The Untouchables

Season 4 Episode 18

Globe Of Death

Aired Thursday 9:30 PM Feb 05, 1963 on ABC

Episode Recap

1933. Prohibition ends. But that doesn't mean the war on crime is over for Eliot Ness and his Untouchables. The syndicate has already moved on to a more profitable--and more deadly--source of income: narcotics. By September, Ness and his men had found and destroyed every major source of narcotics. By early October, the price of a bindle of heroin jumps from $20 to $50. Nitti and his boys want to take advantage of this seller's market.

Nitti has a dope smuggler named Yang brought in from Shanghai. At the Montmartre Club, 5 lieutenants put their money on the table: elderly Tony, 350 Gs; Mike, 275; ailing Sam Weidman, 600; Kurt Koenig, 350; and Larry Bass, 425. Nitti quips, "Two million bucks-- there ain't been that much dough on this table since we bought the Southside." When Sam Weidman asks how can they be sure Yang will deliver, Nitti snaps, "Whatta ya think we're dealin' with, some 2-bit punk?" He walks over to a huge globe, a yard in diameter. "He's got poppy fields in places that ain't even on this thing." The junk is already here, and since Nitti likes to do things right under Ness' nose, this time he has the drugs stashed inside the big globe in his office, literally a Globe of Death. Nitti says, "100 pounds of pure heroin--and by the time we get through cuttin' it up, it oughtta be worth about 10 million bucks."

Kurt Koenig is anxious to have them cut up the stuff. Nitti says they'll sit on it, he tells them, "You bums don't know when you're well off. Last month this stuff was worth $4-million. Now, thanks to Ness, it's worth $10-million. And by next week." All the lieutenants but Koenig like the idea. Koenig says, that's okay for those that have the silk stocking district--but in his area, the waterfront, when junkies don't get their fix, they come after him with a razor. Nitti gives him a piece of free advice: "Duck." And Nitti laughs. Nitti decides to keep the globe in a bank, specifically the Great Lakes Bank & Trust Company; only Nitti and his 5 lieutenants know about it.

Ness and Lee Hobson fly to San Francisco, and check with the U.S. Customs Office about ships that came in from Shanghai. Nitti has one of his boys, Augie, take a big crate (with the globe in it) to Max Weidman (Sam Weidman's uncle) who owns a moving truck; Max takes the crate to the bank. Meanwhile, Larry Bass is assembling a trio of experts to help him rob the bank: Mr. Harman, Duke Barker, and (as soon as he gets out of prison where he just served 7 years for manslaughter) his old childhood chum, Whitey Grosse. Whitey is the former bodyguard of Jack "Legs" Diamond. Whitey comments that nobody but Larry showed up; Larry Bass tells him, in your whole life, you can count on only 3 people: your father, your mother, and the guy you grew up with. Bass and his boys work in underground tunnels, drilling through the wall of the bank's basement; they will use nitroglycerin to blow the vault.

Ness is following leads. He's already figured out about the globe being used to smuggle the heroin; he finds out it was sent to 5691 22nd Avenue in Cicero--right next door to Nitti's Montmartre Club. Ness and Lee Hobson, with a search warrant, visit Nitti in the kitchen of the Montmartre, (but the globe has already been shipped to the bank), so Ness finds nothing. Nitti tells Ness, "So you take your warrant and your nosey friend and get outta here." Ness leaves; Nitti is worried that Ness found out about the globe so fast. Nitti tells Augie to rub out Max Weidman; Augie says, but he's Sam Weidman's uncle. Nitti quips, "So we send flowers."

Bass and his 3 hoods break into the vault; Bass puts 100 pounds of heroin into a big suitcase, the others go for the money. Then Bass double-crosses Harman and shoots him; Whitey Grosse double-crosses Duke Barker and shoots him, but Duke shoots back and seriously wounds him. Larry Bass helps his wounded friend Whitey, and they escape. Meanwhile Ness, who has traced the globe shipment to the bank, gets the bank president to open the place; in the basement, they find the blown vault. Nitti shows up. Ness tells him his money is insured; but as for the empty globe, Ness rubs it in: not only is the heroin gone, Nitti has to pretend it never belonged to him in the first place.

Nitti's plenty sore. He calls an emergency meet at the Club Montmartre. Only Nitti and his 5 lieutenants knew about the globe in the bank; whoever did the heist is "gonna get measured for a cement overcoat." So Nitti uses a process of elimination. Whoever did it must be planning on taking over; that eliminates Sam Weidman who is sick and only has 1 or 2 years to live, he's got no long-range plans. Elderly Tony could have had the chair years ago if he'd wanted it; he's too smart to pull something like this. Mike is too cautious to pull something risky like this; Nitti says, "Mike is no gambler, he's conservative like Guzik--he turns my stomach, but he didn't steal my junk." Kurt Koenig was the only one who objected to storing the stuff, and Nitti says he knew Koenig was desperate; so Nitti had him watched, and he'd done nothing, talked to no one. So that leaves Larry Bass.

Nitti roughs up Bass. Nitti and his boys take him to the hotel room Bass had rented for Whitey Grosse. But Whitey had already been taken to the hospital. As for the suitcase with heroin, it shows up--with Ness carrying it. Niti, Bass, and the rest are taken into custody but Nitti brags that he'll beat the rap. Larry Bass testified in court that Nitti knew nothing about the heroin and proclaimed his own innocence. This did no good for Bass because he got the electric chair but Nitti got off. As for Whitey Grosse, he died of the gunshot wounds before he could be brought to trial.