Season 1

Murder by the Book

Who is it?

Oh, you're not intimidated, huh?

Oh, come on, Ken.

You're forgetting that I'm one half of the world's greatest mystery writing team.

You, uh, don't have gloves on, your finger's not on the trigger,

and there are no bullets in the cylinder.

You're right. I'm a lousy practical joker.

What are you doing here with that thing, anyway?

I was on my way down to the cabin. I thought maybe I could use it for protection.

Also came by to apologize.

  • For what?
  • For blowing my cork the other day.

I got out of line.

Forget it. You know, that happens.

Nah. Shouldn't happen. Not between you and me.

So, believe it or not, sir,

this is a peace pipe.

Bottoms up, Jim.

<i>In the middle</i> <i>of the morning?</i>

Oh, come on. Relax. It's Saturday.

And in the mystery writer's soul, it is always the middle of the night.

Oh! A toast.

Dear sir,

I give you…

our divorce.

Well, it's not really a divorce.

Oh, sure it is. Come on. Let's be honest.

I mean, it's… There's no alimony, but, uh, it is a termination.

Ah, yes. And our dear little children.

All <i>1 5 of them.

Fifty million copies.

And to the lady who made it all possible, the greatest sleuth in the world,

Mrs. Melville,

whom we brought to life and now we're about to bury.

Come on, Ken.

You're making me feel guilty. All I want to do is write on my own.

You're right. I am being selfish.

Okay, my boy. My blessings on your solo flight.


I appreciate it.

After all, friendship is more important than partnership. Right?

Here's to our friendship.


And now, sir,

I'm gonna kidnap you.

What? The aforementioned cabin…

which has been finished for over six months now…

You haven't seen it. You're gonna be my first male guest.

Oh, I can't, Ken. Not now. Well, why can't you?

It's all the way down in San Diego. Oh, it's a couple of hours' drive.

I'll have you home before midnight.

Yeah, well, I promised Joanna I'd take her to dinner and a show.

Aw, that's easy. You pick up that phone, you say, ' Honey, I'm gonna be working late at the office tonight." Come on.

Soon as we get down there, we uncork another bottle, and then we go fishing.

Well, I… You know what your trouble, old buddy is…

I mean, you're afraid to unwind even for a day. Oh, no, I'm not.

Well, then, prove it. Come on. If you want some justification,

you're doing it as a favor for me.

At least give me a chance to bury the hatchet with some style, huh?

You just don't drop your partner, then turn down his invitation all in one week, now do you?

Actually, the timing isn't bad. I was just finishing the final chapter.

Ah, Mrs. Melville's last case.

You know, we ought to send that broad some flowers.

Listen, I made a list of things I'd like to take from the office.

You want to take a look at it?

I don't get it. It's a list of names. Oh, I'm losing my mind.

It's the wrong one. I must have left the other one at the house.

Uh… Oh, I <i>am</i> losing my mind.

What's the matter? I left my lighter in the office.

Do you need it? That's my security blanket.

I'll only be a minute.

dd [Whistling]

And to think I had to talk you into this trip.

Ah, Jim, smell that air. How far is the cabin?

Ah, it's not far. About an hour.

We have to skirt San Diego.

I'll only be a minute. I just have to get some supplies.

Do you want to hand me that book in that glove compartment?

Hey, it's one of ours. [Chuckles] Yeah.

The boss lady here's a big fan of ours.

I've been promising this for months. [Chuckles] The price of fame.

You want me to come with you? No, no. I'll only be a minute.

Miss La Sanka!

Anybody home? <i>In a minute!</i>

Mr. Franklin!

Oh, my planets must be in the right house!

[Chuckles] Not only that, but they're working overtime.

I have a surprise for you. <i>Pour moi?</i>

<i>Pour moi.</i> <i>Prescription: Murder.</i>

'A Mrs. Melville thriller…

byJames Ferris and Ken Franklin."

Oh, uh, take a look at the first page.

You signed it? You dear man.

Well, Mr. Franklin!

I'd rather have the storyteller than the story.

Well, I'll tell you what.

If you play your cards right and give me my grocery list, someday you may have both.

Empty promises. Miss La Sanka!

What do you need? Just a few things for overnight, thanks.

Who is it this week? The blonde or the redhead? Uh, Miss La Sanka,

I'm all alone this weekend.

Except for, uh, some contemplation, some fishing and a refreshment of my spirit.

Could you break this for me? I need some change for the phone. Thanks very much.

<i>[Cash Register Dings]</i>

<i>That'll do fine.</i> <i>Thank you.</i>

Operator, I'd like to place a station-to-station call to Los Angeles.

The area code is 213.

<i>[Phone Ringing]</i>

Hello. Joanna, it's Ken.

Well, Ken! I thought you werert talking to us.

Oh, that's all patched up.

As a matter of fact, I leftJim at the office a few hours ago.

  • We signed the armistice.
  • Oh, well, that's a relief.

Look, Joanna, I wouldn't mention it to him.

I'm sure he'd like to surprise you himself.

Uh, why don't you join us for dinner? We'll celebrate.

I'd really love to, but I'm…

I'm spending the weekend down here in San Diego at the cabin.

As a matter of fact, that's where I'm calling from.

All right. Then we'll do it another time. Absolutely.

Uh, Joanna, I thought maybe if you,

for some reason, needed to get in touch with me, you do know the number at the cabin.

Right. I'll see you in a few days.



Did you ever get a feeling of déjà vu?


Like you've, uh, done something before, but you know you haven't.

Why? What do you mean?

I'm getting it right now. It's strange.

You know I've never been here before.

Maybe in a previous incarnation, huh?

Ken, it's fantastic. The house that Mrs. Melville built.

Wait till you see the inside.

[Sighs] It's no wonder.

'No wonder" what?

What woman could resist this setting?

Not very many. I promise you that.

How about a drink, Jim? More alcohol? No, thanks.

It'll corrupt me. [Chuckles]

You're thinking aboutJoanna, aren't you?

Well, yeah. You know,

just taking off like that.

She still expects me for dinner. We can fix that. We'll put plan ' A" into effect.

Pick up the phone and call her.

What am I gonna tell her? The man is too square for words.

Now, look. You simply say that you're working at the office.

You're calling from the office. She knows you have a deadline to meet with the book. You're working late.

How many times have you had to do that? A couple hundred, I guess.

Exactly. That's why she'll believe you.

Yeah, well, I… I just hate lying to her. You know.

You're not lying to her. You're saving her a little anguish.

Now, will you pick up the phone and call her so we can start enjoying ourselves?


  • Oh, Operator, I'd like to

make a collect…

  • Hold it.

It's a cinch you have never cheated on Joanna before.

If you want your wife to believe you're calling from the office,

you don't have the operator place the call… you dial it direct.

The area code is 213.

Hi, honey.

How are ya?

Well, that's what I'm calling about.

<i>Um, I'm at the office, and…</i>

<i>I'm pretty well into</i> <i>this last chapter.</i>

I'd like to work straight through. Yeah, I know.

<i>L… I know.</i>

This'll be the last time. That I can…

<i>[Shot Fires]</i> Jimmy?


Operator, get me the police.

<i>[Phone Ringing]</i>

Hello. Joanna?



Will you take it easy? Now, say it again once more.

Are you sure?

Did you call the police?

Yes, yes, of course. I'll leave right away.

Uh, Joanna, please.

Take it easy.

And don't worry.

I'm sure it's nothing but a practical joke.


No, I know it's insane.

And l-l-I just… I keep thinking of the clichés and-and…

Jim and Ken wrote this scene…

in their books a hundred times.

Look at it this way, Mrs. Ferris. Maybe he isn't dead.

Now, there's no body, no blood…

No! He was shot! L-I know it!

L-l-I heard… I heard it on the phone.

Are you sure it was a gunshot? This place was searched.

  • Papers on the floor.

Have you any idea why?

  • <i>No, I have no idea why.</i>

<i>Did you notice</i> <i>anything special missing?</i>

<i>No, no, no.</i> <i>Are you sure it was his voice?</i>

<i>[Joanna]</i> <i>Yes, I know it was his voice,</i> <i>and maybe somebody…</i>

<i>[Man]</i> <i>Was he under any kind</i> <i>of extra pressure?</i>

<i>[Joanna]</i> <i>No. Maybe somebody was…</i>

  • Did he say where he was calling from?
  • Yes.

He said he was calling from the office. He said… He said…

<i>"I'm calling from the office."</i>

<i>I really don't care</i> <i>if anything was missing.</i>

<i>I just really want to find out</i> <i>what happened to my husband.</i>

We'll do our best. <i>You sure it was his voice?</i>

<i>I know it was his voice.</i> Are you sure it was a gunshot?

<i>Yes, that's right.</i> <i>[Man] Would you like to sit down</i> <i>and get a glass of water?</i>

Yes, I would like… Really, please.

'Cause I really feel stupid,

and I just really want to clear my head. <i>Get the water.</i>


<i>[Columbo]</i> <i>I think that's out of order, ma'am.</i>

Uh, you see, that's the trouble with these buildings. The fountains never work.

Then you have to use the coffee machine.

And then you lose your dime and the coffee's lousy.

Who are you? Uh, I'm just another cop.

My name's Columbo. I'm a lieutenant.

Were you in there… I got the proof right here.

You didn't see me in there because I left before you got in there.

And you know why? Because it's so smoky in there and so noisy in there…

that I just had to come outside and get a breath.

Oh, I think I'd better get back. Now, look. Wait a minute.

Let me tell you something. You look very tired to me,

and I think you had a terrible experience in there.

And I think I ought to drive you home. Let's call it a night.

Well, don't you think they want to ask me questions?

Oh, I don't think they'll mind. I think you've answered enough questions,

and I'll call them and I'll tell them you're with me.

Okay? Well, what about Ken?

Why isn't Ken here?

I don't know why he isn't here.

Is that Mr. Franklin, the other half of the writing team?


Yeah, the other half of the team.

You know, that's what I like about these buttons.

You don't have to push 'em. They go off with the heat of your hand.

I bet you haven't had anything to eat.

You're a very nice man, Lieutenant, but I'm not really hungry.

I'll tell you, Mrs. Ferris, I'm the worst cook in the world.

But there's one thing I do terrific, and that's an omelet.

Even my wife admits it. Uh, I need something for the eggshells.

  • Over there in that cabinet.
  • Right.

I'm really not hungry. <i>Listen.</i>

You take a taste. You don't like it,

you throw it away.

I'll tell you what the secret is to a good omelet.

  • No eggs. Just milk.
  • [Stifled Chuckle]
  • Uh, skillet.
  • Over there.

You're a very persuasive man, Lieutenant.

Maybe I should hold up my end and make the coffee.

I need cheese and onions and, uh, butter.

Cheese… Uh, I need something to grate the cheese.

Over there in the cupboard.


What did they do with him, Lieutenant?

I don't know, ma'am.

<i>Well, there was no body in the office.</i> <i>Couldn't that mean that he isn't dead?</i>

Well, that's hard to say. Uh, it's bothering me too.

I tell ya, the whole thing doesn't make sense unless it's a kidnapping.

Well, you don't shoot a victim first, do you?

Why'd you laugh before? When?

When I asked you if Mr. Franklin was the other half of the writing team.

Did I laugh? Yep.

Maybe it was the way you put it.

'Writing team."

Maybe I shouldn't say it,

but Ken hasn't written a word of a Mrs. Melville novel in years.

Mrs. Melville? Who's Mrs. Melville?

The character thatJim and Ken created.

The one who solves all the crimes brilliantly.

Well, uh, why did your husband put up with it?

What I mean is, uh, him doing all the work.

Well, there were compensations.

Ken did the publicity, went on all the talk shows,

and he did interviews and cultivated the film people.

He contributed.

He just didn't do any of the writing.

Boy, I'll tell ya, I'd love to be a writer.

That's a terrific talent.

Where did he get all the ideas?

Oh, from almost anything.

People. Magazines.


I'm constantly finding scraps of paper and old matchbook covers…

just all over the house with notes and ideas.

And those were mysteries, too, werert they, huh?

Mm-hmm. They're tricky. I'll tell you that.

I could never figure those things out.

Well, it got harder.

Maybe that's why he decided to go out on his own.

Oh, really? I didn't know that. I guess he wanted to do some serious work.

No kidding?

How did Mr. Franklin take that?

Not very well.

But he'll get over it.

Gee, I'd hate to be in his shoes. Why?

Well, you got a writing team, and they're very famous, and now they break up, and what happens?

One fella continues writing books, and the other fella just stops.

Yeah. That's what I keep telling Jim…

that sooner or later, people are bound to find out.

What, that your husband did all the writing? Mmm.


Kind of tough on Mr. Franklirs ego.

<i>[Doorbell Rings]</i>

Oh, Ken! Jo.

I know, I know. Just take it easy.

I drove up here as fast as I could.

Is there anything new? No, not yet.

Jo, it's incredible.

I just saw him this morning at the office.

Oh, I'm sorry, Ken. Uh,

Lieutenant Columbo, Mr. Franklin.

How you doir? No, the question is, how you doing, Lieutenant?

Well, I'm afraid we just got started.

Has Jim been found yet?

Has he been found yet? Uh…

Why? Did somebody tell you he was gone?

Lieutenant, I just spent several hours driving up here from San Diego.

You must know that this story is on every news station.

Oh, right. Yeah. Gee, I should have thought of that.

Well, has he been found? Gee, I'm afraid not.

No. Were you visiting friends in San Diego?

He has a place there… a cabin. Oh, away for the weekend. Gee, that's nice.

Mmm. Could we get back to my question?

Have you come up with any leads, any clues?

Uh, it's a little early for that. <i>Early?</i>

Seems to me your men are standing around just marking time.

Could I have a drink, love?

I could use one myself. Thanks.

I'll tell you something, Lieutenant.

<i>See, if Mrs. Melville</i> <i>were on this case,</i>

oh, she'd be leaps and bounds ahead of you by now.

Is that the lady in the books? <i>That's right.</i>

You see, she would have figured out that this is not just someone missing.

This is a professional killing.

Aha. Here it is.

Take a look at that. Uh, put it on the desk.

Just drop it. 'Cause of the fingerprints, you know.

Jim's fingerprints are all over that. So are mine.

What is it? What's it look like? It's a list of names.

Look at that. Mustel, Delgado, Hathaway, Westlake…

Sound familiar? Uh, yeah, kinda.

Well, they should. That's a list of some of the top men in organized crime on the West Coast…

L.A., Vegas, Frisco… I don't understand.

Well, it's painfully obvious.

One of these men had Jim killed.

Really? Why?

Tell me something. How long have you been a lieutenant, Lieutenant?

Mrs. Melville would have put that together like that. [Snaps Fingers]

Look, I… I'm willing to take all the help I can get.

All right. Let me see if I can explain it to you.

See, my partner and I decided to split, go our separate ways.

I'm sureJoanna must have mentioned that to you.

Yeah, she said something about that.

Did she also mention the fact thatJim wanted to do some serious writing?

Hey. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

Wait a minute. Yeah! Dawning on you now? I knew you'd get it.

But that's only the tip of the iceberg.

You see, Jim was researching a complete and factual exposé…

of all West Coast organized crime.

I mean, he was going around asking some pretty embarrassing questions.

<i>Probing.</i> <i>Compiling dossiers.</i>

<i>That's why</i> <i>they searched this office.</i>

Apparently, they got everything but that list.

And you think one of these fellas put out a contract on him.

Of course. Word must have gotten around thatJim was compiling all this information.

They knew they couldn't buy him off, so what do they do?

<i>They chose the usual</i> <i>alternative.</i>

Professional killing, huh? But if that's true, why did they get rid of the body?

Well, who knows? But remember one thing… Without a corpus delicti,

you can't prove a murder was committed in the first place.

But why would a professional killer care?

I mean, he's already on a plane back from where he came.

Lieutenant, I can't answer all your questions. I've given you a list of the most likely suspects.

A clear motive. Isn't that enough to start with?

Oh, that's plenty. And believe me, I'm very grateful for all the help you've given me.

Gee, that's funny. What?

Well, this thing is folded lengthwise, like someone was carrying it in their pocket.


Well, if he typed that on that typewriter…

and I'll run a check on that…

why would he fold it up before he put it in that drawer?

[Chuckling] I'm beginning to like you.

Why is that? Because you're finally beginning to think like Mrs. Melville.

Unfortunately, Jim used to fold up a piece of paper,

and he'd use it as a bookmark, you know. Ah.

Now, however interesting your observation is,

it only leads us far astray.

However, since you are beginning to learn how to emulate our dear lady,

I'm gonna give you something that you richly deserve…

a chance to read some of our books.

Well, that's very nice of you. Didn't expect gifts tonight, huh?

Thank you. Maybe I can pick up a few pointers.

Oh, I'm sure you can.

Uh, could you handle some more? Oh, all right.

Here you go. Oh, and an extra. Oh, that's very nice.

That ought to keep you busy for a while, huh? Yeah, it sure will.

Well, anything else, Lieutenant? Uh, no, I don't think so.

I think I'd better let you get some sleep. Oh, that's very nice of you.

I just only hope I was of some help. Oh, you certainly were.

Well, good night, Lieutenant. Good night, sir. Good night.

Oh, Mr. Franklin. Uh…

Actually, uh, there is one thing,

not that it makes that much difference.

What is it?

When Mrs. Ferris called you and told you her husband got shot,

you jumped in a car and drove right back to L.A.

Is that right? That's right.

You know, me, I'd have taken a plane.

I mean, it's a big airport, and they run every half hour. It'd been a lot faster.

Well, I… That's true, but in a situation like that, who thinks clearly?

And look at it this way. You add up all the time it takes to drive to and from an airport,

how much time do you really save?


Operator, would you get me the police, please?

Thank you.

Lt. Columbo, please.

Yes, thank you. I'll wait.

Columbo, this is Franklin.

I think you better get over here right away.

937 Skyview Drive.

It's an emergency.

<i>[Woman On Police Radio: Indistinct]</i>

<i>[Woman on Radio]</i> <i>1- L 10. MPs have been notified.</i>

<i>Do you still request</i> <i>a radio unit?</i>

<i>[Man On Radio]</i> <i>All units in the vicinity,</i>

<i>a prowler, 12F3…</i> <i>[Fades]</i>

When I got home, there he…

there it was, right in the middle of the lawn.

Terrible thing to come home to.

The funny thing is, I…

I kept hoping or I… I was sure thatJim was still alive.


Every time I think of feeling sorry for myself,

I think of how much <i>she</i> had to lose.

Look at 'em!


Lieutenant, you mind if I go inside? I…

can't stand to watch them… gape.

Listen. You mind if I come with you?

Because there's no lining in this coat, and I'm a bit chilly.

I don't mind.

<i>[Phone Ringing]</i>


Yes, this is Mr. Franklin.

What? No comment.

Aw, you've gotta be kidding. You want an interview now?

A gentleman of the press. <i>Afraid you're gonna get</i> <i>a lot of that.</i>

I'm sorry, Lieutenant. I'm forgetting my manners. Would you like a drink?

<i>Yeah. Mmm.</i> <i>Maybe a drop ofbourbon.</i>


Boy, this is quite a place.

This a copy?

<i>Hardly.</i> <i>It's an original.</i>

Gee, I thought they only hung this stuff on museums.

<i>You own this?</i>

Mrs. Melville has been very kind.

Boy. Quite a place.

Gee whiz. And you got that other place in San Diego.

Gee, the upkeep alone must be…

I manage to scrape by. Your drink.

Thank you. You know, there's one thing about writers that I don't understand.

Maybe you can help me clear it up.

If a fella's partner dies,

uh, does he own the other fella's half of the books, half of the, uh, um…

Royalties? Yeah.

No. They go into the deceased's estate.

Mmm. That leaves you out in the cold, doesn't it?

Unless, of course, you insured each other.

Lieutenant, aren't we going a bit far astray?

You're right. We shouldn't be talking about this now.

It's not the time.

Uh… Uh…

So, Mr. Franklin, tell me, uh,

why do you think that they left your partner's body out there on the lawn like that?

Do you mean to tell me you haven't figured that out?

Lieutenant, you disappoint me.

It was left as a warning. A warning?

Of course.

It also proves my theory about it being a professional killing.

See, the moment they dropped Jim's body in the middle of that lawn…

<i>Please, sit down.</i>

<i>You know</i> <i>what they were saying?</i>

That this could happen to you…

unless you stop in your partner's research.

  • They're trying to scare you.
  • Exactly.


So what are you gonna do? Are you gonna continue writing the book anyway?

No, that's the irony of it. You see, that was Jim's pet project, not mine.

[Chuckles] I wouldn't even know where to begin.

Say, I guess they didn't have any way of knowing you two were gonna split up.

Nah. Even if they did, it wouldn't have doneJim any good.

<i>I must say, Lieutenant,</i> <i>you're up against a dead end.</i>

Look at this. You got a body,

you got a motive,

but you're never gonna find that killer.

It's not gonna be easy.

I'll lay you 5 to <i>1 it was someone in Las Vegas or Miami.

Picked up a phone and… pfft! …put out a contract. Right. Right.

How you're gonna make a case, much less solve one, is beyond me.

I know. I guess the only thing I can do is… just check out every name on that list.

Sure. You know what's gonna happen? Every one of those guys is gonna deny thatJim even existed.


I must say I don't envy you. I don't envy myself.

Now, look. I got a lot of phone calls to make. I'd better get on it, huh?

All the luck. Thanks. Thanks a lot, Mr. Franklin.

And listen. I'm very sorry about what happened tonight.

Thank you. Right.

You, uh…

<i>You will keep me posted,</i> <i>Lieutenant?</i> Oh, yes, I will. Yeah.

You know, there's only one thing that I'm not clear about.

But that can wait. You want to go to bed.

Lieutenant, I'm not gonna get any sleep anyway. What is it?

Would you go over for me once again… I know you did it…

exactly what happened when you came home tonight?

Sure. L… I've already told you, but…

[Sighs] The moment I saw Jim's body in the middle of the lawn,

I came running in here and I picked up the phone and I called you.

I mean, it's a purely reflexive action.

Uh-huh. Right. Uh-huh.

Uh-huh. That's fine. Now, wait a minute. You look like you're troubled.

Is there some reason for your question?

Uh, it's your mail.

My mail? Isn't it funny how people are different?

Now, me, if I found my partner dead, I'd never think of opening my letters.

But I-I… I just did it to distract myself.

I mean, you got to remember one thing, that's a great shock.

Yeah. Oh, that's understandable.

And bills are distracting. Listen, if anything comes up,

I'll call you right away.

Good night. Good night.

I'm gonna have a hot dog. I guess I will too.

No, no, Mr. Tucker. You put that away.

This one's on me.

May I have a receipt, please?

All right, Lieutenant. You're bribing me with a handsome lunch.

What can I do for you? Uh, this is about an insurance policy.

Oh, excellent. It's about time you came to me.

I can give you a package within your… Yeah, this is, uh,

an insurance policy that was already written.

Oh, this is official business. Uh, yeah. Uh, there are two mystery writers…

Ken Franklin and James Ferris.

Your company wrote a policy on them? Now, wait a minute, Lieutenant.

We like to cooperate with the police, but…

if you want confidential information, I'm afraid that you… Oh, well, look, uh,

I don't want to cause you any trouble.

Maybe it'll be more helpful if I got a court order?


[Chattering Continues]

Oh, Ken, it was simply marvelous. I was terrified.

Oh, really? I had the whole thing figured out by the end of the first act.

Oh, you did? I was completely fooled.

You must have a devious mind. No, dear, it's because you're young.

Always remember one thing, my love.

The moment a man mentions a long-lost twin,

you can inevitably know that it's going to be some impersonation.

It's an old plot trick.

Mr. Franklin! Yoo-hoo!

  • Over here!
  • Who's that?

Someone that should be somewhere else.

<i>[Man]</i> <i>No, we go this way.</i> Excuse me a moment.

Miss La Sanka, what a pleasant surprise. Hi. [Giggling]

What brings you to the big city? Oh, I came in to do a little shopping.

You… You like my dress? Oh, it's lovely.

See a play. [Laughs]

She's a beauty, Mr. Franklin.

<i>Yes, she is.</i> <i>Uh, thank you.</i>

I haven't seen her before have I?

No, I don't believe you have.

Well, it's… it's lovely to see you. I, uh,

hope you won't think I'm being forward, [Chuckles]

But is there any chance of, uh, our having a drink together?

Oh, I'd… I'd love to, really. But, uh…

See, the young lady and I are going to have a late supper.

I think you might want to cancel it.

  • Just why would I want to do that?
  • Because…

we really should have a discussion. [Chuckles]

Perhaps some other time. All right. L…

I suppose I'll have to find someone else to tell my story to. [Chuckles]

It's a mystery story.

Very interesting. Really.

It's all about this witness. [Chuckles]

Just wait here. I'll be right back.

Anything you say, Mr. Franklin.

d <i>[Piano]</i>


Oh, wow!

Oh, I just can't resist strawberries.

Oh, I'm glad you like them.


[Giggling Continues] You're…

You're making me nervous.

That's quite a stare. I'm sorry. L-I can't help it.

You know, I've never seen you outside that store before.

You're very lovely.

May I call you Lili? Yes, please do. [Giggles]

How did you enjoy the play tonight? Oh, I thought it was predictable. You?

Oh, I like your books much more. That's very flattering.

But you said something before about, uh,

about your story or something about a… a witness.

Oh, yes. Well, actually,

it's a, uh, true-to-life story.

Oh, the best kind. [Giggles]

It concerns your partner. Jim?

Uh-huh. What about him?

Well, I read in the papers about his death,

and I felt just terrible. Thank you.

I felt just terrible, because they said he was killed in his office.

So they did. Well,

in my story, you see,

he couldn't have actually been killed in an office,

because he was, uh,

somewhere else.

Just for a moment, let's forget about your story,

and let's, uh… let's talk about real life.

[Chuckles] It is simpler, isn't it? Much.

I'll tell you honestly, Ken.

I was very confused when I saw the papers, because,

when you were in my store making a phone call the other day, Uh-huh.

I wandered over to the side window to see…

if you had brought a lady with you. [Giggles]

You didn't believe me when I said that I was alone. Oh, I believed you. It's just that…

I'm very interested in you, Ken.

[Giggles] Well, anyway,

you can imagine my surprise when I saw your partner.

There he was, big as life,

sitting there in the front seat of your car.

And that disturbed you, huh? Oh, not at that time.

Only later.

And then I debated with myself for days…

whether to come and see you or not.

Why didn't you go to the police? Oh, Ken.

I wouldn't want to get you into trouble. [Giggling]

Of course not. [Snorting Chuckle] All right, Lili. How much?

[Laughs] I hope you don't think that that's the on…

Oh, no, no, no. I don't think anything.

I'll tell you something. I'm most grateful you came to me first.

Know why? Because I think we can reach an equitable agreement.

I do so admire your candor.

This isn't easy for me… a widow running a…

small country store, trying to make ends meet. Oh, I can understand that.

And I also recognize in you a woman of… of some breeding.

I mean, you're not just a common… blackmailer.

I'm so glad you're understanding.

Very well, Lili.

How much for your silence?

$15,000? L… <i>[Plate Clattering]</i>

Oh! L-I know it's a lot, but that's all I'll ever ask for. Honestly.

  • And I'm a woman of my word!
  • I know you are, and I respect you for that.

And you know what?

In that spirit, I accept your terms. Agreed?

[Relieved Chuckle] Agreed.

[Chuckles] And I know you won't take offense when I say,

'It's a pleasure doing business with you."

No, no. My pleasure. [Chuckles]

[Both Chuckling]

  • [Chuckling Continues]
  • <i>[Doorbell Chiming]</i>

Yes? Is Mr. Franklin home?

He's occupied at the moment. Who shall I say is calling?

Uh, Lt. Columbo. Oh. Well, won't you come in and wait?

Thank you. He'll be with you shortly.

<i>[Camera Shutter Clicking]</i> <i>[Man]</i> <i>Only a few more.</i>

<i>Thanks muchly, Mr. Franklin.</i> <i>I think we're about finished,</i>

if you can bear one or two more photographs. <i>Fire away.</i>

After all, your magazine was very kind to Franklin and Ferris during our lean years.

