S07E15 - “Computer Killer” - Plot

(Prepared by Bobbi Baker)

Act One

A man (Norman E. Dupont) sits down in his apartment reading the newspaper and having a drink when he hears a loud argument in the next door. The couple who are arguing are Maureen (Ava Lyn Readdy) and Tony (Alfred Goodman) as she yells at him to get out. He begs her to come back and at some point she's pushed and is killed. The man settles back down as Tony takes some items to make the altercation appear to be a robbery and walks out with the man watching him go.

The man, Mr. Curtis, meets Liu (Gary Kau) to go to the courtroom. Another man (Jeff David) is behind them watching and noting which car Curtis got out of. He then goes to his convertible and dials through the mobile operator, the by-pass phone line to the Department of Motor Vehicles. As the call goes through, he powers up a mobile computer terminal in his car! He is able to pull up all the information on Curtis including full name and address.

In court, the judge (John A. Scott) gavels to restore order asking Manicote (Glenn Cannon) to continue. Manicote calls Curtis to the stand as Danno sits behind the prosecution. After Curtis is sworn in, he tells his story of what happened next door to him at about 5:00 p.m. on May 21st: the time and date of Maureen's death. Before the defense attorney Mr. Kehoe (Edward Stephen Sheehan) can begin his cross-examination, the judge stops him to break for the day, to resume at 10:00 a.m. the next morning. Kehoe isn't worried but Tony is tense telling his father (Robert F. Simon), "we're not going to make it". His father won't hear of him making a plea but he asks the lawyer where they stand and it's bleak. Hugh walks out of the courtroom only to be approached by the man with the portable computer introducing himself as Charles Aarons. Aarons claims he can get Tony off. Aarons gives Hugh his card with his home address and tells him to go there about 8:00 p.m.

Duke (Herman Wedemeyer) walks into McGarrett's office with a pile of information on the "Harrison extortion case". The phone rings as Danno calls in: the trial is going well but Kehoe has reserved the right to recall him as a witness so no telling how long he'll be tied up. McGarrett wants to stay informed and Danno agrees before hanging up.

That night, Hugh goes to Aarons' place to discuss the case and Hugh's efforts to get Tony off the hook including hiring private detectives to find anything and everything they can. Aarons tells him to put those detectives on the list of phone numbers he gave Hugh. He goes on to say the DA can prove his case due to prior assault committed by Tony against Maureen and a deposition she made a week prior to being killed. This is before Curtis' testimony. They get to the bottom line quickly: $500,000 is Aarons' price for his services with $100,000 payable up front with the balance due when Tony is acquitted. However, Aarons gives the list of numbers for free and "if they work," they'll talk.

The next morning in court, Kehoe questions Curtis about the relationship between him and Maureen. He describes them as "casual neighbors" and he'd never been inside Maureen's apartment. The line of questioning makes Danno look over to the defense wondering what's going on because this isn't something that was found in the course of the investigation. When Kehoe introduces phone records, Danno and Manicote call in the big guns: McGarrett. Outside the courtroom, Manicote figured something like this was bound to happen: Kehoe inferring a relationship. McGarrett wonders if any tampering took place with Manicote saying the phone company is looking into it. They leave to talk to Curtis.

Aarons pulls out his little black book of by-pass phone numbers for all sorts of Honolulu agencies and businesses. He works from home looking for someone with burglary and assault in their history. Hugh calls in the middle of a massive printout saying they scored big today. Aarons tells him succinctly to move his bank account from Tidewater Federal to Oahu National and he'll take care of everything else. Once Aarons has confirmation Hugh will move his account, he hangs up allowing the printout to continue. Meantime, he finds who he's looking for: Timothy J. Palmer.

The next morning, Aarons tracks down Palmer's address and lays in wait strangling Palmer and later burying him on the side of the road. Before he buries Palmer, Aarons puts Palmer's fingerprints on a pair of sunglasses.

Act Two

In McGarrett's office, Curtis stands by his story with McGarrett telling him they checked with the telephone company: it is highly unlikely an error was made. Curtis is tired of being accused of something he didn't do and vehemently denies there was a relationship between him and Maureen. As he leaves, McGarrett tells him to stay in town.

Aarons sits at work at 'World Business Machines' as computers whir around him. A co-worker (David Lee Donnelly) stops by and tells him they've landed the Rapid Transit contract but Aarons isn't interested handing over his resignation as he's tired of working only to get his ego stroked. He leaves work hailing a cab to go to Mason's department store. While there, he picks up a bracelet he ordered the day before under the name of "Brian Slater". The salesgirl (Kathleen Paulo) goes to retrieve the order and when she finds it, he pays cash for it. He takes it to a jeweler (Moki Palacio) to have it engraved and have it done fast. Aarons eventually returns to his apartment turning on his computer and the interface device and once again calling the by-pass line only this time to Mason's Department Store. After he's gained access, Aarons manipulates the data to make it appear Maureen bought the bracelet just before she was killed. After this is complete, he turns off the machines, takes the bracelet and the sunglasses from earlier leaving his apartment.

Aarons goes to another apartment complex breaking into an apartment and ransacking the bedroom. As the victim comes home, she too is strangled the same way Palmer was. He takes the sunglasses breaking one earpiece then placing them underneath the victim. He steals her watch before leaving.

McGarrett arrives on scene briefed by Danno who tells him the victim is Harriet Brigham, age 50 with Doc (Al Eben) putting time of death about an hour before. According to the manager, she lived alone as she was a widow and was quite wealthy. Danno guesses she surprised a burglar. On the patio, Doc goes into a little further detail: strangulation with rope or cord of some kind. HPD called Five-O due to a possible connection to Maureen's death as she lived right around the corner and the M.O. is the same. Chin produces the sunglasses found and McGarrett wants them sent to Che in the lab.

