Mannix (1967–1975): Season 3, Episode 24 - War of Nerves - full transcript

A young woman who has entered a county fair competition in a rural community north of Los Angeles disappears, and her wealthy father hires Joe Mannix to look for her. As Mannix begins his investigation, everyone he interviews claims that the woman never arrived in town. Then everyone -- the police, the town council, and even his hotel clerk -- suddenly seem interested only in having Mannix leave town as quickly as possible. Mannix learns, however, that they are all frightened by an extortion plot that involves not only the missing woman, but a threat to every person in the town.

Think Moonfire's
ready, Miss Calder?

Well, if she isn't, she will
be when the fair opens.

Would you open the gate, please?

You bet.

All right, let's
get it on the truck.

(horse neighs)


(woman screams)


(muffled protests)

He's dead.

Leave him in the bushes.


(theme music playing)

♪ ♪

That's my daughter
Lynn, Mr. Mannix.

That's Moonfire she's riding,
a Tennessee walking horse.

I gave it to her for
her 18th birthday.

She's... she's been crazy about
horses since she was a child.

This isn't like her, Mr. Mannix.

It isn't like her at all.

When did she first decide

to enter Moonfire
in the horse show?

Last month.

She, uh, she wired the Mission
Motel for reservations and...

This is their confirmation.

She left two days ago.

Tuesday morning, early.

It's a four-hour drive.

She had Moonfire in the trailer.

Did she, uh, call you
when she got there?

Yeah. About noon.

Said everything was
fine and that, uh, she'd call

every day just before dinner.

Anything else?

No. Just the usual
daughterly things.

Oh, there was one thing.

Well, there was one point

where she practically
had to yell over the phone.


A bell was pealing.

It was very loud.

A bell?

It was the noon bell
from the Mission.

She said she could see
the tower from her room,

and she said she'd phone again

when she got back
from the riding stable.

But she didn't call
you that evening?


No. That one phone call was
the only time I heard from her.

Mr. Calder...

I hate to say this,
but I've got to.

You're a very wealthy man.

You can't rule out the
possibility of kidnapping.

Oh, I've thought
of that, Mr. Mannix,

but there's been no
phone call, no note, nothing.

Yeah, I guess you would
have heard from them by now.

You know...

You know, when Lynn
didn't phone the next day,

I-I called the motel.

And the clerk who answered
said she wasn't registered,

that she'd never
been there at all.

I argued with him,
but he was positive.

Why didn't you call the police?

I did.

They sent a deputy both to the
motel and to the riding stables.

They said there was no sign that
she'd ever been to either place.

It's, it's as though
she never existed.

Mr. Mannix, you find
my daughter for me.

I'm terribly worried,

and... and I love her very much.

We're full up.

I'm not after a room;
just some information.

Such as?

Well, uh... I'd like
to talk to the man

that was on the desk
Tuesday morning.

You're talking to him.

Can you tell me what time
Miss Lynn Calder checked in?

She didn't.

Is your name, uh... Ken Bailey?

That's right.

Is that your signature
verifying her reservation?

Don't mean nothing.

Some show and some don't.

Now, she called
her father from here

Tuesday, about noon.

Like I said, she didn't show up.

One of your cottages
called Santa Maria?


Well, she told her father
she was staying there.

Which ain't so.

There's been a painter
working in there for a week,

and he's still there.

When you pay by the
day, they take their time.

Now, look.

Last month, Lynn
Calder filed her entry

for the horse show
at the county fair.

It was accepted.

She wired here for a
reservation and she was accepted.

She arrived here
Tuesday morning,

driving a 1970 convertible

with a trailer and a horse,

and she made a call to
Los Angeles at exactly noon.

Is that what she
told her father?

That's right.


Some kids will tell
their folks anything.

Yeah, and some people
will tell anybody anything.

Now, you listen
to me, young fella.

I'll tell you exactly what I
told her father and that deputy.

No Miss Calder checked in
here on Tuesday or any other day

with or without a horse!

Now, you got that?

Yeah, I got that, Mr. Bailey.

Now, if I may impose
further on your good nature,

can you tell me where
the nearest stable is?

Well, that would
be The Hitching Post

about a mile down the road.

If you're figuring on boarding
a horse, they're full up, too.

(distant clock tower chiming)

(chiming loudly)

(faint chiming)

Hi, there.


Hey, that's a beauty.

What's his name?

Name's Jingo.
Real stepper. Yeah?

You think he could
beat Moonfire?

Well, that depends
on... OWENS: Jed!

