- List of Columbo episodes
The following is an episode list for the crime fiction television series Columbo. After two pilot episodes, the show originally aired on NBC from 1971 to 1978 as one of the rotating programs of the NBC Mystery Movie. Columbo then aired more infrequently on ABC beginning in 1989. The most recent episode was broadcast in 2003.
Because the Columbo episodes from 1989 to 2003 were aired very infrequently, different DVD sets have been released around the world. In the UK (Region 2), all episodes have now been released as ten seasons, with the tenth season covering the last 14 shows from "Columbo Goes to College" (1990) to the most recent "Columbo Likes the Nightlife" (2003). In Region 1, seasons 8 and 9 are grouped differently: all the 5 episodes that originally aired in 1989 were released on The Mystery Movie Collection 1989 DVD; the Columbo: The Mystery Movie Collection 1990 and Columbo: The Mystery Movie Collection 1991–1993 DVDs contain episodes up to and including 1993.
Season Episodes Originally aired DVD Release Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 Pilots 2 1968–1971 September 7, 2004 [DVD 1] September 13, 2004 [DVD 1] December 3, 2004 [DVD 1] 1 7 1971–1972 2 8 1972–1973 March 8, 2005 July 18, 2005 July 13, 2005 3 8 1973–1974 August 9, 2005 November 14, 2005 July 20, 2006 4 6 1974–1975 March 14, 2006 September 18, 2006 September 19, 2006 5 6 1975–1976 June 27, 2006 February 12, 2007 Unknown 2007 6 3 1976–1977 November 21, 2006 [DVD 2] April 30, 2007 [DVD 2] May 2, 2007 [DVD 2] 7 5 1977–1978 8 4 1989 April 24, 2007 [DVD 3] March 31, 2008 June 4, 2008 9 6 1989–1990 February 3, 2009 [DVD 4] March 30, 2009 May 6, 2009 Season 10 and special episodes 14
February 8, 2011[DVD 6] June 15, 2009 [DVD 7]
July 27, 2009
- ^ a b c Both pilots are included in the Season 1 DVD.
- ^ a b c Both Season 6 and Season 7 were released on the same DVD.
- ^ The Mystery Movie Collection 1989 DVD released in Region 1 covers all the episodes that originally aired in 1989: All 4 episodes from Season 8 and the first one from Season 9.
- ^ The Mystery Movie Collection 1990 DVD released in Region 1 covers all the episodes that originally aired in 1990: The last 5 episodes from Season 9 and the first one from Season 10.
- ^ The Season 10 DVDs released in Regions 2 and 4 cover the last 14 episodes.
- ^ As of 2011[update], episodes airing from 1991 to 1993 can be found for Region 1 on DVD in "Columbo: The Mystery Movie Collection 1991–1993", while the 1994–2003 episodes have yet to be released.
- ^ In Region 2, Season 10 was released in two volumes: Of those final 14 episodes, Volume I covers the first 8 while Volume 2 contains the last 6.
Before Peter Falk
Before Falk was cast as the character of Columbo, Bert Freed played the role in "Enough Rope," a 1960 episode of The Chevy Mystery Show, a TV anthology series. In 1962, that episode was adapted as a stage play titled "Prescription: Murder" (starring Thomas Mitchell as Columbo), which then became a made-for-TV movie in 1968, with Peter Falk debuting in the role.
Series # Season # Title Directed by Written by Airdate 1 1 "Prescription: Murder" Richard Irving Richard Levinson & William Link (based on their play) February 20, 1968 2 2 "Ransom for a Dead Man" Richard Irving Dean Hargrove (teleplay), Richard Levinson & William Link (story) March 1, 1971 Leslie Williams (Lee Grant), a brilliant lawyer and pilot, murders her husband Paul to get his money, arranging the act to look as if he had been kidnapped and killed by his captors. Columbo and Leslie's step-daughter, who hates her, successfully work together to get Leslie to implicate herself by revealing where the money is.
