Mannix (1967–1975): Season 3, Episode 5 - A Question of Midnight - full transcript

Benjamin Holland, a former physician, runs a general store in a small town up the coast from Los Angeles. Holland lost his medical license two years earlier when he reported the wrong lab results to a surgeon and then disappeared from the hospital without permission. Now he is being prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license because he administered life-saving treatment to a young boy. His girlfriend, a woman named Andrea, is an old friend of Joe Mannix from their college days, when she was "queen of the freshman ball." She believes that the solution to Holland's current troubles is to clear his name in the incident that led to the revocation of his medical license. Despite Holland's refusal to cooperate, Mannix agrees to look into the matter for Andrea.

(rain falling, thunder crashing)

(rapping on glass) Ben?


(thunder crashing)

(rapping on glass
continues) Ben?

(thunder crashing)

Please let us in, Ben. Please.

I'm sorry to bother you
at this hour, Mr. Holland.

It's my boy, Jim,
he's sick, real bad.

Miss Palmer said we
should come see you.

He really needs your help, Ben.

Take him into the back room.

(thunder crashing)

You're gonna be
all right now, son.

Daddy's here.

You'll be all right.

Take those off.


You'll be all right, baby.

HOLLAND: Why didn't
you call Dr. Lewis?

Doc's away, and the phone
lines are down with the flooding.

Andrea said you
might be able to help.

HOLLAND: You've got
to get him to the hospital.

We can't... the roads are out.

(thunder continues crashing)

Why don't you wait out
in the store, Mr. Cooper.

(big sigh)

Can't be sure
without a lab test,

but it looks like
viral encephalitis.

What does that mean?

It means he could die

if Cooper doesn't
get him to the hospital.

We told you, the roads are out.

Andrea, I can't treat this boy.

What kind of treatment would
they give him at the hospital?

Fluorazone for the
immediate crisis,

but I can't treat him.

You have a pharmacy
right out there.

Don't you hear anything?!

I can't treat him!
I'm not a doctor!

You were!

(thunder crashing, rain falling)

(thunder continues crashing)

(thunder crashing)

(theme music playing)

♪ ♪

Uh, Peggy, when you
come in this morning,

don't bother to burn the coffee,

I'll be on my way out of town.

A girl I knew back in college
called me needing help.

Now, now, Peggy,
don't make noises,

I couldn't turn her down.

After all, she was Queen
of the Freshman Ball.

MANNIX: So, he,
um, examines the boy,

gives him medication
and saves his life...

Now, what's the big problem?

Well, Ben went on trial today

for practicing medicine
without a license.

They took it away from
him two years ago. Why?

Something happened
in the hospital

down in Pleasant Valley.

That's the county seat
about 12 miles from here.

What happened?

A man died on the
operating table...

An important man in town.

Ben was charged with
criminal negligence.

There was some evidence
a-about a lab report,

a mistake of some kind.

They didn't believe Ben's story,

and I know he
was telling the truth.

How do you know?

I just know.

Are you in love with him?

What difference does that make?

People in love don't
always see things too clearly.

I know a mother and father
who see things very clearly...

Their little boy is alive today
because of what Ben did.

So, just how am I
supposed to help?

You can park over there.

Find out who was
really responsible

for that man's
death two years ago.

Oh, that's all, huh?

There's Ben now.


How did it go?

I'm out on bail.

I guess they figure I
won't run off to Brazil

with all the big money
I get out of this store.

This is Mr. Mannix...
He's a friend of mine

and a private detective.

He came here to help.

How do you do?

I don't remember
saying I needed help.

Well, if that's a sample
of his bedside manner,

he may be better off running
that store than playing doctor.

I'll tell you, I may be losing
my grip on the situation,

but did he or didn't he tell
you to hire a private detective?

Well, not exactly.

But I'm sure he really
wants you to help him.

He can help me by
leaving me alone.

Ben, Mr. Mannix is
here to investigate

the charges against you.

There's nothing to investigate.

I'm guilty.

You saw me give that boy a shot.

I'm talking about the charges
they filed two years ago.