That's, uh, the second reason I granted the interview. Oh? What was the first?

  • Why, the charm

of the interviewer, of course.

  • Thank you.
  • <i>[Thump]</i>
  • [Shutter Clicks]

Yes, Lieutenant. Is there something I can do for you?

Oh, yeah. If-lf you… If you have a moment.

That's about all I do have.

As soon as I finish here, I'll be right with you.

Is there anything else, Miss, uh… May I call you Gloria? Please do.

<i>Uh, just one last question.</i>

I think our readers will want to know how the death of your partner will affect the Mrs. Melville books.

I'm afraid when I buried Jim I buried Mrs. Melville with him.

Mmm, I understand.

But everyone will miss her so. Can't you write another one?

Oh, I could, naturally, but what's the point?

With Jim gone, there… [Smacks Lips] Wouldn't be much reason.

No, I'm afraid, uh, Mrs. Melville has solved her last case.

Actually, I've been… seriously debating as to whether I would ever want to write again.

Oh, well, I hope you do. Thank you. That's very kind of you.

Now, if you don't mind, huh? Of course. Let's go Harvey.

Perhaps, under better circumstances, I, uh…

less harassed circumstances… I could give you a more detailed interview.

  • Even in more depth.
  • <i>Mmm, that'll be nice.</i>

Shall I call you? Yes. Please do. Next week, huh?


Oh, sorry, Harvey. Thanks, very much. Thank you.

All right, Lieutenant. What can I do for you?

Well, I brought back your books.

<i>Well, that's fine.</i> <i>Just put 'em over there</i> <i>on the table.</i>

Yeah. Uh, sure. I wanted to tell ya how much I enjoyed 'em.

I think they're the most terrific… Boy, I wanna…

And… Oh, listen, I'll come back. I'll make two trips on this.

But the… the lady detective… What a character, what a brain.

<i>And what logic!</i> <i>The way she figures it out!</i> Lieutenant.

I'd love to sit down and discuss literature with you, but I was on my way out.

Oh. Oh, I'm sorry.

I didn't mean to bother ya. Uh, you goir someplace special?

Yes, as a matter of fact. I'm on my way down to my cabin for a rest.

  • Would you like an itinerary?
  • Hey, I'm sorry.
  • I'm makir a pest of myself.
  • No.

Yes, yes, I am. I know, it's because I keep askir these questions.

But I'll tell ya. I can't help myself.

It's a habit. I take it you're not goir alone.

  • Whatever gave that idea?
  • I noticed the two bottles of champagne.

Oh, those. Oh, I'm quite capable of drinking those two bottles…

and a good deal more without any help.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Lieutenant.

Yeah. Uh, listen. Unless you just wanna take a second…

to know how we're progressir on your partner's list.

Oh? Anything concrete?

No, not a thing. Just like you predicted.

Everyone said they never even heard ofJames Ferris.

[Smacks Lips] That's just as I expected.

Well, it was lovely to chat with you, Lieutenant.

Oh, Mr. Franklin? Do you have a minute? Yeah.

Is it important? Well, it could be. You see, I was checking the, uh,

the phone company records in San Diego.

Now, why would you want to do that, Lieutenant?

Oh, well, I have to do that. You know, that's part of my job. I got to tie up all those loose ends.

Anyway, on the day of the murder…

there was a record of a call from the cabin.

It was a call to the Ferris house in Los Angeles.

I see. And now you're wondering whether I can explain that. Is that right?

Oh, I'm sure you can. Oh, you're right. I can.

But, you see, you would've saved both you and me a great deal of trouble…

if you'd checked with Joanna Ferris first.

She would've explained to you that I'd spoken with her from my cabin,

telling her thatJim and I had patched up our differences.

Oh, what do you mean by ' differences"? Uh…

Well, you see, ironing out any difficulties in a separation is never easy.

And I knew Joanna would be concerned, and I wanted to put her mind at ease.

Oh, I see. Can you understand that?

Oh, yes. Yeah, that's understandable. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Oh, fine. Is that all?

Yes, that's all. Right. Good.

[Snickers] Listen, uh, enjoy your trip.

Thanks very much.

And drive carefully. [Engine Starts]

Don't worry, Lieutenant. You can count on it.

And… here you are! [Laughs]

Bearing gifts.

And more gifts. Why, Mr. Franklin, how lovely. [Chuckles]

Ken. Yes, of course. Ken.

Now, Lili, let me ask you a simple question.

You up to making a nice, quiet dinner for two tonight?

d <i>[Orchestra: Romantic]</i> Here's to… prosperity.

And romance.

[Both Chuckling]

A daily double. <i>[Laughing]</i>

Oh, I must say, Lili, that was a magnificent meal.

Where'd you learn to cook so well?

My late husband, may he rest in peace,

was a professional chef.

Wonderful man. [Chuckles]

He taught me all I know. Well, he taught you well.

Thank you, sir.

Refill? Oh, sorry.

Oop! We're all out. [Laughs]

Let's open another one. Dare we?

Dare we not?


Here we go. Happy New Year! [Cork Pops]

[Both Laughing] Quick, the glass.

[Laughing Continues]

Oh! Mmm!


But I'm afraid I'm getting a little tipsy.

What's wrong with that?

[Slurred] I don't know if I can trust you.

Now, is there any reason not to?

Lili, if I make you uncomfortable, I can always leave.

No. Please. I do enjoy your company.

You know what we should do? What?

It's such a beautiful night, we should…

row out to the center of the lake and…

go for a swim. Mmm. Sounds nice.

Mmm. Is nice. Shall we?

Better not. Why not?

I trust you, Ken. Really.

But we all have our dark sides, don't we?

Just wouldn't be very intelligent of me to be alone with you in a small boat.

After all, you might start having second thoughts about the money.

I wish you hadrt said that, Lili.

That kind of talk hurts me deeply.

I'm gonna tell you something, and I shouldn't.

But I'll tell you why, because I trust you.

I was prepared to give you considerably more than you asked for.

Fifteen thousand… I mean, I've lost that much gambling in one night.

Well, it certainly is a great deal of money to me.

What do you think you'll, uh… you'll do with all of it?

I don't know. Put it in the bank, I guess.

But not right away.

Ohh! I just want to look at it for awhile. [Chuckles]

d <i>[Continues]</i>

Better be careful.

Someone might, uh, rob you.

I'll just keep it for a day or two.

I've never seen so much money in my life.


maybe… maybe you could take a… a trip somewhere, huh?

I may. I've always wanted to go on a cruise.

Oh, cruises, they're so romantic.

Did I tell you that my late husband was in the merchant marines?

Is that a fact? Mmm.

They're the ones who taught him how to cook.

I almost wish he were here now.

He could share this with me.

Or maybe we can do the next best thing.

[No Audio]

Who did you say it is? One of the cops said it was a local woman.

Some kind of drowning.

<i>[Woman On Police Radio]</i> <i>Twelve A-15, clear.</i> <i>Twelve A-17, are you clear?</i>

<i>Twelve A-1, clear.</i> <i>Twelve A-15, stand by.</i>

<i>One L-10, M.P. S have been notified.</i>

dd [Whistling]

dd [Stops]


Well, Lt. Columbo. I must say, you turn up at the oddest times, don't you?

Listen, I hope you don't mind my comir in that way, you know.

But the door was open, and I just let myself in. Oh, no.

How'd you get here? By magic carpet? I didn't see your car outside.

Oh, no. I pulled around back, and I put it in the shade.

You know, the sun raises hell with the paint. Oh, sensible.

Well, what brings you up here to the wilds?

Well, I'll tell ya. I heard you and Mrs. Ferris talk so much about this place,

and you made it sound so terrific, and believe me, uh,

you werert exaggerating, because…

this is magnificent.

And, uh, since I got a two-week vacation comir up,

I said to myself, ' Go on down there, check out the area, look to see. Mmm.

Maybe you can rent a cabin."

Lieutenant, you're not gonna tell me you drove down here just to look for a vacation spot, are you?

Why else would I come? You're wasting your time.

I have a feeling that cabins in this neck of the woods are pretty much out of your price range, anyway.

Most of them are… are rented for the season.

Oh, gee whiz, that's… that's too bad.

Gosh, my wife is gonna be disappointed.

Well, it was a nice ride, anyhow. Yes, a lovely drive.

Except for that bottleneck down the road. What was that all about?

Oh, there was a drowning. <i>Well, what was it,</i> <i>a fisherman?</i>

Well, I heard someone say it was a local woman.

Uh, a Miss La Sanka or something like that? Something like that, yeah.

Yeah. Did you know her? Not really, no.

I was just wondering, because, when I was in the kitchen before,

I noticed a grocery box with her name on it.

Oh, I occasionally buy supplies there, sure, like anyone else who lives around here.

Uh-huh. I think she was the one that drowned. Yeah.

'Cause I, uh, stopped by the grocery store on the way here to pick up some cigars,

<i>and I noticed it was closed</i> <i>and the cops'cars around.</i>

Well, if it was her, I… I'd be very sorry.

She was always very friendly. Yeah, that's a shame.

Mm-hmm. [Sucks Teeth] Oh, you <i>did</i> know her.

Lieutenant, I know a lot of people without really knowing them.

You know, like barbers, waitresses, parking lot attendants,

even the cop on the beat.

Don't you? Yeah. [Chuckling] Yeah, I do, matter of fact.

I'll tell you, though. People are strange.

You know, I can't figure 'em out. Why a woman goes out on a lake all by herself…

before the light comes up. Oh, there's nothing unusual about that.

A lot of us go out early.

It's peaceful and kind of makes you feel like you're…

plugged into nature. Mmm.

Know what I mean? Yeah. Yeah.

Well, say, listen. Look, you came down here…

to get away from things, and I'm just takir up your time.

I didn't mean to bother you. No, no, no. It's no bother at all.

Say, I'd be more than glad to let you have a bathing suit,

<i>but, uh, you don't look like</i> <i>the athletic type to me.</i>

Well, it's, uh, my wife that's the athlete.

Oh? Yeah.

So, you don't think I'm gonna be able to find a cabin to rent, huh? Mmm.

Best bet is to go down and check with some of the local real estate people. Uh-huh.

Because I think it'd be fun to be neighbors for a couple of weeks. [Chuckles]

[Laughs] Y-Yeah. Say, what kind of nightlife do you have around here?

Nightlife? None.

No partying? Just sleep and crickets.

Gee, I was just wonderir, because,

you know, I didn't want to barge in on you today unannounced.

I don't follow you. No, last night I called to tell ya that I was comir.

But there was no one at home.

<i>[Woman On Police Radio,</i> <i>Indistinct]</i>

<i>Uh, you a reporter?</i>

Uh, no, uh…

Uh, Lieutenant, uh, Columbo,

uh, police.

L.A. Unit. All right.

L.A.P.D. Yeah.

What brings you down here, Lieutenant? Well, I'm workir on a case.

Uh, listen, this is not really my jurisdiction,

but do… do ya mind if I browse around?

Well, help yourself, Lieutenant. Always glad to cooperate.

<i>[Reporter]</i> <i>Didn't she have a bruise on her head?</i>

<i>[Man] How'd you know that, Ben?</i> <i>Oh, come on, Sergeant.</i> <i>Doc Webster told us.</i>

<i>All right, so there was a bruise.</i> <i>Probably as a result of the boat capsizing</i> <i>and rendering her unconscious.</i>

Any indication the lady was under the influence?

I can't ascertain that until we see an autopsy report.

The doctor's working on that right now.

<i>[Reporter #1]</i> <i>Sounds like drinkirto me.</i> <i>[Reporter #2] Could she swim?</i>

<i>[Sergeant] How would I know</i> <i>a thing like that?</i> <i>I wasn't married to the lady.</i>

<i>[Reporter #3] Any living relatives?</i> <i>I don't think so.</i> <i>Somebody said she was a widow.</i>

<i>[Reporter #3]</i> <i>How about the rowboat?</i> <i>Rowboat? What about it?</i>

<i>Well, who'd it belong to?</i> <i>Where'd it come from?</i> <i>It belonged to the deceased.</i>

<i>I've got witnesses that have seen her</i> <i>take it out on the lake.</i>

<i>[Voices Continue, Indistinct]</i>

<i>[Reporter #1]</i> <i>Think she wanted</i> <i>some fresh air last night?</i>

<i>[Sergeant]</i> <i>This is all conjecture, gentlemen.</i> <i>I mean, there's no way of telling.</i>

<i>Maybe she did.</i> <i>Who knows?</i>

<i>It's also possible</i> <i>that she had a heart seizure</i> <i>or she got dizzy.</i>

<i>[Reporter #3]</i> <i>Then you think it was an accident.</i> <i>I certainly don't think it was foul play.</i>

<i>You gonna be in your office</i> <i>this afternoon?</i> <i>[Sergeant] Absolutely.</i>

<i>[Reporter #1]</i> <i>How long was she in the water, Sergeant?</i> <i>Oh, I don't know.</i>

<i>Wait'll we get the report.</i> <i>We're startirto cover the same</i> <i>old ground here, gentlemen.</i>

<i>Now, why don't you meet me</i> <i>in my office an hour from now.</i>

<i>Well, we've got some</i> <i>more questions here we'd like</i> to… <i>I'll answer 'em all then.</i>

<i>I'll have the reports, and I'll be able</i> <i>to give a lot more information. Okay?</i> <i>Okay, Sarge, thank you.</i>

<i>[Columbo Reading]</i>

  • I still don't know what this means.
  • It means that he knew her.

It means that he knew her not casually, the way he said.

It means that he knew her reasonably well. All right.

You've got a romantic inscription in a book and a champagne cork.

Now, what does that prove? By itself, it doesn't prove anything.

But once you assume that Franklin committed these crimes,

everything fits together. I just can't believe it.

I've known Ken too long. He's not a murderer.

Mrs. Ferris, it wouldn't make a difference if you knew him for a hundred years.

That wouldn't change anything. This man, Franklin, took your husband's life!

Do you have a match?

Help yourself. I don't smoke.

It doesn't make sense, Lieutenant! Ken has an alibi.

What's his motive?

I told ya how he could've worked the phone.

Now, his motive is the insurance money. He needed cash.

He spent money like a drunken sailor. He had two houses.

He's got paintings. He's got women.

He's got…


'Jack and Jill went up the hill.

'Did Jack killJill?

If so, find out why."

Jim. One of his story ideas.


Lieutenant, if Ken killed my husband,

then why did he murder Miss La Sanka?

Well, it's my hunch that she knew something.

Maybe she saw them together, and she tried to blackmail him.

But that's pure guesswork, isn't it? No, ma'am, it's not. Not quite.

I checked the bank. Yesterday, he took out $15,000.

Today, he put it back in again.

Now, why in the world would he do that?

All right. I'm still not convinced, but…

let's say I'll go along.

What happens now? I don't know.

But I've got a pretty strong circumstantial case. It's just not enough.

If I had one piece of hard evidence, I could nail this fella.

But you don't. That's right, ma'am. I don't. That's why I'm here.

Maybe you can give it to me. Me?

You knew both of these fellas very well. I want you to tell me about 'em.

Anything. Just talk… whatever comes into your mind.

Kind of like analysis without the couch.

Would you like a little coffee first? That'd be fine.


I don't know what you're looking for, but here goes.

<i>They met in a typewriter shop,</i> <i>of all places.</i>

Jim had broken a key, and Ken needed a ribbon. Does that help?

Yeah. Keep goir.

<i>Well, I told you lot aboutJim.</i> <i>[Faucet Running]</i>

<i>He was brilliant, really.</i> <i>He'd wake up in the middle of the night</i> <i>with ideas…always throwing off sparks.</i>

<i>I remember he even did it</i> <i>on our honeymoon.</i> <i>[Chuckles]</i>

Funny thing is that Ken didn't even talk about the books…

unless he was on television.

This the truck's gonna move my stuff outta suite 803? Yeah.

You almost finished? Haven't started.

  • What do you mean,

you haven't started?

  • I'm only the driver, mister.

Ask the other two guys. They've been in there a half an hour already.

Half hour?

<i>[Bell Chimes]</i>

<i>[Door Opens, Closes]</i>


Oh. Hiya, Mr. Franklin.

Just finishing up this last Melville mystery. I didn't get a chance the other day.

All right. Now, what are you doir here?

Why, I'm waiting for you. I happened to be in the neighborhood.

You're always in the neighborhood!

Can you tell me what right you've got to keep those movers out of this office?

Oh, listen, I'm sorry about that. It's just…

You know what I thought? I thought you and I should talk alone.

You and I have nothing to talk about. Yes, we do, Mr. Franklin. We have somethir to talk about.

I'm here to arrest ya for the murder of your partner.


Now, it's my duty to inform you of your Constitutional rights… Oh, will you cut that drivel?

I've written that stuff so many times, I know it by heart.

And what is this nonsense, <i>you're</i> gonna arrest <i>me?</i>

Come on, Mr. Franklin. Why don't you make a statement and save us both a lot of trouble?

You know, I've really got ya.

All right, Lieutenant. You got me. I'm your prisoner. Here.

Clamp the irons on me.

Do you wanna give me a dime first, so I can phone my attorney?

Because I promise you, I'm gonna sue you and your department…

for false arrest and defamation of character.

I kinda knew it right from the start.

It was nothing definite. It was a lot of little things.

Little things…

driving back from San Diego on the day of the murder instead of taking a plane,

the open mail, never showing any genuine emotion for a man that you worked with for ten years…

[Laughs] With that, you know what they're gonna do?

They're gonna laugh you right outta court.

But they're not gonna laugh at the insurance policy, are they?

I've got a photostatic copy of it here in my pocket.

They gonna laugh at the fact that you withdrew $15,000, put it back the next day?

I've got the book that you gave to Miss La Sanka with your signature in it.

You expect to get a true bill of indictment on that… trivia?

Come on, Lieutenant.

I was down in San Diego. So was your partner.

That's a provocative statement. Can you prove that?


Not with the witness, 'cause you killed the witness. But I got another way to prove it.

Well, you enlighten me. I must say, I enjoy watching a man raise without any cards in his hand.

You know what, Ken? I'm gonna tell you the truth.

For a while there, I never thought I was gonna get you.

Believe me, you had me goir in such circles.

I couldn't figure it out. Suddenly, I thought of something…

how clever that first murder was…

the phone gimmick, working late in the office.

<i>Brilliant.</i> Oh, are you awarding gold medals today?

Yes! For the first one, not for the second one. That was sloppy.

Mrs. Melville, she'd have been very disappointed.

<i>Oh, come on, get</i> <i>to the climax, Lieutenant.</i>

You're talking to a writer. <i>Am I?</i> <i>That's not what I heard.</i>

And that's the key: That you're not a writer.

When Mrs. Ferris told me that you didn't contribute to the writing,

that her husband did all the work,

That's a lie. I had to say to myself,

'How could a man with no talent for mysteries make up such a clever murder?"

<i>If you were that ingenious,</i> <i>you'd be able to write your own books.</i>

Go ahead. I'm fascinated, as boring as it may be.

Then I got it.

The first one… the clever one… that wasn't yours.

The second one… the sloppy one… that was yours.

  • But not the first.
  • Oh?

And whose idea was that, then?

Your partner's. Had to be.

And his wife told me how conscientious he was.

You know, the way he used to write down his ideas on every odd scrap of paper, backs of matches, whatever…

Ahh, ah. So that's why you wouldn't let the movers in.

Well, I had to rummage around here before they emptied everything out.

Is this your partner's handwriting?

Well, I think I can prove it is. Maybe I ought to read this to ya.

'Idea for a Melville book… perfect alibi.

"A ' wants to kill 'B.' Drives 'B ' to a remote house…

'and has him call his wife in city.

Tells her he's working late at the office. Bang, bang."

Sound familiar? That's the part you used,

practically word-for-word.

Should I read some more?

No. <i>[Door Opening, Closing]</i> Officer.

With this, I think I got a conviction, don't you?

You got to admit I had you goir for awhile though, didn't I?

Yes, you did.

[Snickers] You wanna know the irony of all of this?

That <i>is</i> my idea,

the only really good one I ever had.

I must've told it toJim over five years ago.


Whoever thought that idiot would write it down?

Death Lends a Hand

This one is as crooked as a dog's hind leg.

Fire it in the vice this afternoon.

Are those yesterday's field reports? Yes, sir.

I want them now.

<i>[Teletype Clacking]</i>

Three more units added to security at Coastal Aircraft.

No progress on the Fairfax Insurance investigation.

We're working with their accountants on the audit.

Uh, Brooks and Wilcox are in court this morning on the Monzio divorce.

Brooks anticipates no problem.

James case looking very positive… no negative signs in sight.

<i>All men on surveillance</i> <i>have checked in except Russell,</i>

but he's in Santa Barbara and he's undercover.

Let me have the afternoon report at 5:30. Yes, sir.

I assume our guest has arrived. Yes, sir, but Mr. Kennicutt isn't hear yet.

Well, he's not due for another 30 seconds.

He's just coming in now.

I want you to listen very carefully, please.

My name is Arthur Kennicutt. Mr. Brimmer's expecting me.

Oh, yes, sir. Would you go right in, please?

Thank you.

<i>Oh, Mr. Kennicutt.</i>

<i>You're right on time.</i>

Won't you sit down? Thank you.

Would you care for something to drink? Oh. Some coffee, black.

I was just reading one of your papers.

I see you've taken a stand on this federal judgeship that's giving everybody fits.

I'd rather not talk politics right now, Mr. Brimmer, if you don't mind.

Yes, of course. Thank you, Henry.

Well, this is your wife's file, Mr. Kennicutt,

and the fact sheet shows five weeks now of intensive surveillance.

All movement, personal contact, telephone communications.

<i>It's really quite extensive.</i> And?

Mr. Kennicutt, you have nothing to worry about. It's a clean bill of health.

  • You sure?
  • Well, I'm not in the habit

of making mistakes.

Yes. I'm sorry, of course.

But lately it's been like waiting for a biopsy report… benign or malignant.

Well, in this case, benign.

I don't know which I feel most, relief or anger.

Anger? <i>At myself…</i>

<i>my idiotic suspicions.</i>

But I suppose when one marries a much younger woman,

one tends to become a little paranoid.

[Brimmer] Well, sometimes there's good cause. In this case, not.

Read it at your leisure. There's not a hint of another man.

You know, it's funny.

I love her. I love her very much.

<i>And I think I know her.</i>

<i>But lately I could have sworn that…</i> <i>Well, it doesn't matter now.</i>

<i>I feel so guilty, I'm going to</i> <i>start showering her with gifts.</i>

She won't know what hit her.

<i>Mr. Brimmer,</i> <i>I owe you a great deal.</i>

Well, it's a pleasure to set your mind at rest, sir. Thank you.

And you'll have my check in the morning.

Very kind of you. <i>Thank you again.</i>

Thank you.

Could you hear everything? <i>[Woman]</i> <i>Yes.</i>

  • Well, you seem confused.
  • Well, I don't know why

you asked me to come here.

  • I thought it was obvious.
  • No, not really.
  • You…
  • What you're trying to say

is that I lied to your husband.

Well, that's correct, Mrs. Kennicutt.

I even went so far as to falsify the report.

  • Would you like a glass of water?
  • No. Uh, nothing, thank you.

<i>In point of fact,</i>

you were having an affair.

<i>The mars name was Archer.</i> It's over, Mr. Brimmer.

But I'm sure you already know that.

It was a mistake.

[Sighs] A stupid mistake.

But I ended it.

And it won't ever happen again.

Why didn't you tell my husband the truth?

[Sighs] Oddly enough, Mrs. Kennicutt,

I am a moralist…

a vanishing species, so I'm told.

A thousand broken marriages come across my desk…

infidelities, uh, domestic deceit.

In your case, 10 years of marriage…

and one brief indiscretion.

So, why not bend the truth a little bit?

Uh, then you're not going to tell him?

I haven't and I won't. File's closed.

[Exhales Deeply]

[Sighs] Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Brimmer.

I am so grateful.

<i>How grateful?</i>

Mrs. Kennicutt,

a detective agency runs on information.

That's our raw material.

<i>Your husband</i> <i>owns three newspapers,</i>

two on this coast and one on the East.

Whenever anything happens on the inside of business or politics or even in the jet-set…

I still don't understand how I…

<i>Information, Mrs. Kennicutt.</i>

It is our only stock in trade.

For example, at the moment I'm working on case…

wherein it would be very beneficial to my client…

to have certain information about a federal judge that your husband is supporting.

Are you saying that you want me to be a pipeline to my husband?

No. Just [Sighs] A good listener.

<i>Is it really asking so much,</i> <i>Mrs. Kennicutt?</i>

<i>I can't do this kind of work alone.</i>

I need that kind of help.

Why don't you think about it and we'll talk again.

<i>[Ice Cubes Jingling]</i>

Your terrace door was unlocked, so I trespassed.

Well, there's no car in the front.

Oh. I thought you knew everything, Mr. Brimmer. We're neighbors.

<i>My husband and I have a weekend house</i> <i>about three miles from here.</i>

Ironic, isn't it?

Why are you here?

Well, why else? To discuss your…

What shall we call it? Your proposition.

I've been walking on the beach for hours, thinking.

And you've come to a decision.

Oh, yes.

Tell me something, Mr. Brimmer.

How many other rich mers wives owe you favors?

Do they all capitulate easily?

I'm waiting for your answer.

Oh, indulge me.

I should think the blackmail-ee has some right.

Mrs. Kennicutt, I r… The answer is no.

<i>No deal.</i>

Is that plain enough for you? If you want a spy, you find someone else.

All right.

I'll have to call your husband in the morning and…

And what? Tell him I had an affair?

Sorry. It won't work.

<i>I'm going to tell him myself.</i>

I can't believe that you'd want to do that.

Well, what you believe really doesn't matter, does it?

It's what Arthur thinks that's important.

Maybe he'll ask for a divorce or maybe he'll forgive me.

But it's time I was honest with him.

You're being very foolish.

Only if I lose.

But you can't threaten me anymore, can you?

<i>You just lost your leverage.</i>

Oh, and one other thing.

I'm also going to tell him about the way you run your business.

I wouldn't advise that. Oh, I'm sure you wouldn't.

Because whether he forgives me or not, he's gonna despise you for lying to him.

And Arthur's not the right man to have for an enemy.

Good night, Mr. Brimmer. Mrs. Kennicutt, I want you to reconsider.

Your husband has some very powerful friends.

[Chortles] That's right.

Now, if you'll please excuse me.

I cannot permit you to do that. Well, you don't understand. It's not your choice.

You let go of me!

Let go! [Glass Shatters]

<i>[Car Horn Blaring]</i>

<i>[Siren Approaching]</i>

[Siren Dies Out]

[Engine Stops]

What's the trouble, Officer? May I see your license and registration?

Turn signal, right? The right one.

You know, it's the second time I got stopped today.

I tell you, I'll get those things fixed as soon as I can.

  • You'll get 'em fixed now.
  • I would, but I'm on my way

to a 187 P.C.

  • Say, are you a cop?
  • Uh, yeah, a lieutenant… Columbo.

Well, I'm sorry, Lieutenant, I flagged you down.

Well, that's all right. You're just doing your job. Listen, I'll get those things fixed.

This license expires next week.

Oh. Oh, well, thanks.

Say, I better give you an escort. That way you'll get where you wanna go.

Oh. Okay. Appreciate that. But listen, not too fast.

<i>[Police Radio Chatter]</i>

Can't tell for sure, but I don't think she was killed her. Looks like the body was moved.

<i>And the cause of death?</i> <i>Probably a severe concussion.</i>

Print team all wrapped up, Captain. Nothing.

There were two blows. Uh, send them on home.

Laceration on the cheek and major contusion at the base of the skull.

How do you read that? It's hard to say.

Maybe somebody hit her and she struck her head going down.

  • Lieutenant, you got that?
  • <i>I'll know more about this</i>

<i>after the autopsy.</i>

Uh, yeah. Got a match? <i>Plus the approximate time of death.</i>

No. No tire tracks we can use.

Got a match? I'm sorry. I don't smoke.