Yes, sir?

You rub that horse
down, you hear me?

Yes, sir.

Anything I can do for you?

You got a program of
the fair I can look at?

In the office.

Yeah. Here.

Thank you.

Anything in particular
you're looking for?

Yeah. There it is, Tennessee
Walking Horse Class.

Miss Lynn Calder on Moonfire.


Well, I was just wondering if
maybe she kept her horse here.

What makes you think that?

Well, it happens to be the
closest stable to Mission Motel.

She ain't there, either.

How do you know?

'Cause the deputy was
here, too, asking for her.

And you haven't seen her?

No, sir, I haven't.

Now, tell me, how do you
suppose a horse, a trailer and a girl

all vanish into thin air?

Beats me.

Oh, is that the list of
the occupied stalls?


I thought you were all full up.

How come this one is blank?

The horse ain't in yet.

I don't keep track
of every hayburner

they stick in the stalls,
I just rent out space.

Well, now, you must charge
for the services, don't you?

I mean, you've got dates,
names, things like that?

What if I do?

Well, I was wondering if I
might take a look at them.

Nobody looks at my records.

Why? You got something to hide?

Mister, you're
asking for trouble.

You're on my property,
and I want you off

right now.

Sure. I was just leaving.

Yeah, thanks for the help.

There you are, sir.

My key, please.

Uh, yes, Mr. Mannix.

Have they cleaned
up my room yet?

Oh, I'm sorry, but what
with the fair and everything,

we're just swamped.

In other words, the lipstick
is still on the bathroom glass.

Beg your pardon?

Never mind. Thanks.

(phone ringing)


Hello, Mr. Mannix.

You remember me?

Hitching Post Stables?

Yeah, I remember.

I couldn't talk to
you... Reasons.

I had an idea.

I got something to tell you.


Not here.

Boss is due back any second.

Okay, where do I meet you?

The Mopado Ironworks.

It's about ten miles out
of town on the north road.

You'll see the sign.

How soon?

Half an hour.

I'll be there.


Did I do it right.

You did just right.

JED: Mr. Mannix.

I'm over here, Mr. Mannix.

All right, now what is
it you had to tell me?

Well, I...

turn around, Mannix.

Put your hands on the bars
with your feet spread apart.

DEPUTY: Get out of town, Mannix.

Don't come back.

I've got a job to do first.

Your job is finished.

Yes, sir? May I help you, sir?

My key, please.

Are you registered here, sir?

Room 412.


The one with the
lipstick on the glass.

Let me check my
register, please.

Uh-huh. I thought so.

412 is occupied by
Mr. and Mrs. McKinney.

They never miss the fair.

Made the reservation a year ago.

Now look, I don't care
what your records say,

I checked in here
early this morning,

went up to the
room and called L.A.

Then I went out again.

Oh, you must be mistaken, sir.

Now please, for heaven's sake,
you're disturbing our guests.

Now you look, I want
you to turn around

and give me the key to Room 412.

I'm sorry, sir, you are
not registered here.

What's the trouble here?

This man claims
he's registered here.

When I told him he
must be mistaken,

well, you saw for
yourself what happened.

You got any identification?

I was slugged and robbed
less than an hour ago.

They took everything.

Oh, I see. Did you report it?


You mean you've got no
money, no identification,

nothing to prove who you are?

You mind if I make a phone call?

Did they leave you a dime?

Now look, my name is Joe Mannix,

and I've got a car
parked out at the curb.

The owner's registration
slip is on the steering post.

Uh, well, you
could have stolen it.

You could check.

I will. Now, you
coming along easy

or are you gonna make
it hard on yourself?

You know there's a law that says
I'm allowed one telephone call.

You show me the law,
and I'll show you the phone.

Nick, Oh, Nick.

Your wife showed up
to bail you out, Nick.

Oh, thanks.

Nick, how'd you like
to make 50 bucks?

Oh, sure, I could buy
a gun and shoot myself.

All you have to do is make
one phone call, just one.

Where to?

Call my secretary. I'll
give you the number.

Tell her where I am and
to come and get me out.

You got it?


Oh, well, uh, I'll pay
you the minute I'm out.

You could be in jail for life.

Look, all you're investing
in is one phone call.

I'm not thinking of myself.

A girl's life depends on this.

And I can't help her
as long as I'm in jail.

I've got to get out.

Okay, what's the number?

That won't be
necessary, Mr. Mannix.

Come with me.

Let's go, Mannix.

Where to?

Just follow me.

No. This is as far as I go.