I was guilty of that, too.

Now, unless you're
interested in some groceries,

I'll go back and
finish my inventory.

H-He's just bitter, that's all.

Yeah, I'll go along with that.

Well, he's got
every reason to be.

Andrea, he says he's
guilty. And I say he's not.

I know you'll find the truth

if you just investigate
that Pleasant Valley case.

Wait. Even if he is innocent,

I just can't investigate the
case unless I've got a client.

You do have a client, Joe.


The Queen of the Freshman Ball.

WOMAN (over P.A.):
Dr. Escobar, admitting desk, please.

Dr. Escobar,
admitting desk, please.

Oh, yes? I'd like to
speak to the chief of staff.

Do you have an appointment?

No. No, but it is important.

Well, I'm sorry.

Dr. Bennett is a very busy man.

And I'll have to
ask you to leave.

This area is off-limits.

Uh, Miss Kearsage, what is it?

Good morning, Dr. Bennett.

This gentleman
wanted to see you.

I was just telling him...
Oh, may I help you?

Yes, my name is Mannix...
I'm a private investigator.

(chuckles): Oh?

Is there something wrong?

Well, I'm looking into a case

involving a man who once
was attached to your hospital...

Dr. Benjamin Holland.

WOMAN (over P.A.):
Dr. Graham, admitting desk, please.

Yes. Oh, uh, Miss Hapgood,
will you set up those X-rays

in the operating
theater? Yes, Doctor.

Mr. Mannix...

I was the surgeon the
night that Dr. Holland

left his post of duty

and, uh, sent up the
wrong laboratory reports

to the operating theater.

As a result, my patient,
Mr. Hilliard, died.

I think you can understand
why we here at the hospital

would rather not be reminded
of what happened that night.


Well, uh, thank you
for your time, Doctor.

Nurse, can I see the,
uh, the morning patients?

Oh, certainly, Doctor.

(woman speaking
indistinctly over P.A.)

MANNIX: Excuse me.

I'd, uh... like to ask
you a few questions

about Dr. Holland.

Um, I'd really rather
not talk about it.

Uh, it just brings back
all those memories

of that awful night.

I-I'm sorry, I'm...
I'm a little shaky.

I'm prone to migraines.

Uh, how close were you
to, uh, the Hilliard case?

Very. Uh...

I was there when...
Mr. Hilliard died.

And how was
Dr. Holland involved?

Uh... Dr. Holland was
Chief of Neurological Service

at the time, and...

one of his duties
was to wait for a report

from the pathology
lab on a cardiac test

made the day
before on Mr. Hilliard.

If the results were negative,

we could operate using
a general anesthesia.

If the results
were positive, uh,

general anesthesia
would be too dangerous.

But before the report came in,

another call came
up for Dr. Holland.

Dr. Holland.

Telephone call.

Dr. Holland here.



Yes, I understand.
How bad is it?

No, I can't... I'm on duty.

Couldn't you call...

(exhales): I'm
trying to understand,

but I can't leave the hospital.

No, of course I
haven't forgotten.

All right, look,
don't do anything.

Just stay there... I'll be
over as soon as I can.

What time is the test report due

on the surgery patient?

11:30, Doctor.

Ring up the lab for me.

Oh, but we're supposed to wait

for that report
in writing, Doctor.

Just make the
call, Miss Hapgood.

Yes, Doctor.

(rotary phone dialing)

It's ringing, Doctor.

Dr. Holland later testified

that the lab told him
that the test was negative.

So he ordered a
general anesthetic,

and then he left the hospital.

Well, when did the
operation take place?

At ten minutes after 11:00

right after Dr. Holland
gave the authorization

for the general anesthesia.

I was relieved at
the nurse's station

and told to report to surgery.

(monitor beeping rhythmically)



(beeping stops)

I'm not getting
any pulse, Doctor.

Cardiac massage.

HAPGOOD: It was no use.

At 11:35, he was
pronounced dead.

Ten minutes later, we received
a written report from the lab

stating that the test on
Mr. Hilliard was positive

for cardiac disease

and that cyclopropane
was not to be administered.

