Burke's Law

Season 1 Episode 17

Who Killed What's His Name?

Aired Friday 8:30 PM Jan 17, 1964 on ABC

Episode Recap

At the Fourth National Bank, a stunning brunette secretary catches several customers' eyes. As she walks past one teller's window, a man in line suddenly faints. The security guard rushes over as a crowd gathers. A second man rushes up, says he's a doctor and examines the unconscious man. He then tells the guard that it appears to be more serious than just a fainting spell and asks for a phone to call an ambulance. While the doctor is calling, a group of men carry the unconscious man over to a sofa behind the teller's windows and lay him down. As the ambulance driver and attendant arrive, the guard keeps other customers from entering the bank. The secretary tells the guard that the man doesn't look good. Suddenly there is a cry - the two "ambulance men" and the "doctor" have pulled stockings over their faces, pulled out guns and proceed to rob the bank. While the two other men force employees to get money from the safe, the "doctor" goes into the bank manager's office where he is with another man. The other man asks huffily if this is a joke, and the bank manager says he hardly thinks so. They are herded out into the main room. As the robbers leave, the guard makes a sudden movement, the "doctor" fires, and the second man in the manager's office falls to the floor, dead. The "ambulance driver" fires off one more warning shot as the three men escape.

Another gun fires and we see that Burke is taking a skeet shooting lesson from Marcy. She tells him it's a "single, flowing motion, arm straight, everything else follows". He shows her his move, but not for skeet shooting. They kiss as Tim arrives. When Tim tells Burke it's murder, Burke says he may just retire before Les. He promises Marcy he'll return. She says a half a lesson isn't fair to the student or the teacher, and does he want the Better Business Bureau coming after her? Marcy gives Tim a look and loads her gun; he backs off.

Bank Manager Henry J. Newbold is very distraught while talking to Burke. He carries on about 30 years of banking with no unpleasantness, and now this. Mr. Newbold starts to get sick and the secretary, Miss Dunwoody, brings him a pill and a glass of water. Burke looks on as he pats her hand, and pats her hand, and... Mr. Newbold gives Miss Dunwoody the rest of the day of; she gives Burke the eye and asks his permission. As she leaves, Tim stares after her. The robbers got over $200,000. The dead man, Victor S. Barrows, was a major financier - oil, steel, plastics - who owned the bank. Mr. Newbold says he never saw Barrows from one year to the next, and then "to pick this day and die by accident"; he's upset at the waste. He realizes how this sounds and apologizes to Security Guard Huggins, not meaning to suggest that he should have been shot instead. Huggins says he's sorry he moved; he was just trying to get a better view of the robbers for identification. He mentions the stocking masks; he describes the "doctor" as medium in every way - "Mr. Average" - the guy you forget as soon as he walks out of sight. The hospital calls to report that the man who fainted, Mr. Piggott, has had his stomach pumped and been sent home. As Burke reaches his car, Henry hands him a message left by "a lady, beautiful of course". It reads - "Help. Party time. Fun Games and Me", and gives Miss Dunwoody's address, signed Elizabeth D.

At Piggott's Art Gallery, Tim and Les are shown a truly dreadful modern painting by Mr. Piggott, the Cockney owner of the gallery. He says the paintings are all "bloody awful". Tim starts to discuss art with him but Les gets them back on track. Mr. Piggott tells them how awful the "tummy pump" was and tells them the "doctor" wasn't a doctor when he came to the gallery that morning. The "doctor", who called himself "Mr. Brown", took a fancy to one of the paintings in the gallery. Mr. Piggott hadn't made a sale in weeks, so he was eager to oblige. Mr. Piggott goes off on another digression about the world of art. "Mr. Brown" wanted to take the painting with him right there and then, but only had half the cash needed and Mr. Piggott didn't want to accept a check from a stranger. "Mr. Brown" mentioned that his bank was right down the street and suggested they both go there and he'd get the rest of the cash. On the way "Mr. Brown" suggested they stop for lunch first - tea and sandwiches. Mr. Piggott goes on again about how "bloody awful" the paintings are. Once inside the bank, he says, he remembers nothing, until the awful "tummy pump". He describes "Mr. Brown" as looking like anyone else, somewhere between 50 and 60 (Tim says that's a wide range), slimmish but shorter than Mr. Piggott, the average-face-in-the-crowd-chap. He was fair, blonde or sandy-haired. Les says there's quite a difference and Mr. Piggott sheepishly admits that he's totally color blind. When Tim asks if that isn't a handicap in the art business, Mr. Piggott looks around and responds that he finds it a necessity.