I've been slugged, robbed,
and my identity's been wiped out.

I want to know why.

You'll be told why.

MAYOR: Come in.

Sit down.

Not until I make a phone call.


If this man's hand
touches that phone,

shoot him through the head.

Yes, sir.

Now, sit down.

We want you out
of town, Mr. Mannix.

I got that impression.

I'm Mayor Lewis.

This is Mr. Hume,
our leading banker,

and Mr. Crane is the president
of our Chamber of Commerce.

Now look, Mayor, I'm
a licensed investigator.

I'm here on legitimate business.

We don't care why you're here.

Just get out of town.

And if I don't?

You'll wish you
had, I promise you.

Now simmer down, both of you.

Just do as we ask, Mr. Mannix,

and forget everything
that's happened.

Gentlemen, I can think of
a lot of places I'd rather be

than in your
friendly little town.

But I took a job, and I
don't intend to drop it

without a very good reason.

Believe it or not, Mr. Mannix,
we're trying to do you a favor.

It seems I'm the only one here

that doesn't know
what this is all about.


Mr. Mannix, if you don't
leave, you'll be risking the life

of every man, woman
and child in this town.


Four days ago, an express
freight train was stopped

just outside of town
by five armed men.

They overwhelmed the crew
and made off with some property

of the United States Army.

The following
day, I received this.

"If you value the lives of
the citizens of your town

"you will follow these
instructions to the letter.

"One: You will not, repeat, not

"notify any outside authorities.

"Two: You will collect the sum
of $1 million in unmarked bills.

"Three: You will
deliver this sum to us

"after instructions to follow.

"Warning: If you fail to
follow any of these directions,

"we will release the
contents of the canister

at the moment you
officially open the fair."

What was in the canister?

The train was
carrying a shipment

of highly classified
toxic material,

commonly known as "nerve gas,"

to an area where it would
be harmlessly disposed of

in compliance with the
recent order of the president.

Now I can't believe anyone

would carry through
a threat like that.

They intend to.

Step by step.

You mean you've
been in touch with them?

Every day.

They call.

Always at the same
time, 3:00 sharp,

and turn the screw
just a little tighter.

And you intend to pay them off?

Mr. Mannix, we all
have families, children,

and there will be thousands of
innocent people coming to the fair.

What do you expect us to do?

What makes you think
you'll get what you pay for?

What makes you think they
won't trigger that gas anyway?

Why should they?

Because something
like this will set off

the biggest man-hunt in history.

Now their best
chance for a getaway

is to create a disaster...

To cover up their
tracks with dead bodies.

Believe me, Mr. Mannix,
none of us has slept

since this happened.

We've gone over and
over every alternative.

The consensus is... to pay.

Don't you see, we
have no choice?

(distant clock tower chiming)

(phone ringing)


Put him through.


I'll give him the message.

If you're not out
of town in an hour,

they won't wait for the fair.

My key.

Oh, yes, Mr. Mannix.

Oh, and I'm checking out.

Now that's a pretty neat trick,
considering I was never here.

Leave your gun just where it is.

If you're here to escort
me out of town, forget it.

I'm on my way.

I don't like it, but
I'm pulling out, okay?

There may be some doubt
about your leaving, Mannix.

Depends on the answers
I get to a few questions.

Just who are you?

Okay, so your name is Lenz,
and you're a federal agent.

Now why the gun?

I want to know
why you came here,

why you were assaulted
and thrown in jail

and why you're now
being run out of town.

Well, let's just say that, uh,

it was a misunderstanding.

You've also been consulting
with the mayor and the council

behind locked and guarded doors.

Now I want to know why.

Sorry, I can't answer that.

Well, you think it over, Mannix.

No hurry.

I've got all the
time in the world.

And if I need
someone to spell me,

I've got plenty of help,

right here in this hotel
as a matter of fact.

Now look, I'd like to
cooperate, but I can't.

And if you don't let me
get out of town right away,

you may buy yourself
a bigger problem

than you were looking for.

I'll have to be
the judge of that.

Now, why don't you
call down to the desk

and tell them you've changed
your mind about leaving?

I gave the mayor my word.

I guess you're not gonna
give me a choice, huh?


I came here to
find a missing girl.

Her name is Lynn Calder.

Her father, Carl
Calder, lives in Bel Air.

You can check that out.

Now that's why I'm here.

The rest of it, the
hijacking and the nerve gas

was strictly out of left field.

Hey, wait a minute. How'd
you find out about that?

Not one word of it's been
released to the public.