At Five-O, Chin approaches Jenny's (Peggy Ryan) desk when McGarrett emerges from his office saying Che lifted a print from the sunglasses. He wants Chin to take it over to HPD to put a person to the print. Later, HPD calls Danno with the results: the M.O. is female victims in apartments and the person is Timothy J. Palmer. They also have a current address with McGarrett and Danno taking off for there. Frank (Douglas Mossman) walks in "just in time" to join them as they're leaving. McGarrett tells Danno to pick up Chin as they're all going!

At Palmer's bungalow, McGarrett and Frank take the front with Danno and Chin in the back. McGarrett kicks in the door as the place is empty but in their search, Danno finds the jewelry from Mrs. Brigham and the bracelet apparently bought by Maureen with 'M.T.' engraved on it.

Act Three

At Five-O, Chin briefs McGarrett on the stakeout at Palmer's house with no results so far. There is an APB out on him and his car. Danno walks in after checking on the bracelet purchase verifying it was bought by Maureen the day before she was murdered. McGarrett tells Jenny to call Manicote.

Later in the judge's chambers, McGarrett explains the two murders are linked but they're not entirely certain how. Kehoe wants Tony out of jail but the judge isn't so fast on the trigger. Manicote asks for a two-week continuance but the judge allows one week in order for things to be tracked down including apprehending Palmer.

Aarons visits a travel agency where an employee (Leslie T. Endo) assists him in purchasing an airline ticket under his own name. Back at his apartment, Aarons accesses Global Airlines where he changes the name from his own to 'Thomas Pittman' one of Palmer's aliases.

Frank radios into McGarrett, "I'm beginning to wonder about this dude" but McGarrett tells him to hang in just a bit longer. Danno and Chin walk into McGarrett's office where HPD reports no one in the neighborhood knew Palmer well. Everything they've checked has been quiet with Palmer seeming to disappear about a week prior. McGarrett wants to talk to Manicote again.

Aarons drives Palmer's car to the airport and parks it making it appear he's taken off. Later, Hugh barges into Aarons' apartment asking who Palmer is. Hugh got his information from Kehoe who told him the police are looking for Palmer. It dawns on Hugh Aarons killed both Palmer and Mrs. Brigham, which starts an argument between the two. Aarons has nothing but contempt for Hugh because it's through his smarts and programming that allow men like Hugh to be where they are.

Act Four

The police find Palmer's car with Five-O and HPD going through it. Danno radios in what has been found: definitely Palmer's car and it looks like he left in a hurry. The last check through was about 12 hours before so McGarrett wants the passenger lists checked for that period. Danno, Chin and Frank read the lists line by line until Frank finds 'Pittman, Thomas L.' on a list he scans. Danno gives the bad news to McGarrett in person: they missed Palmer and he's got a good seven-hour head start.

The next morning, McGarrett shows Manicote a subpoena from the defense for McGarrett. Manicote says the entire case will come crashing down tomorrow morning. Manicote leaves after Danno walks in with word from LAPD and the FBI that Palmer didn't meet any connecting flights or rent a car upon landing in L.A. McGarrett doesn't like the feel of Palmer hopping a flight and using one of his old aliases. Chin then walks in as the crew was unable to make a positive identification of Palmer on the flight but there were over 300 passengers. McGarrett notices a pattern emerging: every piece of evidence is connected to a computer somehow. It's far-fetched because how could someone have access and then tap into them? McGarrett leaves to find out taking Danno with him.

McGarrett and Danno visit Larry (George Kennedy) at the HPD Computer Division. Larry explains someone would have to have special expertise to bypass the security but even if the person had the skill, he would need the equipment: terminal and acoustic coupler. Perhaps not impossible, but highly unlikely. Larry suggests the expert is someone who had a hand in designing in the computer software and the business who provided HPD with their system: World Business Machines that provided computers for several businesses and government agencies.

McGarrett and Danno then go to World Business Machines speaking to one of the managers there who can't believe one of their people is behind manipulating records. The manager tells them the list of who was behind software designs will be in their possession within the hour as McGarrett and Danno leave. McGarrett knows before Danno says it: if the list is too long they won't make the trial deadline. McGarrett wants to attack it from the other end: Hugh who can pay to have something like this happen. McGarrett tells Danno to start with Hugh's bank accounts to look for any "sizeable withdrawals lately".

Danno barges into McGarrett's office where he and Manicote are conferring. Danno reports the transfer of accounts from Tidewater Federal to Oahu National moving into a system designed by World Business Machines. They know they have to go for a warrant even if it's invading some privacy because the stakes are too high: there is another killer on the loose and should he get away with this, no telling what he'll do. If they're wrong, they're screwed.

Chin goes to the bank to meet with Mr. Bowman (Albert M. Harris) to serve the warrant. Bowman cooperates with Chin giving him the computer records on Hugh's account. According to the bank, they only show one transaction and Chin would like to know who owns the other account and the bank employee goes to find out.

Chin calls in to inform Danno of what he found out: $100,000 transferred to an account owned by Charles Aarons. McGarrett and Danno take that name to see if it's on the list from World Business Machines. Bingo! He's on the list.

In court, the trial resumes with Manicote calling Aarons to the stand. Hugh sits in shock as Danno brings Aarons into court cuffed! McGarrett then lectures Hugh prior to his arrest.

This plot summary Copyright Bobbi Baker 2020. No reproduction of any kind without permission.

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