I don't get it.

You said that Holland
had called the lab.

The lab denied ever
receiving the call.

On top of that,
Dr. Holland had left his post.

When they asked him why,

he said that he'd left
on an emergency call.

Who was the call from?

He refused to say.

And you say the lab denied

ever giving Dr. Holland the
test results over the phone?


Miss Hapgood, did you
actually hear another voice

on the other end answer
when you called the lab?


I'm, I'm sorry, I...

I don't feel very well.

Well, you've been very
helpful, Miss Hapgood.

If you think of anything else

that happened that night,

I'd appreciate your calling me.

I'm staying at the
Panorama Motel.

(children laughing
and shouting playfully)

BOY: I'll get you!

WOMAN: Children,
time for your baths.

Go on, I said
inside. Go on, now.

I'll be right in. Go on.


Oh, my name is Mannix.

Hey, those are
nice-looking kids.


I'm sure you know
they're not mine.

Now, how would I know that?

Oh, let's not be cute.

They're the Hilliard children.

I'm their governess,
Riva Daniels.

And you're the private
detective who's come to town.

Word does get around.

And what do you want here?


Really? For whom?

Benjamin Holland.

He won't find any
help in Pleasant Valley.

Why not?

Benjamin Holland
had a responsibility.

He ran away from it.

And the children's father died.

They're orphans because
of Benjamin Holland.

Well, there may be
more to that story.

What makes you think so?

Well, uh, people around
here are just a little too touchy

about something that
happened two years ago.

Well, maybe they'd just
like to forget what happened.

Well, someone is trying
to forget something.

There is nothing for you here.

This is a close-knit
community, Mr. Mannix.

They don't like intruders.

Well, I, uh, I certainly
understand that.

But I do have a job.

All I want to know is who
made that phone call to you

on the night of the operation.

I don't remember.

Come on, Holland, now
you don't forget a phone call

important enough to make
you leave your hospital post.

Now look, I didn't ask you here,

and I'm getting tired
of the quiz show.

Now will you please leave?

It's your store.


Are you quitting the case?

I don't know.

I'm beginning to
get intrigued by it.

Besides, I've got an
obligation to my client.

Do you want me to
stay on it? Of course.

You know there are
certain things about this case

that he's hiding.

For instance, who
called him away

from the hospital that night.

Are you sure you want to
find out about those things?

I'll take my chances.

I sure hope he's worth it.

WOMAN: Just a minute!

Just a minute!

Mr. Mannix, you
had a phone call.

A Miss Hapgood at the
hospital said it was important.

Did she say anything else?

Well, she said she
had something for you.

Asked you to meet her at,

52 1/2 Cedar Lane.

It's over on the
other side of town.

They tell me you've got
some messed-up ribs.

I'm Sheriff Reardon.

How did I get here?

We found you
lying in the street.

A clear case of urban blight.

We also found your
car and brought it down.

It's parked in the hospital lot.


Just part of the service.

We figured you'd need
it to drive out of town

after your hopefully
speedy recovery.

I plan to stick around a while.

You might find
that embarrassing.


Trespass, illegal entry,

destruction of private property,

sleeping in a public place.

All of which adds
up to a maximum

of 260 days in jail.

Well, you can throw a
bunch of phony charges at me,

if you like,
Sheriff, that's fine.

I'm beginning to wonder if
maybe you've got a few reasons

of your own for
wanting me off this case.

What might they be?

If I find out, I'll
let you know.

Just be careful, Mannix.

(tires squealing)

(brakes screeching)

Oh, I see you're alive and well.

Does that surprise you?

Why should it surprise me?

Listen, I know what you're
trying to do, but it's hopeless.

All you're going to do

is hurt a lot of innocent
people, including yourself.

Seeing that you're so
concerned, I hate to disappoint you,

but I've decided to stay.

I kind of like this town.

You're making a big mistake.

I don't think so.

It seems a lot of people
have a lot of things

to hide around here.

Now, that makes
for a good mystery.

That's how I make my
living... Finding out things.

All things come to
an end, Mr. Mannix.

