The Rockford Files (1974) s05e12 Episode Script

Local Man Eaten by Newspaper

Welcome to The National Investigator, a new concept in journalism.
I was directed to that paper.
I remember when I read it, I thought to myself, "What's the message here?" "Reliable sources report Mr.
Rockford having been charged "with murder in the first degree.
" Murder! I want you to pick Rockford up.
VINCENT: Bring him here? It's a scandal sheet, Jim.
Do you really think they're in the business of blowing people away? (GUN FIRING) Duck, Coop, duck! (PHONE RINGING) ROCKFORD ON ANSWERING MACHINE: This is Jim Rockford.
At the tone, leave your name and message.
I'll get back to you.
(BEEPS) ROCKY: Sonny, this message ain't for you, it's for me.
I just want to remind myself to pick up the big ladder at the paint mart.
(RINGS) Hey, Henley.
Witbeck wants to see you.
Oh, thanks.
WITBECK: Come in.
Killer bees? Who've you been writing for, Henley? The Department of Agriculture? The Pittsburgh Press-Telegram.
Killer bees are stale.
They've been done by everybody, up to and including Irwin Allen.
Well, I realize the subject isn't new, but the statistics are.
Who cares how many cows get stung to death in South America, huh? Do you? I don't care.
Nobody cares.
We're not just publishing news here, you know.
We're competing against movies, television, magazines, other newspapers.
See, people buy this paper because we print stories that will grab them.
Killer bees don't grab.
You got it.
Now, on the other hand, would you be interested in a 14-year-old girl who was attacked by a Kodiak bear and lived to tell about it? Interested personally or professionally? Doesn't matter.
Now that's a story with a high must-read factor.
That'll grab 60% of your reading public and 90% of the read-tos.
Write it.
(STAMMERING) Well, do you think you could just start me off with the name of the girl? Oh, yeah.
I got all the research material you'll need here.
It's right here somewhere.
Man, I wish people would leave my desk alone.
We've got a nice shot of the kid, too.
Oh, here, here.
Here it is.
Now, look, she's kind of small for 14, so you might have to cheat a little bit on the age, you know.
This girl fought off a Kodiak bear? That's the story.
It's the same old story, you know.
David and Goliath.
Except it's a girl.
And a bear.
Yeah.
Yeah.
That bear doesn't really work, though.
Tell Simpson to check the files, see if we've got a better Kodiak.
It's a nice effect, standing up there on its hind legs and all that.
But where's the reality? I mean, there was nobody there to get that picture.
The readers will spot that for a phony.
We need a dead bear.
Well, anyway, just go ahead with this for now.
Just do a paste-up job on the composite so Simpson'll know what you got in mind.
He'll take it from there.
That's it.
Oh, hi, Ken.
You gotta be out of your mind! $500 for an item I'm supposed to run blind? I wouldn't give you half a buck.
So who cares if it's true if we print the story and nobody knows who we're talking about? Look, we name names or forget it.
Yeah, sure, they're going to know where we got the story.
Hey, George, you want to make friends or you want to make money? Yeah.
All right, George, you think about it.
Okay.
Give me a call.
Hey, you really pay for news items? I didn't know that.
Sure.
If it's juicy enough, big names, why not? I got a couple of regular tipsters, and guys like this one who just called, looking to pick up a couple of bucks.
What you got there? Oh, oh, it's my new assignment.
"Child Battles Killer Kodiak.
" Sounds like a welterweight bout.
Oh, I don't know.
Some 14-year-old girl threw a couple of rocks at a nine-foot bear and then she hid until the bear got bored and left.
Of course, that's not the way we're going to tell it.
Uh-huh.
Welcome to The National Investigator, a new concept in journalism.
Boy, I don't know.
I just don't think I can make it on Witbeck's handouts.
I've got to start coming up with some leads on my own, you know? How about "Outbreak of warts linked to UFO sightings"? You got any contacts? Oh, sure, sure.
But they're all back in Pittsburgh.
I don't know.
I've been thinking You know, I've got to figure a new angle.
Maybe I've come up with something.
You know, all the people who are really front page, the BPs, the movie stars, the television personalities What do they have in common, huh? Good PR.