Miss Dunwoody's maid answers the door silently; each time Burke starts to speak she holds up her hand and silences him. Mutely she escorts him out onto the balcony of the suite. Miss Dunwoody, clad in sunsuit and dark glasses, is reading, drink at her side. When Burke asks where the party is, she tells them that they're it, and gets very cozy with Burke. Burke comments on Mr. Newbold's friendly hand pats and Miss Dunwoody says it doesn't mean a thing - all men act like that with her. Burke says he knows why, and she kisses him. When she gets no reaction, she tells him to go ahead and ask his questions. Burke wonders how a secretary can afford such a fabulous apartment and maid. Mother and daddy have scads of money and like her to be comfortable; Mr. Newbold is just her nice old boss. Burke is doubtful and leaves.

At the station, Tim reports that Mr. Piggott was indeed given knockout drops; also, the Carney Ambulance Service called. "Mr. Brown" had ordered an ambulance the day before to pick up his sick mother; when the driver got to the address, he was told there was no one by the name of Brown at that address. When he returned to the curb, the ambulance had been stolen. As usual, no one could give a description of "Mr. Brown". A call comes through from Malibu - a witness saw a vehicle being nudged off an embankment and thinks it may have been an ambulance. Indeed, when they reach the site, there's the missing ambulance. The inside is covered in blood stains, and George McLeod finally finds one usable print on the rear door.

The print belongs to one Frank Willard, a petty thief and "muscle". Les says he picked Willard up once and he's none too bright. Willard had always been a drunk, but in the past few years had really hit bottom, ending up on Skid Row. Burke suggests they look for him at Cully's Place, since all the lushes end there sooner or later.

When they ask the bartender if he's Cully, he tells them he wouldn't be there if he didn't own the place. Cully keeps yelling to a wino "Louie" who's outside banging on the window, telling him to go home. Cully ID's the photo as Willard and asks if he finally keeled over from booze. Cully says Willard and his buddy Vinny Doyle would do anything for a drink. Lately they both seemed to always have the price. He asks them to promise not to say who told them, then says some guy kept buying drinks for the two recently. Cully had never seen him before and described him as plain, medium, average, hard to describe. Tim and Les leave and Cully finally yells for Louie to come in.

Burke goes to visit his old "buddy" Duke. On the door of his office (and as he greets his callers) it says, "The Duke of Epsom, Financial Counselor". Duke is a race track tout, dashingly dressed, with a sporty derby. He's on the phone when Burke enters, placating a customer who lost heavily on yesterday's race. Duke gives the caller a "sure-fire" tip for the 7th at Hialeah and tells him (his standard line) "Have faith!" Burke says Duke's business sounds perilous; Duke replies that the horse business is child's play compared to his former occupation. Burke says, well 4 years in a cell proves his point. Duke still can't understand the attitude of the law - he was a cartographer, a mere map maker. Burke reminds him that his maps were floor plans to bank vaults and were used in several heists. Duke assures Burke that he never "partook" and Burke says let's say he supplied the weaponry. Duke's reasoning is that an auto sometimes kills, but you don't jail the car maker. Duke knows of all the scams in town and Burke wants to talk about the robbery. Duke shushes him (the walls have ears) and they have a quiet conversation. Duke has heard nothing about the bank job, but says it was too flamboyant and unbusinesslike to be a pro job. More likely it was amateurs who got lucky. A call comes in, Duke dons his derby, rattles off his spiel, and gives the caller an entirely different "sure-fire" horse for the 7th. He gives everyone a different horse; this way at least one person wins and he can keep them on the hook for months. As a third call comes through, Burke leaves the Duke of Epsom.

A loud, wild party is going on at Miss Dunwoody's apartment and Burke has to repeatedly ring to be heard. Miss Dunwoody takes him into another room. Burke confronts her with the fact that Barrows owned the bank, Barrows got her the secretary job, Barrows paid her rent, Barrows is dead. She says "marvelous" - she's impressed with his discovery. She asks what's wrong with a nice wealthy man giving a girl nice wealthy things. She would have told Burke all this before, but was afraid he'd get the wrong idea about her. She insists the relationship was "platonic - he never showed up more than once a week". Miss Dunwoody kissed Burke; he leaves.