Series # Season # Title Directed by Written by Airdate 3 1 "Murder by the Book" Steven Spielberg Steven Bochco September 15, 1971
Ken Franklin (Jack Cassidy), one half of a mystery writing team, kills his partner, Jim Ferris (Martin Milner), who wished to break it off and go solo, threatening to expose the fact that Ferris did all the actual writing, and makes it seem like Ferris was killed by gangsters in his office and Ken was two hours away at the time. When a witness (Barbara Colby) tries to blackmail Ken into a relationship, he kills her too.Note- In 1997 TV Guide ranked this episode number 16 on it's '100 Greatest Episodes of All Time' list.
4 2 "Death Lends a Hand" Bernard L. Kowalski Richard Levinson & William Link October 6, 1971 Brimmer (Robert Culp), the head of a private detective agency, is hired by Arthur Kennicut (Ray Milland), a powerful publishing magnate who suspects his wife, Lenore (Pat Crowley) of infidelity. Although Brimmer indeed finds evidence of infidelity, instead of reporting this to his client, he attempts to blackmail Lenore into revealing secrets about her husband. She refuses and threatens to expose his plot to her husband, at which point Brimmer accidentally kills her in a fit of anger. Series creators Richard Levinson and William Link won an Emmy for writing this episode. 5 3 "Dead Weight" Jack Smight John T. Dugan October 27, 1971 Major General Martin Hollister (Eddie Albert), a retired Marine Corps General, after learning that he is being investigated for embezzling military funds, kills his partner, after his partner decides to flee the country. The act is witnessed by Helen Stewart (Suzanne Pleshette), who is wooed by the General into doubting her own story. 6 4 "Suitable for Framing" Hy Averback Jackson Gillis November 17, 1971 Art critic Dale Kingston (Ross Martin) murders his uncle and frames his aunt, Edna Mathews (Kim Hunter) to obtain what is considered to be one of the most valuable art collections in the world. Don Ameche portrays family lawyer Frank Simpson. 7 5 "Lady in Waiting" Norman Lloyd Steven Bochco (teleplay), Barney Slater (story) December 15, 1971 Beth Chadwick (Susan Clark) murders her domineering older brother (Richard Anderson) in order to gain control of her own life and the family business. She arranges for it to look like an accident but is tripped up by the sharp memory of her fiancé, Peter (Leslie Nielsen). Her mother is played by veteran actress Jessie Royce Landis, in her last performance. 8 6 "Short Fuse" Edward M. Abroms Jackson Gillis (teleplay), Lester Pine & Tina Pine and Jackson Gillis (story) January 19, 1972 Roger Stanford (Roddy McDowall) is a chemist and photography buff whose uncle, David (James Gregory), has taken over the business his parents built and his aunt (Ida Lupino) controls. When David proposes selling the business to a conglomerate in return for a seat on the board of directors, David tries to blackmail Roger into resigning. Roger decides to remove his uncle from office with a box of exploding cigars. William Windom guests as the next-in-line Vice President whom Roger must remove before he can move to take over the company. 9 7 "Blueprint for Murder" Peter Falk Steven Bochco (teleplay), William Kelley (story) February 9, 1972 Elliot Markham (Patrick O'Neal) is an architect (with a vision for a city of the future and a penchant for classical music) who loses funding for his project when Beau Williamson (Forrest Tucker), a rich cowboy, pulls out of the deal. Markham schemes to get access to Williamson's money through the younger Mrs. Williamson, yet he also needs Beau alive to prevent Beau's money from going into a trust. Markham must therefore come up with a clever way to dispose of the body and make it look as if Beau is simply on an extended overseas business trip. Falk made his directorial debut with this episode.