Sometimes talent.
Money.
And when you have money, you have a business manager.
You can tell an awful lot about what's going on in somebody's life just by looking at their check stubs.
Yeah, sure, but how are you gonna get your look? Oh, there are ways.
A little second-story work.
Not strictly legal, but very effective.
And doctors.
You know, they all have doctors.
Can you imagine printing the results of Cher's last physical? I mean, your circulation would go up four to five million overnight.
Yeah, forget the medical.
We've already got somebody working on that.
Oh, yeah? Who's that? Don't answer that, Jerry.
That's none of Mr.
Rockford's business.
Rockford? You had a drink with Kenny here last night.
Somebody recognized you.
They were asking Kenny what he was doing hanging around with a private investigator.
Well, you can imagine his surprise.
You can imagine mine.
That's why you were asking all those questions.
I thought it was because he was new.
Get the proofreader, Jerry.
Oh, now, look, Mr.
Witbeck, there's a perfectly simple explanation for all this.
I can't wait to hear it.
Yeah, well, you said yourself just a few minutes ago, it's a very competitive business.
I was hired by a rival paper.
You know, of course, I can't mention any names.
I (MUTTERING) It was the Midnight Sun.
You know, they just wanted to know what stories you had in the works so they can get a bead on you, that's all.
What do you think, huh? You think he's telling the truth? Now You want to keep this ape off of me? What's the matter? You afraid you might hurt him? Look, if a 14-year-old girl can trash a Kodiak bear, I Kick him out of here.
Hey, hey, now wait! I know my way out, pal.
Sal? How you doing on that film? SAL: In a couple of minutes, Johnny.
MONICA: You're making too much out of it, Johnny.
It's just a small part.
And the picture cost eight million bucks.
Anyway, it's not a small part.
It's what they call a cameo.
Two lines and I'm dead.
These people don't want to sit around all afternoon to watch me get killed.
I wouldn't miss it.
Sure, they're crazy to see you, baby.
Vince, check that.
It must be caught on something.
You want to come over and have a drink, honey? No.
It's starting to look funny, Natalie, you sitting here by yourself.
You're not talking to Monica.
I talked to her.
I told her I have a headache.
You got a headache? No.
Okay, it's threaded and ready to go, Johnny.
All right, everybody, find a place to park.
Leo, close the curtain.
Okay, Sal, you can start now.
Vince, hit the lights.
Watch it now.
Watch it.
Here she comes.
SAL: Johnny, it looks real good.
Are those your feet? Yeah.
They look real good.
VINCENT: Hey, you look good, Monica.
LEO: Great footage, Johnny.
Watch what she does here.
This is where she gets popped.
(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING ON SCREEN) Someone out there? Who is it? Who's there? (GRO ANING) Okay, Sal, hold it.
Rewind, let's see it again.
What a face.
I could look at that all day.
Am I right, huh? (MEN AGREEING) Anybody need refills, now's the time.
We got to go over and say something, honey.
Congratulations or something? The words would stick in my mouth.
Really great.
One of the best things I've ever seen.
(CHATTERING) Look at him.
He's supposed to be running the business, not movies.
You said yourself that the street people are trying to cut in on the numbers action in San Diego.
It isn't right, Augie.
No matter what Johnny's going through, doesn't make it right.
Natalie, he's not going through anything.
You're the only man I know who don't believe what he sees with his own two eyes.
I keep telling you, honey, that newspaper is garbage.
They print nothing but lies.
Lies, huh? You see Johnny suing anybody? Johnny could sue.
He don't want to.
There we go.
Vincent doesn't think they're lies.
You see the way he's been watching Johnny? And Sal.
He's been watching him, too.
JOHNNY: Okay, it's all set.
Get the lights.
You know what Tony Freshette would do in this situation? Come on, Natalie.
You said you wasn't gonna bring him up no more.
I just mentioned his name as an example.
If I'd have married Tony, believe me, Augie, I wouldn't be having this conversation.
He'd have made his move.
You want some wine or something? Tony didn't get where he is by just standing around.