Oh. No prints. Just smudges.

Money? Just change. No currency.

You got a match. No, I don't. Sorry.

Got a match. Yeah, sure.

<i>[Captain]</i> <i>We're all finished here.</i> <i>You can load it up.</i>

Identification and purse. Mrs. Arthur Kennicutt…

<i>the</i> Arthur Kennicutt.

How do you know that? Credit card's made out to Kennicutt Publications.

What's the problem? Newspapers.

If we don't handle this according to Kennicutt's satisfaction,

he's got an awful lot of front pages to beat us over the head with.

Thought I told you to move that out of here.

Lieutenant, what are you looking at?

The bruise, sir. The lady has a bruise on the left cheek.

<i>We know that.</i>

I knew you werert listening.

<i>[Police Radio Chatter Continues]</i>

It's Lenore. I wanna get out of here.

Oh. Thank you, Lieutenant.

Would you like to be alone for a few moments?

No, no. I can feel sorry for myself some other time,

after you've caught him.

Well, should we get down to business?

Are you sure there's nothing else you want?

As the husband, I'm the most likely suspect, correct?

Uh… <i>You don't have to worry</i> <i>about my feelings, Lieutenant.</i>

<i>She was killed last night.</i> <i>What time?</i>

Between 8:00 and 9:00.

Well, I was in San Francisco addressing a conference.

I didn't fly back until this morning.

Uh, you have the flight numbers on that?

My secretary can give them to you,

together with my hotel and my schedule.

You'll check them all out, naturally.

Yes, sir. <i>And when you do,</i> <i>you'll dismiss me as a possibility…</i>

<i>and then get down to the real business</i> <i>of finding the real killer.</i>

And I want him found, Lieutenant.

<i>Soon.</i> I'll do my best.

I'm sure you will.

Uh, Mr. Kennicutt, it would help if you could tell us a few things.

Did your wife have any enemies?

Lenore never offended a soul.

She was an extraordinary woman.

I see. This question is a bit awkward, but I'm afraid I'm gonna have to ask it…

was there ever, uh, another man in her life?

Naturally. More than one.

But that was years ago, before we were married.

  • No, sir.

I meant since you were married.

  • You're speaking of an affair?

Well, I'm afraid we're gonna have to consider it.

Well, don't bother. Lenore was faithful to me in every way.

She had a clean bill of health.

All right. Clean bill of health.

So you don't think we ought to go in that direction?

No, I don't.

All right. Can you tell us about her habits? What did she do in her spare time?

Nothing unusual.

Shopping, charity work.

Sports. Sports. What kind of sports did she play?

Oh, tennis. She was also very fond of skin diving.

Yes. Uh, did she do this with you, sir? Did she do it with friends?

With friends, Lieutenant.

Female friends, in case you're wondering.

Female friends.

All right, sir. I think I've got enough to start with.

Thank you very much.


I want you to understand something.

I married a woman young enough to be my daughter.

<i>A lot of people were skeptical,</i> <i>but it worked for us.</i>

We loved each other. We loved each other very much.

We even thought of having a child.

I want this man caught.

<i>And I must warn you,</i> <i>I don't intend to be patient.</i>

Yes, sir.

Oh, Lieutenant. Thanks for the coffee.

You're welcome, sir.

Good morning, Lieutenant. Good morning, sir.

Would you like some coffee, some juice? Uh, nothing for me.

No. Thank you very much. Any progress?

Uh, no, sir. I hate to admit this, but, uh, nothing.

Not a single lead? No, sir. Nothing.

Well, uh… Well, some of my associates think…

that, uh, your wife was mugged and the fella ran away with the money.

But, um, you see, they can't really explain how the body was moved.

And, uh, now, me, I don't know.

I, uh… I think she knew the murderer.

Why? Excuse me. [Ringing]



All right. Be right in.

Why? Well, her behavior seems a little strange, sir.

Uh, she went out to the beach house in the middle of the week, which is unusual.

And, uh, she said to the caretaker she had some thinking to do…

and then she went for a walk.

And then the next morning her body was found on the other side of town.

What are you getting at?

I wish I knew. I don't know.

It's just that it sounds to me like a woman that has a problem.

Now, did your wife have any personal problems? My wife was a very happy woman.

Uh-huh. Yeah, well,

it's just that if she did have a problem,

I thought that maybe it would be connected with the murder.

But you've no proof of that. Oh, no, sir. No.

Lieutenant, I call the City Room every half hour to find out what you people are doing.

So far, not a word.

No arrest… not even a promise of one.

Now you tell me you haven't a lead.

Well, I'm sorry, Mr. Kennicutt. Uh, looks like it's gonna be slow.

It doesn't have to be.


<i>Lieutenant Columbo,</i> <i>this is Mr. Brimmer.</i>

How do you do? Lieutenant.

You've heard of Brimmer Associates? Uh, no, I haven't.

Well, it's security and investigations, Lieutenant.

You might say you and I are in the same business.

Oh, really? Matter of fact, I was talking about you just last night.

I ran into the commissioner at a party.

He speaks very highly of you.

Naturally, you're wondering why Mr. Brimmer's here.

Now, please don't take this as a reflection on you,

but I've engaged his firm to work on the case.

Well, now, Arthur, I'm here in an advisory capacity… a supplemental capacity only.

I don't want the lieutenant to get the idea that I'm competing with him.

Uh, but there's no reason why a private agency and a public one…

can't cooperate, is there? No.

You see, I want as much coverage in this case as possible.

And when Mr. Brimmer called and offered his services,

I thought it was an excellent idea.

Sure, uh, I can understand that.

Uh, you two know each other?

Well, Mr. Brimmer's done some work for me.

I see. I see. [Clears Throat]

Some kind of security work? Guards for the paper?

Oh, it was a personal matter. The point is, Lieutenant,

I told Arthur on the phone I couldn't imagine you wouldn't accept a helping hand…

considering the manpower shortage in your department.

<i>You see, Mr. Brimmer</i> <i>used to be a police officer himself.</i>

[Brimmer] Well, it was a long time ago.

But at least I can understand your problems, Lieutenant.

Well, now, listen, I said to Mr. Kennicutt I'm grateful for all the help I can get.

I'm just not sure how my superior's gonna take this.

That's already been taken care of.

<i>It's just that Mr. Kennicutt is anxious</i> <i>for a quick resolution to the case.</i> <i>You can understand that.</i>

Well, naturally. <i>[Brimmer]</i> <i>Well, good.</i>

I hope the association will be beneficial to you.

Oh, I'm sure it will. Yeah.

You know, I suddenly feel very much more optimistic about this whole thing.

<i>Uh, it's not based on anything,</i> <i>no facts, but,</i>

you know, I'm a superstitious guy.

<i>You know, I believe in signs.</i> <i>I believe in palmistry and astrology</i> <i>and all that kinda thing.</i>

You don't, I know that. <i>Oh, definitely not.</i>

Let me see your hand.

<i>You see, Mr. Kennicutt,</i> <i>that's your fate line</i> <i>and it breaks there.</i>

That was your bad fortune.

But it picks up again, and that's interesting.

That's a very good omen.

May I?


Deep line of Apollo.

That's a man devoted to his work.

Your Apollo line crosses the mound of the Moon. You know, that's very rare.

And very impressive.

That's the sign of a man who's destined to attain a very particular kind of distinction.

That's a very good sign.

I know you think it's silly,

but I'm gonna make a believer out of you before I'm done.

It was very nice meeting you. Nice to have met you.


Oh, Mr. Brimmer. Large thumb, low mound of Venus.

That means ambition, purposefulness.

<i>That's a closet, Lieutenant.</i>

[Chuckles] Oh, gee. I'm sorry.

A lot of people make the same mistake.

Say, that's a terrific-looking set of clubs. Do you mind?

Go ahead.

These seem light. Are these ladies' clubs?

  • They were Lenore's.
  • You didn't say she played golf,

did you?

You mentioned tennis and skin diving.

  • That's because she just started.
  • Ahh. I see. Where'd she play?

At the country club. <i>I see. At the club.</i>

<i>Well, I was just wondering</i> <i>why shejust didn't keep her clubs</i> <i>in the locker room?</i>

<i>She did.</i> <i>That's an extra set</i> <i>she used to take lessons with.</i>

Oh, I see. Well, that explains it. Right.

Uh, you mean she didn't take lessons at her own club? She took them someplace else?

Sky Lane. Why, is it important?

It's not important. It's just I like to get that background information very precise if I can.


  • Is this the right door?
  • [Chuckles] Yes.

Well, what was that all about?

Well, I think, uh, police techniques have changed a little over the years.

Here, try it again.

And remember, keep the back of your left hand straight.

None of this. Just stroke it easy, all right?

Oh, that was good. You're getting better.

Well, I still don't think I'm ever gonna learn this game.

Oh, you just have to keep your eye on the ball, watch your concentration.

You're coming along fine.

Do we have time for another bucket?

Sorry, Jenny. Time's up. Tomorrow, 3:00.

Tomorrow then.

You a member of the club?

Uh, no. No, I'm, uh, Lieutenant Columbo. I'm from the police.


What's the problem? I'd like to ask you a few questions about a Lenore Kennicutt.

Uh, you knew her?

Not very well.

I gave her a few lessons.

I see. Uh, well, this is your appointment book, isn't it?

Well, you should know. You've been looking at it.

Well, no offense. I was just killing time.

But, uh, you know, now that you mention it,

I see that you gave her a lot of lessons.

She liked the game. I see.

Well, look here's the thing. Um, since you spent a lot of time with her,

I was wondering if you could give me some help.

How? Was she the type of woman…

now this is just between you and me…

was she the type of woman who was on the lookout?

I mean, did you ever notice her give her eye to any of the men around here?

Uh, look, Lieutenant. We better get one thing straight.

I teach them golf and I play in their tournaments,

but I don't get involved in their personal lives.

If they wanna pair off, that's none of my business.

Okay. All right. Uh, well, thanks a lot.

It's quite all right. Take it easy.

Uh, say, uh,

what kind of club is this?

<i>Oh, that's a number one wood.</i>

Number one wood.

Listen, uh, could you give me a lesson?


No, I'm serious. You know what my trouble is?

I work too hard. Never out of the office.

<i>I figure this:</i> <i>If I could take up a sport,</i>

get out in the fresh air and get some exercise,

that'd do me some good.

  • What do you say?
  • Well, I…

<i>Just for a few minutes.</i> <i>Just to, you know, start to swing.</i> <i>Come on.</i>

Say, you know what was a funny thing about your appointments with Mrs. Kennicutt?

Uh, the first two were in the morning…

and all the rest, and I counted 13 of them,

uh, they were always in the middle or the late afternoon.

So? Uh, well, I guess it's not important.

I guess it's nothing. Uh, wait a minute. I'll take off my coat.

Except that, uh,

now, every time you had an appointment with Mrs. Kennicutt,

it was always the last lesson of the day.

I like to finish at a reasonable hour. Doesn't everyone?

Oh, I see. So those days, you left the club.

I thought maybe you'd hang around to see if you could pick up an odd lesson.

Well, I didn't always go home.

Oh, who said anything about going home?

Oh. What I mean is I didn't always leave the club. Sometimes…

Hey, listen. Can I help you out?

Don't say anything else. You don't have an attorney.

<i>Wait until you get an attorney.</i> <i>This way you can hurt your case.</i>

Believe me, I know something about my business.

<i>I don't know nothing about golf,</i> <i>you know. See that's your business.</i>

I know something about my business.

And believe me, you know, down through the years, uh,

you get so that you develop a nose for things, you see?

<i>And,</i> uh…

After a while, the old nose just tells you when someone's not giving you the truth.

<i>Now, uh,</i> <i>I'm gonna forget about the lesson,</i> <i>'cause I could never learn this game,</i>

but I'll be back to talk to you.

<i>Ground covered by the police</i> <i>is not our concern.</i>

One thing to bear in mind, money was taken.

Granted, it could have been a smoke screen,

but sometimes the obvious answer is the correct one.

Now, Brooks… Yes, sir?

Check into her banking account with particular attention to withdrawals.

See if you can find out how much cash she was carrying that day. Mr. Kennicutt will be glad to cooperate.

Now, my theory, gentlemen, and you will gear your efforts in this direction,

Mrs. Kennicutt was walking along the Pacific Coast Highway.

She was forced into a car…

by someone.

The motive was robbery.

She probably fought back. In any case, she was killed.

The murderer drove around in a panic…

and finally all the way out to here, where he got rid of the body.

<i>[Intercom Buzzer]</i> Yes?

<i>[Woman]</i> <i>Lieutenant Columbo to see you.</i> Who?

Oh, yes. Yes, send him in.

Gentlemen, we'll finish this later. I'll call you. Thank you.


<i>Come in!</i>

Whew! Boy. This is quite a building.

<i>This all yours?</i> 'Fraid so.

Must be a lot of business for your kinda company these days. Well, we can't handle it all.

Sit down. Uh, listen, your secretary called.

She said you wanted to see the files on the case, so I thought it'd be a lot safer if I brought 'em over myself.

Oh. That's very nice of you. It wasn't necessary, but I appreciate it very much.

Uh, want some coffee? No. No, thanks.

Thank you. Uh, those are the duplicates.


Yes, this will help.

A lot of it. I wonder if you can give me a little rundown.

Well, it's just what I told Mr. Kennicutt.

No leads. Except, you know, I was looking through that stuff last night.


And, uh, drives my wife crazy, you know.

<i>Because we have the lamp</i> <i>right next to the bed,</i> <i>and the poor thing, she can't sleep.</i>

Did you find anything?

No, not really. Well, uh,

<i>take the autopsy report.</i>

Yes. Here it is.

You see now, that jibed with something that I noticed about the body…

the first time I saw it, and that bothered me.

Mrs. Kennicutt was struck on the left cheek, and she had a bruise.

And she had a weird kinda cut.


Do you see what I mean?

Um, no. I don't think so.

Well, let's start with the cut, because that's what bothered me.

I said to myself, 'Now what in the world could have caused that kind of cut?"

Uh, does this lighter work?

Yeah, I think so.


Uh, wh… where was I? About the cut.

Oh, yes. What could have caused the cut?

I said to myself, ' It could be a ring."

A ring of… You mean a finger ring. This kind of ring.

Yeah, something like that. Now here's the way I figured it.

Suppose you were gonna strike somebody.

Suppose it was a woman.

Now, do you punch her? Well, maybe.

But more than likely, you hit with your open hand.

Either this way or this way. Mm-hmm.

Now, if you hit this way, then the ring is not gonna cause any cut.

So I figured it was a backhand blow like this. All right?

I still don't follow you too well, because that would, uh, that would put it over on…

But I used my right hand, you see? Yeah.

And if the ring was on the right hand, then the bruise would be on the right cheek.

But it was on the left cheek, so the murderer was left-handed.

Struck her like this.

Which means the murderer is left-handed. Well, that's interesting.

That's provided, of course, all these, uh, speculations are valid.

Yeah, I would say that we have a left-handed murderer,

and, uh, and an unpremeditated crime.

We have? <i>Oh, I think so, yes.</i>

I mean, I don't think a man kills with his hands unless he's angry.

<i>As a matter of fact, you know,</i> <i>maybe he didn't mean to do it.</i>

<i>Could be.</i>

<i>You know,</i> <i>maybe it was an accident.</i>

You know, I got a feeling that when we find our friend,

it's gonna turn out that he has a terrible temper.

Hmm. [Chuckles]

<i>Well, maybe you're right.</i>

I certainly wish I had your crystal ball, Lieutenant.

Why don't you let me digest this material, and then we'll talk again.

Okay. All right. Fine.

Sure. Listen. I want to thank you for the time.

Listen. Thank you. Right.

Oh, listen, before I forget, uh…

Gee whiz.

I didn't wanna forget that.

But, uh, let's see.

I had a receipt here that I wanted you to sign.

Well, listen, let's just make one up.

<i>It's a receipt</i> <i>for the files.</i>

Isn't that weird?

  • What a coincidence.
  • What's that?

<i>Here, a moment ago, we were</i> <i>talking about left-handed people,</i> <i>and you're left-handed.</i>

And right-handed.

<i>I'm ambidextrous.</i>

That means I don't favor either hand particularly.

It's a character trait shared by about 10% of the world's population.

Ten percent? No kidding?

Anything else? Uh, no.

No, I don't think so. Uh, oh, listen. This is a little bit off the subject.

My sister-in-law, she wants to buy a place out at the beach. How do you like it out there?

Who told you I was living out at the beach? Well, no one.

L… I noticed your car out in front of Mr. Kennicutt's.

You know, you parked it there in the driveway.

<i>As I was walking by,</i> <i>I saw the chrome was tarnished.</i>

You know what the salt air does to it. It just eats the life out of it.

Yeah, that part's a problem, all right.

Uh, you're a very observant man, Lieutenant.

That's not what my wife says. <i>[Laughs]</i>

Well, you tell your sister-in-law that she will love it at the beach…

if she doesn't mind that problem with the salt air on the chrome.

I'll give her that message. And thanks again.

Thank you.

Oh, uh, say.

Have you ever been in Mr. Kennicutt's house?

Yes, I met you there.

No, I didn't mean the big house. I meant out at the beach.

<i>I was just wondering, because</i> <i>your beach house and his beach house,</i> <i>they're fairly close, aren't they?</i>

No. It's a couple miles.

That close? Tsk. Isn't that a coincidence?


<i>I'll tell you,</i> <i>this case is just full of'em.</i>

<i>[Door Closes]</i>

[Sighs] Why don't you and I take a walk?

When you showed up today, I… I kinda panicked.

Then you did have an affair with her?

Turning on the ladies is about the only thing I do well.

I'm not a very good golfer. Yeah, go on.

Well, it was pretty good for a while…

at least for me.

She got the guilts.

Funny thing, I think she really loved her husband.

One day she said, 'Ken, this is bad for both of us. Let's call it off." So we did.

Must have shook you up when we found her dead.

I couldn't believe it.

Then I got to thinking, sooner or later, you guys would find out about me.

<i>Maybe even think</i> <i>I killed her.</i>

<i>The night she died, I was…</i> <i>I was home watching the tube.</i>

No calls. No company.

<i>No alibi. That's…</i> <i>That's why I started to run.</i>

Uh-huh. I can understand that.

You didn't kill her.

<i>No, no.</i> I know that, but this afternoon, you gave me the impression…

No. You're in the clear. You got nothing to worry about.

<i>You see, whoever did this,</i> <i>he had to wear a ring.</i>

<i>Now, you don't wear a ring.</i>

Well, I could have taken it off.

No, not with that tan, because that would show.

<i>Now listen.</i> <i>Tell me something.</i>

Mrs. Kennicutt…

Did Mrs. Kennicutt ever indicate to you…

that she was concerned that her husband knew about you two?


That's funny that you mention it though,

because, well, I was concerned.


Well, Lenore never saw anyone, but I'm sure we were being followed.

By who?

Well, there was this one guy in particular.

Sharp, well-dressed. I only caught him in flashes, but…

Well, he… he had a crew cut. Kind of an ex-marine type.

<i>[Telephone Ringing]</i>

  • Yes?
  • Wilcox, Mr. Brimmer.

The subject is meeting with Archer, and they've engaged in conversation.

Did you overhear anything?

No, sir. But Archer seems to be doing most of the talking.

Maintain the surveillance and report to me in the morning.

Yes, sir.

<i>[Phone Ringing]</i> Why, you little bum, you.


Oh, yes, he is. Leo.

<i>Mr. Brimmer.</i>

  • Yes, sir?
  • I'm sorry to trouble you at home, Leo.

No sweat. Just playing with Teddy.

Well, I've got a little something I want you to do for me. It may complicate your life a little bit.

  • When?
  • Immediately.
  • Set it up through my secretary.
  • Yes, sir. I'll be in touch.

Every one of our operatives is a skilled marksman.

Actually, our policy is to avoid the use of the weapon.

<i>This is our memory bank,</i> <i>Lieutenant.</i>

<i>Millions ofbits</i> <i>of information,</i>

all cross-filed and on tape, immediately available.

There are more electrical impulses in this room than in your brain.

Hard to believe. [Chuckles]

We here at Brimmer Associates use the most up-to-date equipment.

<i>Years ahead of what you use</i> <i>at police headquarters.</i>

Company cars… custom designed for us.

Most of them with telephonic or radio communication.

Phew! It's very impressive.

Oh, uh, just one moment, Lieutenant.

One other thing that might interest you.

If you'll just move past this gate.

  • It's not working.
  • Well, it has to be.

You're carrying a gun, aren't you, Lieutenant?

No. No? Oh.

<i>Well, that explains</i> <i>the malfunction.</i>

Look here. A special system is built into the gate.

Now, if you had a gun, it would have registered.

It's just like out at the airport.

<i>It's a security precaution.</i>

Not that we expect our clients to be carrying concealed weapons, but, uh,

well, there have been a few exceptions.

Really? Well, a guy came in here just about a month ago.

Harmless looking. An accountant for Mid-Century Oil.

We were doing a company audit. <i>[Brimmer] Mr. Denning?</i>

I asked you to show the lieutenant around.

<i>I did not suggest that you discuss</i> <i>our confidential matters…</i>

<i>with anyone at anytime!</i>

Our clients pay us to be discreet.

Yes, sir.

Won't you come in, Lieutenant?

Sorry about the outburst, but my people have got to learn.

This is a business of trust. I can't have them gossiping about the clients.

Thank you, Henry.

Hope you'll have lunch with me. Like quenelle of sole?

Uh, well, if it's fish, I like fish. I love fish.

Yeah, it's fish. Drop your coat and dig in.

On the Kennicutt case, my men have come up with an interesting lead.

There were two derelicts seen in the area.

I have their description. I sent them over to your office, copies.

Right. Uh, I'll have that checked out.

Anything new on your end?

Uh, oh, yeah. Yeah, we got a couple of things.

<i>It seems as though Mrs. Kennicutt</i> <i>was having an affair, you see?</i>


Boy, this is delicious. How do you make this stuff?

I'll have a recipe sent over to you. You were saying?

Oh, yeah. Uh, it seems as though…

Mrs. Kennicutt, uh, she was having an affair.

<i>And,</i> uh… Oh?

And, uh… Oh, listen, when you send the recipe, would you send it to the house?

  • Don't send it to the office.
  • Yes, I'll send it to your house.

Yeah, she was having an affair with some golf pro at some country club.

And, uh, here's the interesting thing.

Not only were they having an affair,

but it seems as though they were being watched.

Now I got this nutty notion.

Suppose Mr. Kennicutt, uh…

I'll tell you, it's too far-fetched.

Sometimes it helps to test it out. Try me.

It's really crazy. Well, listen. It doesn't cost anything.

Suppose… Suppose Mr. Kennicutt…

<i>hired somebody</i> <i>to check up on his wife.</i>

<i>And this somebody</i> <i>lied to him.</i>

He said to Mr. Kennicutt, ' Look.

Your wife, she's got a clean bill of health."

<i>Now this somebody,</i> <i>whoever it is,</i>

<i>he's in a perfect position</i> <i>to blackmail Mrs. Kennicutt.</i>

<i>Now suppose she refuses.</i>

See? She says, 'No, I'm gonna go tell my husband."

Hmm. I think it's a terrific motive, don't you?

Lieutenant, you have a marvelously convoluted mind.

I do? I like it.

The trouble with your theory is, not only is it very tenuous,

but it's impossible to prove, isn't it?

I, uh… Oh. Got a little tomato on that there.

<i>Well, I said it was nutty.</i>

<i>What do you think?</i> <i>You think I oughta drop it, hmm?</i>

[Clears Throat] If you believe in it, stick to it.

Run it on down.

One other thing you should keep in mind.

Nothing at all to do with the case.

  • What's that?
  • Your future.

<i>I'd like you to work</i> <i>for Brimmer Associates.</i>

Me? <i>That's why I had you taken</i> <i>on a V.I.P. Tour.</i>

We're a growing organization. You can see that.

You'll be a valuable piece of manpower for us.

Oh, boy. You really know how to toss a curve.

No, no, I don't mean it that way. I'm quite serious.

You're a good man, Columbo… up here.

<i>It's time you were thinking</i> <i>about advancement.</i>

<i>What does</i> <i>a lieutenant make?</i>

If you come with us,

I'm almost positive I can triple your yearly income.

Whew! Boy. I'll tell you, it's all so sudden.

Uh, let me talk it over with my wife.

Of course talk it over with your wife. Think about it carefully.

But remember, we want you here.

Listen. I'm very flattered. I mean that.

Just let me mull it over a little bit.

Well, while you're mulling,

consider my career.

If I'd stayed with the force,

by now, probably with luck,

I could have been a captain of detectives.

Hmm? With one eye on the promotion list, and the other eye on my car payments.

No house by the ocean.

No freedom to travel. No… what would you say?

Power or sense of accomplishment.

Have I succeeded in getting through…

[Clears Throat] In stimulating you?

Definitely. Yes, sir.

Yes, I'm gonna give it all a lot of thought.

That's as much as I can ask.

<i>Uh, one thing.</i> Hmm?

If I came with you, would I still be working on the Kennicutt case?

Well, let's see.

I have men who are perfectly capable of handling the Kennicutt case.

<i>No. I have several other matters</i> <i>that are far more important than that</i> <i>I'd like to put you on right away.</i>

Lieutenant, to the knock of opportunity.

Hey. Hi.

Dry throat for some reason. Oh, help yourself.

Yeah. Hey, I hope I didn't get you into trouble before.

I mean, I'm sorry about what happened. I'm used to it.

Why? Does he blow off a lot of steam?

Well, let's just say our founding father has quite a temper.

No kidding. That's funny, because he…

he looks to me like he's a guy that's always under control.

Uh, correction. He's under control most of the time.

And when people like that let go, stand back.

Oh. I'll tell you why I'm interested. He offered me a job.

Oh? Yeah.

Well, welcome to the family. Yeah, here's my problem.

I don't know how much to ask for. Whatever you can get.

Top man can pull down about 30,000.

No kidding? [Whistles] That's a lot of money.

Gee, listen. Does anybody else here make more than that?

I mean, besides Mr. Brimmer?

Well, maybe Leo.

Who's Leo? Leo Gentry.

He's the boy who gets the cream of the cases. Hey, I think I know him.

Crew cut, ex-marine type?

Yeah, that's Leo.

Teacher's pet, at least this month.

Hey, listen. Where can I talk to him?

Maybe he can give me a few pointers.

Oh. I haven't seen him around yet today, but, uh…

I'll get his address from Personnel.

Uh, don't mention it to Brimmer.

Who me? No. That's the last thing I'd do.

[Children Chattering]

Higher. Higher? Listen. If you go any higher,

you're gonna go right over the top.

Hey, what's going on?

Mrs. Gentry? I wanna tell you, you got a terrific kid here.

Nothing frightens him. You can't scare this boy.

I said higher! Higher?

All right, listen. You go higher, and I'll eat your ice cream, all right?

No, I wanna eat it. You wanna eat it.

All right. Here you go. You're coming down.

Down to earth. There you are. Get your ice cream.

Do we know each other? Uh, no. Uh, my name is Columbo.

I'm a lieutenant. I'm from the police.

My daddy's a private eye. <i>I know that, Teddy.</i>

And he's a very good one. Listen. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

  • Well, is it about Leo's work?
  • Well, not exactly.

I'm working on a case, and I thought maybe he could help me out.

  • But I can't seem to locate him.
  • He went away.

<i>That's right, Lieutenant.</i> <i>His boss called last night…</i>

and sent him on a special assignment.

Oh, I see. Uh, do you know where he went?

Or, uh, how long he's gonna be away?

Sorry. That's the way it is with Leo.

He took his passport, so I guess he's overseas somewhere.

I see. Is there something wrong?

No, no, no. No, not really. Listen. Maybe you could help me out.

Was Leo recently on a case where he was following a woman? A married woman?

Well, it's… it's possible, but I don't really know.

No? You never discuss Leo's work?

No. It's a household rule.

I mean, I'm not very much at keeping secrets.

If Leo were to tell me anything, it'd be all over the Laundromat.

If you have any questions, you better ask Leo.

It's kinda hard to ask him, because I can't locate him.