Burke decides that the robbery was a coverup for murder. Why else should the robber have shot Barrows? Why even shoot at the guard at all? Only an idiot would add a murder charge to robbery. Barrows' death was no accident. Les gets a call from the docks - Frank Willard and Vinny Doyle's bodies have been found.


Roy, the cop on the beat, reports that an eleven-year-old kid found them under a tarp. They were shot at very close range. Tim says, well, that's the last of the killings - there's no one left to kill - it was all "Mr. Brown". Burke says it's a whole new ballgame and they don't know half of what's going on yet.

At the Barrows mansion, son Peter Barrows introduces himself on his way out to an appointment. He cautions Burke that his mother is very ill and Burke should be careful. Elaine Barrows enters, drawn and on edge. Peter kisses his mother and leaves. She shakily lights a cigarette. She tells Burke that after 27 years, she now has nothing but time left. Elaine says her husband gave them all they wanted, he provided, you can ask anyone, he was a great man, a fine man (this is all said a bit foggily). Burke asks if anyone disliked Barrows enough to cause his death. Mrs. Barrows says Burke is trying to confuse her - her husband's death was an accident. Burke says it no longer looks that way. She says no, it was an accident - he was admired, he was envied, there were no enemies. She's starts the whole routine about her husband being a provider again, by rote, word for word, not even realizing what she's doing. Burke stops her. She tells him she's ill and rises unsteadily. Burke supports her for a moment, and says it's a terrible thing to have happen to someone you love. Elaine pauses, without looking at him, and says there are many kinds of love, aren't there, and slowly goes upstairs.

At a health club, Charles Courtland, Barrows' business partner, is riding an exercise bike. He says he's grateful to Burke for giving him a break - reducing is barbaric and his doctor's mad. He apologizes for seeing Burke at the club, but says he is very busy now that Barrows has died. He tells Burke he knows Barrows' death was not an accident; an enemies list for Barrows would be bigger than Courtland's belly. Courtland admits that he would be high on that list. He says Barrows was a tycoon, an egomaniac, a monster. Barrows trod on everyone's neck on the way up and never looked back. No one was exempt except maybe Courtland - only because the firm needed him. It was a one-man empire, even though Courtland was called a partner. Barrows had the brains, drive and guts; Courtland was a nice chemical engineer with good family and good connections. The firm needed that, or Courtland would have been one of the necks Barrows trod on. Courtland clams up immediately when Burke asks about Elaine Barrows; he goes to get his exercise towel, which has a huge hero sandwich rolled up inside. He tells Burke he has to get back to his office now. As he eats, Courtland tells Burke that his gluttony is limited to food; Barrows appetite encompassed everything, especially a long string of women. Barrows' actions sent his wife to a sanitarium twice. Courtland says he cares for Elaine, very much, and if it would have helped her he would have killed Barrows - but he didn't. He explains to Burke that in a one-man empire, if the one man dies, the business is in trouble. Barrows' stocks are plummeting and Courtland owns a lot of stock in the company. There will be huge losses. Burke rides back to the office with Courtland so he can go through Barrows' desk and papers. Courtland says, on behalf of all the trod-upon necks, he hopes Burke never finds a thing.

At the office, Courtland is having another meal as Burke searches. The firm's head accountant, George Smith, enters, and we see that he is the mysterious "Mr. Brown", the "doctor". He has Courtland sign some papers and Courtland introduces him to Burke. As Smith leaves, Burke discovers a page missing from Barrows' desk calendar (Wed. August 21) and takes the calendar with him. Burke asks who the current woman on Barrows' string is and Courtland says it's movie actress Paullette Shane. Burke leaves, telling Courtland that he's off to see if movies really are better than ever.

