PT - Banacek - 013 - No Sign of the Cross
Updated: Jan 26
Welcome everyone to The Predictably Treacherous podcast. Today's episode is Banacek "No Sign of the Cross". This is episode three of season one. This episode was directed by Daryl Duke and written by Robert Presnell Jr. and Howard Brown. The original air date was October 11th, 1972
Let's get right to the episode summary.
An ex-gangster makes a gift of a rare cross to the Catholic church in an attempt to buy redemption. When the cross is stolen, Banacek tries to deliver a miracle.
An ex-gangster who is exiled in Mexico has gathered a priest, a colonel and a business guy (it's like the premise to a joke) to transport a wealthy and rare cross across the border to the US as a gift for the Catholic church so that he can get back into heaven...because Jesus accepts bribes.
The Colonel and the priest drive across the border with the cross in a brief case handcuffed to the priest. They meet up with two other guys in a car across the border and hand over the brief case. When the two guys arrive at the destination and the case is opened, the cross has been replaced by a fake iron cross...ohhh snap.
Banacek meets with the Boston Cardinal. They sip Brandy, discuss ex-gangsters making bribes to the church to get into heaven, and corrupt the definition of "miracle" from "the impossible made possible" to "a subjectively beneficial outcome"
Banacek and Jay fly to LA so that Banacek can meet with John Weymouth from the insurance company. This guy's office is so dark, it's like he's developing film in there. Weymouth resents Banacek's involvement--same as every insurance guy in every episode--and tells him so.
Michel Lanier, art dealer, acting as go-between for d'lorretzo and Andrews, says he knows many art collectors and some of them are unscrupulous. He told them about the cross and his involvement because he was proud of it. Weymouth asks if he informed Robert Morgan. a more eccentric collector. He did.
Outside of Weymouth's office d'lorenzo's granddaughter is waiting to pick up Banacek. She's in her mid-twenties, very attractive. she wants to drive banacek to her grandfather's house. on the drive she tells banacek why her grandfather wants to give the church the cross and Banacek gives her the polish proverb.
Now Banacek meets with d'Lorenzo who's gruff and talks like this. D'Lorenzo refers to Banacek as "Bananachek" which is brilliant...a very Trumpian nickname, and tells him not to stare at "broads". He says that Paul Androse stole the cross. They are rivals from the old days. He thinks Paul stole it just to spite him.
Banacek visits Paul Androse. He's working out in a gym in the top floor of his office building. he and banacek have a schvitz. Androse tells banacek that he sold off his collectibles years ago. beyond that he isn't much help.
Now we're at elitist prick Robert Morgan's ridiculous party with Weymouth and the art dealer Michel Lanier. The guests are dressed in costume. Morgan comes out wearing a French Revolution period outfit and a white wig. There is a bear there being paraded around by an Asian woman in period costume.
Banacek begins talking with a woman who is a trophy of Morgan's. She is dressed in period costume also. Banacek and her begin flirting and they go into a bedroom to talk and share a kiss. Morgan arrives and is pissed that Banacek is touching one of his possessions. He slaps the woman once and is about to again when Banacek stops him. Morgan pulls out his sword and goes after Banacek. Banacek defends himself with furniture and a fireplace iron. Then he knocks out Morgan and leaves. Outside he finds the granddaughter and its implied that he leaves with her and spends the night with her.
Just consider the place of privilege that this guy is coming from. He assaults a woman who he considers a possession of his and then attempts to murder Banacek with a sword because his feelings were hurt. Instead of calling the police and having the guy arrested, Banacek simply leaves the party because there is a separate justice system for elitist pricks like this guy, and he knows it, and Banacek knows it. It was true in the 70's and it's still true today. It's pricks like this that become supreme court justices and craft foreign policy for the neo-cons.
Banacek and Jay drive out to the spot when the first exchange of the cross took place. it's way out in the country. There's nothing notable there. They drive on and reach a small town called Live Oak. Banacek stops in to speak with a cop at the police department. Banacek asks the officer about a farm that they passed near the exchange point. An old man and his handicapped daughter live there. The officer says that they left for Mexico city about a week before the cross was stolen. That they must have come into some money.
Banacek visits them in Mexico city. The daughter, Cicilia, tells Banacek that a man came by their home asking for water. Cilia's father told him about the shrine and the man offered them some money in return for 10 drawings commissioned from Cilia.