He went away.

But why don't you talk to his boss, Mr. Brimmer?

He can tell you what Leo's working on.

Uh, oh, yeah. I, uh… Thanks.

I have the feeling he won't be too much help.

But, uh, at any rate, uh, I'm sorry I bothered you.

Bye-bye, Teddy.

<i>F- E-L-O-P-</i>


All right. Now try the next to the bottom line.



Perfect vision. Well, it should be. This is a new prescription.

Here's your temporary. You should have your license in a few weeks.

Thank you very much. Keep this too.


Now, while I mark your test, please read from the eye chart, third line down.

Did that lady say that she just got a new pair of glasses?

  • What?
  • [Slams Counter]
  • She wasn't wearing glasses.
  • Of course she was.

Excuse me. Uh, wait. What about the eye chart?

<i>And all of a sudden,</i> <i>I remembered this picture.</i> <i>See? She's wearing glasses.</i>

But there were no glasses on the body.

Now, could she have dropped them somewhere?

I'm sorry, Lieutenant, but you're on the wrong track.

Why? Well, shortly after that picture was taken,

Lenore gave up wearing glasses.

She switched to contact lenses.

Ah, contact lenses.

Just a matter of vanity. She thought she looked better.

Uh-huh. Did she wear 'em often?

All the time. She was extremely nearsighted.

Mr. Kennicutt, where's your wife's personal effects?

The funeral director sent them over.

I've avoided going through them.

Do you mind? No, go ahead.

This her lens case?


It's empty.

Well, she was probably wearing them when she died.

Well, then maybe, uh…

Maybe what?

Mr. Kennicutt, I'm gonna ask your permission for something.

This is the world's biggest long shot.

And it's gonna be painful for you.

But I think it's won'th a try.

Would it help? There are no guarantees.

All right, Lieutenant. You have a blank check.

Mobile Operator, the number I want is <i>476-7301.</i>

[Line Ringing] They just arrived, and they're entering the vault.

The medical examiner's with them. Why? What's the reason?

Haven't been able to find out, sir, but I did learn one thing.

Kennicutt signed an exhumation order.

All right, stay there. I'll be right over.

Get my car ready.

He says it won't take long.

<i>[Car Ignition Grinding]</i>

[Ignition Continues Grinding]

What's the trouble? I don't know, sir.

The battery's okay, but the car won't start.

<i>[Ignition Grinding]</i> I'm in a hurry. Get me another car.

Yes, sir.

Have this one serviced. Tell them I want it tomorrow. <i>Yes, sir.</i>

<i>[Tires Squealing]</i>

[Police Radio Chatter]

<i>[Police Radio Chatter Continues]</i>

Arthur. I should have phoned you, but there wasn't time.

Well, it's all right. One of my men told me you were here.

Something break? I don't know yet. They're exhuming Lenore's body.

Tell me why.

Well, the lieutenant's working on a long shot.

Apparently, she was wearing her contact lenses when she was killed.

How's that significant?

Well, there's a chance that she might have lost one of them…

maybe both of them at the scene of the crime.

<i>Well, Arthur,</i> <i>I don't like to be critical,</i>

<i>but that's more</i> <i>than a long shot.</i>

You might as well buy a lottery ticket.

<i>Maybe not.</i> <i>Listen to me.</i>

My nephew wears those things, and half of the time they're falling out.

<i>Now, the other morning at breakfast,</i> <i>one of them ended up in the cereal.</i>

<i>[Brimmer] Mrs. Kennicutt</i> <i>is not your nephew, Lieutenant.</i>

Listen. Mrs. Kennicutt was struck forcibly. Now let's bear that in mind.

Why isn't it possible that they were knocked loose?

Anything's possible.

The autopsy report said nothing about any of this at all.

Listen. Forget about the autopsy report. I checked with the medical examiner about that.

They snuffed it off. They didn't even bother to look.

All they were concerned about was the cause of death.

<i>[Man]</i> <i>Lieutenant.</i>

<i>Well, I hope it's not a waste.</i>

What else can I do?

I've got to pursue every possibility.

Arthur, it's almost a criminal breach…

to disappoint you now after what you've been through.

Move over.

Listen. We're in luck. The right contact lens is missing, and it's not in the coffin.

Well, it might have fallen out in the morgue, I guess.

Or in the ambulance. Or in the street.

<i>She might have lost it</i> <i>before she was killed.</i>

Could be a hundred places. <i>That's true, but maybe…</i>

and this is what we gotta hope for…

maybe it's at the place where she was murdered.

<i>[Kennicutt]</i> <i>But we don't know</i> <i>where that place is.</i>

<i>[Columbo]</i> <i>No, sir, we don't.</i> <i>We don't know for sure.</i>

But I've got a few hunches.

<i>Unless you can be specific,</i> <i>I can't help.</i>

I think the lieutenant deserves some room. Don't you?

As you wish. You go your own way, Lieutenant.

Thank you, sir. I will. But keep us posted.

Yes, sir. I will. I'll keep you posted.


I only wish one thing.

I wish the murderer knew about this. Why?

<i>There'd be a piece of conclusive evidence</i> <i>that might be lying around in his premises,</i>

<i>and he'd have to find it</i> <i>before we did.</i>

I'll keep you posted, sir.

<i>[Doorbell Rings]</i>

Oh, uh, Mr. Brimmer. Lieutenant.

Listen. I'm sorry to bother you at this hour, but, uh… May I come in?

Yes, sure. Come on in. There's something I wanted to talk to you about.

Okay. Fine, if you can make it a little brief. It's been a late day.

Oh, sure. Say, this is some terrific place you got here.

And you got the sound of the ocean all the time, huh? Yeah.

Well, me, I love the beach. I love it.

Except when the water gets cold, then I don't like to go in. Then I like a pool.

Lieutenant, did you say you had something on your mind?

Oh, yeah. It's about that job you offered me.

I've been giving it a lot of thought.

Uh, as a matter of fact, uh, I haven't been able to sleep.

And, uh…

Boy, this is a fantastic rug. My wife would love this rug.

We gotta get a new rug, and this is just the kind she wants.

Fantastic piling, huh?

Very soft.

Bet you could lose a shoe in here for a week, you wouldn't find it. It's late.

I still got a lot of work to do. You were talking about my job offer.

I really don't think I'd be very happy making a change, you know.

I like it where I am. It's not a bad life.

Mm-hmm. Okay. Uh, is that final?

I think so, yes. No hard feelings?

No, no, certainly not. I just, uh…

Well, I think you're making a mistake. That's all.

You're probably right. You know, my wife,

she's always said I don't have enough ambition.

You know what it was that really made up my mind?

What was that? The Kennicutt case.

I don't wanna give up working on it just now.

Not when I'm so close to a solution.

Well, uh, are you gonna let me in on it?

Oh, certainly. Don't worry.

You'll be the first to know. Good night.

Good night.

<i>[Car Door Closes]</i> <i>[Engine Starts]</i>

<i>[Vehicle Departs]</i>

  • Hello?
  • Yes, this is Mr. Brimmer.

You took my car in to be repaired, didn't you?

Yes, sir. Just like you said. They'll try to have it for you as soon as they can.

All right then. Good night.


<i>[Keys Jingling]</i>

<i>[Car Door Opens, Closes]</i>

You mind telling us what you're doing?

I'd say that was none of your business, Lieutenant.

Well, if you say so, but, uh, it's gonna be kinda hard to explain, isn't it?

I mean, breaking and entering? That's against the law.

Checking the trunk of your car. What in the world were you looking for?

Papers… for a case.

I thought they were here. It's an emergency.

Why don't you admit it? You were searching the trunk, 'cause that's where you hid the body.

All right. What's the next step?

Why don't we go downtown and talk it over? Am I under arrest?

I guess you could say so. On what evidence?

I think it's gotta be more comfortable downtown. All right.

Let's get this farce over with.

Grab his arm!

It was an accident, Arthur.

It wasn't… premeditated.

I hardly knew your wife.

I didn't want to hurt either one of you.

It happened.

How'd you get it?

I got it from the cut on her cheek and your ring.

You never should have let me read your palm.

'Cause then I felt the ring and I felt the two diamonds sticking out…

and that raised rectangular border.

That matched up with the cut on her cheek.

You should have taken that job.

You know, we're lucky Lenore lost this.

Uh, she didn't lose it. What?

When I spoke to the medical examiner at the cemetery,

he told me that both contact lenses were on the body.

But that's impossible. If it isn't hers, whose was it?

Who knows? Anyway, it doesn't make any difference.

The fact that it's not the real contact lens, that doesn't count.

What does count is Mr. Brimmer's actions…

coming here tonight, trying to get rid of that thing…

and doing it all in front of witnesses.

What would you have done if the car hadrt broken down?

You couldn't set up this trap.

Well, I guess we would have found some other way.

You know what this place reminds me of?

Just seeing all these cars…

<i>You know, in our neighborhood,</i> <i>we had a bunch ofjokers.</i>

I mean, we were a real wild bunch of guys.

And we figured out a perfect way to put a car out of commission.

You take a potato, you stick it in the exhaust pipe.

<i>It doesn't cause any damage,</i> <i>but the car won't start.</i>

It was a terrible thing to do. And I got a feeling…

that the reason I became a cop was to make up for all those jokes I played when I was a kid.

Dead Weight

<i>[Doorbell Ringing]</i>

Dutton. General Hollister.

Come in.

You want a drink? No. No, thank you, sir. I don't have much time.

I would have called, but… But what?

I didn't want to risk a wiretap.

A wiretap?

You sound paranoid, Colonel.

No, General. Just being cautious.

And the reason for this… caution?

The word just came down this morning.

A special directive to all section chiefs.

The Inspector General's starting a full-scale investigation of arms contracts.

I see.

You're sure? Yes, sir.

That's unfortunate.

But I suppose it would have happened sooner or later.

If they find out… They won't find out.

General, if anyone digs deep enough…

they're bound to discover that I've let your construction company charge us a fortune in cost overruns.

You'll offer the standard explanation…

unforeseen difficulties in developing the arms system.

It won't stand up, General. When the I.G. Sees your bargain-basement bids…

he'll know I let you practically steal those contracts.

They'll indict both of us.

As you say, Colonel, you're the one that accepted the bids.

You approved the overruns.

With that much money involved, they'll know we had to be in it together. I'm getting out.


I'm leaving for Geneva tonight.

And if I may make a suggestion, General, you might do the same. I have a business to run.

Besides, I never believed in a forced retreat.

<i>Well, maybe you can bluff them, sir,</i> <i>but I don't have your reputation.</i>

You'll have less of a reputation if you go AWOL. It's an admission of guilt.

They won't know it for 30 days. I just took my annual leave.

It's a small world, Colonel. They'll find you.

No way, sir. I'll manage to disappear.

And, uh, if they do, just for the sake of argument?

Naturally, l-I'd keep your involvement to myself. I'd refuse to testify.

Not even to shorten a jail sentence for giving evidence?

Believe me, sir, there's nothing to worry about. They won't know where I am.

How did you get here, Colonel? Taxi?

<i>No, sir. I drove. Why?</i>

I've been thinking.

You present me with a problem.


You assure me… that my name will never come into this…

that, uh, you'll be my protector.

I'm afraid I can't take that risk.

<i>[Weapon Cocks]</i>

<i>[Seagulls Cawing]</i>

Did you see that? What?

Uh, a man just shot someone!

But where? Over there.

<i>There. See?</i> <i>I don't see anything.</i>

He just moved away from the window. <i>You've been out</i> <i>in the sun too long.</i>

Mother, I'm telling you… Oh, it's a mirage.

No. No, we're going back.

We're going what? Which way is back?

Which way is… What are you doing? Ooh! Ooh!

I got it. It's all right. I'm all right. I'm all right. You take this.

Yeah, l-I got that. Now… Now, y-you take this.

But what'll I do with it?

Uh, Mr. Barnes!


  • Here, let me give you a hand.
  • Thank you, Mr. Barnes.

The only thing I can say about the way she handles a boat… You certainly know when she's docked.


If you hand me your aft line, Mrs. Wallace, I'll secure your stern.

I beg your pardon!

I'll tie up your boat.

Oh. Oh, yes. Yes, uh, of course. Is this it?

Yeah, that's it.

Thank you. [Sighs]

I never thought we'd make it.

Neither did I.

Couldn't do it, eh? What?

Call the police. I knew you'd come to your senses.

They must get a thousand eyewitness crank calls an hour.

What are you gonna do?

Oh, hello, Operator. Could I please have the police? I'd like to report a shooting.

Hello. Is this the police?

Oh. Uh…

This is Mrs. Stewart. Uh, I'm down at, uh, the boat place, and…

[Siren Wails]

Officer Sanchez. Oh.

Mrs. Stewart? No, I'm Mrs. Stewart. That's my mother, Mrs. Walters.

You reported a shooting? Yes. Uh-huh.


Oh. Well, um, this man in a bathrobe…

um, uh, he shot another man i-in a uniform.

What kind of uniform was it?

Oh, well, I… [Clicks Tongue]

I can't tell the difference between an usher and a mailman. [Chuckles]

I mean, I can tell them apart, but not what they're wearing, you know. But…

Well, l-I'm sure it was a military uniform.

Did you see anything, ma'am? Mm-mm.

My daughter's the one who sees things, Officer, not me.

Just because you were looking in the other direction doesn't mean that I didn't see it. Come on.

Uh, where was this shooting, Mrs. Stewart?

Right over there. See? See that house over there?

<i>[Sanchez]</i> <i>Are are you sure?</i> <i>Oh, yes. Oh, yes.</i>

Do you know who lives in that house?

Uh… Well, no. Does it matter?

I'd rather not say till we've had a chance to investigate. Oh, yeah.

May I have your address? <i>She lives with me.</i>

8090 Vale.

May I have your phone? <i>985-4321.</i>

Okay. Thank you.

Is that… Is that all?

For now. If we need anything more, you'll be contacted. Oh.

Thank you. Uh, <i>985-4321.</i>

Yes, ma'am.

Come on. Come on! You know, I…

On that shooting report, Sergeant, the witness says it occurred in General Hollister's house.

<i>The</i> General Hollister? Yes, sir.

It just doesn't seem right that a slick sleeve like me…

would barge in and ask a man like General Hollister if he just shot somebody.

I see your point, Sanchez. I'd better send over somebody from Homicide.

Stand by, and I'll have him there as soon as I can.


Sorry, sir. Huh? For what?

This spot's reserved. Oh. I see. All right.

Uh… Uh…

Who is it reserved for? The police.

I think I'm the one that you're waiting for.

I'm, uh, a lieutenant. My name is Columbo.

Oh. Sorry, Lieutenant. I was expecting an official car.

That's all right.

Your name is Sanchez? Yes, sir.

I see. That's General Hollister's house right there.

Did anyone come in or out since you've been here?

Two young fellows in cadet uniforms went in a little while ago.

That's their wagon over there. Uh-huh.

Is there another way out of this house? By water.

The general's got a yacht in a slip in back of the house.

I see. I'm gonna go in and speak to the general.

While I'm doing that, I want you to search the yacht.

But, Lieutenant, I don't have a warrant.

Well, I'll ask the general for permission.

If he doesn't give it, then I'll get a warrant.

<i>In the meantime, check it out.</i>

Pay particular attention to the engines.

<i>And if you find out anything,</i> <i>let me know.</i>

<i>[Doorbell Ringing]</i>

Uh, General Hollister? Yes?

I'm from the police, sir. My name is, uh, Columbo. Lieutenant Columbo.

Yes, Lieutenant?

I'm terribly sorry to disturb you, sir, but we have this report, uh, about this shooting.

  • A shooting?
  • Yes, sir. In this house.

That's quite an opening line, Lieutenant.

Sir, I'm sure it's just a crackpot complaint, but I…

But it's your job to follow it up.

Yes, sir.

I understand. I've had to do many unpleasant things myself in the line of duty.

But may I ask, this alleged shooting…

Just who is supposed to have shot whom?

Well, you see, sir, we don't know exactly.

Only that the, uh, victim was wearing some kind of a uniform.

A uniform.

Well, come in.

These young men are from my alma mater, Lieutenant, M.M.I.

They're here to take away my military souvenirs for, uh…

permanent enshrinement at the Memorial Hall.

As a matter of fact, Lieutenant, M.M.I. Is giving me a testimonial dinner tonight.

<i>[Hammering]</i> They're commemorating the 20th anniversary of my retirement…

and the opening of the Hollister Exhibit.

Yes. General, do you think I could, uh, look inside?

Lieutenant, wouldn't that be a little obvious?

I wanna be in a position, sir, where I can tell my superiors that I've checked everything out.

They've already started nailing it shut. Uh, it's just two nails, sir.

Very well. Gentlemen, I have a friend here who would like to inspect the contents of the crate.

Would you open it again, please? Yes, sir.


A lot of guns. [Chuckles]

War trophies, Lieutenant.

Uh, AK-47 assault rifle.

<i>PPSH-41.</i> Drum.


All Soviet-made, and, as you've observed, all with their firing pins removed.

I see. They're very, very interesting, General. [Clicks]

War mementos, Lieutenant.

<i>Lively memories, empty uniforms…</i>

uh, all carefully packed, Lieutenant, for the exhibit.

Oh. Oh, yes, of course. I'm sorry, sir. Uh…

I'll just put these back in here.

There you are. I, uh…

I think that, uh, is fine. Thank you very much.

Carry on, gentlemen.

Could I offer you something? Oh, no. Thank you very much.

Say, you got a beautiful place here. Thank you.

It's roomy, and it's homey, and…

That's a fireplace.


You know, when I was a kid, we used to have those fake wooden kinds.

I don't know if you remember them or not, General.

They had a fan in the back. And it had a red light and ribbons.

You'd turn on the fan, and the ribbons, they would flutter there.

Yeah, they were terrific.

That's funny. What's funny?

Don't you have those irons?

You know, like you put in a fireplace to put the, uh…

Oh. Uh, andirons. Andirons. Yeah.

No. I never build a fire there. It's too much trouble. Oh.

Easier to turn up the thermostat. I see.

Uh… Oh, uh, for show.

Oh, that's for show. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Lieutenant, I've been thinking.

The person who turned in that report was right.

There was someone here in uniform.


While I was packing…

I couldn't resist, uh, trying on the old harness, you know.

I'm glad to be able to tell you that, uh, I can still get into it.

You know, the report said there was another man here, and he was dressed in a bathrobe.

Whoever filed that report was seeing double.

Yes, I was wearing a bathrobe while I was packing.

Got a match? A match.

There you are. Thank you.

Hey, that's quite a lighter. <i>One of a kind.</i>

Yeah, that's something. [Coughs]

Didn't you say that you were gonna send all of your stuff over to the exhibit?

Not quite everything, Lieutenant.

This has a very personal meaning for me.

It's a gift from my staff on the day that I retired from service.

Oh. Yeah.

General, uh, do you mind if I look around?

No. By all means, help yourself.

Not much to see here.

Just a basic B.O.Q.

I guess that's why I like it.

<i>Any servants?</i> Just a housekeeper. Comes in twice a week.

Good night, General.

Oh. Let me get the door.


Good night.

Lieutenant, the bedrooms are this way.

Guest bedroom, Lieutenant.

Master bedroom.

<i>General, have you</i> <i>been here all day?</i>

No. I was out on my boat till about 2:00.

You didn't go out after that, sir? No.

I was here packing, getting ready for the testimonial dinner.

Do you mind if I look in your closet? No.

By all means, be thorough, Lieutenant.

Extra uniforms.

General, that's a lot of fruit salad.

Past history… all to be donated, Lieutenant.

Well, you've had the tour. Anything else I can do for you?

No, I guess that's it.


Unless what?

Well, as long as I'm here, uh…

do you happen to own a gun, General?

A handgun? A hand… Oh. No, I…

Yes. Yes, I do.

A target pistol. [Chuckles]

It's a funny thing. I never think of it as a weapon.

.22 caliber Hi-Standard.

Supermatic Trophy model. There you are. Hmm?

What's that medal for?

Oh, [Chuckles]

That's a first with the United States Marine Pistol Team.

You know, Lieutenant, uh…

I had this out earlier today.

I was thinking of giving it over to the exhibition…

although it's never had anything to do with my military career.

I was, uh…

I… Oh, yes!

Yes, I remember now.

I stumbled over the crate as I was looking at the gun.

  • That must've been what your witness saw.
  • Of course.

Oh, well, there we are, huh?

There we are.

Oh. [Laughs]

I doubt if I could… if I could win any medals today.

I've been so busy for months, I haven't had any chance to practice.

[Sniffs] Here, see for yourself.

Well, I'm not a ballistics expert, sir.

Well, take it along with you. Have your people check it out.

No, I don't think that'll be necessary, sir.

I think I'm on a wild-goose chase. [Chuckles]

Matter of fact, uh, I don't think there's much else I can, uh, look for, General.

Uh, I think I'll be running along.

Before you go, Lieutenant, uh…

just who, uh… who reported <i>this… murder?</i>

No, I never said it was a murder, sir.

Well, this alleged shooting. Who turned in the report?

I'm afraid I can't tell you that, sir. Oh.

No, sir. That's against regulations. Oh, yes, of course.

Well, there's one thing for sure…

that whoever it was, it had to be some…

some guy out here in a boat in the marina.

General, I'd like to keep the record straight on that.

Now, I never said that it was a man.

Oh, you mean it was a woman? Now, I never said that either, sir.

Well, it doesn't make any difference.

Mistakes have no gender.

Well, that's for sure. [Chuckles]

Uh… Well, I want to apologize for takir up your time.

Please, don't give it a thought.

Good night, sir. Good night, Lieutenant.

Oh, uh, one thing I almost forgot. <i>Yes?</i>

Uh, your boat. What about it?

I had the boat checked out, sir, while we were talking.

I didn't think you had anything to hide, sir, and I just thought it would save some time.

I always preached initiative to my men, so I don't see how I can object now.

And you're right. You did save time.

Thank you, sir. Thank you, Lieutenant.

Good night. Good night.

Oh, General, enjoy your dinner.

Oh. Well, thank you, Lieutenant.

<i>[Door Closes]</i>

<i>[Police Radio Chatter]</i>

Didn't find a thing. The engines?

They were cold.

This Mrs. Stewart, did she look like she'd could have been doing any drinking?

Could've been. I don't really know.

I guess we both got a lot of paperwork to do, huh?

[Engine Starts]

  • Here, Joey.

Gas up number two, will you?

  • Mr. Barnes.

Hi, General. Hi. How are you?

Mr. Barnes, a couple of hours ago, out on the marina, somebody waved at me.

I think it was an old friend. You got any idea who it could have been?

Was it one of my boats?

I think it might have been, yeah. You might have it there in the record.

  • It was probably Mrs. Stewart

and her mother.

  • Mrs. Stewart. That's it.

Do you know where she lives? I'd like to have a few words with her.

Yeah, sure. I got it right here. Good.

Hey, General, you're not gonna go sailing with her, are you? Why?

She's the worst… man, woman or child.

She can't sail. I couldn't take my eyes off her. Really?

I thought that she was gonna keel over any minute.

Well, I'll watch it, Mr. Barnes.

Thanks for your good thought. Here you go.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

[Laughing] d <i>[Rock]</i>

[Laughing Continues]

d <i>[Soft Jazz]</i>

<i>[Knocking On Door]</i> Just a minute.

Mrs. Stewart? Yes.

Lieutenant Columbo, from the police, about a report you made of a shooting.

Oh! Yes. Come in.

<i>[Mother]</i> <i>Who is it, Helen?</i> It's the police, Mother.

<i>[Helen]</i> <i>Um, we'rejust having a, uh,</i> <i>before-dinner cocktail.</i>

Would you, um, uh… No, that's all right.

Ask for his identification.

Oh, Mother, uh… I'm sorry, Lieutenant.

That's all right. That's all right. She's entitled to that.

You must be Mrs… Walters. Right. Mrs. Walters. Walters.

Here you are, ma'am.

You sure don't look like a policeman.

I have to make a salad.

Here you are. Thank you.

Mother is the eternal optimist.

She's always hoping for the worst. [Laughs]

Well, Lieutenant, uh, what, uh…

What is that? Do you mind?

Would you like to see it? I'd like it very much.

Well, it's… it's not finished yet.

When it's done, it's gonna be a bowl.

You know, like for plants and things. Um…

Or maybe it's gonna be an Indian water pitcher.

I haven't really made up my mind yet, creatively speaking.

Well, this work is very, very interesting.

Well, they say it's important to work with your hands.

<i>It's very good therapy…</i>

and she needs it.

I'm just a mass of therapeutic studies lately…

sailing, art classes.

I even went back to work. What do you do?

I work with children and animals.

Well, that's… that's constructive.

You see that? That's a reflection of my job.

Oh. You don't know what it is, do you?

Uh, no, I don't know what it is, but it's very nice.

Well, it's a South American llama. We have them at the Ark Park.

At the where?

The Ark Park. That's where I work with the children and the animals.

I see. So this fella here is a llama, huh?

Well, you see, I try and go beyond the surface, you know…

to find, um, a deeper meaning, a-a truer reality.


At least, that's what I think I do. [Chuckles]

Mrs. Stewart, I'm gonna get right to the point.

You know, I couldn't find any evidence of any shooting in that house that you pointed out.

I mean, there was no gun. There was no victim. There was nothing.

<i>Just a house,</i> <i>a fella livirin it.</i>

Well, I know what I saw.

  • Maybe you think you saw it.
  • What does that mean?

The fella that owns that house is a retired marine general.

He says that if you saw him in the window…

one, he was alone, and two, he was wearing a bathrobe.

What about the man in uniform?

<i>He says that later on,</i> <i>he did try on an old uniform…</i>

and he was carrying a target pistol at the time.

He says he happened to trip over a crate that he was packing.

Now, to you, does, uh… does that sound like a reasonable explanation?

Oh, very reasonable, but it's not what I saw.

Uh-huh. I see.

Uh, did you ever wear glasses?

No, I don't wear glasses. I have perfect vision.

  • No, I have better than perfect vision.
  • Mm-hmm.

Look, uh, I don't want you to get offended at what I'm gonna say now, but, uh…

were you doir a little drinkir this afternoon?


<i>Oh, Lieutenant,</i> <i>this is really too much!</i>

I mean, that police officer this afternoon, and then my mother, and now…

I am not hallucinating! I'm just trying to reconcile your story.

I saw two men… one in a bathrobe, and the other one in a uniform.

The one in the bathrobe shot the other man.

That is the simple truth… the sane and the sober and the simple truth.

Now, do you believe me?

Mrs. Stewart, a murder charge is about as serious as you can get.

<i>Lieutenant, I didn't ask you</i> <i>if it was a serious charge.</i>

I asked you if you believe me.

You always did have a weird imagination, even as a child.

Those imaginary playmates, all those games.

You never wanted to face reality.

Mother, to some people…

that would have meant that I had a creative and imaginative mind.

<i>[Knocking On Door]</i> I'll get it.

Can't a person sit down and have a bite to eat in peace?

Yes? [Chuckles] Mrs. Stewart?

No, no, no, no. I'll… I'll call her for you.

Helen darling, there's a gentleman here to see you.

<i>[Helen]</i> <i>For me?</i> <i>Yes. Yes.</i>

Yes? <i>You're</i> Mrs. Stewart?

[Stammers] You seem surprised.

Well, uh, pleasantly, I assure you.

What can I do for you?

You can watch the 11:00 news on television tonight.


Apparently I need a character reference.

[Chuckles] L-I'm afraid I don't understand.

You don't recognize me?

[Chuckles] No. Should I?

You said that you saw <i>me…</i> shoot somebody today.

<i>No, no. You have nothing</i> <i>to fear from me, Mrs. Stewart.</i>

But if you'll watch the late news tonight…

I'm sure you'll agree that, uh, you've miscast me… as a murderer.

Earlier this evening, General Martin J. Hollister was honored by his alma mater…

the Marine Military Institute.

At the banquet tonight, M.M.I. Dedicated the Hollister Exhibit…

in their Memorial Hall.