MONICA ON FILM: Is someone out there? I prayed to Saint Lucy for guidance.
You know how I always get answers.
(GUNSHO T ON SCREEN) And it came to me.
What that paper said is true.
And it came to me.
You make your move now, or somebody else makes it.
I'm working for the man.
What you're asking I just can't do.
I'm thinking of you, Augie.
He's thinking of himself.
Go on, you stick with Johnny.
You do what he says.
We'll see where that leads.
(SIGHING) (PHONE RINGING) Hello? Mr.
Rockford, it's Dr.
Hagens.
Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner.
I've been at the hospital all day.
You find anything at the paper? Yeah, well, it was more a case of mutual discovery.
They found out who I was, and they kicked me out.
But I did get a pretty clear indication that they're the ones responsible for burglarizing your office.
So I think we ought to take what we got and go to the cops.
No.
Doctor.
Look, you pay me to investigate and advise, huh? That's my advice.
Look, I don't want to discuss this over the phone.
Can you meet me at my office in, say, half an hour? Mr.
Rockford, the police department is out of the question.
How many times do I have to say it? Doctor, they're working on some medical angle down at The Investigator.
Now I think there's a very good chance they're the ones who broke into your office.
The police could get a search warrant.
No police.
Doctor I'm not going to be persuaded, Mr.
Rockford, so let's just drop the subject.
Now, the cleaning people ought to be finished with the office by now.
And that new storage system that I had installed, it's supposed to be tamper-proof.
I want you to check it.
My patient files are confidential.
They're going to stay confidential.
Somebody left the light on.
The third time this week.
Oh, wait, Doctor.
Doctor, don't go in there.
Wait! Okay, both of you.
In there.
Come on.
Come on, Doctor.
Do as he says.
Come on.
(GUN FIRES) Keep in touch with them down at county.
Let me know if he regains consciousness.
Yes, sir.
Hi, Jim.
Hi, Billings.
Hagens' still out? Yeah.
They've got him on these life support machines.
What do you think, Dennis? You think he's going to make it? What am I, Carnac the Magnificent? What kind of a dumb move was that? Why'd he go for the gun? Oh, I don't know, Dennis.
I think it had a lot to do with outrage.
That's the second break-in there, right? Yeah.
The first one was about two weeks ago.
That's when he hired me.
Instead of reporting it to the police.
Yeah.
Well, he wanted to handle the thing as quietly as possible, Dennis.
Listen, you want to get over to that paper and start asking some questions? You think there's a connection there? Yeah, well, I told you, Dennis.
Somebody from the paper tried to buy some information from a lab technician at Hagens'.
She turned him down flat.
Three days later that office was broken into.
No drugs missing? No, nothing missing.
Except the records had been gone through.
He's the doctor to the stars, Dennis.
Those records are worth a lot of money to a rag like The Investigator.
Well, you know what kind of a paper it is.
I wouldn't buy it to wrap fish in.
Well, take it from me, they deal in gossip, in innuendo I said I wouldn't buy it.
I've seen it.
You know, when you're waiting at the check-out line at the market.
You pick it up to pass the Oh, excuse me.
Of course you wouldn't know what I'm talking about.
You, with your nose always buried in the Scientific American.
Come on.
Come on? Come on, on an official police investigation? Well, you're an eyewitness to a crime.
If the assailants are part of a goon squad at the paper, you can point them out.
Well, what about that final cautionary note? Aren't you at least going to tell me to keep my mouth shut? It wouldn't do any good.
Tell Mr.
Witbeck that we're here.
Well, there's one good thing about not printing real news.
You don't have to wait around for late-breaking stories.
Look, don't start antagonizing people around here.
Just let me ease into this.
What we have is pretty circumstantial.
Klaatu barada nikto.
Mr.
Witbeck, I'm Lieutenant Becker, police department.
Thank you very much for waiting for us.
We got here as quickly as possible.
I don't believe it.
He had the gall to file charges? I'm the one who should have filed charges.
No charges have been filed, sir.
Then what's he doing here? I merely wanted to ask you a few questions.
About what? Kicking his butt out the front door? No, sir.
About Dr.
Richard Hagens.