Series # Season # Title Directed by Written by Airdate 10 1 "Étude in Black" Nicholas Colasanto Steven Bochco (teleplay), Richard Levinson & William Link (story) September 17, 1972 Alex Benedict (John Cassavetes), the married conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, murders Jennifer Welles (Anjanette Comer) after she insists on going public with their affair, and tries to make it look like a suicide. Columbo searches for clues to place Benedict at the murder scene. Blythe Danner and Myrna Loy guest as Benedict's wealthy wife and mother-in-law. Written by Steven Bochco. Pat Morita cameos in one scene as Benedict's butler. (During filming Danner was pregnant with her daughter Gwyneth Paltrow — she was born ten days after this episode first aired.) 11 2 "The Greenhouse Jungle" Boris Sagal Jonathan Latimer October 15, 1972 Jarvis Goodland (Ray Milland) and his nephew, Tony (Bradford Dillman) stage Tony's kidnapping in order to break his trust fund, but Jarvis kills Tony once the ransom is paid, and a careful swapping of guns with Tony's philandering wife casts suspicion in her direction. This episode marks the debut of Sergeant Frederick Wilson (Bob Dishy) as the normally solo Columbo's departmentally assigned "partner" (later he is re-introduced in season 5 episode 5 "Now You See Him" as John J. Wilson). 12 3 "The Most Crucial Game" Jeremy Kagan John T. Dugan November 5, 1972 Paul Hanlon (Robert Culp), general manager of the Los Angeles Rockets football team, wants to create a sports empire, but Eric (Dean Stockwell), who inherited the team, lacks ambition. Hanlon kills Eric in his home swimming pool during a football game that Hanlon was attending, thus creating a seemingly airtight alibi. Valerie Harper has a small role as a call girl. 13 4 "Dagger of the Mind" Richard Quine Jackson Gillis (teleplay), Richard Levinson & William Link (story) November 26, 1972 When Sir Roger Haversham (John Williams) realizes that actors Nicholas Frame (Richard Basehart) and his wife, Lillian Stanhope (Honor Blackman), are attempting to manipulate him into backing their theater production, he confronts the couple, and is accidentally killed during an ensuing scuffle. The pair covers up their accident by stuffing the body in a trunk, taking him home to his estate, and staging an apparent accident. Columbo is visiting London as the guest of Scotland Yard Detective Chief Superintendent William Durk (Bernard Fox), who stops by the estate to investigate the incident. This episode was filmed in both London and Hollywood. 14 5 "Requiem for a Falling Star" Richard Quine Jackson Gillis January 21, 1973 Aging movie queen Nora Chandler (Anne Baxter)'s personal assistant, Jean Davis (Pippa Scott), is marrying gossip reporter Jerry Parks (Mel Ferrer), who has secret information about Chandler. When Jean and Jerry switch vehicles one night, Chandler plants an explosive which detonates just as his car pulls into his garage, albeit containing Jean. The truth is unraveled by Columbo as he digs into the case. Oscar-winning costume designer Edith Head has a cameo as herself. 15 6 "A Stitch in Crime" Hy Averback Shirl Hendryx February 11, 1973 Cardiac surgeon Dr. Barry Mayfield (Leonard Nimoy) and Dr. Edmund Hidemann (Will Geer) have pioneered a major medical breakthrough that Mayfield wants to publish immediately, but Hidemann wants to continue testing. When Dr. Hidemann has a heart attack and needs an emergency bypass, Mayfield performs the surgery and plans to kill his partner by placing dissolving sutures in his heart. After their nurse, Sharon Martin (Anne Francis), discovers the plot, Mayfield kills her, and stages a mugging to pin the crime on her drug addict ex-boyfriend. 16 7 "The Most Dangerous Match" Edward M. Abroms Jackson Gillis (teleplay), Richard Levinson & William Link and Jackson Gillis (story) March 4, 1973 When chess Grandmaster Emmett Clayton (Laurence Harvey) loses an informal game to Eastern European champion Tomlin Dudek (Jack Kruschen) the night before their official match, Clayton decides to kill Dudek to prevent losing to him. The hearing impaired Clayton shoves him into a garbage grinder in the basement, but because of his malfunctioning hearing aid, he doesn't realize that the grinder automatically shuts itself off when anything big falls into it. Dudek survives and now Clayton schemes to poison his rival in the hospital before he can regain consciousness. 17 8 "Double Shock" Robert Butler Steven Bochco (teleplay), Richard Levinson & William Link and Jackson Gillis (story) March 25, 1973 When Clifford Paris (Paul Stewart) becomes engaged to Lisa Chambers (Julie Newmar), one (or both) of his twin nephews, Dexter and Norman Paris (both portrayed by Martin Landau), kill him via electrocution before he can change his will, and pass off the murder as an accidental heart attack. Clifford's lawyer, Michael Hathaway (Tim O'Connor) reveals that indeed a new will already exists and that he will be willing to "lose" all copies of it for a price. However, Chambers has a copy of it too, requiring her to be eliminated. Unlike most Columbo episodes, this has a whodunit element in that which identical twin was the murderer is not revealed until the end of the episode. Dabney Coleman has a small role as Detective Murray.