The General thereby joining other select alumni…

<i>who have distinguished themselves</i> <i>in the defense of their country.</i>

<i>General Hollister was given</i> <i>a standing ovation.</i>

<i>If any man in recent memory</i> <i>may be said to have had charisma…</i>

certainly that man was General Martin J. Hollister.

Early on in the Korean War, as a colonel commanding a regiment of armored cavalry…

Hollister captured the imagination of the American people.

His courage, his brilliance in improvising in the heat of battle…

his colorful garb… riding breeches, boots and pearl-handled Colt.45…

soon earned him the nickname 'The Iron Horseman."

<i>Later as a brigadier general</i> <i>with his own division…</i>

he distinguished himself by a daring end-run in which…

out of ammunition and using only his famous pistol and a monumental bluff…

<i>he succeeded in capturing</i> <i>the opposing enemy commander</i> <i>and his entire headquarters.</i>

Finally, a land mine accomplished what nothing else could…

put General Hollister out of action with severe wounds…

wounds that necessitated his untimely retirement from active duty…

as one of the youngest major generals in this natiors military history.

On the foreign scene, the Secretary of State again reiterated…

the United States's determination to keep current troop levels in Europe stable.

<i>In reply to sharp Senate…</i> <i>[TVOff</i>

You still think a man like that could shoot someone for no reason at all?

He's practically on Mount Rushmore.

<i>You didn't even recognize him</i> <i>when he came here.</i>

I was in a state of shock. I mean, I didn't expect him to show up on our doorstep.

Why don't you just admit that you're not sure?

Because I am sure.

You were sure when you were married to Tom too. Remember?

You had him running around with every woman in town.

No wonder he asked for a divorce.

Those were not mirages, Mother!

Those were flesh-and-blood ladies he was carrying on with.

He even admitted it.

Your pot's overcooking.

That is not a pot!

It's a crock!

Oh! [Clicks Tongue]

General Hollister. Colorful character.

Reminds me of General Patton. Old Blood and Guts.

How about a game of pool before we call it a night, Lieutenant?

No, thanks, Bert. Not tonight. I gotta get up early.

Got somethir special goir on?

Uh, yeah. I think I'm gonna do a little fishir.

Hey. All right.

If you catch something good, bring it in.

I'll give you a bowl of chili free. Hey!

Come on, General, just one more drink, huh? One more?

Look, it's 4:00 in the morning.

Go on home to your wives, gentlemen.

Let's go up for one more drink.

Look, I always make it a rule to be in bed before reveille.

Go home. Good night, gentlemen.



[Engine Running]

[Engine Revving]

<i>[Engine Slowing]</i>

Ahoy, Lieutenant. You're an early bird.

<i>Oh, yes, sir.</i> Be right with you.

<i>Yeah.</i> <i>I'm just, uh…</i>

combining a little business with pleasure.

At this hour? Well, George…

My brother-in-law George? Well, you don't know him. Yeah.

But at any rate, he's a fantastic fisherman, this man…

and he told me that the best time to catch anything is around about now.

He says, get there <i>before</i> everybody, and you kind of catch the fish off guard.

Mm-hmm. Doesn't look like it worked.

Not yet. But I'm gonna keep trying.

Mm-hmm. I don't think you'll catch anything big around here, Lieutenant.

You're too close in.

Oh? Yeah, you know? You're probably right.

General, there's somethir I don't understand.

All the other fishing boats, they were goir out…

and your boat is just comir in. Mm-hmm.

Why is that?

I've won a lot of battles, Lieutenant, and I've caught a lot of fish…

by doing the unconventional thing.

Do you know that I have always envied somebody with that talent?

Mm-hmm. I don't think you can learn that.

You know, I think you're born with that?

You know, inventors, and military strategists?

Now, I wish I had that, because that'd be a terrific thing in my work. Do you know what I mean?

Mm-hmm. Yes, I'm sure it would.

Oh, General, talking about work, there's a couple of loose ends I'd like to tie up…

Nothir important, you understand, but I would like to get 'em tied up.

Fire away. Well, I was watchir the news on television last night.

Those film clips of you in action? Great stuff! Really.

  • Thank you.
  • Yeah, it was just thrilling.

But you know, General, I happened to notice that you were carrying a pearl-handled pistol.

Splendid weapon. A single-action Colt.45.

Yeah, I remembered that! That was kinda like your trademark, wasn't it?

Well, the thing is this, that, uh…

yesterday, when I asked you whether you owned any guns…

you showed me your souvenirs, and you showed me your target pistol.

Which is all very well and good.

But I was wondering, whatever happened to that pearl-handled revolver?

<i>Because when I looked</i> <i>into the crate, you know</i> <i>I didn't see it in there.</i>

Lost it, Lieutenant. Long time ago.

When I was in the hospital in Korea, someone ' liberated" it, you know.

Wanted a souvenir.

Actually, I was… I was pretty pleased it was taken.

It was getting to be just too much of a publicity gimmick.

I see. So the Hollister Exhibit…

is gonna have to do without the famous Hollister gun.

Uh, not exactly. M.M.I. Wanted one for their Memorial…

so they had a duplicate made. I see.

Uh-huh. Now, uh, I've gotta change.

So, if there's anything else I can do for you?

No, that'd be all, sir. Oh, fine, fine.

Just a piece of advice.

Find a different spot. Or use a different bait.

Otherwise, you're not gonna catch anything, Lieutenant.

<i>[Goats Bleating]</i>

[Children Chattering]

[Animals Calling, Bleating, Singing]

Mrs. Stewart. Mrs. Stewart?

Good afternoon. Did you watch television last night?

Yes, I did. Uh, how did you find me?

I went by your apartment. Had a nice talk with your mother.

Quite a lady. Isn't she?

Mm-hmm. I understand that you're through here in about an hour.

Do you suppose that you and I could go somewhere…

oh, a public place, if you're worried…

someplace where we could have a drink?

Why? Well, you're breaking the law.

Uh, wha? I don't think I understand. You're accusing…

convicting and sentencing me, without a fair trial.

Now, wouldn't you say that that's un-American?

dd [LoungeJazz]

Here's to your convictions… and my acquittal.

Well, I don't judge you, General.

I just report what I saw.

Uh, I'd like to suggest…

the possibility that you were deceived.

Deceived by whom?

By yourself.

We all know the tricks that the sun and the sea… -

even your own eyes can play on you, huh?

Particularly after a long day on the water.

Would you admit that that's possible?

Just possible.

[Chuckles] Well, I suppose so.

The defense rests. For today.

Now, I think we ought to prosecute these martinis…

before their statutes of limitations expire.

Uh, your mother told me that you were divorced.


Well, I saw how very, um…

good you were with those children?

  • Do you have any of your own?
  • No.

Unfortunately. I always wanted them, but…

Tom… why, th-that's my ex… he didn't want children.

We used to fight about that a lot. [Laughs]

Well, maybe you only lost one battle…

Mrs. Stewart.

Not a whole war.

Well, what about you? Are you married?

No. Never could find the time.

First, there was my military career.

And then, my construction company. I was married to the business, as they say.

Well, l-I can understand that.

Do you ever… regret it?

Not really.

Oh, there are exceptions. Like, uh…

last night, when the door opened and I saw you.

[Chuckles] Oh, come on, General.

You don't think I'm so insensitive as to not see through that remark, do you?

Now, what do you mean by that?

Well, yesterday I called the police…

and l-I reported that I saw you shoot a man.

<i>And today, you're telling me that when</i> <i>you saw me, music filled your ears…</i>

and thunder and lightning filled the sky?

  • Oh, boy!
  • [Laughing] Yeah, you're right, you're right.

I guess if we both see such a scene in a movie, we'd-we'd break up.


I meant it, though.

And to prove that, I want to take you to dinner.


I'll take that for a yes.

And if Helen had just closed her eyes to some ofTom's… flirtations…

they might still be married!

Whatever happened to your husband, Mrs. Walters?

Who knows! Sent him out for Chinese food thirty years <i>ago…</i>

and I haven't heard from him since.

You know that I have raised that girl since she was three years old, single-handed?


Mrs. Stewart. Hello, Lieutenant.

Well, I hope you don't expect to eat now.

No. I already had dinner.

At a lovely restaurant overlooking the city. It was just beautiful.

Well, you might have called.

Did you dine alone?

Why, no. Not this time.

As a matter of fact, I had dinner with General Hollister.

<i>General Hollister!</i>

Well, what do you know about that? Are you gonna see him again?

Well, he-he asked me to come out on his yacht. [Giggles]

Well, that calls for a drink.

You play your cards right… bourbon today, champagne tomorrow.

Makes you kinda wonder, doesn't it? About the General.

What do you mean? I didn't tell him your name, you know. And I didn't tell him where you lived.

So, uh, he musta gone to a lot of trouble to find you.

Curiosity about his accuser.

Yeah, could be that. Course, it could be something else.

Oh, thanks a lot, Lieutenant.

Am I so uninteresting that he couldn't be interested in me for myself?

Oh, no. No, no. No, I didn't mean that at all.

You're a very individual person.

No, what I was talking about was the shooting. You see, I had second thoughts about the shooting.

You see, our traffic people, they picked up a couple of kids.

They were joyriding in a car they hot-wired.

And it turned out this car belonged to a Roger Dutton…

and he's a Marine colonel, Mrs. Stewart.

And it could be that he was the man that you saw in the General's house.

You know, you did a lot of investigating…

for a man who asked me if I wore glasses, or if I had been drinking.

Well, that's just part of the job. Anyway…

I found out this Colonel Dutton…

booked a passage on an 8:00 p.m. Flight to Switzerland.

But then, he never showed up to take the plane.

Well, l-I still don't get the connection.

No, you see, this Colonel Dutton…

he was in the Marine Matériel Command…

[Scoffs] That's a, uh, he's a procurement officer.

But he had a lotta dealings with General Hollister.

And he suddenly took a leave and then he just disappeared.

Now, if you could identify the officer in this photograph…

as the man that General Hollister shot…

Then, I think, a lot of these pieces would fall into place.

L-I can't be sure.

Well, now that photograph is three years old… It all happened so quick.

I just can't be sure.

I see. Uh-huh. Okay.

We haven't found a body yet, so why don't you just keep that?

Uh… And maybe we'll come back to you, yes? All right.

Uh, good night, Mrs. Walters. Good night, Mrs. Stewart.


You know what strikes me? You're the one that downgrades yourself.

<i>One dinner</i> <i>with General Hollister…</i>

and you begin to doubt your senses.

<i>[Door Closes]</i>

<i>[Seagulls Crying]</i>

<i>[Boat's Engine Chugging]</i>

Helen? You awake?

Ahh! I never knew how hard fishing could be.

Never tell that to a fisherman. Look. [Chuckles]

  • What do you see?
  • <i>Your house.</i>

<i>And in the window?</i> <i>[Chuckles]</i>

I can't see anything, because of the reflection of the sun on the water.

You know, you said that you saw a shooting there, about this same time of day.

d <i>["Mood"Strings]</i> [Ice Rattling]


Ooh. [Grunts]

Dance? [Laughing] Uh, me? No.

What? No, I… I'm kind of a klutz.

Well, you know, my ex-husband, Tom, you know, he was…

he was like a ballroom dancer, I mean, he was so smooth…

it was like… it was like he was ice skating, you know?

And then, I mean, I… [Groans]

Well, people used to smirk and make jokes. [Chuckles]

Those were my plumper days.

My mother said… [Giggles] I looked like a radish.

Come here. No!

Come here. That's an order.


<i>[Ship's Horn Sounding]</i>

[Male Announcer] This late development has just come into our newsroom.

Early this morning, the body of a man surfaced in the ocean one-half mile off Marago Cove.

The body has been identified as that of Colonel Roger Dutton…

<i>of the United States</i> <i>Marine Matériel Command.</i>

<i>The police report that Colonel</i> <i>Duttors whereabouts has been</i> <i>in question for the past two weeks.</i>

<i>We return you now to</i> The TimothyJones Show.

[Clicks Off]


Ahoy, there, Lieutenant. What's this, another fishing expedition?

Not exactly. Just wanted to talk to you, General.

Oh, I'm afraid I can't right now. No time.

Uh, unless you want to go along. A short scenic cruise?

<i>I,</i> uh… <i>I'm taking an overnight haul.</i>

<i>I want to test the engines.</i> Okay.

Uh, cast this line off down here and then hop aboard, huh?

[Engine Revving]

[Columbo] Gorgeous craft! Must have cost a mint, huh?

As they say, Lieutenant, if you have to ask, you can't afford it.

Right. You know, the biggest thing I've ever been on before is a rowboat.


you didn't come all the way out here just to talk about life on the high seas.

Huh? Oh!

No. No, I was wondering, General…

have you heard about that body that they found off Marago Cove?

Oh, Colonel Dutton? Yeah, I just heard about it. Just came on the radio.

That is shocking.

  • Any idea what happened?
  • Yes, sir.

Somebody shot him, sir.

<i>I guess they weighted him down</i> <i>and then theyjust dumped him.</i>

Is that a fact? <i>Yeah.</i>

Yeah, I guess the sharks must have cut through whatever was holding him down.

Well, this is all very interesting, Lieutenant, but why are you telling me this?

Well, sir, uh… to protect you.

Protect me? <i>Yes, sir.</i>

You see, I know that this is ridiculous…

but the fellas down there at the department, they're sayir…

they've got some kind of a pretty good case against you.

  • Oh? [Chuckles]
  • Yeah.
  • Of course, they're way out

of line, I know that.

  • Of course, of course.

<i>But you know, they have these ideas,</i> <i>and it could be embarrassing.</i>

I tell ya, I, uh… I kinda hate to get into it.

  • I mean, a man of your stature…
  • By all means, get into it, Lieutenant.

Yes, sir.

<i>[Columbo] Well, take motive.</i>

Your construction company got a lot of contracts through Colonel Dutton.

So did hundreds of other companies.

Yeah, but it seems as though he was being investigated by the Inspector General.

And if he were killed, there would be no way of proving…

a conspiracy to defraud the government.

Well, if no one's around, perhaps that means it doesn't exist!

<i>[Engine Rewing]</i> Right.

Right, that's a good point.

Uh, there's one other thing.

Uh, the morning after he disappeared…

you went out on your yacht.

Sheer coincidence.

Yeah, it probably is. But we do know that the body was disposed of at sea.

Now, I've been studying the tides, General.

Now, the Coast and Geodetic Survey's got a book on 'em…

and it shows that a body dumped off the marina in the ocean…

might carry down to Marago Cove.

Might, Lieutenant. Might.

Sheer speculation!

Lieutenant, you should tell your… colleagues…

that they have yet to show any link between Colonel Dutton and myself…

something that would prove that we actually met on that day.

Yes, sir, uh, you're right there.

But now that you mention it, it occurs to me that the night that the colonel disappeared…

I did see a car like his across the street from your house.

I don't know what kind of a car the colonel drove…

but there must be thousands of them in Southern California.

<i>You didn't, uh, by any chance…</i> [Sighing Deeply]

<i>Check the registration at the time?</i>

Uh, no, sir. No, sir, I didn't.

  • There's no reason to.
  • Now, that was unfortunate, wasn't it?

<i>[Revs Engine]</i>

Uh, General, if you don't mind, I'd like to go back now.

Yes, as you wish. I guess we're about through with this test run.

<i>[Rewing Faster]</i>

You know, Lieutenant, I don't see how a man…

with the name of' Columbo"…

Shouldn't he be more at home on a boat?

Must have been another branch of the family, sir.

How soon before we land?

Not long.


You know, General, there is a link between you and Colonel Dutton.

Really? Mrs. Stewart.

An eyewitness to the murder of a military man in your house.

Help the lady aboard.

Oh! Oh, Lieutenant, would you… [Fussing] Let me take the bag.

Well, no, maybe you better… Could you just… Yeah. No, no. Yeah.

Should I take the bag? All right. Yeah, yeah. [Grunts] All right?

There we are. Okay? Oh! Thank you. Thank you.

Are you all right? Me? Fine.

Just fine, yes. There's something I wanted to talk to you about, Mrs. Stewart.

Uh, we've just recovered a body.

A Colonel Dutton, the man that I spoke to you about?

Somebody dumped him in the ocean.

He thinks I shot him. What I think is unimportant.

What counts is what you saw.

[Scoffs] I… Well, l-I didn't see anything.

Well, now, Mrs. Stewart, that's not what you said.

Well, no, it was the light, some crazy reflection…

Yeah, but you told me that you distinctly…

I don't care what I said. I was wrong.

  • Can't a person make a mistake?
  • Look, maybe if I could talk

about this later on.

I'm gonna say the same thing later that I'm saying now, so would ya…

Would you just please leave me alone?

If you ever want to go out again, I'll be happy to take you, Columbo.

[Sighs Deeply]

Hey, Lieutenant. How goes it?

So-so, huh?

How 'bout a bowl of chili?

  • Bert, gimme some chili.
  • Ah, there you go.

Comir right up, Lieutenant. <i>[Bowl Rattles]</i>

<i>Got the best in town,</i> <i>you know.</i>

You got a match? <i>Sure!</i>

Lemme get this chili to ya.

Here you go, your crackers… <i>[Silverware Rattling]</i>


Here you go. Help yourself.

How do you like that coffee? Is that black? What's this?

What is this? That's my helmet from the war.

  • What war?
  • What war. World War II!

My wife says I can never throw anything out.

So the other day she put her foot down. She says either the junk goes or she goes.

You decided to keep her.

[Sighs] It was a tough decision.

Anyway, I brought all my war trophies over here.

Hey! Wait a minute.

You're one guy that can appreciate this. I'll get you another bowl of chili.

My chili is good, no matter what… Here. Yeah, I got this, that… Look at this.

Like, I saved a little… It's a Japanese stirring spoon.

I got 'em at Okinawa, the commissary. Yeah. [Chuckles] Ah, well.

You know, I guess my wife is right. I can't give anything away.

Especially when it means something to ya.

<i>Yeah, that was</i> <i>a long time ago, Lieutenant.</i>

[Sighs] Yeah. Bert, gimme a dime.

<i>Okay, Lieutenant.</i> <i>There you go.</i>

<i>Let me give you that</i> <i>bowl of chili I dropped on ya.</i>

<i>Is that cream and sugar</i> <i>in that coffee?</i>

Mrs. Stewart? Lieutenant Columbo.

Mrs. Stewart? Listen.

I appreciate very much your coming down here and meeting me.

Just remember our agreement, Lieutenant. No questions and no trying to get me to change my mind.

Not one question. Not even a half a question.

I only wanted you to see the exhibit.

Why? Look.

In order to understand a man, you have to understand his past.

Quite a collection, huh?

You see that book? That's a <i>Marine Military Manual.</i>

Do you know the story behind that book? No. Mm-mm.

Martin wanted to wait till the first rush of tourists had passed, so he could explain everything to me himself.

Oh. Gee, I guess he wants you to know what kind of man he is too.

About this book. There's a bullet in that book.

<i>A sniper tried to kill him.</i>

<i>And that book stopped a bullet.</i> <i>And you know, he never batted an eye?</i>

I mean, that… that tells you something about what kind of man he is.

Yes, that he's a man filled with courage.

More than a great deal. I think he has an unusual amount of courage.

More than you and I, and more than average people.

I mean, if was me, I would faint.

<i>I mean, most people would</i> <i>take time to recover.</i>

<i>But he didn't.</i>

You see, I think he's, uh… He's a very a cool man under pressure.

Hey, that's nice, isn't it? Isn't that beautifully cut? Custom tailored.

<i>You know, I think</i> <i>it's almost too nice.</i>

I mean, all that concern about clothes, it's kinda vain, don't you think?

[Clicks Tongue] Some men, Lieutenant…

do not want to look like an unmade bed.

Just look at this stuff. [Clicks Tongue]

Look at that!

I mean, this man just had a natural flair for attracting attention to himself.

Sometimes undesirable attention, Lieutenant.

You don't seem surprised to see me.

Oh, I was kind of expecting you. I mean, when I spoke to Mrs. Stewart…

I had a hunch that she'd tell you.

<i>I'd like to know what this is all about.</i>

All right, sir. I'll get right to the point.

It's has to do with that duplicate of your gun.

What about it?

Well, I find it hard to believe…

Mrs. Stewart, see if you agree with me on this…

lfind it hard to believe that a man like General Hollister…

who saved and cherished every war souvenir…

even the smallest photograph…

I just think it's strange that he was so careless as to allow his gun to be stolen.

<i>I mean, that pistol was the most famous</i> <i>single symbol ofhis whole legend.</i>

You agree with me, don't you?

Well… [Sighs]

I don't know what you want me to say.

Well, if it was me… if it was my gun…

I would take very good care of that gun.

I'd have it in my apartment where people could see it…

and I would keep it polished, and I would keep it oiled…

and I would keep it loaded.

And when a certain Colonel Dutton came to see me…

and threatened to expose me,

that's the gun that I would use.

Well, if what you say is true, I mean, you searched!

  • Where <i>is</i> that gun?
  • That's what I asked myself.

Where is the gun?

Why not on public display? Why not in a glass case?

Why not in front of thousands of people?

And after we found Colonel Duttors body, anybody else…

<i>you, me, anybody else…</i>

We'd have gotten rid of that gun.

<i>We found the bullet in the victim…</i>

<i>and the ballistics check will</i> <i>match up the bullet with the gun.</i>

But somehow, General, something told me…

that you could never get rid of that gun.

It meant too much to you.

You couldn't even part with a cigarette lighter.

<i>No, that pearl-handled pistol</i> <i>was just too tied up in your pride.</i>

Because of your tremendous belief in yourself, you figured everyone would accept your story…

about having a duplicate made.

But there never was a duplicate made, was there?

This, in fact, is the murder weapon, isn't it, General?

I assume Ballistics has checked out the gun.

<i>That won't be necessary.</i> All right, Lieutenant.

[Softly] I'm sorry.

What is it with me, Lieutenant, huh?

I seem to have a special talent, you know? I mean, with…

With all the men in the world,

I always seem to pick Mr. Wrong.

I'm seriously considering locking myself in a closet for the rest of my life.

No. That's wrong.

That's just the way my niece, Marilyn, felt after her divorce.

Now she's got a new husband. As a matter of fact, he's a cop.

And they got six kids.

Lieutenant… I mean, just between us, would you tell me the truth?

Do you really have a niece? What kind of a question is that? 'Do I really have a niece?"

Well, do you? Of course I've got a niece! My wife's sister's girl, Cynthia.

Suitable for Framing

<i>[Doorbell Chimes]</i>

You're late. I'm sorry. The path out there was dark.

Anybody see you? No. And I parked where you told me.

Good. Take that.


Pull yourself together. There's no reason to be frightened.

It's just my uncle.

And I assure you, he's far more amiable now than he ever was when he was alive.

I'll be all right. Of course you will, my love.

I couldn't possibly be any help to your career from inside a gas chamber.

Don't say things like that.

Anyway, what difference does my career make?

Dale, look, they're all yours now.

They will be, but not unless you do your part.

Don't worry, Dale. L… I was just a little upset.

Now I'm fine. Good.

Now remember, when you open the window, fire high.

You better get started. That electric blanket goes back upstairs…

Top drawer, left side. How many times have you told me that? Dale, hurry!

<i>[Door Opens, Closes]</i>


All right, Melvin, 5,000 and it's a steal.

Would you please move faster? Uh, boys, keep those bottles popping.

Thank you. Good evening.

One thousand dollars? And you're not even a Frenchman. <i>[Woman] Mingle, mingle.</i>

Well, you see, the only thing I really need is something pink for the guest bathroom.

I just paint the pictures, ma'am, I don't set prices.

Don't pick on my artist, darling. After all, your husband adores cactus. He told me so.

I know, but it's the wrong shade of pink for the wallpaper.

Well, how about 800? I mean, that's if he takes the green Indian to go in the office.

Mind you… I'm so glad you…

Oh, excuse me.

Dale! Dale Kingston, I don't believe it.

Your invitation said free champagne, Mitilda, my love.

Oh, you're such a snob. You never come to my showings. Sam, quick!

Well, I had nothing to do tonight anyway. I was half hoping that it'd be over by…

Oh, it's just begun. Please, Dale. Excuse me.

Uh… [Clears Throat] Sam… This is Sam Franklin.

It's his first private showing, so would you please be nice? Honey, this is Dale Kingston.

How do you do? Yes, yes. How do you do, sir?

Oh, you must be the artist of these, uh, arid little landscapes, aren't you?

Well, they're not too bad. Not too bad at all. Thank you.

Mr. Kingston? <i>Mr.</i> DaleKingston? Yes.

Yes. And you're the famous art critic?

Well, as of the moment, yes, whatever the moment happens to be…

Of course he is, darling, and you're already raving about Sam's work.

I'm sorry, dear. But you couldn't possibly have this cactus for a penny less than 12.

  • I have five minutes to 11:00, sir.
  • Five to 11:00.
  • Yes.
  • So it is.

Thank you very much, Mr., uh, Franklin.

Oh, of course you'd love champagne. Oh, you bet.

Sam, the painting.

And so that the meaning of the mobile stems not only from its form,

but the relationship between the pieces, which gives it its meaning.

And I suppose the relationship between the pieces is really where it's at, isn't it?

[All Laughing]


<i>[Gunshot]</i> [Tires Screech]

<i>[Keys Jangling]</i>

It's not so much a question of his masculinity. I think the artist just saw him that way.

[All Laughing] I'll drink to that.

You notice no matter how abstract the painter,

he always signs his name realistically, doesn't he?

[Laughing] Of course.

[Engine Starts]

<i>[Police Chatter]</i>

<i>[Man]</i> <i>Were you home tonight?</i> <i>Oh, no, sir.</i>

My wife and I left the house at 8:00. It's our regular night off.

There's just you and your wife? No other servants in a place this size?

Well, Mr. Mathews seldom entertained.

He was divorced many years ago and has very few friends.

Tonight I believe he planned to spend in his room reading. Just a minute.

You got all this, Columbo? You want anything more from Mr. Evans?


<i>Please, sir!</i>

Mr. Mathews was very fussy about smoking.

Oh, sorry.

Oh, Doctor, call us from downtown, will ya?

Oh, I don't think the autopsy will change my opinion.

It was a single bullet. Must've died almost instantly.

And the time of death? Oh, I'd say around 11:00, give or take a few minutes.

Wasn't it? Yeah. The body was still warm.

Talk to you later, Captain.

Oh, Mr. Kingston. I've been trying to reach you. I'm so terribly sorry.

Somebody broke in, I assume? Yes, your uncle probably came down…

I told him about it. He just got back to his apartment at 2:00,

His gun is missing from his desk. After some party at a gallery, he says.

There are two paintings missing, I think. I told them to hold everything for you.

Mr. Kingston, we've been waiting to dust some of these canvases for fingerprints.

Evans wouldn't let us touch anything but the frames.

Well, it's perfectly all right. No problem as long as you're careful. Which ones did you want?

<i>[Man] These right here.</i> I suppose he's gonna be your new boss, huh?

Well, I would hope he keeps on and keeps the house.

After all, he's Mr. Mathews's only living relative.

But, really, sir, at a time like this… Oh, listen. I'm sorry.

Of course. You're absolutely right.

Would you like to spend some time with your wife? I'm sure she's very upset.

Thank you.

Uh, Mr. Kingston, before you get too involved there…

Excuse me a minute, Captain. Okay.

I wonder if maybe first you'd try to help me out with a problem I have?

Yes. Um, it's this…

this painting. Well, what's the problem?

Haven't you ever seen people without faces before?

They've loaned them out.

You've heard of two-faced people, I suppose?

Oh, yes. But, uh,

you see, it's this crazy signature that bothers me…

DeGrote. George DeGrote. Quite famous.

I thought so. Isn't that funny?

'Cause I noticed the signatures on this other painting, um…

Does that say Birnbaum? Yes, it does.

That's what I thought. 'Birnbaum."

You'd think that these artists would be able to write more clearly.

Really, do you think all this is quite appropriate at this time, Mr…

Oh, I guess not. Uh, I realize this has been a terrible shock for you.

I wanna express my deepest sympathies. Thank you, Mr…

Lieutenant Columbo. Oh, yes. Thank you.