Let me sweeten that up for you.

That canister's being used

to squeeze a million
dollars out of this town.


Under threat of
releasing that nerve gas

at the opening of the
fair in less than 48 hours.

Are you telling me the truth?


That'd be mass slaughter.

Is there any defense against it?

Total evacuation of everyone
within a radius of ten miles.

Well, you'd better get started.

Nah, it'd never work.

An airport that can't
even land a DC3?

Thousands of cars
trying to pile out of town

on a single main highway?

You know what one flat
tire would do, Mannix?

One vapor lock?

No, I've seen what happens

to decent average people
when they start to panic.

You can't just stand
by and let it happen.

No, we're gonna
find that canister

if we have to tear
this whole town apart.

Before the fair opens?

That would seem to be desirable.

Now wait a minute!

You could blow
this deal wide open.

This town promised not
to call in any outsiders.

They even levered
me out of town!

What you do is your
own business, Mannix.

Now give me room 212, please.

Our concern's with
national security.

We don't make any deals on that.

Hello, Barney.

This is Lenz. We all
meet in five minutes.

Mr. Mannix.

(siren wailing)

All right, now what?

I'm leaving town
like I promised.

May I see your
driver's license, please?

What do you want? I'm
following instructions.

Play along. Act sore.

This is the only
way I can talk to you

in case we're being watched...

and I think we are.

Mannix, I don't go along
with pampering criminals.


So that council didn't
tell you everything

at that meeting.

Like what?

Like the hijackers are
holding the Calder girl.

Yeah, I figured as much.

Anything else?

Yeah, you had a long-distance
phone call from Los Angeles.

Who was it?

I don't know. Check
with Operator 245.

She said it was an emergency.


Don't mention it.

And I mean don't mention it!

Sign right there, please.

Hey, you threw the book at me.

Had to make it
look real, didn't I?

Thank you, Mr. Mannix.

WOMAN 1: Operator.

Operator, this is LAKG-62114.

Get me Operator
245 in Los Angeles.

WOMAN 2: This is Operator 245.

This is Joe Mannix. Do you
have a phone call for me?

Yes, sir. Mr. Carl Calder's
been trying to reach you.

Hold on, sir, and
I'll connect you.

CALDER: Mannix?

Yeah, speaking.

I have wonderful news.

Well, I could use some.

Lynn is home.


She's home safe and sound.

That's all we ever
wanted, wasn't it,

to get your daughter back home?

There's only one problem:

I don't believe it.

Mr. Mannix, it doesn't really
matter what you believe.

Do you mind if I talk to her?

I, uh, I don't want to wake her.

She's completely worn out.

Now, You wouldn't have
to wake her, Mr. Calder.

I'd just like to see for
myself that she's all right.

Would you mind
showing me to her room?

I, uh, I-I couldn't do that.

Because she isn't
upstairs, is she?

They got to you,
didn't they, Mr. Calder.

They put the squeeze on
you to get me out of their hair.

Mr. Calder, do you
honestly believe that you've

bought back your daughter's
life by taking me off the case?

The men you're dealing
with have a million dollars

riding on this caper!

They won't give your
daughter a second thought!

Now all you've done is
bought back a couple of days!

Don't say that!

They can't afford to let
her live to identify them!


Mr. Calder, by taking
me off of the case,

you've played right
into their hands.

Don't you realize
what you've done?

You've signed your
daughter's death sentence.

If I go back,
they'll kill the girl.

But if I don't,

I'll never be able
to live with myself.

Well, there's always a chance

the federal agents will
find the canister in time.

Yeah, well, either
way, it's a mess.


Because if they
do find the canister,

those hijackers will
definitely cut and run

and leave a corpse
behind... Lynn Calder.

Smells like the coffee's ready.

Sit down. I'll get it.

Better stay off of that knee.

Football, at your age?!

It was touch football.

Toby and his friends.

There must be an angle.

I just haven't thought of it.

(phone rings)

Mr. Mannix's office.


From whom?

The operator says you
have a call from someone

that threw the book at you.

Does that make sense?

Put him on.

We'll accept the call, Operator.


Mannix? I've got to talk fast.

I'm due back at headquarters.

Go on.

I thought you ought to know

that some hunters found the
body of a man in the woods.

He's been dead three days.

Kicked in the head by a horse.

Go ahead.

A routine check turned
up a criminal record

and a lead to the men
he usually worked with.

You have their names?

Yeah, I sent a copy to you.

Anything else?

Yeah, the clincher.