Hagens? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Beverly Hills, yeah.
Liz, Warren, Bette.
Yeah.
Good bedside manner.
Good extra man.
Yeah, I know him.
Mr.
Rockford thought that you might be able to help us in our investigation of a break-in in Dr.
Hagens' office.
Why did Mr.
Rockford think that? One of your employees approached one of Dr.
Hagens' employees and tried to buy a little information.
One of my employees? Listen, we use names around here.
Yeah.
Another one of your employees said you were working on some special medical angle you plan to use in future publications.
Which medical angle? The miracle sex diet? How alcohol can cure heart disease? Listen, every issue of The Investigator has a medical feature.
We consider it a public service.
Now, what's this all about? Mr.
Rockford has suggested that you, or rather, that is, this paper might have had something to do with the break-in.
Yeah? Well, Mr.
Rockford has also suggested that he once had something to do with the Pittsburgh Press-Telegram.
A reporter, wasn't it? Only the name was Henley.
You want to see his résumé? Mr.
Witbeck, this is a little bit more serious than a case of misrepresentation.
During the course of the break-in, Dr.
Hagens was shot.
He's not expected to live.
Where is he? County General.
Emergency ward or a private room? ROCKFORD: Oh, come on, get off it, Witbeck, huh? Just take the press ticket out of your hatband.
This isn't potential Pulitzer, it's bad news.
I saw the two guys at Hagens' office tonight.
I can identify them.
So You want to give us a complete list of your employees? Their names and addresses.
You can skip Cinderella here.
Rockford speak for the department? No! I speak for the department.
I'd like to have a complete list of your employees.
Names and addresses.
WITBECK: You'll have it first thing in the morning.
Thank you, sir.
Mr.
Rockford? Hello, Ken? Listen, I want to know everything there is to know about Rockford, and I want it first thing in the morning.
Right.
Natalie, come inside, honey.
Come on.
You're gonna get a sinus attack.
You were seen.
Don't worry about it, okay? Don't worry? My husband in jail, my brother in jail.
We're not in jail.
Yet.
You're not in jail yet.
It's just a question of time, Augie.
Jail and worse.
(STAMMERING) You know, I didn't want to go with Leo.
You know that.
I mean He's your brother and you love him, but he's got nerves like a cat.
I mean, we're driving along and there's an amber light, and he panics.
He starts screaming, "Brake, brake!" It's his way, Augie.
There's this guy.
I mean, I could have took him.
He's nothing.
Leo shoots him.
He's probably dead.
The doctor? He's hurt bad? I think so.
All right.
Maybe he'll die.
If that's God's will, maybe he'll go to his rest.
There'll be no problem there.
No problem? Now what about this other man? He's okay.
Who is he? Big guy, dark curly hair.
I don't know who he is.
He knows who you are, Augie.
No, he doesn't.
What do you think, I gave him my card? He knows your face, Augie.
He knows Leo's face.
Are you thinking about Leo? Or are you thinking about me? I'm sorry, Natalie.
You know I didn't mean that.
I really didn't mean it.
I love Leo like a brother.
What am I gonna do? The doctor's a dead man, right? Then we don't think about him.
We think about this other person.
This man that was with the doctor.
We find out who he is.
This is very important, Augie.
(STAMMERING) But what difference does it make? Suppose Johnny finds out? Johnny will only find out if you don't stop this man.
Now what if he picks you out of a mug book? (STAMMERING) What if he runs into you? Sees you on the street? He'll point you out.
He'll say that you were in the doctor's office.
What'll do you do then? I don't know.
Do it now.
ROCKY: I stopped by the store and picked up some milk and some eggs and a couple of bananas, and picked up this.
I knew about you working for that newspaper, and the story you was writing.
Remember, you told me about that.
And, of course, I know you got fired a couple of days ago, but that story was so good, on the killer bees.
I figure that would stick in anybody's mind.
So, I thought it might appear in this new edition.
Yeah, well, let me see it, Rocky.
Page 3.
It's a good picture, huh? Yeah, they took it from my employee ID card.
Did you read this? Well, I sort of skimmed over it.
What does it say? It's the kind of thing a fella ought to read for yourself.