Banacek and Jay travel back to Cilia and her father's farm. Banacek snoops around. He finds a pile of cigarette buts in the barn, as if some men had been smoking there.
He hears a noise and investigates. An old man runs off and Bananacek gives chase. (clip chase music) He and Jay catch the old man and convince him they won't harm him. The old man is Enrique Rojas, he explains that he is a friend of the father and promised he'd watch his animals while the father was at the shrine. The old man says a crazy white man was there for two or three days and he was firing his rifle at beer cans. The white guy told the old man to leave. He left but then sneaked back two nights ago and the white guy was gone. When he saw Bananacek's car he thought the crazy white guy was back and might kill him, so he ran.
Banacek asks Jay to dig in the garden. Jay finds a body. The crazy white guy.
You know what's missing from this episode...the Jay's bogus theory segment and the Felix intelligence gathering segment and the physical skill segment. There are plenty of beautiful women. The granddaughter gets better looking as the episode goes on. One recurring trope that i think gets overlooked because of Banacek's towering chauvinism, is his sociopathic callousness towards the lives of others. Dead bodies don't seem to phase him at all. When Jay dug up the dead white guy Banacek seemed not to care beyond it being a new clue in the caper. Last episode when Deacon Jones' character was run over dead in the street, same reaction.
Now we're entering that part of the episode where stuff happens, we don't know exactly what it means, but Banacek acts like it all makes sense to him.
The Get and The Big Reveal
In this episode the get scene and the big reveal kind of blend into one long scene, so let's look at the get first.
Banacek and Weymouth enter the barn in the farm and Banacek clears some space on the dirt floor to map out how the crime went down, let's listen to the clip.
- the mercedes left d'retxo'a house with the real cross.
- when it got a signal, a second mercedes exactly like the first, left the farm (which was closer to the rendezvous) with a fake cross, and doubles of colonel perez and padre borja.
- They got to the rendevous first and made the exchange with the American couriers, Father Cass and the Marshall, handed over the fake cross, which was taken to the archbishop, they took the mercedes back to the farm.
- a second royles royce was stashed at the farm, it left for the rendevous with doubles of father cass and the marshall, met the mercedes and accepted the real cross. The phony roles royce returned to the farm with the real cross.
- Johnny Mars hired the doubles and then was killed to separate any ties between the organizer and the doubles.
Banacek purports to not know who organized the crime yet. He says they'll wait for the organizer to come back to the farm for the cross. He leaves to put the car behind the shed and out of sight (where's Jay?). Just them Weymouth darts into the bedroom and pulls a wooden cross down from the wall above the bed. He takes the wooden cross apart and inside is the fake cross. Banacek enters the room and Weymouth pulls a gun on him and demands to know where the real cross is.
Banacek tells Weymouth that he picked a good hiding place, except that Anselmo is an artist, and that he would never make a cross like the one hanging on the wall. Also, it has "Jesus died for us" printed in English across it. Weymouth could care less, he asks Banacek where the cross is and he says it's at the diosis, the arch bishop has it.
Then Banacek tells Weymouth how he knew, let's listen to the clip (2 big reveal):
- it had to be someone who knew all the details of the plan
- someone who would take photographs of the credentails of the doubles.
- you broke into d'rittzo's house and made a wax impression of the seal, and made it look like a robbery.
- it also had to be someone who could give the signal at the right time, and you were the one who called the boarder from d'rittzo's house, but you actually called Johnny Mars. Johnny Mars called the border 15 minutes before you called him so that the real courier would arrive earlier and the fake exchange could take place.
- Morgan would have paid 1 million for the cross
Weymouth concedes to the crime, then is going to shoot Banacek when the police arrive. Banacek takes Weymouth's gun and the police take him away.
Now with the granddaughter at the airport. They are saying goodbye and she says there's another plane to Boston in a couple of hours and Banacek says there's another in the morning.
Was it a good episode? Not really
Next week , on the Predictably Treacherous Podcast, we will continue with season 1 episode 3 of Banacek, "A million the hard way" guest starring Margot Kidder
Banacek investigates the disappearance of a million dollars that vanishes from a display in a busy casino in front of dozens of potential witnesses.
Tune in next week
Sweeter Vermouth Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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