before you! It's very handy.
Hm.
But wait until you see him in action, Mrs Peel.
Wait until you see him twitch and flare.
Distilled water.
Pure to the thousandth part.
[Gurgles] [Sniffs] Right, Mrs Peel.
My nose is yours.
Oh [Clears throat] [Sniffs] [Clears throat] Now.
[Inhales] Leap into my Fervid Arms! - Pardon? - Got it right off.
A tingle at the back here.
A tickle at the front.
A hint of sweetness.
"Leap into my Fervid Arms", it is a perfume of my own creation.
Exclusive and very expensive.
Do you sell a great deal? Only to those who can afford it, my dear lady.
- Would you have a list of customers? - Indubitably.
Miss Murkle? Yes, sir? 'The file on Leap into my Fervid Arms.
Bring it to me immediately.
' Yes, sir.
It's very kind of you.
Oh, not at all.
Ah.
Er the customer supply list appears to be missing.
Oh, that was sent down to the warehouse this morning, sir.
Oh Well, I'm sorry, Mrs Peel.
I'm unable to assist you at the moment.
Should you care to pop back later today Thank you.
I'll do that.
Oh, Mrs Peel Your appliance.
Thank you.
A fresh nose snood, if you please, Gladys.
A charming woman, that Mrs Peel.
A delightful freshness about her.
You know, she was quite interested in my nose.
She [Muffled screams] [Henrietta] You spoil me, Henry.
You definitely spoil me.
That is my favourite perfume.
[Radio] 'Gladys Murkle calling HQ.
Come in, HQ.
' Well, hurry up, Henry.
Answer the girl.
Yes, dear.
Come in, Gladys.
Tell Madam Henrietta my mission is completed.
Successfully completed.
I'll tell her.
Give her my congratulations, Henry.
Yes, dear.
Sorry, dear.
Henrietta sends you her congratulations, Gladys.
Now then, what is next on my agenda? Joshua Rudge, dear.
Oh, yes.
Dear Mr Rudge.
I should look my best for him, Henry.
Yes, dear.
My red dress I think.
The one with the pearls.
This one, dear? [Steed] There were two of them, I think.
Jumped me from behind.
No sign of Joshua Rudge.
Disappeared completely.
- Permanently? - Perhaps.
There's one thing, though, broke off during the fight.
A man's fob seal.
Or a woman's charm bracelet.
I saw one today.
A girl at the perfumier's.
Which reminds me, I'm due back there soon.
Fill that in with amber.
Do I look like that? - Dead? - Dead.
Soon after you left.
A sudden seizure.
A seizure.
Poor Mr Hooter.
He promised me some information.
A list of customers.
- I'm sorry.
I can't allow that.
- You can't allow? This is a close-knit business.
Mr Hooter and myself, we virtually ran it between us.
So now he's gone I'm in charge.
[Sighs] - I've given it a great deal of thought - Yes, Colonel.
Yes, Colonel.
Shh! Yes, Colonel, but what about the first killing? - Thanks, Colonel.
- Well? It fits.
In each case, the victim's office system was so complex that only a secretary could cope with it.
So when he died The secretary was put in charge temporarily.
Trouble is, they've turned out so efficient, they're now running the show.
There's the answer.
Is it? They were all hired by different agencies.
- So there's no link.
- Hm.
Young, pretty, efficient.
Ruthless.
And someone is bringing them together.
Who? Mr Rudge is here to see you, Henrietta.
Bring him closer, Henry.
It's so nice to meet you at last, Mr Rudge.
So very nice.
[Door opens] Good morning.
What can I do for you? I had wanted to see Mr Rudge.
- Mr Rudge is not here.
- Not here? He's away, taking an extended holiday.
Extended holiday? Oh, dear.
He'd promised to assist me.
Steed.
John Steed.
It's only a trifling matter, but he did say While Mr Rudge is away, I'm in charge here.
- Won't you please sit down, Mr Steed? - Thank you.
