S04E07 - “Air Cargo -- Dial for Murder” - Plot

(Prepared by Bobbi Baker)


Various activities occur at Asiam Air Cargo at Honolulu International Airport with one man (Ward Benson) answering the phone in a warehouse. Jerry Turner talks to Alvin Jones who gives him an air bill number of "D-49137" which has been taken care of. The next one is "L-29311, jewelry" and Jerry writes it down. After he hangs up, Jerry calls Airport Security as "Officer Eleven" reporting in to Arnold Cook (Barney Phillips) with "line moving" and more details will be given tomorrow. Jerry goes about his job with another man (Bill Bigelow) following him. Jerry goes into the warehouse to find the air bill cargo to be diverted and as he's looking near a forklift, the other man topples the load on top of Jerry.

Act One

The crates are lifted off Jerry as ambulance attendants come in to take him to the coroner. McGarrett is on the scene with Arnold mentioning he gave Jerry his first job and Jerry predicted he wouldn't make it to 40. Arnold explains Jerry was working undercover to find out what was going on with the "air cargo ring" but McGarrett was under the impression it was "nickels and dimes". Only it wasn't, Arnold tells it's bigger than he knows. McGarrett isn't happy Arnold is just now calling them in and tells Kono to get a full post-mortem on Jerry. As Jerry is taken away and Kono follows, McGarrett and Arnold continue talking about what happened. Arnold is sure it was murder and someone probably fingered him. Arnold tells McGarrett is that a voice on the other end gave Jerry the orders to pull certain things off the line earning $200 to $500 each time. Jerry was sent in posing as a cargo handler with a hidden prison record and gambling debts. He was recruited by another voice on another phone line. McGarrett tries to piece things together such as who did Jerry call if things went wrong. All Arnold has is an old phone number: Apili 7-9247. McGarrett wants Chin to track it down even though they changed it. Chin says he'll take care of notifying Jerry's ex-wife while McGarrett tells him to have Danno go through Jerry's locker and trace his "last movements" such people he talked with and where he went. McGarrett wants to talk to the cargo crew as Eric Ling (James Hong), the cargo systems engineer, drives up still not believing it's murder but rather an "industrial accident". Arnold brings the crew over introducing John Malcolm who was following Jerry earlier. Malcolm claims no one was in the immediate area because they were in various places taking care of cargo "up and down the line". McGarrett surmises anyone could have dumped the load when Ling says, "or no one". The crew doesn't prove helpful at all when McGarrett asks if anyone left the load up in the air on "the heist". McGarrett continues to get static from Ling but he presses on with his investigation.

At Will Call, clerks answer the phones with various information with one telling a customer an air bill is ready for pick up and another dealing with fitting cargo to go to Taiwan. The last clerk, Anita Putnam (Marion Ross), takes a call from Alvin Jones who was the same man talking to Jerry prior to Jerry being killed. Jones tells her, "the new number is Kawena 2-0699".

In the office of Hal Sullivan (Don Chastain), Ling is extremely nervous because murder is now involved in the their racket. Ling wants out and figures Malcolm hit the switch to topple the load. Ling also says McGarrett saw right through it before calling Sullivan "stupid". Ling plans on leaving the scene and suggests Sullivan do the same because they've "skimmed the cream". Sullivan is ticked off because he perceives he's underappreciated. He reworked the airline/cargo company to increase profits by $28 million and they didn't give him what he believed he deserved. Sullivan tells Ling he's free to go but to cover him on the way out.

A nurse (McMollum) from Oahu Hospital calls Anita next looking for a critical shipment of new medications they were expecting the day before. Anita looks it up to discover the insurance coverage on it is $130,000 and lies to the customer about its arrival. Anita then calls the ring, which is recording the call, while a woman (Sheri Rice) named Joanna clings to life at the hospital. Her husband (Michael Strong) tells her he loves her and then leaves by the doctor's insistence.

In McGarrett's office, Jerry's notebook is bagged on one of the tables. Arnold walks in with a personnel file of everyone involved in air cargo. McGarrett hands the file to Kono to go over it with HPD and find anyone with weird debts or hiding secrets: anything that can be used against them.

