"A Nero Wolfe Mystery" The Next Witness (TV Episode 2002) Poster


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  • In addition to being broadcast in widescreen when shown overseas, "The Next Witness" is one of four Nero Wolfe episodes that were literally doubled in length for international broadcast. Solo interviews with principals in the story punctuate the 90-minute episode. Other scenes are expanded -- most notably Wolfe and Archie's visit to Saul Panzer's apartment, a scene sketched by Rex Stout and extrapolated by screenwriter Sharon Elizabeth Doyle that is a favorite with fans. The cheese-and-checkers scene at Saul's place runs a full five minutes longer in the international version. A transcription follows.

    [After Saul's "Will you have some beer?" and Wolfe's "Indeed! Indeed I will, if you please!"]

    Wolfe: I'm feeling a bit peckish. Have you got anything -- a sandwich, something... Don't, don't put yourself out in any way on my behalf. It's just that I've a -- [Saul begins delivering trays of food] -- Satisfactory!

    Wolfe: I'm not really that hungry. Archie just drove me to Dixie's and I had a bowl or two of chili. Mmm, this is wonderful... Don't tell me there's more? When did you have time to do this? Actually, Dixie sends his regards to you. Do you know him well? Do you go there often?

    Saul: Not too often, sir.

    Wolfe: Because he seems to know you very well.

    Saul: Oh he's a charming guy.

    Wolfe: He says you bring a very attractive young lady in there quite often.

    Saul: He's got me mixed up with someone else, Mr. Wolfe.

    Wolfe: Yes?

    Saul: I think so.

    Wolfe: There's no need to deny, deny, deny.

    [Saul brings yet another tray.]

    Wolfe: I was hungrier than I thought. This is extraordinary. Oh no, I...

    Saul: No, glad to hear it...

    Wolfe: Saul! I couldn't have a... I can't eat another bite.

    Wolfe: What is this made from? Duck?

    Saul: Yes it is.

    Wolfe: Ah. It's duck liver. Mmm. Excellent. Why don't you join me?

    Saul: I will, as soon as...

    Wolfe: Mmm. What have we here? Vermont Cheddar.

    [Saul smiles and nods.]

    Wolfe: Piedmont Gorgonzola.

    Saul: Yes.

    Wolfe: Coulommiers?

    Saul: Vacherin Mont d'Or.

    Wolfe: Impossible. That is made from the milk of cows who have been fed the last cuttings of grass before the first snow. It's available only for four weeks in September.

    Saul: Summer stayed late in the Alps this year. A friend of mine keeps an eye out for me.

    Wolfe: Satisfactory! You must tell this friend to keep an eye out for me next year.

    Saul: It'll be my pleasure.

    Wolfe: May I?

    Archie, voiceover: Naturally, the first time Wolfe ate under his roof Saul wanted to give him good grub. Okay, but three kinds of cheese was piling it on.

    [Saul and Wolfe play checkers.]

    Wolfe: I notice that you have the new translation of Aristotle's Analytics.

    Saul: It's more colloquial -- it provides a voice.

    Wolfe: What is your estimation of its value?

    Saul: No one sets out the problem deducing a conclusion from a set of disparate facts so clearly.

    Wolfe: But is it of use? I mean, he never condescended to actual practice... King me, king me.

    Saul: Well, he's Aristotle.

    Wolfe: Indeed. Yes, he defined the terms for all of us, didn't he.

    Archie: Yeah, yeah, that's certainly true. I'll never forget his fashion advice: Never mix togas and sandals on a windy day. It's ruled my life.

    Wolfe: That's hilarious.

    Saul: Your move.

    [The fast-cut checkers match between Saul and Wolfe follows -- concluding with Saul saying, "Shall we call it a draw?" and their handshake.]

    Wolfe: I suppose her panic wore off. I'm going to bed.

    Saul: I'm afraid I don't have any pajamas that, uh, that you could get into, Mr. Wolfe. But I do have a robe, from the Sudan.

    Wolfe: Robe? What sort of robe?

    [The phone rings. Archie silences them as he reaches for it and takes the call from the "Queen of Hearts." He arranges to meet Helen Weltz and hangs up.]

    Archie: If her panic wore off, it wore on again. Now, Saul -- make some coffee. She'll need that, either that or bourbon. And maybe she likes cheese.

    Wolfe [calling after Saul]: That robe -- is it going to be big enough?

    [End of scene, international broadcast version] Edit



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