"James Rockford, sometime private investigator, "sometime felon, "was unmasked this week in The Investigator newsroom.
"He had been posing as a reporter "formerly with the Pittsburgh Press-Telegram, "and had illegally obtained documents to support the claim.
" "IIlegally obtained documents.
" A résumé.
You read this? You know what they're saying, Rocky? "Mr.
Rockford served five years at San Quentin, "a maximum-security prison.
"This paper, at press time, "has been unable to confirm the nature of his criminal offense.
"However, reliable sources report "Mr.
Rockford having been charged with murder in the first degree.
" Murder! Now how can they say something like that? Well, they can't! That's libel.
Did they think I'm going to take this sitting down? Well, you ain't gonna start a fight now, are you? You bet I am.
Only I'm going to throw my punches in court.
I'm going to sue them right out of the business.
Boy, I'm going to bury them! Oh, Jim.
Why are we waiting on the old man? Natalie said we do Rockford.
She didn't say we gotta sit around all day.
Hey.
We do him when I say, Leo.
What are you waiting for? You had a clean shot at him.
AUGIE: Not yet.
Augie! Not yet! Follow him.
Hey, Coop.
Oh, yeah.
Yeah, I was just coming after you.
You saw the paper, huh? Oh, yeah, yeah.
I saw it.
I never read the thing, but I picked it up while I was waiting in the check-out line at the market this morning.
What are you doing talking to a rag like that? And if you wanted to talk to them, why bring me into it? "Known to associate with disbarred attorney John Cooper.
" Now that's already cost me a case I was working on for Batterfield and Sussman.
Yeah, I'm sorry, Coop.
I can understand them going after my pelt, but to go after my friends, that's Yeah.
Well, I'll say one thing, they really laid you wide open, didn't they? Guess that's what you're here to talk about.
Yeah.
Well, let's go have a cold beer.
We don't get him now, we're liable to lose him.
Oh, I left my keys in the car.
Okay! Now! Duck, Coop, duck! (GUN FIRING) Which one of you guys are ready for the next one? Oh, come on, Dennis, huh? Would you give us a break? Mug books are a waste of time.
They're what we got.
Oh, bull, they're what we've got! Dennis, we've got The National Investigator.
I mean, they're pulling the strings on this thing.
You can count on it.
It's a scandal sheet, Jim.
Do you really think they're in the business of blowing people away? Do you? Do you? Well, I wasn't in the opening plays in this game.
Well, I told you exactly what happened, Coop.
Go on, answer him.
No, I don't think so.
If the two men you surprised in Hagens' office were from the paper, I think they'd have taken the B and E.
What they're looking at now is a possible murder rap.
Just for a story? Well, it was a situation where one of them panicked.
Maybe.
But what happened outside my office this morning, that wasn't panic, that was an ambush.
Well, maybe they weren't trying to kill me.
Maybe they were just trying to scare me off.
I mean, it makes sense.
I saw them.
I can identify them.
Not if you won't check the mug books.
All right.
There were two break-ins, right? Let's just say The Investigator pulled the first one.
They got some kind of information, and it ended up in print.
And someone read the item and, for some reason, wanted to check it for accuracy.
That's the second break-in.
That's it.
That's theory.
Oh, no, Dennis.
That's more than just theory.
That's it.
No wonder we didn't get anyplace checking out the employees at The Investigator.
The two guys we're looking for don't even work for the paper.
Nice going, Coop.
You want us to go along with you? Where am I going? To The Investigator, and talk to Witbeck.
All we need to know is which one of Hagens' patients has been in the paper during the past two weeks? And in what context? And I think that'll put you within cuffing distance of those two gonzos.
Witbeck's going to cooperate, of course.
He's going to admit to a B and E, for which I can then bust him.
All right, so he won't cooperate.
Lean on him a little.
Or I could beat him up.
Maybe then I could get my own write-up.
What I will do is get a list of Hagens' patients, check it against every issue of The Investigator for the past two weeks.
If there's a connection, I'll find it.
It's no good you sitting here all day like this, Natalie.
It's just no good.
