S11E04 - “The Case Against Philip Christie” - Plot

(Prepared by Bobbi Baker)

Act One

A couple of guys are working in a laboratory at Dorn Electronics; one of them, Philip Christie (Lou Richards) answers the phone. He talks to his wife Penny (Nicole Erickson), telling her he's finishing up, asking Ben Wahili (Rudy Aquino) to stop the machine he's working on. Howard Roman (Joe Moore) who is "the guest of honor" at a party which is ongoing at Philip's house walks in to the room. Penny becomes angry and hangs up, saying that "everybody's at the party." Philip comments to the other two that Penny's angry outbursts are "getting to be a habit". Roman asks Phil to pick up Shirley Van Dorn (Madeline Press) because he's running late. Phil agrees as Roman says he'll be a half-hour behind them at the most. Phil and Ben leave.

Phil goes to pick up Shirley where she asks why Howard isn't there with Phil telling her he had some last minute business. Changing the subject, Shirley asks if Phil has been "attentive" to Penny as Phil says, "sure". They take off for the party.

Phil and Shirley arrive at the party being held at his house. Ben is behind the bar where Shirley's dad (Edward Sheehan) laments about who's minding the store if all his employees are there. Phil goes to find Penny who is not happy to see him. They then argue about a man following her, as she's sure he hired the man, suspecting her of cheating on him. The argument becomes more heated and louder garnering the attention of all the partygoers. Penny has had enough demanding a divorce and runs upstairs after he refuses. Phil follows her upstairs only to find the bedroom door locked as the party continues downstairs. The sound of gunshots is heard, shocking everyone but they run upstairs anyway. Monty Jarvis (Earl Kingston) reaches Phil as he's still trying to get the door open. They break it down, finding Penny dead on the floor and Phil cradles her.

Later, HPD is on the scene taking Penny away and finding the murder weapon. An HPD plainclothes sergeant (Hal Briegs) asks if Phil recognizes the .38: he confirms the gun is his. The sergeant looks at the door after Phil says Penny was locked in the room and he was in the hallway. He tried to call her on the extension phone when the shots were fired. He tried the door again but it was still locked with Jarvis, the man who helped break down the door, backing up Phil. The sergeant tries to put everything together but it doesn't add up: the gun was found Phil's jacket pocket and the door being the only way out, was locked. The sergeant arrests Phil.

McGarrett works on his boat as the governor holds McGarrett's jury summons in his hands telling him he'll take care of it to get McGarrett out of it. McGarrett insists on doing his civic duty and doesn't want the governor to interfere. The governor tells him he's exempt because he's a police officer but McGarrett says it only works if he requests for himself and he's out to prove a point.

A court clerk (Gary Kau) calls McGarrett for jury selection. The judge (Kwan Hi Lim) verifies his identity and asks if he would be able to determine an objective verdict based solely on the evidence presented in court. McGarrett says, "oh, I think so" as Judge Kwan wants to know if McGarrett knows Mr. Keith (John FitzGibbon), Deputy District Attorney, Phil or his defense attorney Mr. Springer (Eugene Lion). McGarrett knows none of them and the questioning begins. Keith asks only one: the evidence presented will be both direct and circumstantial, which are weighed equally in the eyes of the law, can he do the same. McGarrett says yes with Keith agreeing to McGarrett. Springer prepares to ask when Duke lays a bet on Danno "two-to-one the defense throws him out for cause" with Danno offering a loan if he needs the money so bad! Springer then asks if McGarrett would accept the testimony from someone who is not a police officer equally as if a police officer was testifying. Springer also asks about McGarrett's objectivity especially that someone is innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. McGarrett says yes to both of these as it has to do with integrity rather than occupation and he believes in innocent until proven guilty. What happens next is shocking: Springer accepts the jury, as does Keith. McGarrett is Juror #12 to the shock of Danno and less so with Duke! Keith becomes confident; Springer has made his first mistake.

Act Two

Phil paces yelling at Springer not liking the turn of events, he's sure McGarrett will be the one to find him guilty while everyone else is sure to acquit him. Springer explains the case against Phil is bad and they don't have that great of a defense. Phil claims he's innocent and that is why Springer wants McGarrett on the jury, specifically because McGarrett is perceptive and they need that.

