• Craig Hunter

PT - Columbo - 028 - Greenhouse Jungle

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Welcome everyone to The Predictably Treacherous podcast. Today's epsiode is "Greenhouse Jungle" staring Ray Milland and Bradford Dillman. This is episode two of season two. This episode was directed by Boris Segal ( that's Peggy Bundy's dad) and written by Jonathan Latimer. The original air date was October 15th, 1972 and the runtime was 73 minutes.

Let's get right to the episode summary

In order to gain access to Tony's trust fund, Tony and his uncle Jarvis Goodland stage Tony's kidnapping. Jarvis double-crosses Tony, by killing him and attempting to frame his philandering wife.

The Setup

clip 0:00 to 0:54 The man is Tony's uncle, Jarvis Goodland (Ray Milland). He's trying to disguise his voice with a hankie but he sounds exactly the same.

Mrs Goodland gets up and checks tony's bedroom and his bed hasn't been slept in. She rummages through his desk and gets his former secretary's phone number and calls her. There is a fantastic signed head shot of Tony on his desk.

Gloria West (great name) is reading a self-help book when Mrs Goodland's call comes in and she denies the insinuation that there is a relationship between her and Tony and says she doesn't know where he is. Gloria has almost the exact same headshot of Tony on her table.

Mrs Goodland calls Tony's uncle Jarvis with whom she seems to have an adversarial relationship. He suggests that she wait an hour and if Tony doesn't show up she should call the police (weird advice). They hang up and we see that Tony is in the room with Jarvis. What kind of plan are these two cooking up?

Jarvis and Tony drive off in separate cars. They arrive at a cabin. Jarvis begins questioning tony about his role in the plan to see if he remembers what he is supposed to do. Tony seems like a bit of a numb skull. They drive to a remote area in the hills and roll Tony's Jaguar down the side of a cliff as if he was involved in a chase.

Columbo Intro

The next day, Columbo arrives at the scene of Tony's car wreck in the hills. This is the first of two or three episodes throughout the series that will feature Detective Fred Wilson tagging along with Columbo (I feel like he's John J Wilson in a later episode). He's a young detective out of the academy and he's supposed to be learning how to be a great detective from Columbo. It's like the show was trying to find it's way and see if it would be a better dynamic in a buddy setup.

Columbo visits Mrs. Goodland's home and he finds out about the ransom letter that she received, let's listen to the clip 16:49 to 18:00

Jarvis leaves to meet the guy at the bank and give his endorsement for the trust money.

After Jarvis leaves, Mrs Goodland's lover, Ken Nichols, comes out of the other room. Columbo gets a little awkward, like he doesn't know how to act so he leaves. Mrs Goodland accosts him at the door and tells him that she and Tony lead separate lives and she doesn't care what he's thinking and slams the door on him.

He knows scene

Jarvis arrives at his large home and enters the greenhouse. Columbo is rummaging around behind some orchids and reveals himself. Apparently a gardener let him in. Jarvis looks pissed but maintains his cool. Columbo subtly mentions that his wife would love one of these flowers and jarvis tells him that the one he's looking at is worth about $1200.

Columbo says you could go broke with a hobby like this.

The "he knows" scene must be on the cutting room floor because I don't remember being given any indication that Columbo was on to Jarvis. Yet, clearly, he is. He's snooping around his greenhouse, dropping little references to needing money, mocking his under-the-surface disdain for his nephew, let's listen to their conversation 21:41 "and to see this..." to 24:01. Jarvis handled that pretty well...he expressed his disdain for his nephew but justified why he is helping to get him back.

Jarvis, Mrs Goodland and Ken are in the home waiting for a call. Columbo and the other cops are in the surveillance van waiting. The phone rings, it's Tony. He uses his exhausted voice to give instructions for Jarvis to bring the money to a gas station.

Jarvis leaves on the drop and Columbo and the boys clown-car it into an unmarked police car and follow. There is some saucy music on in the background. Jarvis arrives at the gas station and there is a fountain with three empty water jugs of different sizes and a brief-case bomb with instructions to place a jug with 4L of water on the scale to disarm the bomb--Oh no, wait. He just answers the ringing telephone. Tony is completely out of character and drinking alcohol from a flask. He gives Jarvis further instructions on where to meet him...some deserted country road.

The boys are still following. Wilson pulls out some sophisticated night vision camera. He takes some pictures of Tony approaching the car with the mugger stocking over his face and getting the bag from Jarvis. Then Tony runs over the hill with the money bag. Jarvis pulls away and then picks up Tony on the other side of the hill. Tony gets in the trunk.

The boys collect some fooptprints evidence at the point in the road where the exchange was made. Jarvis drives into the city with Tony in the trunk. Columbo and Wilson pull over Jarvis and ask him about the drop. Jarvis offers no help, he says the exchange scared him. He drives back to the shed in the country. He lets tony out of the trunk. They enter the shed. Tony takes out the money and expresses that he wants to use his money to get his wife back. Jarvis says no and pulls out a gun and kills tony.

