Sex and the Married Detective
Corporal Frank Brailie heads up the Special Projects Fund of the First Foundation
for American Thought, a military thinktank organization, and is siphoning a good
portion of the fund into his own secret bank account. General Padget, who heads
the thinktank, has his suspicions about Frank but only Sargeant Major Lester
Keegan has real proof -- some friends of his who work at the Pentagon are aware
of Frank's shady dealings. Lester brings this up with Frank. He says he also
knows that Frank has been having an affair with the General's wife. In exchange
for keeping his silence, Lester wants in on Frank's money skimming. Frank tells
Lester that he has his own sources of information and that he knew that Lester
was on to him. Frank tells Lester to give him a couple of days to come up with
a reasonable financial offer. Frank then goes and gives the General his long
awaited copy of the report for the Special Projects Fund. This is, of course,
a badgered report. Frank keeps the real one in his safe.
Later, Frank attends the General's birthday dinner, while Lester is conducting
field training exercises with his men. Frank quietly excuses himself from the
party by telling Warren, the General's house servant, that he has to complete his
birthday present to the General -- a toy soldier battlefield depicting the Civil
War. Frank, however, has already completed his gift and instead goes to Lester's
bunk and changes into fatigues and a mask. He then makes his way to the training
area. Frank finds Lester in the woods setting up some land mine triggers and
proceeds to stab him. He then drags Lester's body over one of the mines and
leaves him there. Frank tosses Lester's flashlight in the woods. Goes back to
Lester's bunk. Carefully undresses. Then makes sure that no traces of mud are
left on the floor. Frank then goes to the General's office and unloads a box
that says "miniature soldiers". The box, however, contains books rather than
soldiers, and Frank places those books neatly on a shelf next to the already
finished toy battlefield. Frank returns to the party and proudly takes the
General back to the office to present his gift. Meanwhile., the battle
exercises are going full force in the woods and Lester's body gets blown up
when the land mines are set off.
Next morning, Columbo is at the scene. He meets Frank and asks him about Lester
and the nature of the drills. Frank tells the Lieutenant what he needs to know
and then leaves. Later, Frank goes back Lester's bunk room and sees some mud on
the floor. Was that from the night before? He quickly wipes it clean just as
Columbo enters from an adjacent room. Columbo says he's sorry he tracked all
that mud from the murder site into the room. Frank tells Columbo it's no big
deal -- he simply wants to keep the room clean in honor of Lester. Columbo says
he's surprised to see Frank in Lester's room. Frank says he merely wanted to
pay one final tribute to his friend and fellow soldier.
Later, Columbo finds some want ads in Lester's room and questions Frank about
them. What puzzles Columbo is that the date of the ads stop a couple days
before the murder. Did he find a new job? Frank says he didn't even know Lester
was looking for a new job. Columbo shows Frank a baggie full of crushed
leaves and debris found wedged in the back of Lester's shirt collar. Since
Lester's body was found face down, this debris might suggest that he was
dragged through the woods on his back to the mine area -- a surefire
indication of foul play Frank explains that explosions can sometimes
produce random results. Columbo agrees that must account for it.
Columbo goes to visit General Padget who shows him Frank's Civil War
battlefield gift. Columbo looks at the books Frank lined the General
shelves with. He finds a lost toy soldier behind one of the books on
the shelf. The General tells Columbo about Frank and the Special Projects
Fund. He says that he asked Lester to investigate Frank's handling of the
fund but Lester never had the chance to report back with any news.
Columbo goes back to Lester's bunk and finds some recently delivered dry
cleaning. There is an envelope attached with the contents of Lester's
pockets. In it, Columbo finds a note with the name L. Dunston and an
When Columbo tracks down this address, it turns out to be Frank's discreet
apartment for his romantic affairs. Frank, who's waiting champagne in hand
for the General's wife to arrive, is surprised indeed to see Columbo.
Columbo can't figure out how Lester would have known about Frank's secret
apartment unless Lester was following Frank for some reason. Columbo then
tells Frank that he's puzzled about Lester's flashlight. It was found
underneath the lip of a rock facing away from the explosion. How could
it have possibly gotten there? Columbo says this prompted him to ask for
a second autopsy. Turns out that Lester was stabbed in the heart prior
to the explosion. That could only mean that he was murdered. Meanwhile,
the General's wife arrives, but, upon seeing Columbo's car parked outside,
immediately. Columbo uses Frank's bathroom and, while he's in there,
grabs a woman's toothbrush from the medicine cabinet and pockets it.
Columbo goes back to the General's home. He talks to Warren about Frank's
gift to the General. Apparently, the box of books arrived in the morning,
but the box of soldiers didn't arrive until later in the evening. That was
why Frank had to excuse himself from the party -- so he could set up the
soldiers. Columbo then talks to Mrs. Padget. He tells her that Lester was
murdered. He then notices the glass that Mrs. Padget is drinking from.
It has four stars on it to signify the General's ranking. Pretty rare.
It's funny that Frank had similar glasses at his love nest. Mrs. Padget
denies having to do anything with Frank, but when Columbo produces her
toothbrush and threatens to have it fingerprinted, she admits to having
At Lester's funeral service, Columbo is approached by a military
intelligence officer from Washington -- the one who gave Lester the skinny
on Frank's misdealings. The officer tells Columbo what he knows. Columbo
pays a visit to Frank's office. The secretary tells Columbo that Frank's
gone for the day. She happens to have the two versions of Frank's report
in her hands because she's about to shred them as
' per his instructions. When she sees that Columbo also has a copy
of the report, she asks him if it's the new one or the old one. He says
he's not sure. She checks her own reports to see which one matches his.
In the confusion, Columbo grabs the old report and disappears when she has
her back turned to him.
Columbo gives the old report to the General, who confronts Frank. Frank says
that if the news got out about the Fund, it wouldn't look too good for the
General. He'll either be considered a co-conspirator or an inept fool. Frank
further vows to make public his affair with Mrs. Padget. Frank then runs
into Columbo in the General's office. Columbo then re-hashes the facts of
the murder. He says he suspects Frank murdered Lester. He had the motive.
Frank says he has a surefire alibi. He was setting up the toy soldiers at
the time of the murder. Columbo says the toy soldier he found confuses him.
The soldier was behind the books, meaning that the soldiers must have
arrived before the books not after. Frank explains that he did not line
the books on the shelf until after the soldiers were set up. Columbo says
that explains the soldier but not the boxes. Columbo takes the box marked
books and tried to load all of the books from the shelf into it. They won't
fit no matter how he stacks them. The box marked toy soldiers, however, will
accommodate the books. Therefore, the soldiers arrived in the morning in the
box marked books. That would give Frank ample time to set up the soldiers
well before the party. Frank's just lost the battle as well as the war.
Return To Season 8