Hey, why don't you go on home? Have Maria fix you some hot cocoa.
When it's over.
I'll eat when it's over.
(SIGHING) Natalie.
I gotta go to Johnny's.
Of course.
Why "of course"? How am I supposed to walk away when you're like this? How am I supposed to go to Johnny's when you're sitting here, making yourself sick? You're my life, Augie.
(STAMMERING) I shouldn't be worried about my life? Look, I could talk to Johnny.
I could tell him you're not feeling too well.
I mean, he knows that already.
Sweetheart, maybe we could go back to Bayonne for a while.
Bayonne? This is where your chance is, not Bayonne.
Natalie, this is not one of your dreams! I mean, look at the situation.
I let go with a sawed-off shotgun today and I missed.
Anybody could miss.
Part of it is working with your brother Leo.
He gets me crazy.
I know.
Leo's a little high-strung.
But he's loyal and you can trust him.
Now who else you gonna trust in a situation like this? Yeah, about this situation.
When I think that we could have missed it, Augie, I was directed to that paper.
I remember, when I read it, I thought to myself, "What's the message here? "The message for me and Augie.
" I didn't come to any conclusions.
I waited and I prayed and I knew.
Vincent's ready to make his move, you know that? The other night, at dinner? It was obvious to a blind person.
You make your move first.
That's the only way to stop a man like Vincent.
Now, I'll be honest with you, this is not a man I like.
But he's got ambition.
Yeah, I got ambition.
So do it.
Now I prayed, I got our answer.
Do it.
MEN: 55, 56, Do I make my point? Come on, Johnny, you gotta prove something to us? Nobody reads a sheet like this.
SAL: They make that stuff up.
Yeah, they make it up.
They'll print anything.
Somebody ought to stop them.
Yeah.
I could almost laugh, you know? I get 100% check-up.
I never been better in my life.
This comes out.
I'm dying.
The big C.
Where do they come up with this? I don't know.
Who knows? Maybe some people got some ideas when you was seeing that doctor What, Hagens? Skin cancer? That big? Everybody in California's got skin cancer.
It's the sun.
You go to the doctor and he takes care of it.
They? They get out the shovels and the black armbands.
And I gotta start checking my flank to see who's taking over.
Hey, nobody would try anything like that, Johnny.
You think? Word gets out that I'm weak, there'll be a move to take over.
Only I'm not weak.
I'm ready.
We're ready, too, Johnny.
Yeah.
Creeps.
There's this other thing.
There's this story about a spy in the newsroom, some guy named Rockford.
This interests me.
Johnny, did I tell you about Natalie? She wasn't feeling too good last night.
She had a really rough night.
You said.
What? She's talking to the saints again? You want to put a cork on it, Vincent? You're just showing your ignorance, you know that? This guy Rockford, he's working for The Investigator and he's working for Hagen.
That's my doctor.
What does it all mean, huh? Maybe him and I ought to talk.
About Natalie, Johnny.
You said she's not feeling good.
(STAMMERING) Yeah.
I ought to go home.
Me and Leo ought to go home.
All right.
Go.
Tell Natalie my regards to Saint Jerome.
I want you to pick Rockford up.
Bring him here? No.
Bring him to Mama's.
That whole family is out to lunch.
They didn't miss anyone.
They got you, Angel.
"Evelyn 'Angel' Martin, accused of misappropriation of funds "intended for use by the Stonehill Orphanage and Foundling Home.
" Now that was a rumor.
An unsubstantiated rumor.
I think we should all sue.
You already told me you lost one account because of this article.
So, I sue.
And the people who didn't read it hear the charges and I lose more accounts.
They hear the charges, they see you vindicated.
We've got a good case.
Couldn't be better.
It's a textbook example of libel per se, libel on the face of it.
Don't have to show special damages, don't have to show we were shunned or avoided or hurt financially.
All we got to do is show up with that newspaper in court.
Great.
Of course, now, libel is an iffy proposition.
There've been people who sued for half a million dollars and won, and been awarded $1.
That kind of leaves you holding the bag on attorney's fees.
Well, if this is a textbook case, how did we end up in deficit spending? Well, the paper could offer to publish a retraction and apology.
