COLUMBO: CASE OF THE FOSTER “SUICIDE”
By P.J. Gladnick
Note: the following sketch was posted to alt.tv.snl on December 31, 1997 as a possible sketch for Saturday Night Live. P. J. Gladnick was given me permission to reprint it on this page. The following is a parody and is not intended as a challenge to any existing copyright or trademark.)
(President Clinton is sitting at his desk in the Oval Office. A voice is heard on his intercom. It is his secretary.)
SECRETARY: Mr. President, Lieutenant Columbo is here to see you.
(The Oval Office door opens a bit. Columbo peeks in tentatively.)
COLUMBO: I hope I’m not disturbing you, Mr. President.
CLINTON (smiling broadly): Not at all! I heard that you were visiting the White House. That’s why I had my people take you off the tour line to see me. I’ve always been a big fan of yours.
(Columbo, puffing on a cigar and wearing a wrinkled raincoat, walks in a slouching manner up to Clinton. A beaming Clinton stands up from behind his desk and heartily shakes Columbo’s hand.)
COLUMBO: Mr. President, this is indeed an honor. Let me tell you, my wife is a big fan of yours. Sir, I don’t mean to impose but do you think you can autograph a photo for my wife?
CLINTON: Heck, that’s no problem. I’ll be happy to oblige.
(Clinton pulls a photo of himself from his desk, signs it, and hands it to Columbo.)
COLUMBO: This is terrific! You don’t know what this will mean to my wife...Uhh, before I go, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?
CLINTON: Huh? Okay, sure.
COLUMBO: Could you tell me how much you paid for your suit? I really admire the material.
CLINTON: I, umm, think it cost about $500.
COLUMBO: And so clean too. With a suit like that you must send it out to the cleaners after each time you wear it.
CLINTON: Of course.
COLUMBO: Well, this is what’s bothering me. I heard that your good friend, the late Vincent Foster, was also a nice dresser yet there were carpet fibers discovered all over his suit when they found him after his tragic suicide in Fort Marcy Park.
(Clinton’s smile turns a bit tense.)
COLUMBO: So it seems like a mystery how all these fibers ended up on his suit. You might pick up a few carpet fibers around the bottom of the pants but not all over the suit.
CLINTON: I think the FBI determined that the carpet fibers probably came from his home.
COLUMBO: That is only an assumption because the FBI never actually took samples from the carpet fibers at his home. With all those fibers on his suit, you would think that they would make a comparison.
CLINTON (Slightly exasperated): Look, Lieutenant Columbo, there have already been three investigations into this matter and they all ruled that Vince Foster committed suicide.
COLUMBO: Oh, I’m not questioning the investigations. I’m sure Mr. Foster died just the way they said but there are still a few loose ends.
CLINTON: Such as?
COLUMBO: Such as the autopsy X-rays.
CLINTON: What about the X-rays?
COLUMBO: Dr. James Beyer, the Deputy Medical Examiner for Northern Virginia, conducted the autopsy but no X-rays were taken.
CLINTON: No X-rays were taken? That’s absurd! They must have been taken in a case of this importance.
COLUMBO: Dr. Beyer checked off a box on the autopsy report stating that he took X-rays yet he later claimed the X-ray machine was inoperable.
CLINTON: Aren’t you forgetting the suicide note that Foster left behind?
COLUMBO (slaps forehead with his hand): That’s right! The suicide note! Obviously it must have been suicide if Foster left behind a suicide note.
(Clinton looks cheerful again.)
CLINTON: I guess that closes the case then.
COLUMBO: It sure does! Mr. President, you don’t know how relieved this makes me feel. I’m sorry to have taken up your time with this matter.
CLINTON: Think nothing of it.
(Columbo leaves through the door and Clinton returns to his desk. A few moments later the door opens again and Columbo leans just inside the doorway.)
COLUMBO: Uhh, there’s just one little point that I overlooked.
CLINTON (looking irritated): What is it, Lieutenant Columbo?
COLUMBO: How do we know that the suicide note was actually written by Mr. Foster?
CLINTON: The suicide note’s handwriting was analyzed and judged to be authentic.
COLUMBO: Yes, by a Capitol police sergeant who only studied handwriting as a hobby. The fact of the matter is that three renowned handwriting experts including Reginald Alton of Oxford University determined that the note, supposedly written by Mr. Foster, was an obvious forgery.