Jarvis' greenhouse next day. Columbo arrives with a dying plant. He asks Jarvis for any suggestions that he has to revive the plant. Columbo starts asking questions and applying his methods, let's listen to the clip, (36:38) "as long as i'm here...tony's been ducking things for years" (38:07)

For god sake Jarvis, just keep your mouth shut. Did you notice Columbo's trick? Mentions skid-marks then changes the subject and Jarvis immediately brought it back because he was concerned about it, same technique as last episode, more success this time.

Before Columbo leaves he confirms with Jarvis that he owns a gun. Jarvis confirms that someone broke in and he took a couple of shots at the burglar but he got away. They go into the house and Columbo really starts to get under Jarvis' skin with more insinuations and questions.

Columbo begins fawning over Jarvis' pool table. 39:43 to 41:54. Throughout that exchange Columbo is shooting pool and Jarvis is getting annoyed each time Columbo makes mention of it.

So then Columbo gets a call that Tony is dead.

Columbo visits Gloria. She tells Columbo that there was no romantic relationship between her and Tony and that Tony would come over and complain about his wife's relationship with Ken. She mentions that a few nights earlier, Tony said that Ken agreed to go away if Tony would give him $50,000 dollars.

Columbo leaves. Gloria calls Jarvis right away.

Next scene is on the marina. Columbo and Mrs Goodland are walking to her boat. She is wearing an orange pantsuit. I don't quite know how i feel about it. She is really defensive with Columbo. She still thinks he's judging her. Get over it sweetheart.

Ken is trying to come to Mrs Goodland's rescue. Columbo asks her some meaningless question...it doesn't matter. When he is about to leave, he says one more thing, and then drops a bomb on Ken, let's listen to the clip, (49:26) to (50:05)

The next scene Gloria arrives by car at Jarvis' home. She runs around back to the greenhouse. Gloria tells Jarvis that she thinks that Columbo thinks that Tony faked his own kidnapping and that his accomplice may have killed him. She also tells him that Tony was killed with a 32 calibre and she remembered that Tony had a 32 but he gave it away. Jarvis discretely reaches into a drawer and picks up a gun--even though he's standing right next to her and somehow she doesn't see it--as he may have to kill her if she is going to implicate him. Gloria says that she remembered that Tony said that he gave it to his wife. Gloria thinks that his wife may have been his accomplice and may have killed him. Jarvis puts the gun away without Gloria being aware of it. He sees that he may have an opportunity to frame Mrs Goodland. Gloria says that she heard on the radio that there was a reward and she is making a claim to it. Jarvis placates her with false promises and then gets rid of her.

Jarvis sneaks into mrs goodland's bedroom like a ninja while she is sleeping. She has really got the "jimmy legs". She's thrashing around under the covers like a shark in a bathtub. Jarvis stuffs the murder weapon gun into a suit case in the room and takes away the gun that was already in the desk drawer. He gets out of there and returns back to his greenhouse. Suddenly he hears sirens getting closer and then Sgt Wilson enters the Greenhouse. Apparently Jarvis asked him to come over before he got the gun from Mrs Goodland's room--very risky. He gives over the gun to Sgt Wilson and asks him to have it checked because, earlier, Columbo insinuated that it could have been the murder weapon.

Now Columbo is at a late night open window street restaurant. Looks like something that would be successful in the club district. He's ordering chili. Let's listen to the clip (58:05) to (59:18) He's really mocking Wilson. He knows that Wilson is being used by Jarvis and is encouraging his making a fool of himself. Nice little wave to Wilson as the cars pull away.

Now at Mrs Goodland's home, Mrs Goodland is taking Wilson to where she thinks the gun is kept but it's not there. Wilson has the search team come in to start searching the house. Jarvis arrives. Grover brings out a nesting dolls style suit case with two bags inside. The inner most bag appears to be the same bag used in the ransom money drop. They keep searching and find the gun hidden in metal shoe tree bags (how did it get there). Wilson has Grover take the gun to ballistics to find out if its the murder weapon. He says if it is, he will take Mrs Goodland into custody.

The Get

Jarvis arrives back at home. He is about to get a drink when he hears a noise from the greenhouse. He enters and surprise, surprise, it's Columbo. Jarvis is not in the mood and just as he is telling Columbo to get lost Grover, Wilson, Mrs Goodland arrive. Columbo takes the opportunity to embarrass Wilson and then he gets the lab report from Grover and Jarvis demands to know what's going on.

Let's listen to the clip 1:06:40

Columbo says there are three bullets in the report.

- The bullet in the car confirmed to be fired from the gun obtained from Mrs Goodland's home.

- The bullet from Tony confirmed to be fired from the gun obtained from Mrs Goodland's home.

The third bullet...what bullet you ask? Let's listen to the clip, (1:07:40) "See that?...dressing room" (1:08:32)

And there you have it. A meh episode. Not bad. 

Special Thanks

Music for the intro:

Music from https://filmmusic.io

"Sweeter Vermouth" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)

License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Next week on The Predictably Treacherous Podcast "The Most Crucial Game" starring Robert Culp in his second appearance and Dean Stockwell. Here's a brief summary:

Paul Hanlon is the general manager of a Los Angeles professional football franchise. The new franchise owner is layabout Eric Wagner, son of the deceased former owner. In an attempt to carry out the wishes of his previous boss to create a sports empire, Hanlan murders the younger Wagner who stands in his way.

Tune in next week.