- "You're the world's youngest stuffy old fart!"
- ―Indiana Jones[src]
Eliot Ness was a chief investigator of the Prohibition Bureau, leader of a Chicago group of crime fighters known as "The Untouchables". He was partly responsible for the takedown of Prohibition-era gang boss Al Capone in 1931.
In 1920, Eliot Ness was a student at the University of Chicago, where he shared a room with Indiana Jones. He was studying business and law, though developed an interest in fighting crime while helping Indy and Ernest Hemingway solve the mystery of Jim Colosimo's murder. One of his extracurricular activities was learning jiujitsu. He was attracted to Susie Hilt, though she paid little attention to him.
Indy once took Ness to the Royal Garden club to hear jazz, but Ness, pegged as a square by the other patrons after realizing they were being served alcohol during Prohibition, got his beanie stolen and thrown around the club. After a fight broke out, the two fled the club.
Later, Ness accompanied Indy to a fraternity party, in hopes that Indy can introduce him to Susie Hilt. This ended badly when Indy was forced to leave the party after playing jazz, which was frowned upon by the fraternity band, and Susie.
Their roommate relationship was strained with Indy's late nights of working at Colosimo's Restaurant and jazz clubs conflicting with Ness' studious habits.
After the murder of Jim Colosimo, Ness joined up with Indy and his friend Ernest Hemingway to solve the case. Ness met up with a contact from a chemistry class who worked at the city morgue to learn that Colosimo was shot from behind, meaning that the killer was waiting inside the restaurant.
Later, Ness had to decide to flake on dinner with his aunt in order to spend time on the case. Back in the dormitory, he impressed Indy and Ernie by using some telephone deception on the harbormaster to learn the location of where the bootleg shipments from the Cristo Lemonade Company were being stored: Warehouse 35. Ness borrowed his aunt's car so the trip could investigate.
Initially uncomfortable with breaking into the warehouse, Ness fumbled around in the warehouse, but managed to find a pistol and some office files. Ness' accidental discharge of the pistol starts a shootout with O'Banion's men. After hiding in a barrel, Ness got the jump on a thug, using his jiujitsu to disarm him momentarily, while Hemingway escaped. In the car chase outside the warehouse, Ness' previous forgetting of filling up the gas tank led the trio to run out of gas, and getting captured by Dion O'Banion's goons.
After O'Banion let the boys go, Ness realized the importance of the papers he had stolen - they directly link Jim Torrio and Al Capone to the murder of Colosimo. When the trio took the evidence to Chief of Police Garrity, the chief, under the corrupt influence of the mob, destroyed the papers. Ness was furious at the destruction of evidence and police corruption.
Ness' relatives included a brother-in-law who worked for the Bureau of Investigations and an Aunt Bessie, who owned a car that Ness would borrow and would occasionally invite Ness and Jones over for dinner.
Behind the scenes
Eliot Ness was played by Frederick Weller.
In real life, Ness was encouraged by his sister's husband in the Bureau of Investigations to go into law enforcement. He got his masters in criminology, and joined the Treasury Department in 1927. He headed an elite squad of prohibition officers who were selected to be fearless and incorruptible. In 1931, he brought Al Capone to trial.
According to the Lucas Arts Documentary On the Trail of Eliot Ness located in the Young Indiana Jones Volume 3: Years of Change DVD box set, Eliot Ness was proficient in the Japanese Martial Art of Jiujitsu; a skill which he acquired in university.
There is no indication that he had any friendship with the historical Ernest Hemingway; their friendship is most probably an elaboration of the screenwriter.
He died in 1957, the year in which Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull takes place.
- The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "Young Indiana Jones and the Mystery of the Blues" → Mystery of the Blues
- The Roaring Twenties