Uh, tell me, Mr. Kingston, has anybody tried to rob this place before?

Certainly. This place is a magnet for art thieves.

It's one of the finest collections in the world. Is that so?

Yes. Really? Very impressive.

You seem inordinately fascinated by these paintings.

Well, I'll tell you what bothers me. You see, it's this.

If you came in here to grab some paintings, wouldn't you grab a DeGrote first…

instead of a Birnbaum? Perhaps. But then, I'm an art critic.

You're the detective. You're the art critic. That's right.

And I'm gonna need a lot of your help. I suppose you noticed that already.

Uh, like in there, there's two little frames and they're empty,

and there doesn't seem to be anything around that fits inside.

Oh, no.

Now, Mr. Evans wasn't quite sure either.

He thought that one of'em had some dancing girls.

But I don't think he knows much about art either.

He also said that a lot of these things had just been rehung.

That they'd just come back from some kind of a traveling exhibit?

Yes, that's what those crates are out in the hall there. I unpacked most of them myself.

Yeah. You know, I noticed that a piece of that wrapping paper had been torn loose.

These two are listed in the exhibit catalogue.

Got that in here somewhere.

[Clears Throat] Here, look.

Those were the two that were taken? Yes.

  • Hey, they're beautiful.
  • <i>They're two of my favorites.</i>

<i>Degas pastels.</i>

Pastels? You mean like the kids use in school?

Nobody ever used pastels like Degas, Lieutenant.

These two alone together happen to be won'th over a half million dollars.


You know, that's funny too.

<i>Not at all. There isn't a painting</i> <i>in this entire exhibit</i> <i>that's won'th under 50,000.</i>

No, I mean that out there, somebody picked a Birnbaum first.

Then when your uncle interfered, then when he went to his desk and took out a gun,

<i>then when he was killed…</i> <i>in the middle of all that, then…</i>

the thief suddenly got smart,

and he took two of the most valuable paintings in the house and he ran.

Guess that does seem a bit inconsistent, doesn't it?

Then life has its own inconsistencies.

Lt. Columbo? Oh, Sally, nice of you to come.

Let's go out back. I wanna try something.

Uh, Mr. Kingston, you might be interested in this.

Uh, you were here? Yeah, that's right.

Wait there. I'll holler. All right.

Hi. Hi. Hi, Charlie. How are you?

What's all this?

Well, you see, they have private patrolmen here to make checks at every hour.

At 11:00… No, no, no. I mean this, this, this.

What? Oh, the lock? Yes.

Well, you see, he found that open. The lock was scarred like it'd been forced from the outside.

Of course, what I don't understand is why the burglar alarm didn't go off.

A professional thief could manage that pretty well, couldn't he? No, no, no.

You see, professionals, they always pick windows.

They're just easier to crack. Sally, are you ready? Whenever you are.

Okay. When I holler inside, you run just the way I told you to run.

Okay! Here she goes!

Well? <i>[Guard] That's it.</i> <i>That's what I heard.</i>

<i>I couldn't be sure before.</i> <i>I was running myself.</i>

Now you heard high heels on those stone steps? Yes, sir.

Thank you very much. You bet.

Charlie, will you get Sally? Wait a minute.

You mean, you think the thief was a woman? One of'em.

  • One of them?
  • Well, there were too many pictures for

one person to carry, don't you think?

<i>And besides, the burglar alarm thing.</i> <i>You know, there's only one way</i> <i>to really beat that…</i>

is if you have somebody else from the inside open the door.

  • I don't think I understand.
  • You know what?

That's the trouble. Neither do I.

Well, if you ever want to know any more about art, Lieutenant.

Oh. Thank you very much. Well, listen, now that you mention it, tell me this.

How does a thief get rid of a painting like that?

I mean, if they're that famous, how can anybody sell it?

Well, someone in a foreign country maybe.

Although, art thieves usually try to make a deal of some kind with the owner, the gallery, the insurance company.

You see, that's what I thought. It's just like a kidnapping.

Yes. In other words, what they want really is the ransom.

Exactly. Right.

So, you know in this case, somebody must be pretty scared right now, don't you think?

Might be anxious to settle quick.

Possibly. Sure.

You know, and since you're the first person they might try to contact…

I'll tell you what. You give me your telephone number…

and I'll put a tap on your phone and we'll monitor all your calls.

You wouldn't mind that, would you?

Of course not. Why should I?

Gee, thank you very much. Good night.

Good night.

[Line Ringing]

<i>[Phone Ringing]</i>

[Continues Ringing]

<i>[Bell Rings]</i>


Look out! Gee, I'm sorry.

[Laughs] Oh, that's all right. I've been bumping into things myself today.

A little bit too much of the grape last night. I didn't clear out of here till 3:00 a.m.

Mr. Kingston went home a little earlier than that, I guess.

Well, he stayed long enough to make every other gallery owner on the street <i>green</i> with envy.

Of course, you know, Dale is usually in London or Paris.

<i>He doesn't fool around</i> <i>with us peasants.</i>

I'll tell you what I really wanna know… what time he got here.

Yes. I know, I know.

Uh, Sam is right through there. I called the parking boy. Be over in a minute.

Sam, this is the policeman who phoned.

<i>Is it all right?</i> Uh, bring him in.

<i>They interrupted Rembrandt,</i> <i>why shouldn't they interrupt me?</i>

Yeah, what is it?

If I'm interrupting something… No, you're not interrupting anything.

Uh, forgive the mood, but, uh, you caught me in a bad day.

This here is Chris. Oh, hi.

Hello. Are you an artist? No.

I can come back another time. I think I'm… Go ahead and interrupt.

I'm here under duress. Thanks a lot.

Stop moving! I'm trying to paint you. Well, paint.

Well, actually, it's very routine. It's not that important. I think…

Well, me and champagne are not routine.

And if you're interested in finding out about Mr. Kingston, what time he got here I don't know.

Uh, there was something about his watch, but I'm not sure.

Might help if you try to remember.

Oh, yeah. Well… [Exhales]

Uh, there was something wrong with his watch.

Yeah, that's it, and, uh, and he asked me what time it was.

That's it. That's it. I see.

Well, thanks. Sorry to bother you. No bother.

Right. I'm in my commercial phase right now.

Yeah. Sam's just mad at the whole world that's all.

That's because I made him put her in his pretty pink cactus.

Can you imagine? He thinks the artist should decide what the… <i>Mitilda, are you looking for me?</i>

[Mumbles] Fine.

Well, listen, I'll let you finish your work. Excuse me.

Do come back soon. <i>[Sam]</i> <i>Stop moving!</i>

All right.

Hey, Joe, didn't the other boys tell me you parked Kingstors car last night?

Sure, I remember. The guy who gave me two bucks.

Two bucks? Just for parking a car?

No. He lost a cuff link. I helped him search the whole car for it,

<i>trunk and everything.</i> Did you find it?

<i>No. Why?</i> Well, you know, most people's trunks, they're kind of messy to look into.

His wasn't. Nothing but a spare tire and a topcoat. Nothing else in the whole car.

What time was that? Would you know?

Oh, sure, 'cause he asked me. Something was wrong with his watch, I guess.

  • It was five minutes to 11:00, sir.
  • Mmm. Thanks. All right, that's it.

Now, uh, what is this all about?

Because, like, uh, Dale's uncle was murdered sometime last night, right?

Oh, no. Oh, no… [Laughs]

When I think what this is gonna do to the art world.

Can you imagine an art critic ineriting that gorgeous collection? I do.

Hey. Hey, would you look at that.

A blue horse?

Painting the ladies and gentlemen of the Spanish court with a savage brush.

<i>Relentlessly, unremittingly</i> <i>showing them in every detail,</i>

<i>down to the tiniest wart.</i>

But, when you take the ' W" off of wart,

you are still left with ' art," and Goya was the penultimate artist.

We will continue our discussion of this fascinating artist tomorrow.

Copies of today's lecture may be obtained for a nominal fee by writing to this station.

This is Dale Kingston. Good afternoon.

[Announcer] Be with us again tomorrow when Channel 16…

<i>brings you</i> Dale Kingstors World of Art.

<i>[TVClicks Off</i>


Studio 2. Yeah, we just broke. I'll call him.

[Over P.A.] Telephone call, Mr. Kingston. Thank you, Phil.

Phil, listen. While I've got you, can we manage to get… Is that on?

Phil, can't you cut that camera off me the minute I finish talking, please?

I'm always left with egg on my face. Thank you.

  • Yes.
  • Dale, I finally got you.
  • I remembered you'd be

doing your show.

  • What are you doing calling?
  • I told you not to call

for a whole week.

  • I know, but I was worried.

That's just free-floating anxiety, dear. Now, relax. Everything's going just…

I'm terribly sorry. No, I simply don't have time.

Well, Lieutenant. Gee, I wish you wouldn't hang up like that, Mr. Kingston.

I mean, somebody you don't know tries to call… Lieutenant,

I get a dozen calls a day just like that from would-be artists,

from ladies who want to evaluate some stupid, little print their maiden aunts left them in their attic.

If I paid attention to every one of'em… You mean, that was a woman?

Yes, and it wasn't any ransom call if that's what you're thinking.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a museum to go to, then a dinner, then a lecture.

Well, I was hoping that we could have a little time to talk. We can get together later if you'd like.

[Loud Exhale] No, I've gotta take my makeup off anyway.

May as well do it now. Follow me. Fine. Thank you very much.

Uh, so this is a television studio, huh? Yes.

Quite a place. Well, it's a barn, really.

I'm sure it's not as glamorous as you'd thought it'd be. That's right. It isn't.

But things aren't really what they seem to be, are they?

My, how observant you are.

Hildy, my beauty, how fast do you think we can get this paint off me?

I'll use high-speed turpentine.

Well, anyway, uh, I'm sorry to bother you here, but you haven't been home much.

Now that's too bad in a way. That tap on your phone, it's not helping us any.

I'm not your only possibility, Lieutenant.

I don't know whether you know this, but my uncle was married once.

In fact, his ex-wife still lists herself in the phone book under her married name.

So, you see, whoever took those paintings could very well be trying to contact her.

You know, somebody mentioned that. So I saw Mrs. Mathews this morning. We're watching her phone too.

[Chuckling] Oh, that must have been some interview.

Aunt Edna can be a bit trying. I thought she was kind of nice.

Oh, she's very nice, but, uh, trying.

Well, you said you had some questions you wanted to ask me?

Yeah. Nothing important, just a few details.

Like that backdoor thing. That really bothers me. What about it?

Um, does that coffee machine work? Yes, of course it does. What about it?

Well, you know, the lab says that there was just no way for that lock to be forced from the outside.

Thank you, Hildy. So?

Would you like a coffee? No, thanks.

Well, how did anyone get in?

You see, Evans is positive that all the doors were locked when he left the house earlier.

And I don't see your uncle letting anyone in, unless he knew 'em.

Did you come all this way just to tell <i>me</i> that?

Well, I thought you'd be interested. Like, I did clear up one routine thing.

<i>You know that gallery</i> <i>you went to? Checked out.</i> <i>Hope you don't mind.</i>

Well, that's your job. And?

The parking lot boy, he remembered when you got there all right.

So that if Mr. Mathews was killed at 11:00, then you sure didn't do it.

Now isn't that a shame, Lieutenant?

And here I am your best and most obvious suspect too. [Tsking]

Aw, don't say things like that. Really, you've got me all wrong.

Oh, yeah. <i>It's just that I get bugged by</i> <i>those little things.</i>

Like, no connection.

But why would a person look in the trunk of a car for a missing cuff link?

<i>[Brush Clatters On Vanity]</i> 'Cause I happened to toss my topcoat in there…

in order to keep it from getting stolen.

  • Then I noticed that the link

was missing.

  • Of course.

See, I could've guessed that.

A little while later I found the link caught in the lining of my sleeve.

I'm gonna tell you somethir.

Do you know that there is a reasonable explanation for everything if you just put your mind to it?

<i>Of course, sometimes these things,</i> <i>they pop up.</i>

Like with alibis. Do you know in most cases,

<i>people, they don't remember</i> <i>what time it is.</i>

<i>They forget all that.</i> <i>Like the artist fella.</i>

He's all mixed up about the time.

And Mrs. Mathews, she don't even remember what time she went to bed last night.

Well, being sober might help, I suppose.

Now, with you, Mr. Kingston, it's just the opposite. Very unusual.

With you, we know exactly where you were and when.

Not only that, we know your whole car was empty.

Yes. Isn't that nice?

Well, if you'll excuse me. Mm. Oh, listen, by the way, can I show you something?

It's only gonna take a second. Uh, you can rent paintings, did you know that?

Yes, I know. And my father-in-law, he loves Western movies,

so I figured, a few bucks, you can't get hurt.

Uh, what do you think?

Any good? <i>For wallpaper in a child's room,</i> <i>absolutely perfect.</i>

In fact, it looks like it might've been done by an untalented 12-year-old.

You know, I was kind of afraid you were going to say something like that.

[Clicks Tongue] But you know, then I say,

why would you bother to go there last night if this guy's stuff is so bad?

I mean, this was painted by the artist whose exhibit you were covering.

Lieutenant Columbo, unlike my uncle, I am not independently wealthy.

I have to work for a living. Magazines pay me to review art.

Unfortunately, they pay me best when I write hostile reviews about hacks like Sam Franklin.

Oh. Well, I'll tell ya, I'd sure hate to see his review when you write it.

Mmm. Oh, listen. One more thing.

It just… It'll just take a second. I stopped by your apartment a few times.

Why, do you want to search my place?

No. Just to ask you something about art.

You said you had some books and things there that I could see.

You may look at anything you wish.

You can snoop in all of my closets. You can peek under the beds.

You won't find any stolen paintings. Oh, really, I've never said anything about…

Here. Would you like the key to my apartment? You may simply leave it under the mat when you leave.

No, really. L… No, no. Go ahead. I insist.

See what I live like. Find out what kind of human being I am.

Learn everything you can about me.

Well, I… I mean, I admit it would be more convenient.

But, uh, thank you very much, Mr. Kingston.

Uh, I'm sorry I took up so much of your time.

I might drop by and borrow a few books or something like that.

See ya.


You all right? Yeah. I'm sorry I called you.

Well, I just couldn't wait. I had to know what was happening.

Nothing's happening. No problems at all. Everything's just perfect.

Now, the gun and the paintings,

they're still in your car, right?

Oh, yeah. I did exactly what you told me. I haven't touched a thing.

Good. You'll feel a lot better once you get those off your hands.

Hold that open for me.

Dale! <i>What's the matter?</i>

Well-Well, I never saw them before. They're beautiful.

Now why can't I paint like that?

Patience, my dear. Patience.

I told you you had talent when you first came to see me, remember?

Takes time to get what you really want.

Sometimes I think my talent isn't what you like best about me.

Well, it's a combination of things, Myla.

Dale, you do care for me, don't you?

After the risks you've taken for me?

Of course I do.

Now let's get out of here. Is there anything else you want me to do?

Not a thing. I'll be in touch with you by phone.

  • When will I see you again?
  • Very shortly, my love.

When will I…

[Tires Squealing]


  • Mr. Kingston.
  • What are you doing here

at this hour of the night?

Is it night?

Yes, it is.

Gee, I… I must've fallen asleep here.

I came in to read these book… Did you get your key?

<i>I left a key under the mat.</i> <i>Oh, good. You got it.</i>

Gee. Yes, I…

I was readir these articles. I must've fallen…

Oh, I'm sorry. I'm terribly sorry. I just fell asleep here.

Look, it's quite late, Lieutenant. If you don't mind,

I've just had a tiresome evening at a lecture,

after which I spent some time with some even more tiresome people from the museum.

So if you'll excuse me. Oh, of course.

I'll get out of your hair. I'm-I'm awfully sorry about this.

Did you pick up something interesting?

Uh, no, just some, um, insipid watercolors that these people want me to evaluate.

Watercolors? Yes.

I was just looking at watercolors. Matisse? Wonderful.

I'd love to hear what you had to say about him.

Could we take just a moment… No… Lieutenant, please!

If you don't mind, I… Oh.

It's quite late. I'm-I'm quite exhausted. Some other time, please.

Oh, I'm sorry. Of course. I should've realized. <i>[Telephone Ringing]</i>

I just got so caught up in this art thing… My phone. My phone, Lieutenant.

Your phone? My phone.

Oh. It, uh, just might be people about the ransom.

Oh. By all means.

Hello? Yes.

Yes, he is. Just a moment. It's for you.

I told 'em at the office that I might stop by.

Thank you very much. It's all right.

Yeah? What?

Well, where was it?

Yes, I understand, but why are you calling me for?

Oh. Okay, I'll be right down.


Listen, I'm sorry. I gotta run.

<i>Gee, it's always somethir.</i>

This highway patrolman, he found a girl in a car.

Ran over a cliff to Malibu Canyon.


You get all sorts of cases, don't you? Yeah, listen.

They won't let me live. What are you gonna do?

Uh, I'm sorry. L-I didn't mean to fall asleep here.

I hope I didn't bother you too much. It's all right.

Get some rest.

<i>[Columbo]</i> <i>Mrs. Mathews?</i>

Oh, Lieutenant Columbo! How are ya?

I'm fine. Good. Listen,

Mr. Kingston and the attorney said it was all right if I dropped by.

I hope you don't mind. Oh, no! Of course not.

The more, the merrier. But it…

it does seem such a shame to hear poor Rudy this way.

All those ' whereases."

It won't sound like him at all.

You know, lawyers always have a way of makir… It's like an old movie…

with all the barristers and the butlers and the discarded wives…

all gathering together in the library to hear the will read.

Oh! Perhaps we'd better go.

<i>It's never bothered me</i> <i>till just about two months ago.</i>

Really? You know, I have a friend… He wasn't always a very nice man, you know.

Just business, business, business.

And then collecting. Oh!

Collecting like some old pack rat.

But how anyone could want to kill Rudy, I…

Oh, hello, Dale. Edna, darling.

How are you? Hello, Lieutenant.

Mr. Kingston. What have you got there this time, a pink rabbit?

Oh, this? No, no, not really. But it is something that I wanted to show you.

Oh, show me too. Edna, my dear.

Frank. Dale.

And Lt. Columbo. We can begin now.

Mr. Evans and his wife are here already.

But Lieutenant was just going to show us… Never mind. He'll show me.

We'll join you in a little while. Thank you, Frank.

I hope you're feeling better, Edna.

What do you think?

It's frightful. That's what I figured.

But you know what? I thought maybe you just might recognize the style or the signature.

No. Who on earth is Tracy?

Well, do you remember the other night when I had to leave your place in a hurry?

Oh, yes, that highway patrol thing. Some kind of an accident, wasn't it?

That's what it looked like. But you see, I told…

I said whenever a case comes up that has anything to do with art or painting, you call me.

Now, wait a minute. You mean it wasn't an accident?

Oh, yeah, it's an accident. I mean, that's what it's listed as.

But, anyway, you see, the dead girl, she was some kind of an art student.

And I thought, well, who knows, maybe you knew something about her.

Tracy O'Connor?


Lieutenant, there must be over 100,000 art students in Southern California.

Well, you see, I remember seeir one of those lecture schedules in your apartment.

And a couple of months ago, you gave several lectures in the school where this girl was enrolled.

This is what she looks like. Be realistic, Lieutenant.

You think I can remember everyone who ever sat in on one of my lectures?

I've never seen that girl before in my life. Why don't you stop wasting everybody's time?

<i>These are all minor details.</i>

Sit down, Dale, won't you? Thank you, Frank.

'For their devoted service to me…

for the past 10 y…"

Uh, Lieutenant, why don't you make yourself comfortable.

We've uh, skimmed over the preliminaries. We're now down to the salient points.

Proceed as you wish, Counselor. Mmm.

'For their devoted service to me for the past 10 years,

'I bequeath to Mr. And Mrs. Evans jointly…

<i>"an annual payment of $2,000…</i> Oh!

<i>"To be paid on the first day</i> <i>of each and every year…</i>

'in which either one of them is still surviving.

Such a kind man.

<i>"Finally, to,</i> uh… <i>to my primary heir of all previous wills,</i> <i>to my nephew Dale Kingston,</i>

<i>"whom I once supported</i> <i>through college…</i>

<i>"and who has had the full freedom</i> <i>of my home and possessions</i> <i>ever since without thought of recompense,</i>

'I bequeath the full bulk and remainder of my estate…

'with this one single exception:

<i>"To Edna Mathews,</i> <i>the wife whom I mistakenly</i> <i>divorced 15 years ago,</i>

<i>"I bequeath</i> <i>my entire art collection,</i>


<i>Including all of those paintings listed</i> <i>in the so-called Mathews Collection. "

  • Mr. Kingston! Oh, no!
  • <i>[Simpson] If you please.</i>

<i>This will is properly signed and</i> <i>witnessed as of the 10th oflast month.</i>

Here. I think you all should take a look at these.

Dale, I'm sorry. L-I'm really sorry.

<i>Oh, no.</i> <i>Don't be silly, Aunt Edna.</i>

All it means is that I'll now be able to criticize your collection like I used to criticize his.

Thank you, Frank. Mm-hmm.


Mrs. Mathews, I hope… This is just such a surprise. We are… I'm happy for you.

<i>I know you'll be pleased with it.</i> <i>I'm sure you will.</i>

I wasn't prepared for that. Nope. Really is a shock.

File those, would you, please? I tried to talk Rudy out of it, naturally.

He always intended to leave that collection to Dale.

Then, give it to her.

That's why I thought you'd like to be here.

Legally, I couldn't say anything until… Oh, sure. I understand that.

It's just that that was a new will?

<i>Only last month?</i> That's correct. He wrote most of it himself.

<i>Oh, he promised to let me</i> <i>draw up something more detailed</i> <i>and complete later on, but…</i>

Boy, I can't figure it. L…

You'd think the nephew would get the paintings.

<i>I agree. I agree.</i>

<i>Mr. Mathews had</i> <i>disagreements with Dale,</i>

<i>but an art collection like that</i> <i>is big business.</i>

To manage that requires specialized skill, taste.

<i>Why he'd simply leave the whole thing</i> <i>to a poor, unstable creature like</i> Ed…

Those comments are hardly professional of me, are they?

One thing, though.

If Mr. Kingston doesn't get the collection, he at least gets the rest of the estate. <i>It's meaningless.</i>

He rented that big house.

Rudy disposed of all his business interests.

<i>There really isn't any</i> <i>remaining estate to speak of.</i>


Well, listen, uh, thanks for lettir me come down.

I gotta get back to work. <i>Uh, Lieutenant?</i>

Your painting. Oh, thank you very much.

Uh, Lieutenant? My lighter.


Thank you. Mm-hmm.

[Sighs] Miss Henderson, I'll make my calls now, please.

<i>[Kingston]</i> <i>Looking for me, Lieutenant?</i>

Oh. Yeah, I thought I'd kind of catch you out in the parking lot.

Expect you'd find me there kicking my tires in frustration, I suppose?

Well, I thought there'd be the normal amount of disappointment. You are so transparent, Columbo.

You had this thing all figured out right from the start, haven't you?

Dale Kingston hired someone to fake the theft and kill his uncle.

Maybe even some poor little art student, perhaps.

Mr. Kingston, I never said that. And even though I had an ain'tight alibi by total accident,

at the time of my uncle's murder, that still didn't stop you, did it?

Mr. Kingston, really, I… Well, at this point,

I'm sure that even a compulsively suspicious bureaucrat like you…

<i>must have his doubts</i> <i>about my guilt.</i>

<i>Because you heard it up there,</i> <i>Mr. Columbo.</i>

You heard it in plain English. I do not inerit.

<i>Edna does.</i> That's very true, Mr. Kingston.

That's very true, except… <i>Except what?</i>

Well, maybe you didn't know that your uncle changed his will.

Oh, I was hoping you'd say that,

because, you see, I've known for more than 10 days…

<i>that I couldn't possibly inerit</i> <i>any part of that collection.</i>

But since you won't believe me, maybe you'll believe my uncle.

Go on. I'm sure somebody in your department…

is capable of verifying that signature.

Go on, read it.

He sent me that letter 10 days ago telling me about the new will.

<i>Look at the postmark.</i>

  • So you did know?
  • Of course I knew.

Now, would you please do me a favor and stop pestering me…

and go on out and do what you should've done in the first place, huh?

Find the real killer!

<i>[Woman]</i> <i>Lieutenant, I'm not a busybody.</i> <i>I never said that.</i>

Yeah, well, some landlords like to pry into the lives of their tenants, but not me.

My policy is live and let live.

Come on. What's bothering Walter? He won't eat? Well, maybe he's not hungry.

Listen, it's not that you're a busybody. You live here and you see things.

I mean, how can you live here and not see things? Such as?

Well, who goes out with who and who's doing what. All those things.

Oh. This girl, Tracy O'Connor, who did she go out with?

Come on. Tell me. She dated, didn't she? Oh, of course she dated.

Oh, you know, that was a terrible shame about that accident.

That was a very talented girl. Very.

Well, you oughta know. You took one of her paintings the last time you were here.

She was a very gifted girl. You're darn right.

And it was a shame about the accident. Right.

You know why I hated to give up the painting? Well, why did you give it up?

I had to. What for?

Well, that was evidence. Evidence for what?

Listen, I don't wanna get into that. That's too complicated. Walter, come here.

Come here, boy. Don't-Don't-Don't-Don't do that!

Why not? Walter doesn't like strangers. He'll bite.

Will he? Oh. It was an accident, wasn't it?

Listen, are you gonna tell me about the men in her life or not?

All right, the men. Now, remember,

I wasn't particularly trying to find out about her,

but I do remember one or two.

There was an actor fella. There were a couple of those beach types.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And there was a kid that played…

You want me to tell you the truth? Yeah.

I'm interested in one guy in particular. Who?

Forty years old, well dressed, distinguished.

Wait a minute. Now, wait a minute.

Come to think of it, there was one older gentleman she was seeing.

Really? Can you describe him?

Would a picture help?

A picture? Are ya kidding? Mm-mmm.

You have a picture of this fella? Yeah, it's around here someplace if I haven't thrown it away.

It's probably in my album.

Where did you get a photograph of him?

Well, I was taking some snapshots of my nephew out at the pool.

And Tracy and her friend were out there, so I took one of them too.

I'm sure it's in one of these. You're a lifesaver.

Well, let's see.

Oh! Here was one. That's when my cousins were out here from Milwaukee.

We stopped at one of those roadside stands, you know, for date malts.

Oh, I got so sick, but they're awful good. Have you ever had one?

Think you'd like 'em.

Oh, there's Cindy Lou. That's my cousirs kid.

She's named for me. Look at her. That's at Graumars Chinese.

She's trying to fit her feet into the… you know, the things in the concrete.

That's awful cute. I made her that dress.

Doesn't that look nice? Um…

Can you see… Well, let's see, now.

Oh! Here's a whole bunch of us that went out to the family plot and had a picnic.

We did some weeding and planting. We had the best time. [Clears Throat]

We had more laughs… Look, isn't that cute? That's my Uncle Henry there.

Oh. Now, wait a minute. We must…

Do you have any… That's a nice one too. Look at that. That was taken at the zoo.

Isn't that a good one of a lion? Wonderful. Do you have any idea…

Now, wait a minute. Oh-oh, here it is. Here you go. There. Well, there he is.

That's the one. Any help? No kidding?

That's not him. Oh, I'm sorry.

<i>[Man]</i> <i>You guys still guarding this place?</i>

<i>[Gardener]</i> <i>Just me. I keep the tourists away.</i>

Say, uh, you know anything about aphids?

Aphids? Yeah, they're destroying my roses.

My wife doesn't want me to use any pesticides. Hmm.

Hard spray from your garden hose around 4:00 or 5:00 p.m.

Uh, the surs still hot enough to dry,

and it won't burn your flowers.

Just water, huh?

Thanks. I'll try it. Okay.

Hey! Come here!

Look at this!

Your ex-husband lived right up there, didn't he?

Uh, y-yes, right up there on the hill,

brooding down on me like Zeus.

When we were married, I always used to like this house.

As soon as we got divorced, I moved in.

But for years, Rudy and I couldn't have been farther away from each other…

if I'd bought a house on the Moon.