Now just what is your problem? I'm setting up in business on my own, stocks, investments, that sort of thing, but it is a little difficult.
I have ã4 million to be taken care of.
- ã4 million? - To be taken care of, yes.
That's the extent of my credit at the moment.
I see.
And just how can I help you? I haven't a suite of offices at the moment.
Working at home mostly mostly alone.
Mr Rudge said he might be able to help me find someone to help me with the paperwork, filing, that sort of thing.
It would be only part-time, mostly evenings.
But this person would have to have a great deal of initiative, be able to cope.
What you need, Mr Steed, is a secretary.
A thoroughly efficient secretary.
Miss Merryweather? Mrs Peel, these freighting figures are incorrect.
- Oh? - Yes.
You are showing ã120 more than necessary.
Oh, that's because of the Baxter order.
They phoned through last night.
They wanted their goods dispatched immediately, so I attended to it.
- Rather than lose a good customer - I see.
Well, you did the right thing, Mrs Peel.
Used your initiative.
I like that.
Thank you, Miss Merryweather.
I've noticed, too, that you attend to your other duties with remarkable efficiency.
- Thank you, Miss Merryweather.
- You have a sharp mind, Mrs Peel.
A fine grasp of business matters.
Have you ever considered setting up on your own? - Working for yourself? - Taking over a business, you mean? Why work for somebody else when you could work for yourself? - I hadn't thought about it.
- You should.
You definitely should.
Right, girls.
Let me have your daily reports.
- Annie? - Progressing.
Excellent.
Liz? I'm ready to take over another section of Barton's Industries.
Ah, yes.
Dear Mr Rudge has worked out a splendid way of doing that.
- Has he not, Henry? - Oh, yes, dear, he has.
Mary? Well, I have a young woman working for me.
It's too early to say yet, but I think she might be useful to us.
Indeed.
We'll discuss that later.
Sara? - I found a new victim.
- Splendid.
His name? Steed.
John Steed.
Take a letter, Miss Penny.
Take a letter Miss Penny.
Take a letter, Miss Penny! - Miss Penny? - The door was open.
Do come in! Right on time.
Punctual to the very second.
You asked for an efficient secretary.
Well, shall we begin? Begin? Oh, yes, begin.
Yes, indeed.
Begin.
I shall begin with some dictation.
"Dear sir.
"Further to yours of the fourth inst, "re: mine 7/99942 of the first inst, "I beg to inform you" Yes? - Where do I sit? - Sit? Oh, yes, sit! Here would be delightfully informal.
Try the sofa.
Very relaxing.
[Door shuts] [Footsteps approaching] [Door shuts] - Mrs Peel! - Hmm? You startled me.
You can run along now.
I'll lock up.
Thank you.
Good night, Miss Merryweather.
Good night.
Henry and Henrietta Throgbottom.
Keep-fit classes.
- For young ladies.
- Ah - The link we've been looking for.
- The common factor.
An ideal meeting place.
"Drooping dorsals? "Toughen, tone up, stretch those sinews" This makes me feel quite tired.
A bit of exercise will get you on your feet again.
You're quite right.
[Exhales] Ah, toned up already.
- Hey, don't come here again.
- Why? I don't want you running into my secretary.
She's absolutely beautiful and very efficient.
So I notice.
Don't turn your back on her.
I won't.
I shall keep an eye on Henry and Henrietta.
- And you keep - Fit.
Open! Lunge to the right and the left.
Commence! Lunge, two, three.
And lunge, two, three.
And lunge, two, three.
And lunge, two, three.
And lunge, two, three.
And rest.
Mrs Peel, a word.
Position three.
- If you could manage more purchase - Mrs Peel! Ah, Miss Merryweather.
Glad you could make it.
- You know one another? - Yes.
Mrs Peel works for me.
- Indeed.
- This is a surprise, Miss Merryweather.
Yes, isn't it? I have no idea you were one of Mr Henry's pupils.
- I wasn't - She enrolled this evening.
It's all this secretarial business.