Dr. Bergman (Al Eben) testifies Penny was shot twice with the first "shattering the aorta" and the second hitting the left ventricle of the heart: death was instant. The HPD sergeant is next stating Penny was killed with a .38 caliber pistol, the one Keith holds in front of him, and it's registered to Phil. The sergeant goes on to say the door was broken into and it appears the deadbolt lock was somehow locked then the killer got out into the hall: a genius is the only one who could have pulled it off. Jarvis is the next witness, talking about being the first upstairs and helping Phil break in the door. Springer exposes a previous, serious relationship between Jarvis and Penny causing a stir in the courtroom. Vincent Van Dorn, Shirley's father and President of Van Dorn Electronics, becomes another witness telling the court he hired Phil to head the experimental laboratory due to his education from MIT in mechanical engineering and theoretical physics. After a tangle with Keith wanting Van Dorn to draw the conclusion that Phil could lock the deadbolt from the outside and the defense objecting, Judge Kwan calls for a lunch break.

McGarrett has lunch with Danno and Duke and tells them to stay out of the case but they persist in asking about it because they can't get pass the puzzle of the locked door. McGarrett tells them to work on routine Five-O business only and they agree while they stay "on top of everything".

The next witness called is Ben Wahili who confirms Keith's assertion that Phil is an electronic genius. Ben even looked over Phil's resume prior to Phil being hired. Ben testifies to heated phone calls between Phil and Penny plus their argument at the party was "violent". Howard is up as the "controller for Dorn Electronics" and is friends with Phil. Howard says he didnŐt see the argument but got there as the door was broken down and Penny found. Shirley isn't much help for anybody as the Keith puts words in her mouth about the argument inflicting damage onto Phil's case. Mr. Villipeg (Fred Ball) is yet another witness. He's a "licensed private investigator" who was hired by phone to follow Penny but he couldn't tell if the person who hired him was a man or a woman as the "voice was unidentifiable". He received a call daily at 6:00 p.m. and he gave his reports. He thought there was a couple of times she was on her way to meet someone but he lost her before he could fond out for sure.

Danno and Duke meet Springer who has an "unorthodox" request: the PI Villipeg. Who hired him? Was Penny seeing someone? Did these people have motive to kill her? Duke comments it's late in the case for this kind of inquiry and Springer acknowledges that fact but he's certain Phil is innocent. Danno and Duke consider it "routine" for Five-O agreeing to look into things.

In the courtroom, Phil takes the stand in his own defense telling the same story he did when Penny was killed. He followed her upstairs, she was locked in the bedroom but she wouldn't answer the door or the phone when he tried to call on the extension line. He says he then heard the shots, pounded on the door before everyone ran upstairs and broke the door in. They found Penny dead on the floor and the room empty. Springer turns over the questioning to Keith. However, Keith is about telling the story the way he sees it: Phil went in killed Penny, put the gun in his jacket to dispose of it later and lock the deadbolt from the outside. Springer objects and Keith's statement is stricken before he asks Phil if he killed Penny but the way he asks, it's another conclusion. Judge Kwan asks if Keith has an actual question: "did you kill your wife?" Phil vehemently denies killing her.

Later, Judge Kwan gives the jury their instructions to deliberate: considering only the evidence presented in the courtroom and how to vote based on reasonable doubt or lack thereof. As the judge leaves, the bailiff tells everyone to rise then the jury steps out.

The jury forewoman (Janis Paige) thanks McGarrett for stepping aside to allow her to be the foreman. She orders a vote just to see where everyone stands: all "guilty" except one: McGarrett.

Act Three

McGarrett points out the evidence is all circumstantial with one juror (Krash Kealoha) saying the DA can't figure out how Phil locked the door from outside the room. Another juror (Moki Palacio) says the DA isn't an electronic genius like Phil with yet another (Carol Honda) asking, "who is?" They keep discussing the different variables such as the private investigator: who hired him and why, if Phil killed Penny and wanted it to look like suicide, why didn't he put the gun in her hand? Minnie, the jury foreman, says Phil made a mistake and "that's how killers get caught". McGarrett boils it down: how did the killer get out of the room. He wants to know what type of deadbolt are they talking about anyway, wanting to see State's Exhibit 7.