At the Tokyo airport, cargo is processed including one bin with toys and a surprise: Eric Ling's frozen body!

Act Two

At Honolulu airport, a cargo clerk looks for someone to sign for Ling and Danno takes care of it. He and Arnold discuss what happened as Ling is loaded into the coroner's wagon: Ling was garroted about eight hours prior to being found. Upon discovering false identification and a false passport, Tokyo Police contacted Interpol revealing who he truly was.

Chin parks on the street to visit a shop where the owner (Myrtle Hilo) greets him. She becomes nervous telling him her herbs are pure when Chin shows her his badge. He assures her he's only looking for a phone number. She takes him upstairs to where it is located in the Aloha Hotel. The lady tells him the phone rang day and night answering itself but the tenants paid two months in advance and never came around. However, the man paid with a check and the lady still has it!

In McGarrett's office, Danno briefs he and Arnold went nowhere fast with anyone and everyone who was near the Tokyo flight. "They must all be deaf, dumb, or blind". McGarrett is certain it's an inside job and Ling was specifically targeted. Kono has come up with "four alcoholics, three adulterers and one ex-bookie" during his fishing expedition. Kono starts the slideshow of Jerry's notebook, some of the pages smeared in blood. McGarrett isn't certain what he's looking at when Danno explains the lab did the best they could on the remaining intact pages. The information is gibberish but Arnold says it's routine cargo information: Jerry was memorizing it to pass as a handler. One page has the name 'Anita Putnam' circled on it and McGarrett wants to know who she is.

At Oahu Hospital, Paula Thomas the nurse who called Anita about the drug shipment they're expecting contacts Dr. Fowler as the husband from earlier paces near her. She requests another shipment because the first one hasn't arrived. The husband who is in the import/export business himself is infuriated at the slowness of the entire process and storms out. His wife, now in cardiac shock, is seen under an oxygen tent.

It's now Danno's turn to talk to Sullivan and he doesn't hold back asking why airport security wasn't allowed to contact the police for help. Sullivan explains his responsibilities in an oily fashion and expected to keep the robberies "in the family". Danno then asks about Ling. Sullivan claims to have "rubber-stamped" his hire since the "slide-rule boys" picked him. He doesn't know any of Ling's friends are and the fact he worked with the whole airport are not helpful. Danno isn't patient with Sullivan's answers or attitude.

McGarrett serves the search warrant to Ling's maid Mrs. Kahama (Else DeMello). He talks to her about the last few times she saw Ling: did he seem upset or nervous? She honestly doesn't know. Chin walks in from the back of the house with three safety deposit boxes. McGarrett wonders why.

The husband visits the Will Call section of Asiam Cargo wanting to speak to the manager who is still out. The man, Grayson, is becoming more ticked as time passes because his wife needs the missing shipment of glucagon. Anita overhears all of it. Fed up, Grayson calls Five-O because his wife's life is in the balance.

In McGarrett's office, three safety deposit boxes are emptied as he takes the air bill number from Grayson. After McGarrett finishes with Grayson, he walks over to Chin who tells him they're looking at $280,000! McGarrett wants him at the airport in the morning because of the critical shipment. He then moves on to the various signatures on items: the lease agreement, the rent check and safety deposit box forms. Danno says all four are Ling based on different characteristics of his handwriting. McGarrett says, "and he's dead".

The next morning at the airport, the critical shipment comes in to a waiting HPD squad car, Chin and Grayson. Signing for it, the car takes off with lights and sirens. They arrive at Oahu Hospital with Chin and Grayson jumping out of the car. They run into the hospital in time to see the sheet pulled over his wife's face.

Act Three

At HPD, Kono briefs McGarrett about Anita Putnam: divorced with an 18 year-old daughter who is a junkie and has cost Anita "an arm and a leg". One problem: her bank account doesn't reflect this with various deposits made, all in cash.