Sometimes rather abruptly.

(wheezing breaths)



Miss Hapgoo... (gasping for air)

I... What is it?

I'll call an ambulance.


(ragged breathing)

Operator, send an ambulance
to 19 Maplewood Drive.

Yes, a woman is critically ill.

I think she may have
been poisoned. Yes.

HAPGOOD: Call... Call...

Call to lab...

Wrong... ext...
ten... ten... sion.


(siren wailing)

(car door closes)

MANNIX: Oh, can
I give you a hand?

No, thanks.

You can follow me
out to the trash bin

if you have
something to tell me.

You know, Holland,
one of the things

my father always used
to tell me when I was a kid:

That was never depend on
somebody else for approval.

It's been a valuable lesson.

Having troubles, eh?

Well, maybe it just
isn't tourist season

in Pleasant Valley.

Maybe you're finding out there's
nothing for you to investigate.

On the contrary, there's a lot
more now than there was before.

Do you remember a nurse
named Miss Hapgood?

What about her?

She's dead.


Yes, she was killed last night.

I feel partly responsible.

Why you?

Well, I started the ball rolling
by asking a few questions.

Now, does her, uh, death
mean anything to you?

Why should it?

Well, I haven't got
all the pieces yet.

I was hoping maybe you'd help.

I hardly knew her.

She was going to tell me
something about your case.

There's nothing
to tell, Mr. Mannix.

So young, so devoted,
just taking her life?

Sorry, Doctor, but I think
somebody took it for her.

But... Why?

Miss Hapgood was mixed up

in what happened to
Dr. Holland two years ago.

Well, you must be mistaken.

She was about to tell me
something about the phone call

that night at the lab
just before she died.

Oh, I'm very shocked
about this, Mr. Mannix.

I knew that she was,
uh, very agitated...

and she was taking medication,

but I thought that was because
she was working so hard.

And yesterday, when she
asked me for a few days off,

well, naturally, I said yes.

I had no way of knowing.

Was she involved with anyone?

Involved? You
mean, romantically?

It happens.


No, not to Miss Hapgood.

She was a loner.

Shy. Withdrawn.

If anything was happening,
we would have known.

Well, thanks anyway, Doctor.

Well, I'm sorry I
can't be of more help.

On the phone, I
understood you to say

you have some,
uh... tax problems.

Doesn't everyone?

Oh, Riva Daniels seems to think

you're the best tax
lawyer in the whole state.

Well, I managed to save
her father, Dr. Daniels,

a little money.

Lovely girl, Riva.

I was glad to help.
Pull up a stool.

I see, in your case,
uh, long term planning:

estate evaluation,
insurance evaluation,

business overall, and so forth.

Well, that does sound
a little expensive.

Frankly, I'd be very happy

to just settle for some
one-shot information.

Such as what?

I'm looking into a case
that you were involved in

a couple of years ago.

Mm. Which case was that?

Do you remember
a Harrison Hilliard?

I understand you were one
of the attorneys for his estate.

Just a minute.
Mr. Mannix, who are you?

Well, I'm a private

You're not a friend
of Miss Daniels'.

Well, I never said I was.

It's a matter of public record

that you handle
the business affairs

of a number of people
here in Pleasant Valley.

That means you came
here under false pretenses.

Oh, no, no, no, I didn't.

I do have tax problems.

You see, I'm beginning
to doubt my ability

as a private investigator,

and that could have a serious
effect on my personal income.

I only handle clients whose
income is worth protecting.

Like your own?

Mr. Stillwell, you seem to
do pretty well for yourself.

That's hardly any
of your concern.


Two years ago, you were
an ordinary struggling attorney

with a law firm that
handled the Hilliard affairs.

Hilliard dies, and the
next thing we know,

you've got a whole
building named after you.

Mr. Mannix, if you find anything
illegal about my success,

I suggest you bring
it to the attention

of the proper authorities.

Well, I hope your
success lasts a little longer

than Miss Hapgood's did.

Miss Hapgood?

Yeah, she was a
nurse at the hospital.

She was murdered.

It will be in all
the papers tonight.