CLINTON: Lieutenant Columbo, are you one of those conspiracy kooks? The autopsy report, even without the X-rays, proved it was a suicide.
(Columbo reaches inside his raincoat and pulls out a couple of sheets of paper.)
COLUMBO: The strange thing is that the official finding says it was a mouth to head wound yet take a look at the report of the Fairfax County Medical Examiner, Dr. Haut. It came from the National Archives and placed on the Internet from where I downloaded it.
(Columbo hands the papers to Clinton.)
CLINTON: Hmm?... .It says that the wound was “mouth-head” just like the official report.
COLUMBO: Yes but look at the word “head.” It’s obvious that was typed in after another word just to its left was whited out. Then if you look on the second page of Haut’s report it actually says the wounds were “mouth to neck.” I submit, sir, that the first page was altered to change the wound location.
CLINTON: The bottom line is that, despite these discrepancies, the investigators have determined that Vince Foster committed suicide in Fort Marcy Park.
COLUMBO: Oh, sir. I’m not disputing their expertise. It’s just that professional police officers are trained to treat every death as a homicide until suicide is proven. In this case, however, Cheryl Braun, the senior Park Police Officer testified that they determined that Foster had committed suicide before they had even inspected the body.
CLINTON: This is all very interesting theory but the fact is that the Foster case has been ruled a suicide...Case closed.
COLUMBO: I’m sure you’re right about that. After all, if those in authority say it was a suicide then it must be so. Well, good day, Mr. President. Sorry for troubling you about details that must have some logical explanation.
CLINTON: Thank you for visiting, Lieutenant Columbo, and goodbye.
(Columbo leaves the room. Clinton returns to his desk and begins writing on some papers. A little while later we see Columbo looking from the outside into the Oval Office through a window just behind Clinton. Columbo begins tapping on the window. At first Clinton doesn’t hear him. Then he turns around and opens the window.)
CLINTON: Columbo! What is your problem?
(Columbo bends over and then stands back up again holding his shoes.)
COLUMBO: See all that dirt on the soles of my shoes?
CLINTON: Okay, they’re dirty. So what?
COLUMBO: It’s just like when my cousin Guido visits me. He likes working in my yard which is great but my wife throws a fit when Guido tries to walk into the house because of all the dirt on his shoes.
CLINTON: Will you please get to the point, Columbo!
COLUMBO: Well, the FBI scraped Mr. Foster’s shoes thoroughly but found no traces of soil. Everybody else who walked in the area of Fort Marcy Park where Foster was found came away with lots of dirt on their shoes.
CLINTON: You’re wrong, Columbo. A forensic expert found soil on Foster’s shoes.
COLUMBO: Oh yes. Henry Lee thought he found microscopic quantities of the soil on the shoes long after the FBI carefully went over them. Lee was the same fellow who determined that OJ Simpson must have been innocent because he thought he saw another footprint which never existed at the murder scene. Somehow I don’t think Mr. Lee is the most reliable expert in this regard.
CLINTON: Are you trying to say that Foster did not commit suicide in Fort Marcy Park?
COLUMBO: I think that could be a distinct possibility, sir. I’m sure that you, having been a friend of Mr. Foster, would want to leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of this matter.
CLINTON: Just what do you expect me to do?
COLUMBO: It would be helpful if you could make the videotape from the White House parking lot surveillance camera available. We need to see Mr. Foster entering his car on the day he died.
CLINTON: That tape is missing from the White House vault where it was stored.
COLUMBO: Then how about the videotape from the vault surveillance camera? Maybe we can find out who removed the parking lot video from the vault.
CLINTON: The vault video is missing too. Perhaps the parking lot camera never caught Foster entering his car?
COLUMBO: At the most guarded building in the world? Not likely. As a matter of fact I’m sure that cameras are watching me right now and that Secret Service guards should be apprehending me at any moment.
(Suddenly several uniformed guards grab Columbo and haul him away.)
COLUMBO (shouting from the distance): This has been a really enlightening conversation, Mr. President! I hope we can pick up where we left off in the near future!
(Clinton slams the window shut.)
The main point here is that many of us believe the Clintons had Foster killed. We also believe that all of those 50 plus bodies that are lying in their hasty wake enroute to the White House were murdered.
Putting these felons in the W-H for another term would be like letting Teddy drive young girls home (or wherever) drunk.