Are you sure you wouldn't like a drink? Oh, no.

Thank you very much. Are they real?

Yes. May I?

Oh, of course. Help yourself. Thank you.

So, uh, what changed all that?

I mean, how did you and Rudy get to seeing one another again?

Well, we just bumped into each other a couple of months ago.

<i>And, well, we were older…</i>

<i>and he wasn't</i> <i>quite so stuffy anymore.</i>

And maybe I don't throw things…

like parties and handsome Italians quite so much.

Ma'am, I know you're in a hurry. You wanna go shopping.

But I wondered first if we could talk about…

<i>But you want to know</i> <i>about that will thing.</i>

Of course. L-I don't blame you.

Uh, but don't misunderstand.

<i>Rudy and I werert starting…</i>

<i>to sing September songs</i> <i>or anything like that.</i>


Well, you see, years ago…

I used to think I was artistic,

and I literally dragged him into his first museum.

<i>And that's how</i> <i>his whole collection all began.</i>

Because naturally, Rudy started sensing a good investment area.

And some of the paintings I liked werert too bad.

But it was my understanding that it was his nephew who picked out all his paintings.

Oh, yes, later on.

But Dale was just in college then.

Uh, that was just about the time when…

when I started misbehaving.

And then, of course, after our divorce, the collection became an obsession with Rudy…

and a whole career for Dale.

So since you were in at the beginning, Mr. Mathews last month decided to leave the whole collection to you?

But he didn't want me to keep them.

<i>You don't think that, do you?</i> Well…

Oh, dear. I guess nobody's going to understand.

[Stammering] No. You see,

poor Rudy was finally tired of it, that's all…

all the greedy buying and bidding and hoarding.

He finally… He finally agreed with me…

that the people should own those lovely things instead of just collectors.

<i>He decided to give them all away…</i>

<i>to schools, museums.</i>

Oh! But, oh, dear,

it takes so much time to work that out…

to decide which places get which.

And in the meantime, he didn't want Dale Kingston to get his hands on it. Is that it?

<i>I don't like to say that.</i>

I was just so happy that Rudy was finally turning human.

<i>[Doorbell Rings]</i>

Who on Earth…

Hello, Aunt Edna. May I come in? How are you, dear?

<i>I didn't think you'd even remember</i> <i>where I lived.</i>

Of course I do. Got a message from a Lt. Col…

Oh, there you are. What's this all about?

Is it about the gun? What?

Wait a minute. What gun? What is all this?

Well, I thought you'd be interested. About a half hour ago,

a gardener up on that hill there,

he found a.38 revolver,

and it's the same kind as the one that was missing from your uncle's desk.

Uh, may I use your phone?

Oh, yes, of course.

Isn't that silly? Right up above my house.

L-I've walked on that hill myself.


Is this Charlie? Lt. Columbo.

Charlie, I sent that stuff over there over a half hour ago…

Oh. Thank you.

  • It's the murder gun, all right.
  • Oh.

Oh, there's nothing to be upset about.

<i>[Edna]</i> <i>But I was just telling Dale,</i>

l-I go up there myself when I want a breath of air.

I even walked over to see Rudy just the night before he was killed.

Aunt Edna, I don't think you oughta say another word.

<i>The lieutenant may get</i> <i>the wrong idea.</i> <i>What?</i>

Oh, but-but surely no one would think that I…

Threw that gun there? Oh, no, Mrs. Mathews. No, no, no, no, no.

<i>No, you see,</i> <i>I finally figured out what happened.</i>

Whoever was in that house that night, they ran out the back. They just kept on going.

Well, naturally, they were anxious to get rid of your ex-husband's gun.

<i>It could've been anybody.</i>

It could? <i>Yes. Absolutely, it could.</i>

You have nothing to worry about. Now, did you wanna go shopping?

Well, I was planning to meet some friends at the fashion center, but I can do that some other time.

No, I want you to go right ahead,

and I want you to forget about all this.

Just do what my wife does, 'cause when she hits a department store,

she can forget anything, even the fact that I'm sittir outside waiting.

Have a good time, Edna. Bye.

What are you trying to do to her?

I'm sorry, I don't follow. Well, you know perfectly well…

that it was a woman that ran out of that place that night.

You said so yourself. Yeah, sure, but not her.

Oh, I hope you really mean that, Lieutenant…

that you're not just playing some kind of a game with her.

A game? Yes. You know what I mean.

Lulling her into a sense of false security. Edna's a very vulnerable woman.

Mr. Kingston, you've got me all wrong, really. I wouldn't think of a thing like that.

That lady wouldn't hurt a fly. <i>[Man]</i> <i>Lieutenant?</i>

Can you come around here for a minute?

You told me not to bother you until she'd gone.

What is it? Well, we found something else.

She's got some trash cans back here.

'Rudy Mathews, 417 Pine View."

<i>Looks like that piece of wrapping paper</i> <i>that was torn from the rest of it</i> <i>in his house. Remember?</i>

<i>We figured the thief used it.</i>

All right, you'd better get that down for fingerprinting and comparison with the other paper.

<i>Is there anything else?</i>

No, we've covered every inch of the grounds.

Be careful with that.

Now what? I don't know.

I know what you're thinking, Lieutenant.

The gun, and now this new evidence.

Looks pretty bad for her. Yes, it does. Yes.

I'm still convinced that Edna had absolutely nothing to do with this.

You know, I think I agree with ya.

Look at it this way. If she's really guilty,

she's not gonna put that paper in a garbage can, is she?

I mean, she's probably gonna burn it in the fireplace or somethir.

Yes, exactly. That's the point.

And you know something else, Mr. Kingston? You're absolutely right about her.

She's a… What did you call it before?

Vulnerable. Vulnerable, yes. She's a vulnerable woman.

And I'm afraid that if I press her too hard,

she'll fall apart. Oh, yes.

And I sure don't wanna make the same mistake that I made with you.

No, sir. What I'm gonna do is this.

I'm gonna sit on everything until those stolen paintings show up. I see.

  • I mean, that's the best way

to handle it, don't you think?

  • Yes, yes, of course.

I mean, I don't wanna go around pointing my finger at anyone until I have an ain'tight case.

  • Right?
  • Right.

Uh, Lieutenant,

your man said that you'd, uh… you'd covered every… every inch of the place here.

<i>Did that include the inside of the house?</i> Well, she gave us permission, but I don't wanna bother.

Well, don't you think you should?

I mean, for her protection.

And when you fail to find the paintings, you can cross her name off the list entirely.

Well, it hardly seems won'th the trouble. Neither of us thinks she's guilty. Why bother?

Well, for her sake so she can be certain. Search the house, Lieutenant.

No, really, I think it's a waste of time.

<i>But if anything new comes up,</i> <i>I'll let you know.</i> <i>[Starts Engine]</i>

Edna? She's utterly harmless.

Exactly. That's why we've got to help her.

But is there really any danger of her arrest?

You told me yourself the lieutenant doesn't think she's guilty.

That's today, Frank. Who knows what he'll think tomorrow?

In case you haven't noticed, he is a very haphazard individual.

Hmm. And if he doesn't break the case soon? Exactly.

He starts looking for a scapegoat because the pressure's building up on him,

and Edna's the most obvious candidate.

Well, what should we do?

Protect her. I'm sure Rudy would've wanted both of us to look out for her interests.

She trusts you, Frank.

Get her in here. Talk to her like a Dutch uncle. Fill her in on the situation.

You're sure we should allow her house to be searched?

Absolutely. In fact, I think you ought to recommend that we insist on it.

And that way, we get it on the record that nothing has been found to incriminate her.

All right. Miss Henderson, get me Mrs. Mathews.

Oh, uh, she's shopping at the fashion center in Beverly Hills.

You could bring her in here right now and clarify this whole thing.

Miss Henderson, have her paged at the fashion center. We'll clear it up today.

Well, there may be one small hitch to that.

Unfortunately, Lt. Columbo refuses to search the house.

He claims it to be a waste of time. <i>Oh?</i>

Which merely perpetuates Edna's anxiety.

I really wish there was something we could do about that man, Frank.

Well, perhaps there's, um, some way around him.

You really think so?

I have a few friends at city hall. Let me look into it.

Fine. Thank you.

I'll just run one little errand, and I'll be right back.

<i>Fine. Fine.</i> <i>Uh, Miss Henderson,</i>

<i>after I talk to Mrs. Mathews,</i> <i>I want the police department.</i>


Edna does have an excellent motive.

You, uh… You don't think there's any chance…

Of course not.

You oughta be ashamed of yourself, Frank.

Yeah. Sorry.

I just don't understand any of this.

It's just a precautionary measure, Aunt Edna, nothing more.

But what do you want them to search my house for?

What will they find? Absolutely nothing. That's just the point.

Now, come on.

Frank. Mm-hmm.

Where, uh… Where do you want me to put these?

Oh, uh, in there.

Anywhere. Oh, I need a drink.

Of course you do, darling. So do I. Let me fix it for you.

Here are your keys.

<i>Still scotch?</i> Yes.

<i>How about you, Frank?</i> <i>A drink?</i> Yes, on the rocks, please.

I'm sorry we have to put you through this now. But believe me,

<i>it'll all be over soon, huh?</i>

Why would anyone think that I'd want to kill Rudy? <i>Nobody does.</i>

We just wanna make sure that it stays that way, that's all.

That's why Frank is having the police come in and search the house.

<i>Believe me, it's all for the best.</i>

Dale, I don't even remember what happened…

the night Rudy was killed.

I get so nervous, l-I take sleeping pills sometimes.

  • That's one thing you should…


  • Oh!

Oh! Excuse me. Oh!

Let me just dry off. I'll be right back.


<i>[Edna]</i> <i>Oh, isn't that a shame?</i>

<i>Uh, Frank…</i>

<i>[Doorbell Rings]</i>

Frank, must we go through this?

Edna, you will be so much better off…

  • <i>[Doorbell Rings]</i>
  • Come on. Come on.

Nothing to be nervous about now.

Go ahead.

Miss Mathews? Captain Wyler, police department.

<i>[Edna]</i> <i>Yes. Please, come in.</i>

<i>[Wyler]</i> <i>Thank you.</i>

Sorry. You can't go in there.

<i>[Columbo]</i> <i>I'm a lieutenant,</i> <i>so, do you mind?</i>

It's okay, Ferguson. Let him in.

Hi, Captain. Columbo.

Uh… Oh, hi, Mr. Kingston. Hello, Lieutenant.

Listen, I just heard about this. Word came down from above to have the place searched.

Is that so? Yeah. And I can't understand why.

The fact is, I was kind of bypassed when I came over here.

Well, apparently you're just not needed here then, Lieutenant.

Why don't you just go home and have your dinner?

Oh, no, I'd better hang around, because, you know,

if I leave now, it looks bad upstairs, you know.


Oh, hello, Mrs. Mathews. Mr. Simpson. <i>Hi.</i>

Gee, I hope this is not upsetting you too much.

Well, I'm not very happy…

<i>about my house</i> <i>being torn apart.</i>

  • <i>But they advised me to do it.</i>
  • They?
  • <i>Who is "they"?</i>
  • Mr. Kingston and I

thought it was necessary, Lieutenant.

Oh, I see. Oh.

It's really very confusing.

You said you didn't suspect me of anything, didn't you?

Yes, I did, ma'am, and I meant that.

And, actually, I was opposed to… Captain Wyler.

Clear this table.

Where'd you find those?

Linen closet in the hallway.

<i>Edna, how could you?</i>

<i>[Gasps]</i> <i>Dale, believe me,</i>

I have no idea how they got there!

  • You'd better not say another word.
  • But…

Edna, he's right.

Do you intend to charge her formally, Captain?

It's up to Lt. Columbo. It's his case.

<i>What do you mean it's his case?</i> <i>I thought it was…</i>

<i>We know what you thought,</i> <i>Mr. Kingston.</i>


Well, I think we can get started with the fingerprinting. Let's get the kit.

Careful, there. Be very careful.

Gee, they're something, aren't they?

Pastels, you know.

May I ask what this is all about, Lieutenant?

Both of'em. <i>Lieutenant?</i>

Oh, Mr. Kingston. Uh, yes, just give us a moment, please. Do you mind?

We're getting a few. Good.

I'd like an answer, if you don't mind.

Uh, well, I'd have to start with your uncle's will.

What about it?

Well, you see, he pulled a rug out from under you when he left his collection to Mrs. Mathews.

So you only had one thing that you could do…

murder him and blame it on her.

I hope you realize the full import of what you're saying, Lieutenant. There are witnesses here.

You see, under the law,

anyone who criminally causes the death of someone else can't inerit from that person.

<i>Is that right, Mr. Simpson?</i> That's correct.

So if Mrs. Mathews is convicted, you're next in line.

<i>Everything goes to you.</i> <i>That's why you planted the gun,</i>

and that's why you planted the wrapping paper,

and that's why you planted these paintings.

<i>Dale! I can't believe it!</i>

But you'd like to, wouldn't you?

Get you right off the hook.

All right, Lieutenant. You claimed that I planted these paintings? Suppose you prove it.

  • Can we?
  • Yeah.

Yeah… with fingerprints.

Sorry to disappoint you, Lieutenant. Fingerprints won't help you at all.

My fingerprints are all over those paintings.

My uncle and I unwrapped them when they came back from the exhibit. I told you, didn't I?

I told you myself. They're covered with my prints.

No, we're not looking for your prints.


Do you remember the time that I was in your apartment, and you came in with some paintings?

<i>And you said that they were watercolors,</i> <i>and you wanted to evaluate 'em.</i>

And remember I wanted to see 'em, and you wouldn't let me? And I even touched 'em.

  • You touched…
  • Yes, my fingerprints

are on those paintings.

Now, if Mrs. Mathews is guilty,

how could my fingerprints get on paintings that she stole?

Uh, this is entrapment.

It's a setup, that's all.

You-You-You-You touched those paintings just now while I wasn't looking.

You saw him do it, didn't you? You put your prints on those paintings…

while you were bent over watching them while they were working on it!

<i>He touched them!</i> <i>You touched… You…</i>

Season 2

Season 3

Publish or Perish

I'll be the authority

behind every bombing in the world.

Bombs away, Eddie Kane.

Find the evidence, Lieutenant.

Quit jumping to conclusions and quit trying to take the easy way.

Sex is our only mysticism in this world today.

I think someone's tryin' to pin this murder on Mr. Greenleaf.

Now, look, I've got people coming over to my house tonight.

Just exactly what is your problem?

This chili's good, I'll tell you that.


[Tires screeching]



Bravo, Eddie. Very efficient.

And may I add that you are

truly a living tribute to American ingenuity.

A bit depressing for the rats,

but what's one less rat in the world, eh, Eddie?

Get on with it.

Yes, of course.

First of all, let me impress upon you

that the timing is everything. Everything.



2230 hours. Army time.

Makes it 10:30 at night instead of in the morning.

Oh, yes, of course. 2230 hours.

Wanna synchronize watches?

No, no, that won't be necessary.

Everything all right with you, Eddie?


I just wondered. I thought perhaps

you might be losing your nerve.

One guy?

I fragged a couple of hundred in Nam.


One shot in the heart. No more.


Economy, huh?


Here's the gun.

Now, remember,

you have to shoot it without smudging the prints

on that handle.

And the key.

[Key rattling]

You've got the rubber gloves?

Well, then. Everything is all clear.


What about you publishin' my book?

Yes, of course. I was just coming to that.

Well, your first advance, Eddie.


We'll draw up a formal contract

in a couple of days.

No kiddin'?

That's great.

You're smart, Mr. Greenleaf.

You're gonna make a fortune out of my book.

Three years I've been working on it.

Three years.

I've described every single kind of explosive there is,

and how to make it.

Well, that's your genius, Eddie.

Your sort of do-it-yourself book

will undoubtedly change the world.

Yes. Yes, that's right.

Those poor kids, those amateurs,

plantin' bombs and blowin' themselves up.

They're really going to learn how to do it right from me.

Believe me, I know.

I'm sure you do.

You're doin' a great thing, Mr. Greenleaf.

We both are, Eddie.


you have to come through for me tonight.

Oh, that. He's dead already.


[Car engine starting]

[People chattering]


Eileen, you look gorgeous. Give me a kiss.

I take every opportunity, you know.

Hellos and goodbyes are the only kisses I get.

Well, have you met all the great,

and near-great, and so on and so on?

I sure have.

It's a fine bunch of people you have here, too.

This party is partly for you, you know.

To impress you enough to come and join

the Neal Publishing house.

Mr. Neal, I don't need impressing. I'm ready.

We told Riley Greenleaf today.

Allen's contract is up in three weeks,

and then we're free.

And I assume Riley took it with good grace.

Oh, of course, aside from apoplexy.

Would you want to lose the author of five bestsellers?

Oh, hardly, hardly. Miss, will you take this, please?

Listen, I hope you can join me for dinner tonight. You and Eileen, both.

I'm sorry, I can't.

Perhaps just you?

Oh, thanks.


Uh-oh. Has somebody arrived?

I invited Norman Mailer.

Yes, but did you invite him?

Oh, there you are.

Don't move.

Not that I know of.

He looks a little tanked up.

You better ignore him.

Ignore a tarantula?

You're lovely. Leave.

Well, there they are. The Holy Trinity.

The only thing missing is the golden glow.

Fortunately, my presence shall make up for that.

Nice of you to drop in, Riley.

My pleasure. My pleasure.

I was curious to see what mysterious lures

the great Geoffrey Neal was using to steal

my pocket-sized Hemingway.

Riley, please.

Oh, there she is, the lovely handmaiden.


Literary agent and concubine,

ever present at her master's side,

an inspiring muse with real flesh.

All right, cut it out. Don't you understand?

I don't want a contract with you anymore.

After four years of grinding out some of that garbage you…

Garbage? Oh, no, no, sir, that was sex.

And sex is our only mysticism

in this world today of the new illiterates…

Our old contract is up in three weeks,

and that's it, Riley.

Your relationship does seem terminal, Riley.

He was writing obituaries

for the Pasadena News when I found him,

and I alone made him into a bestseller.

And now he would like to write better things…


…and for Mr. Neal's company.

Oh, you're kidding.

My dear friend, if you do, you will die.

I'm sorry Riley, but I think it's best

if you keep your next appointment.

His new book belongs to me,

and I've got him under contract.

All right. That'll be enough for now.

Well, I'll tell you one thing.

He'll never write for you

or anyone else, and I shall see to it.

Good night, you charming people.

[Engine shutting off]



(Greenleaf) Hey.

[All laughing]

Hey, bartender!

If you don't mind, a little less conversation,

a little more service at the end of this bar.

Thank you.

What did you put in this glass?

That's a double Scotch and soda, sir.

Just what you ordered.

What do you take me for, some kind of a fool?

This tastes like bile.

Hey! Hey!

Come on. Let go of me.

I think you've had enough for tonight, sir.

Oh, really? I'll be the judge of that.

Let go of me.


Buy yourself a personality.

Let go. Stop manhandling me.

Stinking joint!

You and this place deserve to be in the Valley.

(Mallory) Good morning, Agnes.

Yesterday's pages looked okay.

I found a few errors you can fix up here.

Let's pick it up from Page 479,

and that should wrap it up for the first draft.

Conrad held Li Chen close against him

feeling her soft trembling body yield to his embrace.

(Mallory) He knew that this must be love.

If it wasn't,

it would have to do until the war was over.

(Mallory) Conrad prowled the room

looking for the inside of his personal tunnel.

There was no sleep for him that night.

It was only 60 miles to Saigon, he thought.

But how far could he ever put Saigon behind him?

But there was only one real decision to be reached,

and it had been formed a long time ago.

He knew which way he would have to turn.

Out across the plains was the monastery of St. Ignatius,

offering him hope and a chance to wash away

the wounds of war that had brutalized him.

He turned to look at Li Chen

sleeping on the straw mattress,

her tiny body heaving fitfully.

He would not wake her.

It was better that she find him gone.

Saigon and the fighting was far away.

From the window…


[Tires screeching]

What's the matter with you? Hey, fool!

Look what you've done to my car.

Oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't see you.

What we've done to your car?

Look what you've done to our car. Tell him, Ralph.

Well, sir, you… you… you did pull out without looking.


That's ridiculous. You, Ralphy, are a fool,

you're a liar,

and you're a menace to your fellow man.

Don't take that from him, Ralph.

And you, madam, shut up!

All right, here, Ralphy.

I suggest you call that number

the first thing in the morning.

That's my insurance agent.

He'll know how to deal with you.

Sir, in your condition, I should call the police.

Madam, in your condition, I'd call a plastic surgeon.


[Tires screeching]

Let's see, it would have to be around…

I come to work at 10:00,

so that would have to make it around midnight,

I guess. Yeah.

Excuse me, coming through.


Yeah. About… About midnight. L… l… I was…

That's when I found him.

I was bringing him his coffee.

Coffee? Did you leave the building?

Oh, no, I keep it down in the basement.

Hey, did somebody mention coffee?

Yeah, I brought Mr. Mallory's coffee.

I always brought him his coffee, every night.

Yeah? You still got some?

Yeah, it's in the other room. But it's probably cold by now.

That's all right. I'd drink anything.

You know how much sleep I've had

the last two nights? Maybe five hours.

Last night it was Bette Davis.

2:00 in the morning,

my wife wants to watch Bette Davis.

So we're watching Bette Davis.

Did you find out about that key yet, Lieutenant?

Oh, this is brutal.

Um, the key?


Oh, no, the super, he comes in at 7::00.

All right.

But, you know, she is a terrific actress,

this woman Bette Davis. Forget about it.

Um, excuse me.

Uh, Kramer?

(man) Watch it. Coming through.

You finished up over here?

Just about, Lieutenant. Just about.

How did he get in?


The guard.

How'd you get in, sir? With a pass key?

Yeah, yeah. I knocked,

but I couldn't hear anybody workin', you see?

But I could see the light shining through the door.

That's when I come in, and l… and I found him.

Did you touch anything here?

You think I'm some kind of a nut?

That's your job. I've got problems of my own.

Lieutenant, this gentleman said

he came here to see Mr. Mallory.

What's going on in here?

Who are you, sir?

Norman Wolpert. Lewis Manuscript Service.

I'm here to pick up Mr. Mallory's tape

for transcription.

Messenger service?

Manuscript service.

What are you doing here at this hour?

Why do you come so late?

It's the same time I come every night.

Yeah… Yeah, that… that's right, Lieutenant. L… I can vouch for that.

Is Mr. Mallory all right?

Well, I'm afraid Mr. Mallory is dead.

What happened?

That's what we're trying to find out.

Lou, you take this young man's statement.

You talk to this gentleman, and then you can go home.

It's all yours, Lieutenant.

Sweeney, you getting anything here?

Not much. A lot of dust.

Leave this here.

(Mallory) …her tiny body heaving fitfully.

He would not wake her.

It was better that she find him gone.

(Young) You need the security guard anymore?

What was that?

Is it okay if I let him go back to the lobby?

Yeah, let him go.

…from the window.

[Gun firing on tape]


(policeman) Lieutenant?


Did you hear that?

They paid that guy a lot of money for writing that tripe.

Wait a minute.

Uh, Lieutenant.

[Tape rewinding] Wait a minute.

…from the window.

[Gun firing on tape]


[Door closing]

We found this in the basement corridor.

It's been fired.



Where did you say you found it? In the corridor?

You mean, it was just laying there, right out in the open?

That's right.

We also found some jimmy marks

on the outside basement door.

That's how the guy got in the building.

Thank you very much.

Uh, Sweeney, prints, Ballistics, please.

Sure, Lieutenant.

I'm all through here, anyway.


What, Lieutenant?


[Brakes screeching]

[Crickets chirping]


(policeman) Sir?


What? What?

What? What… What… What is it? What?

What're you doin' here parked in the park?

'C-'Cause there's a sign out there that said,

"No parking in the street."

Step out of your car, please, sir.

Certainly… Certainly not.

I am on my way home, Officer.

So would you kindly shut that door, please?

Please, uh, step out of the car, sir.


If you want me to get out of this car,

Officer, or Sergeant,

you're gonna have to drag me out.


Uh, Fred?

Need help, huh?

Lt. Columbo?

How're you doing?

Lieutenant, I would like my client released.

He's being treated like a common criminal,

and I want to know why.

Well, there has been a crime.

Mr. Chase, is it?

David Chase.

Mr. Greenleaf?

Yes, that's right.

My name is Lt. Columbo.

Anybody want coffee?

No, I want to go home.

Why don't you just tell me what the bail is,

and I'll take Mr. Greenleaf home.

I wouldn't know, sir.

I'm not connected with the Traffic Division.

I'm attached to Homicide.



What is all this about?

I just wanna ask Mr. Greenleaf

if he can identify a voice for me.

Now, just a minute.

Won't take long.

(Mallory) …offering him hope and a chance to wash away

the wounds of war that had brutalized him.

He turned to look at Li Chen

sleeping on the straw mattress…

It's Allen's voice.

…her tiny body heaving fitfully.

He would not wake her.

It was better that she find him gone.

Yes, it's Allen Mallory.

Slowly, he turned away…

All right, I've identified the voice.

Can I leave now?

[Gun firing on tape]

[Metallic clanging on tape]

That's right, sir. I'm afraid this man is dead.

Oh, God, no.

But who? Why?

That's what I wanted to ask you, Mr. Mr. Greenleaf.

The medical examiner sets the time of death around 10:30.

Would you mind telling me where you were at that time?

Riley, you don't have to answer that question.

David, I don't mind answering the question.

The fact is, Lieutenant,

I don't… I don't know where I was.

Yes, it's true. I saw Allen last night,

briefly, at a press party.

We had some words, not important,

but I was very upset by it.

I drove around. I'd been drinking quite a bit.

I don't remember anything about last night.

Poor Allen.

I wonder if you can identify this key.


Would you mind taking a closer look at it?

All keys look alike to me.

Yes, sir. But I believe this is your key.

The building superintendent told me

that Mr. Mallory's office

was leased 18 months ago by you.

This is one of the two keys that he gave you.

If you say so.

Get to the point, Lieutenant.

We found this key on the office floor,

a few feet from Mr. Mallory's body.

Evidently, it belongs to him.

No, sir. We checked the victim's key ring,

and the one that fit the outer door

was on his person.

This key, your key,

this is the fellow that bothers me.

I've already told you,

I don't know anything about it.

What bothers you about it, Lieutenant?

How it got there?

Could have been dropped days before.

Do you own a.38 Smith & Wesson revolver?

Now, just a minute.

David, I have nothing to hide.

Yes, I do own a pistol,

but I don't know what make it is.

Lieutenant, why are you asking me

all these questions?

Oh, surely you don't believe I had anything to do

with Allen's death?

Well, obviously, some thief broke into the office

when Allen was working.

There was nothing to steal.

Mr. Mallory's wallet wasn't disturbed.

And you just said that you were drinking last night.

You can't explain your whereabouts

at the time of the death.

Riley, I'm sorry. I must insist you answer no more questions,

at least until we've had a chance to confer.


That is, unless Lt. Columbo is placing you under arrest.

Arrest? No. No, no.

Mr. Greenleaf, you're free to go.

I thought he might be.

But I may be asking some questions later on.

Of course. I'll be at home all day.

Dear God. Poor Allen.

David, I just can't believe it.

I just can't believe it.

(Columbo) I'm gonna be very honest with you, Miss McRae.

Actually, I'm interested in the activities of

one particular person, a Mr. Riley Greenleaf.


Well, you picked a beauty, Lieutenant.

If anybody had it in for Allen,

it was Riley Greenleaf.

Really? That seems strange.

You know, I spoke to Mr. Greenleaf earlier this morning.

He seemed to me like he was genuinely upset,

acted like he'd lost a close friend.


That's beautiful. Allen was about to walk out on him,

taking a best-selling book with him.

That must have been the book

that Mr. Mallory was dictating.

I see.

Gonna walk out and take the book…

Well, wait a minute now.

I'm confused a little bit.

Wouldn't these two men have a contract?

Yeah, but it was about to expire.

In three weeks.

But still the book would still belong

to Mr. Greenleaf, wouldn't it?