At Marathon Studios, Paullette is filming a truly bad horror film. She's playing a mad scientist, wearing an off-the-shoulder sequined gown and feather boa, who, with sidekick Igor, is creating a monster. As they cut for a break, the director says she showed a lot of truth in the scene, but Paullette laughs him off. The director is worried that the tag line will get a laugh; Paullette tells him that where this movie is going to play, they need all the laughs they can get. She says "ours is not to do or die, ours is to take the money and run". She greets Burke in her dressing room and offers him a drink, remarking that how you can tell if you're a star is if there's a refrigerator in your dressing room. She says she knows the scene they just filmed was awful, but didn't realize it was a felony. Burke says he liked it; Paullette tells him not to be polite, it doesn't matter. Burke and she find they both like cheap horror films. Paullette calls herself a freak - she never wanted to play Camille or Streetcar Named Whatever. But she says this film is good compared to some of the bombs she's been in. The funny thing is, New York and San Francisco will laugh, but the rest of the country will eat it up and pay good bucks. And she gets $100,000 and 40% of the gross. There's a knock on the door - the director wants her back on the set - she says just a minute. Paullette tells Burke that making money is just the first part; you have to know what to do with it. Burke says she had good financial advice, obviously. Paullette informs Burke, regarding Barrows, that she knows what people say; she doesn't listen to gossip and doesn't care what people say. She's an independent person - if she likes someone, she likes someone (it's clear she likes Burke) regardless of whether they have money or not - period. Burke asks - and if you hate someone? - exclamation point? Paullette tells him people stood in line to hate Barrows but not her; with her he was fun and she liked fun. Life is a one-shot deal - enjoy it. She says she and Barrows were just "good friends". When Burke asks her about all the other women, Paullette says she also doesn't believe in jealousy. Her motto is Love and Let Love.


There's another knock on the door and she calls out to the director to wait a minute. The knocking continues and Paullette opens the door abruptly - in the doorway is Peter Barrows, who is obviously very friendly with Paullette - until he sees Burke. There is, as Paullette notes, a pregnant pause. She goes back to the set, but says she thinks the real scene is going to be in her dressing room.

Peter nervously smokes. Burke comments on the fact that it's bad taste to step into your father's shoes in this fashion. Peter says Burke doesn't understand - his father snapped his fingers and the world trembled. Barrows never talked, asked or discussed - he told. So Peter gave up and settled for a little office with his name on the door and a salary and an occasional rare pat on the head. Burke suggests he tried to get back at the way his father treated his mother by sleeping with Paullette. Peter swears he didn't kill his father and sums himself up for Burke in two words - no guts. Burke says you don't need guts nowadays, you can hire someone. Peter tells that he tried to get a job on his own once; all he could get was as a dishwasher. He has no talent; he needed "King Victor" alive. Burke agrees.

At the station, Burke ponders the missing calendar page. The killer clearly arranged the robbery using two winos and then killed them, so there'd be no witnesses and no blackmail. Who could get Barrows to go to the bank at the right time on the right day so he'd be there when the robbery took place? Not Courtland, he was a different part of the organization. Not Peter - Barrows wouldn't listen to that glorified "office boy" if he said "good morning". However, the head accountant George Smith could do it for sure - and Burke has realized that can't really remember what Smith looked like - "Mr. Average".

As the car pulls up outside Smith's home that night, a shot rings out and a man runs from the house. Tim takes off after the man and Burke runs into the house. He finds Smith shot, dying. Burke asks Smith who shot him. Smith says, see, Burke can say his name, why couldn't Barrows? He spent 23 years with Barrows, a terrible, cruel man. Barrows told Smith he was slowing down and Barrows was going to let him go, without even a gold watch. The worst part, Smith says, is that after 23 years Barrows couldn't even remember his name. Smith heard him call him "What's His Name". He says "My name is George Smith - why couldn't he remember?" Smith says he didn't want to kill the other two, but they threatened to "tell". Smith tells Burke that, when he went to shoot them, they couldn't remember his name either. So, Burke says, you killed three people just because you wanted an identity? Smith says all the money is in the basement. He tells Burke he wanted to give himself up, but "he" wouldn't let him. Smith dies before revealing who "he" is.

Just then, Tim returns with Peter Barrows in custody, and the gun that shot Smith. Peter says he didn't want to kill Smith, he just wanted to talk to him. Burke says he wanted to get Smith to keep quiet. Peter tells of watching his father fire Smith and seeing a look in the man's eye - he just stood there. Peter knew Smith would be easy to convince; then he could just wait and let Smith do everything. Burke says vultures do that for food - what's Peter's excuse? "King Victor" cut Peter completely out of the will; Peter complains that his father wanted him to fail and become a dishwasher. Peter says his father hated him; Burke replies his father had it right. Peter tells him he doesn't understand - Burke understands in two words - no guts. As Peter is led away, Burke phones and tells the police to come pick up the body of "Mr. George Smith".

At the skeet shooting range, Burke, with one arm around Marcy, easily hits the skeet by shooting one-handed. Marcy calls him a fake for taking lessons. He hands Henry the gun and leads Marcy to his car. Henry successfully shoots the next clay pigeon and calls out for Burke to see what he's done. Burke is driving off with Marcy; Henry, gun in hand, runs after.
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