Series # Season # Title Directed by Written by Airdate 18 1 "Lovely But Lethal" Jeannot Szwarc Jackson Gillis (teleplay), Myrna Bercovici (story) September 23, 1973 Cosmetics queen Viveca Scott (Vera Miles) has developed a seemingly magic wrinkle remover, but the formula has been stolen by her former lover, Karl Lessing (Martin Sheen), a chemist who refuses to sell it back to her at any price. Taunted by Lessing, Scott kills him in a fit of rage but also before he can sell it to her ruthless competitor, David Lang (Vincent Price). When Lang's secretary (Sian Barbara Allen) becomes a potential blackmailer Scott kills her as well. 19 2 "Any Old Port in a Storm" Leo Penn Stanley Ralph Ross (Written By), Larry Cohen (Story By) October 7, 1973 When Adrian Carsini (Donald Pleasence) inherited a small winery specializing in unprofitable but prized wines, his spendthrift playboy half-brother Rick got the land. When Rick, tired of Adrian's indulgences, tells him that he has agreed to sell the land to mass producers of cheap, profitable wines, Adrian beats him and leaves him to die in an airtight wine cellar, before traveling to New York City to accept an award and attend wine auctions, and establish his alibi. Upon his return, Adrian then concocts a scuba diving accident to cover the crime. Columbo suspects Carsini almost immediately, and he befriends Carsini while slyly searching for clues to link him to the murder. Julie Harris plays Adrian Carsini's formidable secretary. 20 3 "Candidate for Crime" Boris Sagal Irving Pearlberg, Alvin R. Friedman, Roland Kibbee and Dean Hargrove (teleplay), Larry Cohen (story) November 4, 1973 Womanizing senatorial candidate Nelson Hayward (Jackie Cooper) kills his domineering campaign manager, Harry Stone (Ken Swofford), in Hayward's garage, arranging it to appear as a case of mistaken identity by assassins targeting Hayward. Joanne Linville plays Hayward's wife. A young Katey Sagal, from Married with Children, plays Hayward's secretary. Sagal's father, Boris Sagal, directed the episode. 21 4 "Double Exposure" Richard Quine Stephen J. Cannell December 16, 1973 Dr. Bart Keppel (Robert Culp, in his third appearance), who pioneered the infamous subliminal cuts, uses this technique to kill a major client who is about to fire his company. When his projectionist (Chuck McCann) discovers the cuts and pieces together the plot, Keppel kills him as well. This episode received the Emmy Award in the category for Outstanding Limited Series. (Arlene Martel is given screen credit as "Tanya", yet she never shows up on screen, she is the subject of a blackmail attempt by Dr. Keppel on his major client, who intents on exposing the Doctor's blackmailing ways. This is the real reason for murder.) 22 5 "Publish or Perish" Robert Butler Peter S. Fischer January 18, 1974 Publisher Riley Greenleaf (Jack Cassidy) decides to kill his prolific author Alan Mallory (Mickey Spillane) to keep him from defecting to another publisher. He hires ex-con and avid homemade bomb enthusiast Eddie Kane (John Chandler) to do the job. To cover his tracks, Riley kills Kane with one of his own bombs, making it look like an accident. Columbo must discover the link between the two crimes. This episode has a split screen of Greenleaf alibi and Mallory's murder. Spillane was the real-life author of Mike Hammer detective mysteries. 23 6 "Mind Over Mayhem" Alf Kjellin Steven Bochco, Dean Hargrove and Roland Kibbee (teleplay), Robert Specht (story) February 10, 1974 When Dr. Howard Nicholson (Lew Ayres) threatens to expose Neil Cahill (Robert Walker, Jr.) for plagiarizing a paper from a recently deceased scientist, Cahill's father, Dr. Marshall Cahill (José Ferrer), head of a high tech Pentagon think tank, kills Nicholson to protect his son. Robby the Robot appears as the intelligent robot in the cybernetics institution. 