You've got a lot to learn

about the publishing business, Lieutenant.

Riley Greenleaf didn't know about that book.

Allen never talked to him about it,

and never would,

until he was free of that contract.

I see. You mind if I smoke?


I understand that Mr. Greenleaf

has made threats against Mr. Mallory.

You know anything about that?

Last night, he said some ugly things.

He said if Allen didn't write for him,

he wouldn't write for anybody.

He said that?


But… But don't take my word for it,

there were a lot of witnesses there.

No kidding.


(David) The fact they questioned you in a state of fatigue

opens the doors to a serious consideration

of involuntary self-incrimination.

On that basis alone, I'm sure we could…

David, would you please shut up?

You don't seem to realize that Allen is dead,

and I may be the one who killed him.

I'd keep that opinion to myself if I were you, Riley.

A Lt. Columbo to see you, sir.

Yes, ask him to come in. Thank you, Edwards.

Yes, sir.

Riley, you don't understand.

I'm as upset as you are about Allen's death.

But you must not say anything that could be

construed as an admission of guilt.

Oh, Lieutenant,

I'd like to apologize for this morning, but I…

I must tell you honestly,

I don't remember a thing about last night.

I understand, sir.

Forgive the condition of the room,

but I'm redecorating.

(David) More questions, Lieutenant?

Or are you here to press some kind of charges?

Well, sir, you see, we traced the gun.

My gun. It was my gun, wasn't it?

Yes, sir, we were able to trace it to you.

Yeah, I knew that.

When I looked in the car, in the glove compartment,

I saw that my gun was missing.

Well, obviously someone stole it.

It doesn't look that way, sir.

The only fingerprints we were able to find

on the handle of that gun were Mr. Greenleaf's.

There were no other prints on the gun.

Well, that's it, isn't it?


Allen walked out on me,

took his latest book to another publisher,

and I suppose

in anger, I killed him.

Oh, that new book, I suppose that's a pretty valuable piece of property.

Anything that he wrote was valuable, Lieutenant.


If anybody was around to write

the first genuine bestseller about Vietnam,

it certainly was Allen Mallory.

Is that a fact, really?

I was always under the impression

that war stories, they all went over big.

Only our popular wars.

30 years ago, World War II was a goldmine.

But Vietnam that's a plague.

Hold it. Wait a minute.

I'm confused. Either I'm confused,

or somebody's not telling the truth.

I was told, Mr. Greenleaf,

that you knew nothing about the contents

of Mr. Mallory's new book.

Actually, I don't. It's just that this morning,

listening to Allen's voice on the tape,

didn't he mention something about Saigon and a war?

L… I just assumed that…

You're absolutely right. I'm sorry, forgive me.

Well, this is a puzzler.

L… I don't know quite what to say.

Do you remember taking the gun out of your car?

No, but…

Riley, I warned you not to say anything.

Will you please stay out of this?

I can't watch you talk yourself into a murder charge.

You'll do exactly as I ask you to do,

and I pay you handsomely just for that privilege. So, please, stay out of it.

You say you've always kept your gun in the car?


Is that the car?

It is.

May I take a look?

Of course, if you'd like.

How long has this lock been broken?

Well, I don't know that it is.

It's been jimmied, sir, and the scratch mark is fresh.

[Birds chirping]

May I?

I think you're absolutely right, Lieutenant.

I see what you're driving at.

You mean that… that someone could have broken into the car,

and that's how the gun was stolen.

It's possible, sir.

And the key.


The key to Allen's office, I kept an extra one here

in the glove compartment, along with the gun.

No, it's gone, too.

(Edwards) Mr. Greenleaf?


Telephone, sir. It's Mr. Trumble.

He says it's quite important.

David, would you take the call?

I'm in no mood to discuss insurance, please.

I'll have him call back later.

Oh, no, wait.

You'd better find out what he wants.

Yeah, I guess somebody gave you a pretty good rap back here.

Oh, yeah. That's a beauty, isn't it?

That's the first time I noticed that.

No kiddin'.

I'll tell you, bodywork like that,

gotta run you $100-$150.


Lieutenant, when you own a car like this,

it costs that much merely to raise the hood.

No kiddin'.


Listen, my wife's got a cousin in the Valley, who owns a body shop,

I mean, if you want me to talk to him…

That's very decent of you.

You see, I have a cousin in Beverly Hills.

He does all my work for me.

Lieutenant, I have some disappointing news for you.

You'll have to stick this murder on somebody else.

Riley's got an alibi that even he doesn't know about

and it's iron-clad.

Well, what is it?

I mean, I'm very glad to hear that.

At 10:30 last evening, Riley Greenleaf

was involved in an auto accident

in the parking lot of the Moore Park Inn.

(David) That's in Encino.

Encino? What the devil was I doing there?

You were drinking at the bar, I'm pleased to inform you.

Then he was taken to jail, where he spent

most of the evening in the drunk tank

till I got him out.

An experience I don't wish to relive, thank you.

Yeah… Yeah, son of a gun.

Well, I guess that just about does it.

You may say that again.

All I can say is, thank God.


A blackout is a frightening thing.

I must be grateful to those people

for having the good sense

to call my insurance company to report…

David, do you realize that if those people

had not contacted Mark Trumble…

What… what would have…

I don't even want to think about that.

That accident there, that must have been

where you damaged the rear end of your car.

Yes, I suppose so.

Well, listen, I'd better go check this thing out.

Still, it's funny.

(Greenleaf) What's that, Lieutenant?


The fact that

only your fingerprints were on the gun.

Well, listen, I don't want to impose on you.

Thank you very much for the cooperation.

Oh, you're more than welcome.

Please don't hesitate to call

if… if there's anything I can do.

Oh, yes, sir.

Lt. Columbo.


I suppose you realize what you almost did?


You were going to arrest him, weren't you?

Well, it did seem to me

that… that he was somehow involved.


When are you police going to realize

that it takes more than circumstantial evidence

to convict a man of a crime?



Find the evidence, Lieutenant.

Quit jumping to conclusions

and quit trying to take the easy way.

Oh, Mr. Chase, uh, one thing.

About that accident,

do you happen to know who else was involved?

It's a couple from El Monte.

Mr. And Mrs. Morgan. Why?

Well, you see, I didn't know, uh…

I just wasn't sure

whether it was just one person in the other car,

or whether there was more than one.

And, uh, when…

No, I was just telling your attorney that I wasn't sure

whether there was just one person in the other car

or whether there was more than one.

And when you said that you were relieved

that those people, more than one,

when you were relieved that those people

called your insurance man,

I thought maybe the blackout was starting to clear up,

and you were beginning to remember what happened.

Perhaps he is, subconsciously.

That's probably it. His subconscious.

(Greenleaf) I don't care what he says, David.

He's a 2-bit writer.

You tell him to sign the writer on that contract,

or he's out.

Oh, he'll sign it. He's hungry. Thanks, David.

[Intercom buzzing]

Yes, Betsy?

(Betsy) Mr. Greenleaf, there's a strange man

wandering around the editorial section.

I thought you should know.

What do you want me to do?

You want to get rid of him, call the police.

That's just it. He says he is the police.

Look, you're not supposed to wrestle her to the deck.

You're supposed to make her swoon with passion.

Now give it to me. Give it to me.

His T-shirt smells.

His T-shirt smells? Your T-shirt smells?


would you please tell me what you're doing here?

Oh, I see you're free, sir.

The receptionist told me you were tied up,

so I decided to wander around.

I hope you don't mind.

Yes, I'm afraid I do mind.

My people happen to be very busy.

Yes, sir. I can see that. I'm very sorry.

What are they doing in there?

Oh, we're shooting a cover for a new paperback.

It's on anthropology.

Uh, Mr. Greenleaf, I came by to tell you that

I've checked out that accident,

and there's no question about it.

You were there.

Oh, I can't tell you how relieved I am to hear that.

I'm… I'm sorry I yelled.

The only thing I have to do now, sir,

is try and find the person who framed you.

Frame me?

Yes, sir. It was a frame.

No question about it.

The fingerprints on the gun,

too perfect, not smudged at all.

Now since we know that you didn't shoot Mr. Mallory

that means that whoever fired that pistol

was very careful not to disturb your fingerprints.

I just can't believe that.

Oh, it's a frightening thought, all right.

But you know, you were very lucky,

I mean with that accident.

I mean, the time it happened and the witnesses.

Count your blessings, sir.

You know, if it hadn't been for that accident,

things would've looked very bad for you now.

You know, uh, lookin' at some of these posters

got me thinkin'.

They got a guy down at the department

who wrote a couple of books.

Maybe you've heard of him.

What's his name?

Yes, I know who you mean, Lieutenant.

You know, he's only a sergeant

and I've handled a lot more cases than he has.

I was thinkin'…

That maybe you might write a book?

Oh, I'm not talkin' about a big book.

You know, I mean, maybe a short book,

just to get the hang of it. Some of my cases.

Sure, why not?

Except that if you're gonna write a book,

it takes a certain amount of skill.

Oh, I don't expect to be a great writer

like Mr. Mallory or anything like that. No.

Uh, jeez, you know, that reminds me.

He must've been very valuable to you, sir.

The insurance guy told me

that you took out a… a life-insurance policy

on his life. $1 million?

Oh, that's a usual practice in this business, Lieutenant.

But, as you say, valuable property.

That's right. I forgot all about the policy.

No kidding.

That's funny. According to my notes,

the company sent you a renewal slip last week.

I wouldn't know anything about that.

We have an accountant that handles all that stuff.

Listen, I certainly hope

you get the men that you're after.

If anybody can do it, you're the man.

Oh, thank you, sir.

Good luck with that writing, keep that up. That's good.

Oh, I intend to.

You know, it's hard at home with the family.

Mmm-hmm. Sure.

Oh, listen. Uh, gee, I almost forgot.

There's one thing about the Mallory case

that bothers me. Maybe you can help me.

Um, I cannot figure out how the murderer

got into Mallory's office

since the lock wasn't broken,

and there's no sign of forced entry.

With the key.

The one that you found on the floor.

The one that was stolen from my glove compartment.

You mean… You mean this key?

There it is.


No, I guess this was part of the frame-up.

This key doesn't fit the lock.

I found out that Mallory changed the lock

about three weeks ago.

He did?


I guess he didn't want anybody goin' in there

and lookin' at what he was writing.

Yes, but…

This key was left there to incriminate you.

No doubt about it.

But that still doesn't tell us how

the murderer got into the office that night.

Well, evidently, Allen must have let him in,

opened the door not knowing…

No, sir.

No, that would've been on the tape-recording.

Mr. Mallory's voice was never interrupted.

No. Whoever killed him

got in without Mallory's knowledge,

sneaked up on him when he was dictating.

It's puzzling, isn't it?



There has to be another key to the new lock.

I'll tell you,

if I could find the person with that new key,

I'd find the person that killed Mr. Mallory.

I don't envy you.

That is not an easy assignment.

Oh, listen, you don't have to tell me.


Thank you very much.

All the luck.


[Phone ringing]


(Greenleaf) Hello, Eddie. This is your publisher calling.

It's been three days, skipper.

What do you say we get together?

Yes, I know Eddie.

Uh, would tonight be convenient?

Your place? Better tell me where it is.

Yeah, 320 Howard, over the garage.

What time?

Oh, shall we say 2200 hours?

You're learnin', skip. Out.

Yes, Eddie, out.

Hello, Moishe? It's Riley Greenleaf, here.

(Greenleaf) I'll tell you what, I need a favor.

I need to have a key made for a door

to a certain office building.

Problem is, I need it this afternoon.

You think you can swing that?

Oh, fine.

Tell him I'll make it worth his while.

[Knocking on door]

Yo, it's open.

Hey. Hi.

I've been meaning to ask you,

all this stuff that you keep here in your… your home,

is it legal?

It's all made in the U.S. Of A. Pull up a sofa.

Oh, hey!

I made some drawings today

for my chapter on Bouncin' Betties.

You did? Fine.

What's a Bouncing Betty?

Anti-personnel mine.

You got to really plant these things just right.

Now you see, you lay it down six inches. No more.

You leave the pressure plate

with just about a half inch of dirt and leaves.

The guy steps on it. Whammo!

You get the legs. It's beautiful.

Oh, yeah. That's beautiful.

Well, it calls for a celebration.

A little… little drinking?

Hey, that's nice. Real champagne?


Nothing but the best for Eddie Kane, huh?

I'll have to get used to that idea.

You should, Eddie.

[Champagne cork pops] After all, you deserve it.


A toast, Eddie. Shall we say, uh,

bombs away?

Bombs away? I like it. I like it. Right on.


Yeah, there we are.

I've been meaning to ask you,

did you run into any problems the other night?


No trouble getting into Mallory's office?

The door was open, but I left the key

on the floor anyway, like you told me.

Splendid, now about the book.


Is there any information contained in the book,

that could be in violation of

military requirements or… or defense secrets?

Are you kidding me?

All the specifications

are in the manufacturer's brochure.


All I'm doin' with my book

is to say how to use them right.

I've got ideas for bombs

those guys never even thought of.


Never even thought of.

I got… got this funny…

Something the matter, Eddie?

L… I don't know, I…


[Keys rattling]

Dear Mr. Greenleaf.


[Engine starting]

[Explosion in distance]


Is this the right place?

For what?

To park the car.


No, I'm going in to lunch.

[Honking horn]

(parking attendant) Hi, Sharon.

Hi. How are you?

Good to see you.

Oh, thank you.

Thanks a lot, Rocco.

You're welcome.

Excuse me, don't I need a parking check?

Listen, mister, I'll remember your car.

[People chattering]

May I help you?

Uh, thank you very much.

Excuse me, Mr. Neal?



Geoffrey, this is Lt. Columbo.

Oh, yes, would you like to sit down?

Thank you very much.

I don't want to bother you.

I called your office and they told me you were over here.

L… I hope you don't mind.

Oh, no. No, not at all.

Will you have something to eat?

Oh, no.

Please… Please join us.

Well, listen, now that you mentioned it,

I could use somethin', so…

Charles, see what the Lieutenant will have.

Big menu.

Uh, Sweetbreads Financier…

Can't pronounce that.

The Trout Amandine is very good.

Amandine. What is that with? That's with…


With almonds. Fish.

Well, I was thinkin' of somethin'

a little bit more, with body.

I'll tell you what,

if you don't mind, do you have any chili?


Yeah, with beans or without beans,

either way, it doesn't make any difference.


Ask Henri to see what he can do for our friend here.

Yes, sir.

Thank you very much.

I'll have a little iced tea with that.

Mr. Neal, uh, what I wanted to ask you was…

How are you doin'?

Fine, sir.

This is what I wanted to ask you, Mr. Neal.

I understand that your attorneys are tryin' to get

a release of Mr. Mallory's manuscript.


I agreed to publish it

after Mallory's contract expired with Greenleaf.

And I want to get hold of it before he can,

because, well, I'm afraid he's going to make trouble.

It's a very valuable book?

We think so. After all, the man has written

nothing but bestsellers.

Uh, have you read it?

Oh, no, nobody's read it.


Nobody. Of course, Eileen discussed the end with him.

As a matter of fact, I believe she even made a contribution to it.

Well, it was just a little one,

believe me, Lieutenant.

Pardon me.

I'll have a little ketchup.

(waiter) Ketchup?


All right, sir.

And some crackers.

Don't wait for us, Lieutenant.


Please eat.

I wanted to get those saltines if he had any.


Mr. Neal discussed the book with Universal Studios.

They wanted a picture for Rock Hudson.

The only trouble with that was that

Allen was planning to kill the hero off

in the final pages.

Universal said, for $100,000,

you don't kill off Rock Hudson.

(Eileen) As I understood it, Allen's hero was a P.O.W.

Who betrayed his own men,

but then found his courage, came back,

and helped them escape from the prison camp.

(Neal) You see, Allen insisted that his hero had a tragic flaw

which classically ends in death.

That's where Eileen was so helpful.

After the escape, after they get back to Saigon,

Rock Hudson says goodbye to the girl

who helped him regain his courage,

says goodbye to the material world,

and goes off to a monastery.

Is that good?

If it sells, it is.

This chili's good, I'll tell you that.

Uh, the question that comes to mind now is

can either one of you two people think of someone

who might want to frame Mr. Greenleaf?

Frame… Frame Riley?

That's right, ma'am.

That's what I think happened.

I think someone's tryin' to pin

this murder on Mr. Greenleaf.

But, surely, you don't think

that either one of us had anything…

I'm just asking the question, ma'am.


I suppose I might have a motive,

being his competitor.

But I'm sorry, Lieutenant. That's not my style.

Anyway, if I wanted to frame Riley,

it certainly wouldn't be for the death of Allen Mallory,

who I very much wanted to write for us.

Oh, that's all right, I'm practically finished.

I'll have a check.

Oh, no, Lieutenant, please, please, be my guest.

No, no, uh, this is department business

and when it's department business,

the department pays for it.

All right, if you insist.

Excuse me, sir. Are you Lt. Columbo?


There's a telephone call for you, sir.

Well, look, uh, I'll run along.

I want to thank you very much.

You've been very hospitable.

Good day, sir.


(Columbo) Ma'am.

Having a hard time getting up.

Columbo. Yeah.


Your check, Lieutenant.

Can I borrow a pencil?

Got it. Thank you.

Thank you.

$6. Excuse me.

No, I think there's a mistake.

I had the chili and the iced tea.



I forgot to add the iced tea.

[Crickets chirping]

Name of Eddie Kane.

Blew himself up last night with a hand grenade.

Real weirdo.

Must've been rigging a bomb.

A bomb? What for?

Don't ask me.

Looks like he's writing a book.

"How to Blow Up Anything in Ten Easy Lessons."

The reason I had Central contact you,

you know that murder downtown?

That writer, Mallory?


We thought we had a case against the publisher, Greenleaf?


Well, it may not mean anything,

but I found Kane's address book,

and Greenleaf is in it.

Riley Greenleaf.

Thought it might be something.

You son of a gun.


You mind if I look around?

Go right ahead. My boys are all through.

(Young) You want a cup of coffee or somethin'?

No, no, thanks. I just ate.

You want some advice?

Be careful where you eat chili.

Why? Too hot?

Too high.

Wait a minute.

(Young) What?

I'll be a son of a gun.

I can't believe it.


Outline for a novel.

You think that ties Eddie Kane

with the Mallory murder?


Could be.

Lieutenant, you sure are lucky sometimes.

That's me. I'm lucky.

You didn't happen to find a key chain

on this fellow, did you?

As a matter of fact, we did.

You didn't happen to find a key

that doesn't fit anything in this place?

[Keys rattling] Well, there's one for the door,

one for his car, and this one.

Who knows?


Oh, yeah.

[Riley continues laughing]

Excuse me, Mr. Greenleaf?


Excuse me.

I'm sorry to disturb your movie, Mr. Greenleaf,

but this is very important.

We found the man that killed Mr. Mallory.

Want to save it, Andy?

Unfortunately, uh, he was killed last night.

His name was Eddie Kane.

He was killed?

Yes, there was some kind of an accident.

He seemed to be fooling around

with a homemade bomb.

Hmm. Sounds gruesome.

It was.

Uh, for the purposes of my report,

I wonder if you could tell me a little bit more about him.

Me? I never heard of the man.

Well, now, that's strange, sir,

because your telephone number and your name

we found in his address book.

That's bizarre.

I don't know how he obtained it.

I've never heard of any Eddie Kane.

Now, that's just not true, sir.

I, myself, went through his file drawer

and I found a duplicate of a letter from Kane

addressed to you, written nine months ago.

Had to do with a novel called 60 MILES TO SAIGON.

He was offering to write it.

He also enclosed an outline.

Now, that was the name of Mr. Mallory's new book, wasn't it?

I wouldn't know, Lieutenant.

He never discussed the book with me.

Mr. Greenleaf, the point is,

have you heard of Mr. Kane, or haven't you?

And I think you have.

And I think you ought to tell me about it.

You could do it here,

or you can do it at headquarters.

All right, Lieutenant.


I never was a very good liar.

You might just want to know the truth.

Eddie Kane mailed me this outline last year.

And the moment I read it, I realized it had

the makings of a very commercial book.

But I also realized that Eddie Kane

was not the guy to write it.

I mean, he simply wasn't a writer.

Fortunately, Allen was looking around for a new idea.

When I showed him this, he jumped at it.

Lieutenant, I was not trying to steal it.

Quite the contrary. I offered Eddie Kane $5,000 for it.

He refused. He was like a wild man.

He was insulting, abusive…

But you didn't return the outline?

It was too late then.

Allen was already at work on the book.

So what did Mr. Kane do?

He threatened me, threatened Allen, too.

I tried to reason with him.

I even offered him part of my profits,

but he was adamant.

I never thought he'd be crazy enough to…

I guess he killed Allen and he tried to frame me.

You know, in many ways, I'm really to blame.

Well, I can understand how you feel, sir.

I mean, that wasn't exactly an ethical thing

that you did, was it?

No, no, it wasn't.

All right, Mr. Greenleaf, I'll be running along then.

Oh, you don't mind if I take this outline with me?

I just wanna take it to the lab

and have them check the typing

against Eddie Kane's typewriter.

No, of course. You understand?

Oh, sure.

Good day, sir.

Good day, Lieutenant.

Feel better.

Thanks very much.

Oh, I don't have to read anymore, Lieutenant.

This is the outline for Allen's book.

I can't believe it.

He wouldn't plagiarize this, he wouldn't have to.

Well, I'm sure you're right, ma'am,

but I double-checked with the lab.

That synopsis was definitely typed

on Eddie Kane's typewriter.

Well, l… I wish I could help you, Lieutenant.

L… I guess I can't.

All right, thank you very much.

I appreciate your time.


Oh, Lieutenant.


Your evidence.


I get preoccupied, I forget my head.

You know, that synopsis,

it's as though Allen dictated it himself.

Wait a minute. Maybe he did.


May I use your telephone?


Could you do one more thing?

Could you finish reading that?

I don't understand.

Please, ma'am. Would you just read it?

(Greenleaf) You did find the key?

On Eddie Kane's key ring, huh?

Well, you should be very happy, Lieutenant.

When? Now?


May I ask, why there?

Yes, of course. I'll come right away.

(Columbo) Good evening, Mr. Greenleaf.

[Typewriter clacking]

You writing the great American novel, Lieutenant,

or just boning up on the touch system?

I want to tell you something,

this writing is not as easy as it looks.

You know, uh, I was on a case once.

A candidate for the United States Senate.

He had a lot of security men around him

'cause there'd been threats against his life.

Now, in order to shake the security men,

he changes clothes with his campaign manager.

Then he shoots the campaign manager

and he makes it look like an attempt on his life.

Now, that's a heck of a story.

There's only one problem, I was telling my wife.

I got it all up here, I can't put it down here.

Lieutenant, very frankly,

I don't give a damn about your senator or your story.

Now, look, I've got people coming over to my house tonight.

Just exactly what is your problem?

Oh, forgive me, sir.

I didn't know you were expecting guests.

Did I tell you

that the key that was on the floor

next to the body didn't fit the lock?

Yes, you mentioned it the other day.

You said that there had to be another key

to fit the new lock, and when you had that key,

then you'd have the person who murdered Allen Mallory.

Right. Right. I knew I only told one person,

I wasn't sure who.

But it was you?

Yes, it was me.

And now you just tell me on the telephone,

you found that key, it was on Eddie Kane.

Right, we found it. Here it is.

But there's a problem.

Well, what's the problem? Doesn't the key fit the lock?

No, it fits, the key fits,

fits like a glove.

All right, there's your answer.

Then obviously, that's the key

that Eddie Kane used the night he came in here.

No, that would be impossible.


Officer, would you bring in Mr. Black?

Just wouldn't be possible.

Look, forgive me for… for seeming dumb about this thing,

but I just don't understand.

You've just shown me a key that fits that lock.

Right. Right, sir. It does fit.

Good evening, Mr. Black.

But, uh…

that lock wasn't on the door that night.

Oh, Mr. Black, Mr. Greenleaf.

Yeah. How do you do?

How do you do?

Mr. Black is a locksmith.


Mr. Black,

would you tell Mr. Greenleaf

when you put this lock on this door?

(Mr. Black) Oh, that… that was Thursday.

That was the day after that writer,

Mr. Mallory, was shot.

The day after?

I don't understand that.

Who ordered you to change the lock?

He did.

Yes, sir. I did.

Which raises a very troublesome question.

That will be all, Mr. Black.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out

how Eddie Kane would have a key to a lock

that was put on the door on my instructions

the day after he shot Mallory.

Does that make any sense to you?

No, not at all.

Why would Kane even come back here?

Sure is a puzzle, all right.

You don't have any answers?

No, not a one.

Beats me.

Well, thank goodness I got the answer

to the other thing that was bothering me.

What other thing?

Well, sir, I know you're expecting guests,

so I don't want to hold you up anymore.

It's true, I do have to leave, and I haven't got much time.

But I am curious. Now, what?

As long as you're curious, sir.

I figured out how Eddie Kane got in here that night.

Uh, he didn't use the key that was removed

from your car.

Mallory had changed that lock,

and, obviously, he didn't use this key.

The fact is, he didn't use any key.

Well, how did he get in here then?

He walked, the door was open.

Oh, the door was open?

Yes, sir.

You see, the air conditioner had broken down.

That's why that window was open.

You can actually hear the street noises on the tape.

But, you know, an open window on a muggy night's

not much help.

So I think Mr. Mallory must've opened that door.

That created a nice cross breeze here.

Now, when Mr. Kane arrived,

well, the door was open, he just walked in.

Mr. Mallory must've turned around

and he shot him.

All right. If that is true,

and it sounds conceivable enough to me,

but I don't see how that changes anything.

About what, sir?

About what happened.

Now, look, Columbo, I've had you up to here.

And frankly, I'm not interested in locks and keys

and open doors

and air conditioners, and how he got in here.

What the hell difference does it make how he got in here?

The fact is that some crackpot war veteran came in here,

shot and killed Allen Mallory,

and then frames me out of some insane belief

that Allen and I stole his lousy little story.

Now, that's all I know.

And that's all I'm interested in.

Mr. Wolpert.

I thought that name might mean something.

Let's see if we're talking about

the same Mr. Wolpert.

We know you two fellows know one another,

so don't bother to hide it.

No, you're wrong, we don't know each other.

This young man may have seen me going…

That's a lie.

I resent that.

Mr. Greenleaf,

you told me that you knew nothing

about the contents of Mr. Mallory's new novel.

That's right, I don't.

That's another lie.

Thank you, Officer.

Good evening, Norman.

Good evening.

I met this young man the night of the murder.

Works for a manuscript service.

Picks up Mr. Mallory's tapes,

takes them to his company's office,

the next day the typist transcribes the tapes.

Then he returns the tapes and the typed pages.

Except for the extra copy

which he passed to you.

Now, that's nothing but assumption, it's pure speculation.

I've checked your bank accounts,

you made five monthly cash deposits

of $1,000 each.

Now, a court might want to know

where you got that money on your salary.

You look at me.

You don't have to say anything.

I'm not talking about losing your job.

I'm talking about murder.

Don't you say a word. I'll call my lawyer.

He's involving you in a murder.

Was that part of the deal?

Look, um, I did get a set of the pages

to Mr. Greenleaf.

But I'm not involved in any murder.

I don't know a thing about a murder.

I believe you.

Go on home now,

we'll get your statement later.

Thank you. Go on.

All right, Columbo.

So he testifies that he gave me those papers.

What's that mean?

It means you knew everything that Mallory was writing.

Day by day, including the ending.

Even if I knew the ending,

that still doesn't mean that I was the one who murdered the man.

For $100,000,

you don't kill off Rock Hudson.

In this synopsis that you gave me,

which you claim Eddie Kane wrote nine months ago,

the hero saves his men,

and he goes off to live in a monastery.

I hate to tell you this, sir,

but there is no way that Eddie Kane

could've had that idea.

It wasn't even Allen Mallory's.

It was given to him by his agent, Miss McRae.

And for the life of me,

I cannot figure out how Eddie Kane

could have written an ending nine months ago

that was only invented last week.

I guess you see my point.