It's a show of contrition.
It counts with the court.
Or The Investigator could try and prove that our reputations were so bad, they couldn't possibly have been hurt by their defamation.
And I have a gut feeling that's the route they'd take.
So they cover their smear with another smear.
That's how they get away with it.
That's how.
Well, I don't think they ought to get away with it.
I don't know how, but I sure would like to tie a can to their tail.
Well, you can count on me for the string.
Hey, Sal, here they come.
Let's go.
I don't want to be rude, fellas, but two's company, four's the Rockettes.
That's our car over here.
It's lovely.
Look, why don't you just get in? No trouble, huh? We're going to have a little conversation, that's all.
We'll go for a little ride.
Just like those great old Cagney movies.
Yeah.
Who is this conversation going to be with? I don't want to spoil the surprise.
Coop, Coop.
Okay.
Everybody likes a surprise now and then.
Shall we? What's with him? I asked for Rockford.
They was together, Johnny.
Wait in the car.
I got a few questions, that's all.
Then my friends will take you back to where they got you, no harm done.
And my apologies for the inconvenience.
You, I don't know.
You wait there.
You, inside.
Dive, Jim! (GUN FIRES) Coop, let's get out of here.
Come on.
It's just for a couple of days, honey.
Just to be on the safe side.
You know? I hate leaving you like this, but just in case anybody comes by, you can say I'm away on business.
So it don't look like I'm hiding out, which I am.
Leo's getting us a room somewhere.
Oh, gots.
I gotta stay in the same room as Leo.
Well, it's just for a couple of days.
Till it's understood exactly what happened.
It's done, Augie? Yeah, Natalie.
It's done.
You remember, I told you.
It's done.
Then it's yours.
All of it's yours.
All of Southern California.
They've got to give it to you, Augie.
The family'll see that.
Well, I got to talk to the council.
They're getting together and I've got to call them in a couple of hours.
Yes.
You talk to the council.
(STUTTERING) Now, you tell them that this had to be done because of Johnny's condition.
They weren't here to see how bad it was getting.
Of course, Vince and the others, they could say he didn't look so bad.
All these pills he was taking all the time? Well, Johnny said they was vitamins.
Pills.
Pain pills.
He was filling himself up with drugs, talking too much.
Talking about business.
I saw him.
He was a very sick man.
All the time getting worse.
Now, you tell the council that.
They'll see you had no choice.
(PHONE RINGING) It's okay, honey.
Just answer.
And if it's Leo, I'll take it.
Hello? Natalie? Okay, listen.
Tell Augie I'm at the Oakwood Lodge on Natalie? (STAMMERING) Yeah, yeah, I'm on.
I got it.
Oakwood Lodge where? On Drexel.
Augie? Hey, we got bad trouble.
What, you heard something? Yeah.
I went by the apartment to pick up some stuff, I see there's this phone call from this guy I know, Frank.
He used to go out with my cousin Grace.
I don't call him then, I want to get out of there.
So I call him back now.
Leo, will you get to it? Well, he has this sandwich thing downtown.
He takes sandwiches around? Leo! One of the places he sells, it's The National Investigator.
So he's dealing cheese on rye and he sees they're working on this story about Johnny.
Well, everybody's seen the story on Johnny.
No, it's a new story, it ain't out yet.
They're working on it.
About how Johnny's dead.
But he wasn't dying.
About how they got a bum tip on the cancer thing.
They're gonna say he was all right.
What are we gonna do, Augie? Let me think, let me think.
Wait for me at the motel.
What number? Okay, just wait for me.
(SIGHS) They're gonna kill us.
What? The council's gonna kill us.
(STUTTERING) Augie, when you tell them that What? When I tell them what? That Johnny was dying and we did everybody a big favor? The Investigator is coming out with a story that Johnny wasn't even sick.
He was a very sick man.
He wasn't sick! And I don't want to hear any more about what Saint Lucy said.
Because there's nobody talking to you upstairs but yourself, Natalie.
Now, you wanted Johnny sick so there'd be a good reason for killing him and taking over.
He wasn't sick! Is the paper out yet? They're still writing it.