24 7 "Swan Song" Nicholas Colasanto David Rayfiel (teleplay), Stanley Ralph Ross (story) March 3, 1974 Ever since Edna Brown (Ida Lupino) caught her husband, Gospel-singing superstar Tommy Brown (Johnny Cash), cheating on her with an underage girl, she has been blackmailing him into donating all the proceeds from his concerts and records to a fund to build a new tabernacle. When Tommy decides he's had enough, he drugs both women to sleep on their small, private plane flight to Los Angeles, and then parachutes from the plane, making it seem like he was thrown clear in a tragic crash. Edna's brother Luke (Bill McKinney) insists the police handle the case as a homicide, while the FAA is ready to write it off to an accident. 25 8 "A Friend in Deed" Ben Gazzara Peter S. Fischer May 5, 1974 When Hugh Caldwell kills his wife in the heat of a fight, he seeks help from his friend and neighbor, Mark Halperin (Richard Kiley) (who also happens to be the police commissioner). Halperin sees an opportunity to kill his own wife (played by Rosemary Murphy), a wealthy heiress who refuses to share her wealth, so he helps Halperin cover up the first crime and forces Hugh to assist the following night, arranging it so that a cat burglar who has recently been active in their neighborhood is seen as the culprit. When Columbo realizes what happened, he utilizes the burglar to help him catch the real perpetrators.
Series # Season # Title Directed by Written by Airdate 26 1 "An Exercise in Fatality" Bernard L. Kowalski Peter S. Fischer (teleplay), Larry Cohen (story) September 15, 1974 Exercise guru Milo Janus (Robert Conrad) is squeezing the franchisees who operate his namesake gyms. When one threatens to expose Janus and open his operation to fraud and extortion investigations, Janus kills the man in his gym, and concocts a complicated plan to cover it up. Pat Harrington, Jr., Gretchen Corbett and Collin Wilcox guest star. 27 2 "Negative Reaction" Alf Kjellin Peter S. Fischer October 6, 1974 To kill his domineering wife, Frances (Antoinette Bower), professional photographer Paul Galesko (Dick Van Dyke) hires ex-con Alvin Deschler (Don Gordon) to take pictures of a country property for him, while Galesko kidnaps and murders his own wife. Galesko then meets Deschler at a staged ransom drop, where he kills Deschler, before shooting himself in the leg, and planting the gun on Deschler, later reporting that he killed the kidnapper in self-defense. Larry Storch, Joyce Van Patten and Vito Scotti guest star. 28 3 "By Dawn's Early Light" Harvey Hart Howard Berk October 27, 1974 After Colonel Lyle C. Rumford (Patrick McGoohan), head of Haynes Academy, an all-boys military school, is told by Board of Trustees president William Haynes that the school will convert to a coed school as a solution to declining enrollment, Rumford rigs the school cannon to explode when Haynes fires it on Founder's Day. He then pins the "accident" on a cadet (Mark Wheeler) who had gun-cleaning duty, but is tripped up by his own fanatic sense of duty. McGoohan won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Series. Bruno Kirby, son of series regular Bruce Kirby, guest stars as a cadet. 