I got cramp in my gluteals and my dorsals were dormant, so I thought it was a good idea.
It was, indeed.
But we're wasting time, ladies.
Those muscles and sinews are dragging, drooping as we're talking.
Let's get them in trim.
Come along, ladies.
Into position 33, if you please.
Relax into it slowly.
Leaving? I'm working overtime on my next victim.
[Henry] Keep your knees straight.
- Good evening, Mr Steed.
- Good evening.
- Correspondence this evening, isn't it? - Yes.
Phew.
I've been thinking it over.
What over? What you said about working for myself.
Being my own boss.
- Like the idea? - Yes.
How do I go about it? Well, let me think it over.
But in the meantime, keep fit, study accountancy and improve your shorthand.
"Yours sincerely, John Steed.
" I'll have these typed and ready for your signature tomorrow.
Fine, Miss Penny.
Do you have to dash off? How about a drink? Sorry, Mr Steed.
I have another appointment.
Oh.
Well, we have got a lot done.
Letters written, bills paid, everything neatly filed.
Though I must say that baffles me a little.
- What? - Your filing system.
It's so complex.
I don't understand it at all.
Oh, but I do and that's all that matters.
It means that I can take over when you've gone.
Gone? Abroad.
Away on some business trip perhaps.
Good night, Mr Steed.
Good night, Miss Penny.
Right, ladies, thank you.
On your feet.
That's all for this evening, Mrs Peel.
Advanced students only now.
Oh See you tomorrow, Mrs Peel.
Good night.
- Good night.
- Good night.
Madame Henrietta is waiting for you.
- You have something to say, Mary? - It's about Mrs Peel.
I'm convinced she'd be a valuable addition to our organisation.
Very well.
We will put her to the usual test.
Now, if none of you have anything further to add, I will say good night.
Henry and I have much to do, new plans to make.
We shall be working until the early hours.
[Crashing and horn honks] I'm most terribly sorry, Miss.
I just wanted a word with you.
Are you blind? Couldn't you have phoned? And risk a wiretap? My foot missed the brake! Henrietta's been dead for years.
Seen her gravestone.
It's extremely odd.
Well, no harm done! No harm? There ought to be a law against these things! - How are you getting on? - Not too well.
Progressing.
Watch your driving in future! And you watch your step! Attack her! [Coughs] Excellent, Mrs Peel.
Really excellent.
A fine fighting spirit.
[Sighs] And what was all that about? You want to set up your own business.
We had to put you to the test.
See if you're qualified.
Qualified for what? To become an advanced student and meet Henrietta.
- There, dear.
- How do I look, Henry? Resplendent, dear.
Just as you always do.
My wrap, Henry.
Mustn't keep our dear girls waiting.
Yes, dear.
She really runs things around here.
Henry, well, Henry's just a man.
- And who is Henrietta? - Well, nobody knows.
You've never even seen her? Oh, we see her and we don't see her.
You'll understand.
There.
Good evening, girls.
A good turnout this evening, I see.
And a new member in our midst.
I take it she has passed the initiate's test? With flying colours.
Splendid.
Absolutely splendid! Mrs Peel, please step forward.
I understand you want to become your own boss.
- Yes.
- Why? Well, I I Because you have been subjugated to man too long.
Always at his beck and call.
Commanded, used, abused, always the slave, never the master.
That is the function of this organisation, Mrs Peel.
To take woman out of the secretary's chair and put her behind the executive desk.
To bring men to heel and put women at the pinnacle of power.
- 20th-century Amazons.
- Exactly.
Do you still wish to support our organisation? Yes.
- Whatever it may entail? - Whatever.
Then raise your hand and swear "Ruination to all men.
" Ruination to all men! [All] Ruination to all men! It is agreed, then.
I welcome you, Mrs Peel.
I invite you to sit down.
We will now proceed with the evening's lesson.
A demonstration on Henry.
How to kill a man.
Sara [Grunts and coughs] [Sighs] Excellent, Sara.