We just got our instructions
on how to deliver the money.

And the payoff's
tomorrow, early.

That's it.


My bag still packed?

I haven't touched it.

I just figured out a way
to get back in the case.


By acting as a go-between
for the ransom money.

All I have to do is sell
the idea to three men

who aren't buying anything.

Say, uh, how do you get
up into that tower up there?

Why? What have you got?

Well, we got an order to
install a couple speakers.

What for?

So the people can
hear the mayor's speech.

It's the first
stairway on the left.

But I'll bet you it's
the same speech

he made last year
and the year before.

MANNIX: A million bucks.

Somehow you always
think it'll make a bigger pile.

20 of our leading citizens

each made out a
check for $50,000.

(phone rings)


Put him on.


Yes, we have the
money right here.

Mannix will deliver
it as agreed upon.

(softly): What about the girl?

Uh, is the Calder girl safe?

I see.

Yes, he'll be there at 11:00.

I am following orders.

To the letter!

What'd they say about the girl?

They'll let her go
right after the pickup

and just before they leave town.

I hope they mean that.

I just hope we never
regret allowing you

to act as our messenger.

Did you make all
the arrangements?

Yeah, we're all set.

The helicopter pilot's
one of our own men.

And we've got this town covered,
every approach and every exit.

I'm still not sure
I like your plan.

It's too risky.

If anything were to go wrong...

Do you have a better
plan, Your Honor?

Now where do I go?

Uh, you'd better have
a look at the map.

There's the spot.
Dawson's Meadow.

(vehicle approaches)

Howdy. Hi.

Uh, you mind backing
up a bit, mister?

You're right in our sight line.

Anyplace back by
that jeep will be fine.

(engine starts)

You fellas gonna be long?

Just as long as it takes
to get the job done.


Just act nice and natural.

That's a nice-looking
piece of luggage.

He's clean.

Aren't you gonna count it?

I don't have to.

We've got the girl, remember?

If this adds up to a
million, she goes free.

Mannix, I'll take those keys.


Enjoy the scenery.

(helicopter approaches)

Calling Mannix.

LENZ: Calling Mannix.
Do you read me?

Mannix here. Do you see them?

Yeah, we've got them.

All right, stay high,
but don't lose them.

(car engine starts)

Attention all units!

Subject approaching
warehouse with skylight roof.

Repeat: subject approaching
warehouse with skylight roof.

MAN 1: I gotta hand it
to you; you come off okay.

MAN 2: I told you
there'd be a few problems,

but everything's
gonna work out okay.

All we gotta do is not
attract any attention

to ourselves, get out
of town nice and quiet,

and nobody'll ever
know the difference.

What about her?

I say we leave her.

I say you let me
take care of it.

Why don't you
wait out in the car?

I'll take care of her.

What for? We've got it
made. Why buy more heat?

MAN 1 Look, she
opened up her mouth,

and that million dollars
will pave your way

right to the gas chamber, and
his, mine and every one of us.

LEADER: What is she
gonna open her mouth about?

She's gonna say
that we're four guys.

Who are the four guys?

She never saw them before.

She's never gonna
see them again.

MAN 1: You think she
can forget a mug like that

and this and this? What,
are you kidding me?

LEADER: So what? By that
time, we're out of the country.

There won't be a
thing that they can do.

We'll get away from here...
Just hold it right there!

All right, you, untie her.

Don't be a fool, Mannix.

That tank is set to go off,

and it will unless we tell you
where it is and how to stop it.

Now, either you
make a deal with us,

or you're responsible for
the death of this whole town!

Over here, Miss Calder.

You all right?


Okay, now the
rest of you outside!

Come on, move!

All of you inside, we
have the place surrounded!

Come out with your hands up!


Stay down!




Okay, Mannix,

you take me in, and that
tank goes off on schedule.

Is that what you want?

Or do we make a deal?

I'm not taking you in.

What does that mean?

It means we go into town
and we watch the parade.

Are you...?!

That thing is set to go off!

What time?


Where is it?

Do we make a deal?

Now you're gonna
show me where it is

or I drop you off on Main Street

and you choke to death right
in the middle of that parade!

You'd go... You'd go, too.

I'm betting you want
to keep breathing.

Now let's go!


(brakes screeching)

Give me that dime!

Tell me what to do!

Turn those four
bolts to your left.


Now what?

Unscrew that cylinder.

What next?

What next?!

Take that cylinder
out very carefully.

Disconnect the batteries.

(ticking stops)

(clock chiming)

(theme music playing)