Then there's time for you to stop it.
I'm not listening, Natalie.
That's what happens when you're a dead person.
You just stop listening.
National Investigator.
This is McPherson.
Yeah, McPherson.
Herb, from the newsroom.
Is Mr.
Witbeck there yet? Mr.
Witbeck's coming in? Yeah, I'm supposed to meet him in his office.
Look, there's a guy named Jim Henley that's bringing in a guy that went down the Amazon in a bathtub, or something like that.
But anyway, don't say anything to Mr.
Witbeck.
But tell Henley that I had a flat but I'm on my way and to try and cover for me.
You got that? Yeah, right.
Okay.
Let's try it.
In a bathtub? Is Mr.
Witbeck in yet? No.
You Henley? Yeah.
Mr.
Culpepper, now, we'll want to get all the color we can on this thing, any encounters with unfriendly natives.
Oh, I want a really good shot of that bathtub.
It sank.
No.
Oh, Mr.
Henley? Herb called.
He had a flat, he wants you to cover for him with Mr.
Witbeck.
Okay, thank you.
(DOOR BUZZING OPEN) It sank? I don't know, Augie.
Quiet.
I don't know.
Even if we get in, even if we found the lousy story, so what? They'll just write it again.
We're just buying time, that's all.
I mean, I can't think, knowing that story's up there.
Once we get the story, we'll figure something out.
Okay? Come on, Leo, come on.
Print Shop.
Lamberti.
He's Smith.
Print Shop's closed.
So, how come I got a phone call telling me to come down here? I mean, you wanna look and see if my name is on the list, or what? Johnny Bongard? One-armed paperhanger.
No kidding.
There's a picture.
There's nothing in these drawers.
Maybe we should have waited for Becker to run Johnny's known associates.
Oh, come on, Coop, that could take weeks.
You know all of Johnny's people are gonna go underground till the heat's off.
Yeah.
And suppose we do find Johnny's file.
You think it's really gonna pay off? It might tell us who killed him.
You know, The Investigator's got all kinds of stuff on people like Johnny.
They got tips, rumors, even a few facts.
Yeah, they got a lot of stuff that they can't use.
If they knew who was trying to move in on Johnny's action We give the name to Becker, right? But do we tell him how we got it? Sure.
We got it from a reliable source.
Yeah, maybe he could get those two gorillas before they get us.
Coop.
Leo, don't shoot.
We got to take them quiet.
We got to get the story on Johnny.
Please, don't shoot.
(CLATTERING) (GRUNTING) COOPER: Hold it! Hold it! ROCKFORD: Do you smell smoke? Coop, there's a fire! Let's get out of here.
It's locked.
Let's try the window! Oh, come on, out of the way.
Come on.
(SIREN WAILING) ROCKFORD: Hey, Coop.
Catch.
(POLICEMEN SHOUTING) Come on, spread 'em! Officer, I'm a private investigator.
The man on the far end is my associate.
My identification is in my right-hand inside pocket.
Okay.
Thank you.
Coop.
Natalie.
POLICEMAN: Mr.
Cooper, is this your correct home address? Look, Officer, that's my wife.
Please.
I won't I won't cause any trouble.
POLICEMAN: Hey, Don.
Okay.
(POLICEMAN CHATTERING) Natalie.
You did this, Natalie.
Why? I had to, Augie.
They destroyed Johnny, I destroyed them.
It was their lies did it, you know that.
It was their lies cost Johnny his life.
It's all over, Natalie.
Do you understand what I'm saying? It's all over.
So, can we please stop lying? It was their lies.
No.
You wanted the power.
You.
I believed what I read.
And this terrible thing happened.
(STAMMERING) I explained this to Johnny.
I think he understood.
You explained what to Johnny? When? Tonight.
After you left.
He came to the room.
He didn't say anything, but he looked at me.
Oh, my God, Augie, the way he looked at me.
Johnny's dead, Natalie.
He won't come back again, will he, Augie? He won't come back and look at me that way? Well, what do you think? Oh, we'll read about it.
But not in The National Investigator.
I don't know, Jim.
I just don't know.
You ever try to kill a cockroach?