They meant it to
look like suicide.

But I guess there's no
reason for you to worry

about such sordid affairs.

Hold all calls, and I'm
out for the afternoon.

This is Stillwell.

Listen, there was a man here
by... by the name of Mannix.

He's a private investigator.

He knows about Hapgood,
and he knows it was murder.

Well, what if he
finds out about us?

Well, whatever we do, I
suggest that you do it now.

Don't shoot. I come in peace.

Pleasant surprise.

I got bored. I... I
hope you don't mind.

Not at all.

Would you like
me to fix you one?

Yeah, on the rocks, fine.


I asked the
manager to let me in.

Mrs. Tucker is a friend of
mine, in case you're wondering.

Well, I was wondering why.

Oh. Yes.

Well, every time I see you, I...

I seem to have a penchant
for being rude to you,

and I... I just
wanted to apologize.

Well, it didn't bother me.

I'm a hardboiled private
eye in the classical tradition.

Oh, you mean you don't
have any feelings at all?

Practically none.

Hmm. Somehow I
find that hard to believe.

To friendship?

Apology accepted.


Now, why don't you
get comfortable, hmm?

Somehow, I think I
should have said that line.




You're really much too
nice a girl to get mixed up

in a thing like this.

I enjoy kissing you.

Well, I didn't mean that.

I mean, you're thinking that
if I got more interested in you,

I'd be less interested in why
I came to Pleasant Valley.

You really have no
feelings, have you?

Well, there's a difference

between using
love and enjoying it.

You made that phone call to
Ben Holland that night, didn't you?


You might as well
tell me. I'll find out.

There is nothing to find out.

I'll dig into everything
you ever did,

anyone you ever talked to.

You know something
I've got to know,

and I'll find out
one way or another.

Now, why did Holland
leave the hospital that night?

Let go of me!



My father.

He was a great
physician, a great teacher.

Ben Holland owed him everything.

I had to call
Holland that night.

He was the only one
we could be sure of.

Dr. Holland, telephone call.

Dr. Holland here. Who?


Yes, I understand.
How bad is it?

No, I can't. I'm on duty.

Why don't you call...

I'm trying to understand,
but I can't leave the hospital.

Of course, I haven't forgotten.

All right, look,
don't do anything.

Just stay there. I'll be
over as soon as I can.

HOLLAND: I got here
as soon as I could.

RIVA: Oh, Ben.
HOLLAND: Where is he?

He's in here. Please hurry.

Is he gone? Yes, he is.


(strained): Hello, Ben.
Thanks for coming.

What's wrong, Dan?

I got a bad pain in
the lumbar region.

Don't touch it!

I... I need...

I need morphine,
Ben. Half a grain.

If it's that bad, I'd
better look you over first.

The morphine will
be sufficient, Ben.

(breathing hard)

(Daniels breathing erratically)

(labored breathing)

Oh, Ben, just give
me the morphine!

(shallow breathing)

Good night, Dan.

RIVA: Thank you for
coming, Ben. Good night.

(door closes)

(hushed): How long
has this been going on?

He's had the lumbar
condition for a year.

I'm not talking about
the lumbar condition!

How long has he been hooked?

He's up to a half
grain of morphine!

That's an addict's dosage.

How long has it been going on?

(voice cracking):
For six months.

It started with the pain and...

He's been retired for a year.

How does he get the stuff?

I don't know!

What are you going to do?

He's dying, you know that.

He'll be asking for the
medication several times a day.

You're to call me and only
me, do you understand?

You're to tell no one.

Ten days later, my father died.

By that time, all the trouble
with Ben had broken out.

Why didn't Ben say

where he'd been that night?

Ben worshipped my father.

He would never have done
anything to hurt his good name.

He said that the mix-up with
the lab report was enough

of an excuse for the
hospital to get rid of him,

and it really didn't matter
where he'd been that night.

Mm. Where did your
father get his drug supply?

He never told me.

He was a doctor.

I suppose he had some
way of obtaining the drugs.

Wh-Why does it matter? I
mean, you know the truth now.

Your work's done.

