Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Dr. Marshall Cahill: 

"Neil, be as humble as you like. 
Einstein was the most modest man I ever met."

Neil Cahill: 
"Sure, he could afford to be. He was a genius."
"Murder Over Mayhem"

In the Trueniverse, German-born Albert Einstein was the world's most famous theoretical physicist who developed the foundation for modern physics with his general theory of relativity.  He was a Nobel prize winner for his work in establishing quantum theory and is perhaps best known for his mass-energy equivalence formula of "E = mc2".

In Toobworld?  Einstein convinced President Harry Truman that a secret scientific community should be established where the country's geniuses could work on their experiments, free from international threat and with access to the funds necessary to complete the research.  Such a town was established in Oregon and named Eureka, centered around the company of Global Dynamics.

While in Eureka, Einstein helped develop the Bridge Device with his associate Dr. Trevor Grant.  It was meant to induce time travel but they were never able to get it to work.  (Dr. Grant had it stolen with the hopes that he could use it to prevent the invention of the atomic bomb.)  Over half a century later, the Bridge Device was snagged, bagged, and tagged by Warehouse 13 agent Claudia Donovan to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands again.  (Also in the Warehouse was Einstein's comb, which was believed to have the ability to fry people.)

It was in Eureka that Dr. Cahill first met Einstein, as one of the original citizens of the town.  His specialty was in cybernetics and he was instrumental in the development of the positronic brain necessary for robots and androids - one of which would eventually become a law enforcement officer in Eureka known as Deputy Andy.  

(One of Cahill's first true accomplishments was the assembly of an android known as "Hymie".  The android did have its glitches so the government palmed it off on one of their least successful networks in the intelligence-gathering community, CONTROL.)

Cahill moved to Eureka with his wife and their ten year old son Neil to work on cybernetic principles, after a threat on his life by rogue agents who allegedly worked for another secret community.  (Whispers only identified the place as "The Village".)  

Over the next decade, Marshall Cahill and his wife Amelia (a research scientist delving into the disciplines of utopian social dynamics) grew distant from each other, although Cahill still loved her fiercely.  Mrs. Cahill finally left Eureka in the mid-1960s to work for a rival scientific community that called itself "The Dharma Initiative".  

Around 1970, it was reported that she had died on some remote uncharted island where the Dharma Initiative had established a commune.  (However, it appears that Amelia Cahill survived "the Purge" and joined the Others.)  

The report of her death drove Cahill to be more protective of his son.  Neil didn't share the IQ capacity of his parents but he at least struggled to measure up to his father's reputation in memory of his mother.

Eventually Cahill left Eureka for Los Angeles, to accept the directorship of a government-funded think tank known as the Cybernetic Research Institute.  There he was able to continue his work on the development of robots and androids while master-minding war games for the Defense Department to prepare for a fully computerized future war.

In order to prove himself, Neil Cahill worked for a time as the research assistant to Dr. Carl Finch in London.  But when Finch died before revealing the nature of his research to the world (save for the notes he sent to an old colleague, Professor Howard Nicholson), Neil stole the research and then reworked it to claim that he had come up with this scientific breakthrough.

But Professor Nicholson, who also worked at the Cybernetic Research Institute, went to Dr. Cahill and threatened to go to the authorities with what he knew unless Neil confessed to being a fraud.  As Neil was Cahill's last link to the memory of his wife (Neil probably resembled her - he certainly didn't look like his father!), the scientist murdered the elderly research chemist and made it look like a break-in by some gang in order to steal drugs.  

Unfortunately for Dr. Cahill, a Los Angeles homicide detective named Lt. Columbo was able to see through that ploy.  As he told Cahill later:  "That first day I couldn't give a hoot in hell about a thief. I was looking for a cigar smoker and there you were."

Marshall Cahill was convicted and sentenced to twenty years with a chance for parole in five.  However, there were forces in the world who recognized that Cahill's mind was too brilliant to be kept shut away in prison for such a long time.  It may have been the work of a revived "Village" or some other rogue organization, but Cahill's death was faked in prison and the body stolen during transport to the morgue.  He was later revived to continue his research, perhaps under duress, and perhaps by his own government, until the day he actually did die in the early 1990s.

As for Neil, he eventually rebuilt his reputation with the help of Dr. Margaret Nicholson, his therapist and the widow of Professor Nicholson.  He entered the teaching profession and landed the position of principal at a Los Angeles high school.  There he avoided any further encounters with the police until one of his students killed another.  

Although it was considered something of a scandal for a short time [considering she had been his therapist and his father had murdered her husband], Neil and Margaret eventually married.


  • Since Einstein didn't appear in the 'Columbo' episode, we can choose any other incarnation of the scientific genius from another TV series.  I think Ed Metzger's multiple appearances on TV as Einstein, especially in an episode of 'Touched By An Angel' (which also featured Harold Gould as an even older Einstein), should be the official portrait of the Professor.  
  • As for being seen on TV in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' and 'Mentors', those were computer-simulated holograms and subject to interpretation by the programmers of the data input.
  • To prevent any recastaway Zonks, many of the appearances of Einstein's televersions in TV movies and mini-series should be relegated to alternate TV dimensions.  It also helps to spread the love.
  •  As for the appearance of Albert Einstein in an episode of 'Voyagers!', that was the incarnation of the scientific genius from an alternate TV dimension affected by changes to the time stream (caused by the Meddling Monk, no doubt!)
  • The Fourth Incarnation of the Time Lord known as the Doctor claimed to have known Einstein.  Since he was only mentioned and not seen, we can accept him as being the Einstein of Earth Prime-Time.
  • The Einstein who met the Eleventh Doctor, however, was from another dimension, during one of those trips made by a vessel that could travel through Time And The Relative Dimensions In Space.
  • As for his encounter with the Seventh Doctor, I think we can give that a pass and accept him as the Einstein of the main Toobworld.  Any physical discrepancies can be chalked up to fluctuations from travel inside the TARDIS and/or the Doctor's faulty memory on the trip.
  • The screencap of the episode's title in German plays no part in the activities which played out within the story, except to indicate that particular version took place in the alternate TV dimension of German Toobworld.
  • I was tempted to use a picture of Robert Walker, Jr.'s mother - actress Jennifer Jones - to represent Mrs. Cahill.  But I decided it was better to forge yet another missing link to a TV show by using Julie Adams from 'Lost' as Amelia.
  • Dr. Cahill's prison sentence was suggesed by Nathan Sikes for "The Ultimate Lieutenant Columbo Site".
  • This has been a combination of two biographical profiles from "The Tele-Folks Directory" - one for Einstein and the other for the Cahills.
  • 'Columbo'
  • 'Eureka'
  • 'Warehouse 13'
  • 'Touched By An Angel'
  • 'The Prisoner'
  • 'Lost'
  • 'The New Adam-12'
  • 'Get Smart'
  • 'Doctor Who'
  • 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'
  • 'Mentors'

"All you have at the moment is a theory. 
And right now you are in an institution where any staff member, 
Including your little friend Steve, 
Will tell you that a theory isn't worth a damn unless it can be proved."


This is dedicated to my friend, Mark Thompson, who turned away from the study of theoretical physics for something more lucrative... and FUN!  
Happy birthday, Mark!

1 comment:

Markienyc said...

Thanks Toob! This was absolutely brilliant!!! Def one of my favorites even without the dedication :-) Love and miss you