A group of joggers go past Villipeg who looks at them closely while hiding behind a palm tree. After he doesn't find who he's looking for, he turns back to Danno and Duke telling them if he knew who hired him, he would tell them. He was paid in cash with an envelope in the mail and the voice sounded like it was spoken through a handkerchief held over the mouthpiece. The secrecy could be Phil didn't want it getting back to Penny and Villipeg gives two-to-one odds she was seeing someone. When he sees the person he's after, he makes his way to the jogging path to catch up with his wife!

In the jury room, Minnie asks who's behind McGarrett on his stand of "not guilty". McGarrett is still stuck on the deadbolt locked from the inside and asks the jury if they can't answer that question, how can they convict? Later, they have lunch still discussing the case outside the jury room! McGarrett points out that Phil is the most obvious one with a motive but not necessarily the only one with a motive. Another piece is why did Penny pick the party to "demand a divorce" in front of a bunch of witnesses. Another point is she lost Villipeg not once, but twice. Who was Penny going to see that she didn't want to be seen with?

Danno and Duke go to see Van Dorn at his estate wanting to talk to Shirley. Van Dorn invites them to wait as they talk to him: about the hiring of a private detective to follow someone. They suspect a woman would look at it one way but a man has several options. Danno and Duke wanted a woman's perspective on the situation. However, Van Dorn tells them he doesn't believe Phil hired Villipeg or killed Penny but the criminal justice system does and the jury probably will too.

In the jury room, they're still locked 11 to one for voting guilty with McGarrett not having a single piece of evidence for reasonable doubt. Minnie tries to talk McGarrett into changing his vote or excusing himself so they can get on with "their verdict" and that's exactly why McGarrett isn't backing down. He asks for "one more favor": the jury to go see the crime scene and maybe they'll learn something. If not, McGarrett promises to make it unanimous. Minnie has Carol, the female juror from earlier, to get the bailiff.

Act Four

The jury goes to Phil Christie's house with Keith, Springer, Phil and most of the guests from the party. Upstairs, McGarrett notices a back door and locates the phone with Minnie. As they walk into the bedroom, McGarrett offers a scenario where a woman was already in the bedroom perhaps combing her hair or putting on lipstick with Carol saying she's done that lots of times at parties, but never to kill anyone. Minnie follows it through to a point but truly doesn't believe it. McGarrett then switches gears wondering if the man whom Penny was having an affair with was the one who killed her and was in the bedroom to get rid of any evidence, such as letters written or gifts given.

The jury then bounces ideas around trying to eliminate suspects: who was downstairs? It couldn't be Jarvis who was the first one upstairs, Shirley was by the bar with her father, Van Dorn and Ben was the bartender. Minnie then eliminates Howard too because he wasn't at the party yet.

The next step, McGarrett asks permission to create the circumstances leading to Penny's murder from the judge. Judge Kwan wants to get on with it as McGarrett takes the murder weapon from the bailiff and takes the judge and Howard aside for the setup. Once everyone is in position, they are ready for the re-enactment. Phil commences with his part showing he called to her before using the phone then the shots are fired. Everyone runs upstairs with Phil and Jarvis breaking in the door again. McGarrett kneels on the floor as Judge Kwan emerges from another part of the bedroom saying Howard had been in the room the whole time and he fired the shots! No one was looking for anyone behind the door; instead they were looking at Penny on the floor. Minnie asks who the actual killer is if Howard was playing the killer. McGarrett then asks Howard what happened after Phil left the factory: he left immediately with Penny catching him in her bedroom because she threatened to make their affair public and it would ruin his engagement with Shirley!

In the courtroom, the jury acquits Phil as the trial ends. McGarrett and Minnie decide they should have met ten years before but in reality, it wouldn't have worked.

McGarrett paints on his boat "to celebrate the end of jury duty". Danno asks how he was able to get Howard to play the part of the killer as McGarrett explains he couldn't exactly say no with Judge Kwan right there. Danno has one more question: doesn't McGarrett ever sail his boat or just paints it all day? McGarrett gives him a hard time as he and Duke leave laughing and McGarrett smiling.

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

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