Not all of it.

How did a bright doctor
like Ben Holland make

the mistake of getting a simple
positive/negative lab report

wrong on the telephone?

I don't know.

Somebody does.

Maybe the same person
who arranged a little surprise

for me at Cedar Lane...

Like getting from the
second floor to the first floor

without benefit of the stairway.

(sighs) I wish I
could help you, Joe.

And I have, I've
told you everything.

I know.

I guess I should have told
the truth a long time ago.

But Ben wanted it this way.

I guess I'd better be going.


On your stomach.

I didn't know you
made house calls.

Only on special occasions.

And the good lawyer, Stillwell.

It's all coming in
loud and clear now.

You're the one that supplied
Riva's father, Dr. Daniels,

with the morphine.

He was a man in need.

Well, on the day
of the operation,

you withheld his usual dosage.

You knew that by 10:30,
he'd be climbing the walls.

You also knew that Dr. Holland
was the only other person

he trusted enough to
ask for the morphine.

Now, drugs are like
watches, Mr. Mannix.

You can time their reactions
almost to the second.

And when a woman like
Nurse Hapgood is in love,

she doesn't ask questions.

Not even when she's asked
to dial the wrong extension

so that a doctor can be
given a phony lab report.

Let's get it over with.

It won't take a minute.

So when I came to town

and started asking
Nurse Hapgood questions,

she cracked under the strain.

So she had to die
before she could talk.

And so do you, Mannix.

Now, you don't think
you'll get away with this?

(grunting and groaning)

(straining and gasping)




Hello. This is Dr. Bennett.

I want you to send an
ambulance to pick up a patient

at the Panorama Motel.

What's next?

I've just given him a
dosage of 1 cc morphine.

I had no way of knowing

that he was a dope
addict. You understand.

He phoned me and
complained of dizzy spells.

When I got here,
he was unconscious.

After he's admitted,

I'll prescribe a routine
dosage of pirimine

to strengthen the heartbeat.

And it will act
quickly in combination

with the morphine...
and it'll kill him.

Dr. Bennett,
everything's ready for you.

Room 510. Nurse
Riley will assist you.

510. Come along, Miss Riley.

Put him right in there.

Have this filled immediately.


Here, I'll do it.

You fix his arm.

Get another one, fast!

Yes, Doctor.

(nurse cries out)


REARDON: Still don't
understand it, Mannix.

MANNIX: Well, I'll try
and explain, it, Sheriff.

Oh, would you hand
me those shoes, please?

You see, Hilliard's
estate was worth

about three-and-a-
half-million dollars.

Once they got
Hilliard out of the way,

there was nothing
standing in the way

of anyone who wanted that
fortune, except those two children,

and Stillwell had the
power to use that money

pretty much the way
he and Bennett wanted.

So they needed a
patsy to take the blame.


Mannix, I don't know if
you're smart, lucky or talented.

I sometimes wonder
the same thing, Sheriff.

I'm also wondering who
got you to come after me.

Oh, we got a phone call
from a lady friend of yours

when she saw you get

an unexpected visit
from Dr. Bennett.

Hmm... Riva Daniels, huh?

I guess she thought
you were in a little trouble

when the ambulance
carted you away.

Riva... I've known her
since the day she was born.

Taking care of those kids, I
guess that's her way of trying

to make up to them for
what happened to their father.

She's a nice girl, Mannix.

I think somebody
ought to tell her that.

I think somebody will.

Say, Mannix...

what'd you get out of all this?


Three cracked ribs.

I've already had two offers.

I've hardly had time
to put up the sign.

Maybe it's a mistake
switching professions.

It's no mistake, Ben.

You're going to be offered
your old job at the hospital.

I've decided not to go
back to Pleasant Valley.

I like it here.

HOLLAND: The air is clean,

the view pleases me.

Besides, there's plenty of
work to keep two doctors busy.

Mr. Mannix, if I forgot
to say thanks... thanks.

The other day, you said
there was a difference

between enjoying
love and using it.

You wouldn't care to make
that a little clearer, would you?

No harm in trying.

(theme music playing)