The Wild Wild West (1969)

Season 2 Episode 11

The Night of the Ready-Made Corpse

1
Aired Friday 7:30 PM Nov 25, 1966 on CBS

Episode Recap

Jim rides into a town of Wickenburg to greet Colonel Pellargo… and the man's guards immediately attack Jim. He takes them all out. Artie rides in behind them. They've been assigned to protect him and Pellargo approves. They follow him up to a photography studio where it turns out that Pellargo has a double used to attract trouble. The real Pellargo thanks them and is amused by Jim's honesty. Pellargo grants that his people are trying to attack them. The photographer's flash goes off releasing gas that kills Pellargo. The photographer runs out the door and Artie tries to intercept the man, who knocks him out. Jim leaps out the window and goes after the assassin, shooting him in the arm. The killer runs down an alleyway and goes through a secret passageway behind a poster, losing them, but Artie notices a bloodstained pink cufflink and picks it up. He rubs a bit of blood on the poster as they leave. At a funeral parlor, undertaker Fabian Lavendor is tending to a "customer" when the assassin, Antille, comes in and Lavendor clearly knows him and tends to his wound. Antille warns that Jim will be searching for him and Lavendor assures him he has a crypt drawer ready for him. Later, at a nearby bar a drunk man staggers out as Lavendor comes up behind him and strangles him with his bare hands. Leda Pellargo meets Jim at the Wanderer and he gives her a telegraph from President Grant expressing his condolences. They've identified the assassin, Claudio Antille, and Artie comes in to reveal that Antille is dead. Antille's body is at Lavendor's corpse and Jim and Leda go to see him. Lavendor has a cover story about how he ended up with the corpse. Jim has Lavendor escort Leda out and then checks the corpse. He notices a scar on the corpse's right hand and also that the cuff is unbuttoned. Jim notices that the other cufflink is pink just like the one they found in the alley. After Jim and Leda leave, Lavendor goes to check on the corpse. He seals it up and chuckles while Antille reveals himself from hiding. Back at the Wanderer Jim wonders how Antille died and how he escaped from the alley, and suspects that the body is faked. He goes to check the missing person files. Lavendor is tending to Antille after he used surgery to alter the killer's face to match the dead man, Toby Murphy, and provide him with papers as an art dealer. Jim and Artie visit the bar where Murphy hung out and meet his daughter, Rose, who they recognize from the missing person report. She mentions he had no photos but he is missing a toe. They head for the cemetery, unaware that Lavendor's assistant Golo has been listening in. They go to Antille's tomb and find the door unlocked. They go in and open the coffin and find that Antille's corpse is missing a toe. Lavendor arrives and locks them in the tomb, busting the door knob off and then pumping gas. The agents quickly use a bit of plastic explosive to blast the door open and get into the clean air. Jim gives Rose the bad news while a disguised Artie visits Lavendor to set up a funeral.. He wants to examine the facilities then shows a wanted poster of himself without his disguise and wants to make advantage of Lavendor's unique "services." Artie reluctantly bluffs his way through providing Lavendor with a previous client's name. Jim says goodbye to Leda and warns her that she may be in danger, and hints that Antille isn't dead. He wants to provide her with a guard but she refuses. After he leaves, the "new" Antille comes in and warns Leda that he may have to kill Jim before kissing her. Artie returns to Lavendor's funeral parlor with payment and once he's on the table, Lavendor and his men surround Artie and reveal they know who he is. Jim is talking to Rose and reveals that Artie has disappeared, and asks her for help. She cheerfully volunteers and he asks her to play a grieving widow. He also notices the poster which no longer has blood, and figures out how Antille disappeared out of the alley. Rose goes in as a widow while Jim sneaks in to get at Lavendor's files. While Rose provides a distraction, Jim knocks out Golo and dabs him with formaldehyde, then finds Artie in a cell and directions to the files. Lavendor's other assistant Finley finds the unconscious Golo and they search the place, forcing Jim to hide in a podium. Golo staggers out and Lavendor figures he was sampling the formaldehyde. Lavendor has Artie on the table, handcuffed, and explains that they need a body. They bring out his coffin and Lavendor starts to strangle Artie, but Jim leaps out of the coffin and together they defeat Lavendor and his men. Jim's checked the files and found that Lavendor has been blackmailing his former customers. Jim shows Artie the files (hidden in the podium), and Antille arrives with Leda to hold them at gunpoint. Antille takes them into the room with Lavendor. Jim shows Antille the blackmail information and the assassin kills Lavendor. Antille orders them to burn the files but Jim throws the alcohol in Antille's face and takes him down. Later at Rose's bar, she pours the agents a free round as they assure she'll get a reward. She also introduces her boyfriend, a muscular lawman.
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