The Charlie Argos Story - Recap

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On June 25, 1933, Eliot Ness and Lee Hobson arrive in the Castle, a baronial estate in the Chicago suburbs which serves as the headquarters for underworld boss Frank "the King" Argos. Argos' attorney, one Eli Halstead, explains that his boss is dying from a terminal illness and wants to leave $5 million in bearer bonds to his long lost son, Charlie. Argos also wants Ness to serve as the executor of his estate because he knows that he's honest. Argos offers to pay Ness $100K as an executor's fee. Ness politely but firmly declines the offer. Halstead then makes the bank executor of the Argos estate instead of Ness. As Hobson and Ness depart, Argos henchman Arno Beale tells them that Charlie Argos was went missing during World War I and is now presumed to be dead.

Argos soon passes away and his underlings celebrate with a wild party at the Castle. But things soon change for the worst. There's a depression going on and even organized crime is suffering from its effects. The three inheritors of the Argos empire: moll Marcie Decker and hoods Beale and Gil Kellerman, decide to move into narcotics because Prohibition is officially a goner. Unfortunately, ttheir drug runner is intercepted by Ness and Hobson. The runner buys the farm and the heroin is confiscated. The prostitution houses aren't doing too well either. It seems that fewer people are spending money for sex in a bad economy.

Marcie wants out. Kellerman then gives her the heave ho without one penny. Then he travels to New York to get fresh credit from the syndicate there. While he's gone, Beale looks up Marcie, who's now dancing the tango in a cafe. They come up with a plan. Since the $5 million in bearer bonds belongs to one Charlie Argos and he's presumed dead, they decide to create a new one in order to claim the money.

Beale and Marcie then begin searching the shelters and soup kitchens of Chicago for a candidate. They finally find a candidate in a soup kitchen who's a dead ringer for the picture of Charlie Argos in his Army uniform that was taken in 1918. Marcie and Beale, who was Charlie's bodyguard when he was a child, coach him on everything they know about Charlie Argos but at times he seems to know more than they do. Charlie then has a meeting with Halstead and tells him that the reason his father threw his mother out was because she had a lover. The lover was none other than Eli Halstead. Halstead admits the truth of the allegations. By a one in a million chance, Marcie has found the real Charlie Argos.

Knowing that the Argos underlings are trying to get enough cash to get back in business and finding out about Charlie, Ness does some investigating too. He meets with an Army colonel and is shown the records of a soldier named Albert Posen. Posen's photo resembles Argos so Ness figures he's the impostor. Ness meets with Posen's brother, a butcher, and is informed that Albert Posen has a distinctive tattoo on his chest with swords crossed like an "x" and the blades pointing down.

Meanwhile, back at the Castle, Kellerman has returned from New York and discovers that things have changed. Marcie's back and he's out. Literally because Arno Beale shoots him down. Charlie witnesses the shooting and runs out. He doesn't want anything to do with a life of violence and crime and gets a job as a warehouseman.

Knowing that Ness is snooping around, Beale finds out about Posen and rubs out his brother the butcher. Marcie then finds Charlie at the warehouse and persuades him to attend a meeing with Halstead that Ness has called to iron things out once and for all. Ness, Hobson, Rico, Halstead, Charlie, Marcie, and Beale attend the meeting. Charlie is told to open his shirt. When he does there's the tattoo with crossed swords on his chest. Halstead then thinks that Charlie is actually Posen, the impostor. It's no dice with the bearer bonds but Charlie does the Untouchables a favor when he says that he'll testify against Beale for killing Kellerman. Beale reaches for his gun but Rico grabs him and takes him into custody.

As they head for the elevator Hobson muses that Posen almost got away with being Charlie Argos. Ness then points out one thing that everyone else had missed. Charlie was the real thing after all because the blades on his tatto were pointing up. He'd obviously gotten it made that morning to make it look like he was the impostor Posen. Meanwhile, Marcie decides to stay with Charlie even without the money. There's nowhere else to go and at least Charlie is honest unlike his father.