29 4 "Troubled Waters" Ben Gazzara Jackson Gillis & William Driskill February 9, 1975 While aboard a Mexican cruise, auto executive Hayden Danziger (Robert Vaughn) kills the cruise ship's lounge singer, Rosanna Wells (Poupée Bocar), after she threatens to expose their affair to his wife, Sylvia (Jane Greer). Columbo, who happens to be enjoying the same cruise with his wife, is pressed into service by the ship's captain (Patrick Macnee), who mistakenly believes a band musician (Dean Stockwell) to be guilty of the crime. Bernard Fox and Robert Douglas also guest star. 30 5 "Playback" Bernard L. Kowalski David Lewis & Booker Bradshaw March 2, 1975 Harold Van Wick (Oskar Werner), a gadget-obsessed man who runs his mother-in-law's electronics company, kills her (Martha Scott) after she decides to remove him from his position. Van Wick uses his high-tech home security system to tape the murder, which he then plays back to the guards' monitor on a time delay, making it appear as if the murder occurred after he had left the house for a party. Gena Rowlands portrays wheelchair-bound wife Elizabeth, who proves instrumental in convicting her husband. Robert Brown and Trisha Noble also guest star. 31 6 "A Deadly State of Mind" Harvey Hart Peter S. Fischer April 27, 1975 Psychiatrist Mark Collier (George Hamilton) kills Carl Donner (Stephen Elliott) with a fireplace poker after a confrontation with Donner over Collier's affair with Donner's wife, Nadia (Lesley Ann Warren), who is one of Collier's patients. Collier concocts a cover story involving a home robbery gone astray, and then uses hypnosis to trick Nadia into diving into an imaginary swimming pool from her fifth story balcony. Although Columbo (unusually) admits he cannot prove Collier killed Nadia, the only witness to the original crime, a blind man walking past the house as Collier was leaving, proves to be his undoing.
Series # Season # Title Directed by Written by Airdate 32 1 "Forgotten Lady" Harvey Hart William Driskill September 14, 1975 When Henry Willis (Sam Jaffe) refuses to finance a return to the spotlight for his wife, aging former movie star Grace Wheeler (Janet Leigh), she kills him in his sleep, and passes it off as a suicide. Her butler, played by Maurice Evans, believes she was in the screening room the entire time, watching one of her classic films. This is the only episode where the murderer is not arrested, as Ned Diamond, her longtime song and dance partner, falsely confesses to save Grace, knowing that she is dying of a brain disease she herself is unaware of. Columbo goes along with the ploy, and by the time Diamond is cleared, Grace would have passed away after spending her last days living happily in the past. John Payne plays Ned Diamond. The episode features excerpts from the 1953 musical comedy Walking My Baby Back Home, which starred Janet Leigh. 33 2 "A Case of Immunity" Ted Post James Menzies (story)
Lou Shaw (teleplay)
October 12, 1975 Hassan Salah (Hector Elizondo), chief diplomat of the Legation of Swahari, an Arab nation with a new young king, enlists Rachman Habib (Sal Mineo) to help him stage a robbery at the Legation, in order to murder the head of security. Salah pins the murder on the now-absent Habib, who as part of the plan, has gone into hiding. Columbo quickly unravels the truth, but finds himself stymied by the fact that Salah has diplomatic immunity and cannot be arrested. Columbo gets Salah to confess the murder with his monarch in the next room listening. To stay in the U.S. rather than face Middle Eastern justice, he waives his immunity from prosecution. 34 3 "Identity Crisis" Patrick McGoohan William Driskill November 2, 1975 When a CIA operative codenamed "Geronimo" (Leslie Nielsen) recognizes the man he was sent to cut a deal with as Nelson Brenner (Patrick McGoohan, who also directed), a CIA double agent from the past, Brenner must kill Geronimo before he can reveal his secret. In the course of his investigation, Columbo finds himself blocked at every turn by a man accustomed to keeping secrets, and even by a visit from the Director of the Agency - Phil Corrigan, a.k.a. Secret Agent X-9 (David White)! The episode features another French car, the Citroen SM. 35 4 "A Matter of Honor" Ted Post Brad Radnitz February 1, 