McGarrett then visits Anita who tries to play off the fact her name was in Jerry's notebook as "a date or something". McGarrett doesn't buy any of it for a second asking her straight out how did they get her to join the ring. Anita tries to deny it but again, McGarrett isn't buying what she's selling. McGarrett threatens to take her to Five-O headquarters and things turn serious. Anita becomes afraid telling McGarrett she didn't meet anyone in the ring only that a man phoned her and told her things about her daughter she didn't even know. She was desperate for money and did whatever they said. Anita is in fear for her life and McGarrett gives her two choices: talk or be booked. Anita says she was the spotter phoning in air bills with high insurance on them: over $20,000. McGarrett wants specifics such as the person on the other end. She tells him the calls went to a tape that erased itself once they picked up the messages. She goes on to list some of the items taken including pharmaceuticals, which piques McGarrett's interest. He makes the immediate connection and asks if it included glucagon and one look from Anita confirms it. McGarrett then becomes enraged but maintains control as he informs Anita she is responsible for Joanna Grayson's death. She breaks down giving herself every excuse possible to justify her actions. McGarrett wants the new number and wanted it yesterday. Anita gives it up.

In the laboratory, Che Fong (Harry Endo) and McGarrett discuss the phone set up and the federal court order they have to tap the line. Che shows McGarrett how the automatic answering works and how to go about "robbing" the tape. The issue they have is how to do so without leaving the tape blank because it automatically erases when the messages are picked up. McGarrett suggests a tape recorder with a telephone hook up, which Che has. Finding the "right combination of beeps" they are able to snag the messages from the new number. Once all of them are recorded, McGarrett wants Che to play them back onto the ring's tape and work on the voiceprints of the spotters. Che calls it "clever" as they receive the information on what's being stolen without giving themselves away to the ring.

McGarrett goes to see Grayson and his assistant Corinne (Patricia Herman). McGarrett suggests Grayson prepare a shipment and put a high insurance value on it in order to get the ring's attention. Grayson suggests $250,000 and McGarrett agrees, "the sooner, the better". Grayson wonders what will happen to the people running the ring and McGarrett says it's up to the courts. Grayson doesn't have much faith in the justice system because he knows it's a "useless and stupid" ritual. McGarrett asks him to help to stop them from killing someone else. Grayson tells him the package will be ready tomorrow. Later that night, Grayson finishes prepping the package to include a bomb in the box's bottom!

The next day, Anita calls in the shipment and Kono reports to McGarrett, "Anita came through for us".

Act Four

From an upper floor in an hangar, McGarrett and Arnold watch the shipment. A third man is there ready to take photographs with a telephoto lens. Malcolm picks up the jade shipment as they watch essentially cancelling it and sending it to the Will Call warehouse. McGarrett radios into Central Dispatch to add Malcolm to those on the pickup list for suspicion of first-degree murder and grand theft. The box is then loaded onto a truck and sent on its merry way as Arnold explains the package will sit at Will Call until someone shows up with the air bill number to claim it. Kono picks up the tail on the truck as it passes him. Once it arrives at the Will Call warehouse, Chin unloads it from the truck.

Later, McGarrett and Danno watch from the Park Lane as a green/blue GMC pickup arrives at the warehouse. The driver claims the package and Chin brings it out loading into the bed of the truck. They take off to tail the pickup truck and McGarrett calls in helicopter support, which quickly finds the truck "heading east on Wainama Road". McGarrett wants HPD backup but to have all units "keep clear" for now.

At Grayson's house, Corinne finds the explosives packaging in the trash. She confronts Grayson about it who admits putting it in the package. His target is the main guy running the ring and "maybe some of the greedy ones around him". Grayson has lost it, muttering about wanting them all to die as he polishes jade. Corinne is stunned but takes action, calling Five-O to inform them of what's in the package.

Central Dispatch conveys the message to McGarrett and he speeds up to catch up with the pickup truck. The truck has arrived at the destination and the box taken inside. Sullivan opens the box and shows a potential buyer the merchandise as they hear a gunshot of the lock being blown apart. McGarrett and Danno rush in to throw the box over the cliffs and arrest Sullivan who smugly points out McGarrett just destroyed all the evidence. Sullivan actually has no leg to stand on as two eyewitnesses can testify to him receiving stolen property and that doesn't include manslaughter and murder. Sullivan may need lots of help on this one, perhaps he can find a lawyer with a weak spot!

This plot summary Copyrightę Bobbi Baker 2019. No reproduction of any kind without permission.

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