Now, Mrs Peel, you will try.
And you, Sara, take Liz with you and put your technique to work on Mr Steed.
A pleasure.
Miss Penny! What a happy surprise.
Mr Steed, I'm awfully sorry to disturb you.
- Please, come in.
- Thank you.
This is my friend, Liz Purbright.
- How do you do, Liz Purbright? - How do you do? Our car's broken down around the corner.
If I could use your phone? Everything that is mine is yours, Miss Penny.
If you don't know the number, the telephone books are in the bread bin.
Terrible weather.
And nothing between you and the weather, but leather! Ah, well, nice warm brandy, soon warm you up.
Soda? [Penny laughs] Now, young lady, you're going to talk! [Laughs raucously] [Chokes] Excellent, Mrs Peel.
You learn fast.
Henry, I think Mrs Peel has qualified for our award of membership.
Yes, dear.
It's no ordinary charm bracelet.
Everything's functional, you see.
The gun, the phial of poison, radio transmitter, smoke bomb.
- [Gladys] What's she doing here? - You know her? I ought to.
She was out at Hooter's place, snooping.
Well, this sets us a problem.
We've never had to kill a woman before.
Never one of our own kind.
[Glass shattering] [Muffled grunting] - Ow! - Shh! - What happened? - They grabbed me.
Brought me here.
- Why? - They need me, you see.
An accountant.
They're forcing me to work out complicated accounting systems.
They're mad, Steed.
Quite mad.
They're going to take over the whole business world.
"Ruination to all men," that's their slogan.
Aargh! [Steed over radio] 'There's one thing we need for these.
The key.
' Well, I'm in no mood to be ruined.
Where are they? [Rudge] 'Through that door over there.
But Steed' I'll be back.
Well, if I'd known, I would've brought my ray gun.
You have arrived just in time, Mr Steed.
That is the boss.
We had a problem: how to dispose of Mrs Peel.
But now you are here, the problem is solved.
- Who's pulling the strings? - Someone behind the drapes.
It shall appear that you attacked Mrs Peel, murdered her, and then took your own life.
- That's a good idea.
- And another man out of the way! We do have our uses, madam.
Let me do it.
Let me kill him.
Very well and take Annie the Crimper with you.
Crimper? [Henrietta] You shall see, Mr Steed.
You shall see.
- Henry? - Yes, dear.
- You see it is accomplished smoothly.
- Yes, dear.
Ruination to all men? That's, erm Well, that's a big job.
- Not to us! - No man will dominate us again! We shall crush them all under heel! You see, Mr Steed, how can we fail? Such determination, such spirit.
How can we possibly? [Grunts] [Henry gasps] Henry Henry! Yes Henry.
This gadget electronically controls the doll.
[Grunts] No man will ever dominate you? Hmm You've been taking orders from a man all the time.
You've been fooled by a very brilliant ventriloquist.
No! No! No.
No, no.
My Henrietta.
My darling Henrietta.
I trained her.
She would've been the greatest ballerina ever.
And I trained her! Then they took her away from me.
Men.
Businessmen.
"Form your own company, Henrietta.
" "Take a chance, Henrietta.
" "We'll take care of the business side, Henrietta.
" That's what they told her.
Then they destroyed her.
Bankruptcy, ruin.
Until finally [Sobs] Men did that to her.
Businessmen! That's why I did what I did! For her.
In her memory.
[Emma] One! Two! It's OK, Steed, I can manage! Stop or I'll shoot! - Kill him, Henry.
Kill him! - Yes, dear.
Kill him! Kill him! Kill him! Henry Hen ry [Groans] [Groans] [Steed] So far, it seems simple enough.
[Emma] Wait until you get to the bit about the explosive consonants.
- [Steed] That sounds dangerous.
- Ps and Bs are very difficult.
Oh, I don't know [Steed mimics Emma] A bottle of beer, a bottle of beer.
No trouble at all.
[Emma mimics Steed] Steed, I saw your lips moving.
[Engine revs]