1976 Retired matador Luis Montoya (Ricardo Montalban), who now raises bulls, kills his long-time assistant and friend Hector Rangel, in order to protect his own reputation after one of his bulls gores Hector's son. Montoya uses the same bull and a small amount of tranquilizer in the course of the crime. Columbo, who happens to be in Tijuana for the weekend, is recognized by the local chief of police (Pedro Armendáriz, Jr.), who enlists Columbo's help. 36 5 "Now You See Him..." Harvey Hart Michael Sloan February 29, 1976 When Jesse Jerome (Nehemiah Persoff), owner of the magic club Cabaret of Magic, tries to blackmail the Great Santini (Jack Cassidy), a magician extraordinaire, with the discovery that Santini is really Stefan Mueller, a former Nazi SS prison guard, Santini kills Jerome in the middle of his famed water tank escape act, thereby giving himself what he believes to be an airtight alibi. Columbo is assigned to the case. Robert Loggia portrays Harry Blandford, the club's maître d’ and Jerome's partner. (Bob Dishy is re-introduced in this episode as John J. Wilson, he had originally been introduced in season 2 episode 2, "The Greenhouse Jungle", as Frederick Wilson.) 37 6 "Last Salute to the Commodore" Patrick McGoohan Jackson Gillis May 2, 1976 After the murder of Commodore Otis Swanson (John Dehner), a retired ship builder who would rather sell his business than let his son-in-law Charles Clay (Robert Vaughn) continue to run it, suspicion falls on Clay. But when Clay turns up dead as well, the mystery deepens with surprises that even Columbo would not expect. This episode departs from the normal Columbo format in that the murderer is not who the audience thinks it is and thus the episode becomes a true whodunit, with the actual murderer revealed at the end of the episode. Columbo has a new sidekick, Sgt. "Mac" Albinsky. Diane Baker plays the Commodore's alcoholic daughter and Wilfrid Hyde-White is his lawyer.
Series # Season # Title Directed by Written by Airdate 38 1 "Fade in to Murder" Bernard L. Kowalski Lou Shaw & Peter S. Feibleman (teleplay), Henry Garson (story) October 10, 1976 Egocentric actor Ward Fowler (William Shatner), who portrays Detective Lucerne on a weekly TV show, kills his producer and ex-paramour, Claire Daley (Lola Albright), who has been blackmailing Fowler for years about a secret from his past. He then steps in and out of character to assist Columbo with the investigation. Mr. Daley's secretary is played by Shera Danese, who would eventually marry star Peter Falk. Walter Koenig guest stars as a police sergeant. 39 2 "Old Fashioned Murder" Robert Douglas Peter S. Feibleman (teleplay), Lawrence Vail (story) November 28, 1976 Ruth Lytton (Joyce Van Patten) kills her older brother Edward (Tim O'Connor) after he decides to sell the family business, the Lytton Museum, to which Ruth has devoted her entire life. She is assisted by an ex-con whom Ruth kills shortly before killing her brother when he comes to investigate the sound of a gunshot. Her plan is to make it look like the two men killed each other in the middle of an attempted robbery. Celeste Holm plays Ruth's older sister, and Jeannie Berlin her beloved niece, whom Columbo uses to coerce Ruth into admission. 40 3 "The Bye-Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case" Sam Wanamaker Robert Young May 22, 1977 After Bertie Hastings (Sorrell Booke) discovers that his friend, Oliver Brandt (Theodore Bikel), a senior partner in an accounting firm, has been embezzling money to support the lifestyle of his wife, Vivian (Samantha Eggar), Brandt kills Hastings at the Sigma Society, a club for geniuses, making it look like a burglary gone bad. In her TV debut, Jamie Lee Curtis has a small role as a surly coffee shop waitress.
