In a massive Newsifact exclusive, we have obtained a copy of the script for the planned 70s and 80s TV detective get-together project that is about to start filming next month.
The TV movie will unite Peter Falk (81) as Columbo and Jack Klugman (86) as Quincy, with appearances from Angela Lansbury (83), alias Jessica Fletcher, Andy Griffith (82) alias Matlock and a host of others including Susan St James (62) as “Wife” from the TV detective series McMillan and Wife and Tom Bosley (81) as Father Dowling. The project was green-lit by Universal Pictures last month after Angela Lansbury finally withdrew a demand to have the audience not know who the murderer was, as had been the case in Murder, She Wrote, though not in Columbo or Quincy.
Yes, there’s a murder. And it is big and complicated - there is simply no way one detective, however great, can unravel this one! The murder is committed by a powerful businessman who takes out an LA congressman who is threatening to turn away from accepting bribes and clean up his act.
Quincy and Columbo are watching events unfold on TV, sitting together in a retirement home.
Sitting at the other end of the room is retired detective Lt. Frank Monahan, again played by Gary Walberg. He is outraged that Quincy would go off on another half-baked scheme, while showing complete disregard for the rules. Quincy loses his temper and gives an impassioned speech about the need to do the right thing. Columbo's old dog barks in agreement.
Columbo decides to ask a few innocent questions of the powerful businessman, apparently at the centre of it all. He is polite, but his incessant attitude irks the man – but he must remain calm – perhaps Columbo is just being friendly.
In an extremely moving scene, Matlock is touring a graveyard, weeping slowly. The camera pans across to a woman, also weeping. Matlock steps towards her. It is “Wife” from McMillan and Wife standing over the grave of her husband. This is clearly odd, as “Wife” was killed off in the show.
Matlock, who was friends with McMillan shouts at “Wife” for faking her death. “Wife” takes Matlock past two other gravestones. “That is why I faked my death.” She points to the graves of Banacek and Perry Mason - now, everything is clear. Matlock’s phone rings. It is
But why was the wrong man framed? Columbo gets a lead, that the order was given in Chicago. He travels there and meets with Father Dowling, played by Tom Bosley.
"Dowling will be angrier this time," says actor Tom Bosley.
The elderly Catholic priest calls up Sister Steve, played by Tracy Nelson, who uses her unique skills to disguise herself as a politician and roam the murky halls of Chicago politics to get to the truth. Sister Steve finds out that a former assistant of the businessman whom Columbo suspects of the murder gave the order.
Columbo, Quincy, Father Dowling, Jessica Fletcher, “Wife” and Matlock meet in the Los Angeles court. Matlock does his thing – the audience is stunned by the power of the presentation and the man is set free. But then outside the courtroom, Columbo turns to the real murderer, and with a tour de force performance explains just how and why he did it. After some initial resistance, the murderer concedes. He goes quietly. Columbo waves to the police officers "Officers, the cuffs won't be necessary." The murderer is touched by Columbo's dignified act.
In the midst of the celebrations, suddenly Matlock has a heart attack. Is he dead? “Wife” gives him mouth-to-mouth and revives him. It is over? What next? Back to retirement?
The gang walks off together into the sunset. What adventures will face the super-detectives next? Who knows?