The Amazing Maleeni (7x08)
written by Vince Gilligan, John Shiban, and Frank Spotnitz
MALEENI: This will be my greatest show ever.
MALEENI: Ladies and gentlemen, damas y caballeros... I aim today not just to entertain, but to educate. To instruct and inform in the venerable and ancient history of my art. Until Johann Nepomuk Hofsinzer called playing cards "the poetry of magic" a conjurer's skill was determined entirely by his ability to perform one effect. That effect was known as "the cups and balls." The games were known for hundreds if not thousands of years. Perhaps the greatest performer was the Italian, Bartolomeo Bosco.
HECKLER DUDE: Get on with it!
MALEENI: Bosco's passes with the cups and balls. Wah-day... Chubio... Colerader. Three gone... And yet, three return. Bosco had only one contemporary rival, a slightly older Frenchman named Conus, who announced in 1795 that he would make his wife, who was five-foot-seven, appear under one of the cups. Practice though I have, I have been unable even to get married.
MULDER: Neat trick, huh?
SCULLY: I can think of a neater one. How you convinced me to drop everything and get on the first plane to Los Angeles.
MULDER: Come on, Scully. This isn't intriguing enough for you? A magician turns his head completely around 360 degrees to the delight of young and old alike after which it plops unceremoniously onto the pier... see the picture?
SCULLY: Hang on a second. Let me see this. That heckler was pretty hard to impress wouldn't you say? Look, and then he just takes off in a huff.
MULDER: What, you think he's a murderer?
SCULLY: Well, it's worth checking out, don't you think?
MULDER: That'll be a neat trick in itself. You never see his face.
SCULLY: Ah, but observe. His discarded soda cup. The hand may be quicker than the eye but it still leaves fingerprints.
MULDER: Provided they haven't dumped the trash.
LABONGE: Mozart and Salieri. They sound pretty much the same to a layman. But they ain't. You know what I'm saying? It's about... originality. Style. And more than anything else... soul. Because that's what separates the great ones... from the hacks.
SCULLY: All right, I'm stumped... and I think I'm supposed to be.
MULDER: What do you think?
SCULLY: Well, first of all, and sorry to disappoint you but, uh, Mr. Maleeni's head didn't just magically fall off. It was very carefully sawed. Very slow and exacting work probably with a fine-tooth meat saw. And check out this little detail. Spirit gum, Mulder. It held the head to the body. Just barely, of course.
MULDER: So he was murdered.
SCULLY: Well, no. As far as I can tell this man died of advanced coronary disease.
MULDER: Natural causes.
MULDER: So, basically he died of a heart attack, somebody crept up behind him, sawed his head off and then glued it back on all in the space of 30 seconds. So, does that make sense to you?
SCULLY: No. Which makes it even stranger still because, as far as I can tell this body has been dead for over a month. I see signs of refrigeration.
MULDER: And yet he performed yesterday. What a trouper.
SCULLY: Well, somebody performed yesterday.
PINCHBECK: Come in. Good morning, Mr. And Mrs...?
MULDER: Agents... Mulder and Scully. FBI.
MULDER: I have a theory, Mr. Pinchbeck, and I'm going to tell you how it goes. I think that your brother Herman died of heart disease having never made it as the world's greatest magician and I think that hurt you just as your estrangement from him hurt you. And I think what you did was perform his last act for him -- one last act for which he'd always be remembered -- one last act that would end with such a shock, such a denouement as would be forever remembered in the annals of magic. That's what I think.
MULDER: A guy's head falls off. It's the greatest trick in the world. Only there's no discernible point to it. What's the reason for doing that in the first place?
SCULLY: Well, why do people do magic? To, uh, impress, to delight, to gain attention.
MULDER: This one's gained mostly police attention. Maybe that's the point.
SCULLY: Well, maybe we should consult an expert. Someone who knows magic, who's seen the greatest trick in the world. Maybe he can help us figure that out.
LABONGE: What's in it for me? I mean, let's say I help you out. What do I get in return?
SCULLY: The feeling of pride that comes from performing your civic duty.
MULDER: How did this impersonator switch out the dead body?
LABONGE: With ease. You're going to kick yourselves when I show you how he did this, it's so simple. 'Cause magic is all about... misdirection.
MULDER: There's another possibility. Behold-- an ordinary household quarter. I'm going to take the quarter from my right hand and place it into my left hand. Where is it?
SCULLY: It's in your right hand.
MULDER: Oh, no, no, no.
SCULLY: Ah... That's not bad.
MULDER: Blow your nose, Scully.
MULDER: Blow your nose.
MULDER: The Great Muldeeni.
MALEENI/PINCHBECK: That tattooed psychopath. I've since heard terrible stories about him-- things he did in prison to fellow inmates.
SCULLY: So why'd you play poker with him?
MALEENI/PINCHBECK: He runs a good game. I gamble to supplement my income. God knows magic barely pays.
SCULLY: Well, why did you lose? You could have manipulated the cards, right?
MALEENI/PINCHBECK: Cheat? You're asking why I don't cheat at cards?
SCULLY: Well, you could, right?
MALEENI/PINCHBECK: Of course I could... but how would I live with myself? Who raised you?
SCULLY: He's still in the city lockup where he's been since we arrested him last night. It certainly doesn't look like he did this. Lots of fingerprints.
MULDER: Yeah. I guarantee you none of them match our thieves. They're too clever to leave clues... except for the ones they want us to find.
MALEENI/PINCHBECK: The great ones always know when to leave the stage.
MULDER: They are the world's greatest.
SCULLY: We saw through their magic.
MULDER: Nah, there's more. Behold! The Amazing Maleeni's wallet.
SCULLY: You picked his pocket?
MULDER: No. I pilfered it from the evidence room to prevent them from completing their final act of prestidigitation.
SCULLY: What are you talking about?
MULDER: I began to wonder, why did they need so elaborate a setup? Why so high profile? Why draw the attention of the FBI in the first place?
SCULLY: We were the last piece of the puzzle.
MULDER: Yes. Framing Alvarez was just another misdirection. This trick was about EFTs-- electronic funds transfers at the bank. Maleeni, Pinchbeck-- he didn't have security clearance for them so he needed a little federal law enforcement intervention-- specifically, my badge number... and my thumbprint. With those two items, they could pull off an EFT and steal enough electronically as to make that $1.8 million look like cigar-lighting money. But they can't do it without this. Pick a card, Scully... Any card.
SCULLY: You know, Mulder, there's still one thing that you haven't explained.
MULDER: What's that?
SCULLY: How the Amazing Maleeni was able to turn his head completely around.
MULDER: I don't know that.
SCULLY: I do. I'll show you. Observe.
MULDER: Gee! Very nice. How'd you do that?
SCULLY: Well... magic.
MULDER: No. Seriously, Scully, how'd you do it? You know, it's not the same thing. It's different with the head. Come on. Look at this.
MULDER: I'll show you -.