Senior heart surgeon D. Edmund Hiedeman is rushed to the hospital after a heart attack. Nurse Sharon Martin comes in to see him as he advises the attending physician, Dr. Simpson, on the diagnosis. Hiedeman then goes to the lab where his partner, Dr. Barry Mayfield, is reading a cable from a colleague to Hiedeman advising that he take a longer series of tests. Mayfield assures Hiedeman that their transplant lab tests are going fine and suggests they announce their results concerning transplant anti-rejection. Hiedeman is fine with waiting longer and figures that Mayfield wants to get the credit. However, he advises that they need further tests. Mayfield agrees and Sharon comes in to take Hiedeman for his room, and Mayfield insists that he finally get his valve operation. Hiedeman gives in and Martin takes him away, and then comes back for his glasses. Mayfield gives her the letter for Hiedeman and assures her that Hiedeman will be fine. As she takes the letter to Hiedeman, she realizes that Mayfield has read it...Read the full recap
Sharon Martin R.N.: I must say, for a doctor, particularly one of the country's supposed leading heart specialists...
Dr. Edmund Hiedeman: "Alleged" leading heart specialists.
Sharon Martin R.N.: You ought to have more sense.
Columbo: May I speak to you personally?
Dr. Barry Mayfield: Go ahead.
Columbo: I feel uncomfortable.
Dr. Barry Mayfield: In what way?
Columbo: In hospitals, around illness, I, uh, I feel kind of queasy.
Dr. Barry Mayfield: Well, that's not uncommon, Lieutenant.
Columbo: I know. I faint. I mean, I actually pass out. And in my line of work, that's kind of embarrassing. Is there, uh, is there something that I can do for that?
Dr. Barry Mayfield: There's only one sure-fire cure, Lieutenant. Stay out of hospitals as much as possible.
Columbo: You were both nurses, is that right?
Marsha Talbot: Yes, but Sharon always was devoted to healing. She always worked in hospitals. Myself, I work in Beverly Hills for a plastic surgeon because I selfishly enjoy being with middle to upper-middle class people. However, I don't meet any single men unless they're ready for facelifts.
Dr. Barry Mayfield: Lieutenant, what possible reason could I have for killing her?
Columbo: You ask tough questions, doc.
Dr. Barry Mayfield: So does a jury.
Columbo: But I found out all about the different kinds. You know, they have permanent suture, and that there's dissolving suture.
Dr. Barry Mayfield: Exactly what is your point, Lieutenant?
Columbo: I'm not sure I have one.
Columbo: Because that would explain why Miss Martin was so bothered after the operation, and it would explain why she wanted to see the chemist at the company that made the suture. That's murder. That certainly is. No question about it. (Mayfield starts laughing) What's so funny?
Dr. Barry Mayfield: Excuse me, Lieutenant. I had to play it as though you were serious. You don't really believe all those foolish things you say, do you?
Columbo: (angrily slams carafe down on desk) I believe you killed Sharon Martin and I believe you're trying to kill Dr. Heideman.
Dr. Barry Mayfield: Lt. Columbo, you're remarkable. You have intelligence. You have perception. You have great tenacity. You've got everything except proof.
Columbo: I want you to take good care of Dr. Heideman because if he dies, we're going to have to have an autopsy, aren't we? I mean, we're going to have to know whether a heart attack killed him or rather it was just dissolving suture.
Columbo: It certainly looks like it's one on me, doesn't it? You know, I really believed it all fit together. All the pieces, everything. The killing of the nurse, everything. Well, it goes to show you, doc, maybe I've been at this job too long. Okay. You win. You're finally rid of me.
Dr. Barry Mayfield: You'll be all right, Lieutenant. I'm sure you'll find others to harass.
Columbo: You know, in a way I have to congratulate you. Up until now, you really had me going. I mean, here you are, you're a surgeon, a man that's gotta be cool. Even when you're angry you're controlled. You never lose yourself. That's why it struck me funny when you blew up in the operating room and you grabbed me and pushed me. I mean, you know, there was only one thing we didn't search. You know what it was?