Let us summarize what happens in the last scene of
But according to Columbo and his three colleagues,
as well as to any TV-watcher, the full action
incriminates him. [Finally, although the confession
is irrelevant here, he realizes his mistake
and his loss - murderers in the Columbo series have
usually some dignity.]
- Galesco is suddenly taken to the police station,
where he is waited for by Columbo, who receives him not
in his office but in a kind
of repository containing shelfs full of objects
(see figure 6), including
the cameras in question, a few of which are
visible behind Columbo, although nobody mentions them.
- Columbo starts arguing about the rest of the
newspaper found in Deschler's motel room
and used to cut out the words glued in the kidnapper's note.
The missing bits and pieces
support the hypothesis that the collage was not done
by Deschler. Galesco, usually very prompt in suggesting
explanations to Columbo's doubts and insinuations,
is surprised by the frontal attack of the lieutenant,
who until that moment only expressed him a series of doubts.
He gets then quite upset.
- Immediately after, Columbo announces his final proof,
meant to destroy Galesco's alibi. He has prepared
a giant enlargement of the picture of Mrs Galesco
taken by the murderer
just before she was killed. The photograph shows clearly
a clock indicating
exactly ten (A.M.), time at which the lady had to be
with her husband, while Deschler had a very solid alibi, that morning
doing the driving test to get his licence.
- The expert photographer refuses this new reconstruction,
on the ground that, he claims, there
is a mistake in the
enlargement, in which, he says, the picture has been erroneously
transforming the original 2:00 (P.M.) into 10:00
(obviously, the analog clock had no digits,
but just marks to indicate the hours). He asks
then Columbo to check on the original.
- But Columbo acts very well in pretending he destroyed
the original by accident when he was in the
dark room to supervise the work
(his often goofy way
to behave makes the thing plausible).
- This clever move is able to stress the otherwise always
lucid Galesco, who suddenly thinks
he is going to fall into a trap, based on a false,
incriminating evidence fabricated by the police.
He gets then so
nervous to loose control
and, with a kind of desperate jump of
a feline who sees itself lost, does his fatal mistake.
The discarded photograph in Columbo's hands.
- Suddenly he has a kind of inspiration.
He says the negative can
prove the picture has been reversed.32 Then he rapidly goes to the
shelf, displaces one camera and, with no hesitation
and no sign of doubt,
he picks up the one he used,
that was visible,
but cleverly placed
in the back of others. Then, he opens that kind
of old Polaroid-like camera and
shows the negative inside it
as the prove the picture was reversed
and his alibi still valid.
Final photogram of Negative Reaction.
The incriminating camera is on the desk.
The remaining twelve are in the shelf just behind Columbo's head.
Desk and floor are full of the bits and pieces of the
newspaper from which
the lieutenant tried to reproduce the kidnapper's note.