Series # Season # Title Directed by Written by Airdate 41 1 "Try and Catch Me" James Frawley Gene Thompson & Paul Tuckahoe November 21, 1977 Mystery author Abigail Mitchell (Ruth Gordon) is convinced that her nephew-in-law, Edmund Galvin (Charles Frank), murdered his wife (Mitchell's niece) in a boating "accident" and got away with it. Mitchell asks him to retrieve something for her from her airtight walk-in safe, then locks him in it before flying off to New York. Mariette Hartley plays Mitchell's trusted assistant, Veronica, who becomes embroiled in the crime. Mitchell gives Columbo a compliment after he solves her crime: if he had been the one to investigate her niece's disappearance, none of this would ever have happened! 42 2 "Murder Under Glass" Jonathan Demme Robert Van Scoyk January 30, 1978 Restaurant critic Paul Gerard (Louis Jourdan) fears being exposed by the restaurant owners from whom he is extorting money. He murders Vittorio Rossi (Michael V. Gazzo) with a bottle of wine. Richard Dysart and France Nuyen also star. Falk's wife Shera Danese returns as Gerard's secretary/treasurer. Writer Robert Van Scoyk received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his teleplay. 43 3 "Make Me a Perfect Murder" James Frawley Robert Blees February 28, 1978 When west coast television production boss Mark McAndrews (Laurence Luckinbill) is promoted to a high level position in New York, and fails to name his lover and employee, high-powered TV programmer Kay Freestone (Trish Van Devere), as his replacement, she kills him at his office before he can name someone else. Kay seemed to be in the midst of a reel change for an important preview for the "New York bunch" of a new made-for-TV movie called "The Professional" that she had helped produce, when the murder occurred. Actually she had fooled the projectionist (James McEachin) by fiddling with the projector's timer and then sent him on an errand. This gave her time to commit the murder, return and make the reel change before the projectionist got back, just barely. Columbo's new found movie knowledge, concerning "queue blips" gives him the clue he needs to solve the crime. (Columbo's injured neck is part of a sub-plot, concerning a car accident with a police car that is in hot pursuit.) 44 4 "How to Dial a Murder" James Frawley Anthony Lawrence (story)
Tom Lazarus (teleplay)
April 15, 1978 Mind control (or, as the Doctor corrected Columbo, Life control) seminar guru Dr. Eric Mason (Nicol Williamson) uses two trained Doberman Pinschers, Laurel and Hardy, to kill his "best friend" who had been having an affair with Mason's now deceased wife. Kim Cattrall plays the resident of Mason's guest house who discovers the body. Ed Begley, Jr. has a minor role as an animal control officer. 45 5 "The Conspirators" Leo Penn Howard Berk May 13, 1978 Famous Irish poet and author Joe Devlin (Clive Revill), who is secretly a fund-raiser and gun-runner for the IRA, kills his gun supplier after discovering the man intends to cheat him. Now with Columbo hot on his trail, Devlin must find his guns and arrange their shipment out of the country. This is the last episode of the original Columbo series after its original seven-year run.
Series # Season # Title Directed by Written by Airdate 46 1 "Columbo Goes to the Guillotine" Leo Penn William Read Woodfield February 6, 1989 Elliott Blake (Anthony Andrews), a fake psychic who is trying to swindle the government into giving him a lucrative contract based on his ESP abilities, conspires with an old colleague, Max Dyson (Anthony Zerbe), a magician known to expose frauds. After their trickery is successful the psychic takes his revenge on the magician by tricking him into his own guillotine. Columbo has to solve the crime before the government whisks the fake psychic beyond his reach. 47 2 "Murder, Smoke, and Shadows" James Frawley Richard Alan Simmons February 27, 1989 Boy genius Hollywood director Alex Bradey (Fisher Stevens), prior to becoming a success, made a 16mm movie in which a young woman was killed in a motorcycle accident. Bradey and his cameraman conspired to pretend that they weren't present, leading the official investigation to conclude that it was an accidental death. After the young woman's brother shows up in Bradey's office with a copy of the film that was left to him by Bradey's now-deceased cameraman, Bradey kills him too, staging that crime as yet another accident on the set of his new movie. Molly Hagan co-stars. 48 3 "Sex and the Married Detective" James Frawley Jerry Ludwig April 3, 1989 After renowned sex therapist Dr. Joan Allenby (Lindsay Crouse) finds her lover in bed with her assistant, she invents a game in which she disguises herself as the "lady in black," meeting her lover in public and then leaving for a tryst. Then she kills him, leading suspicion to fall on the mystery woman. 49 4 "Grand Deceptions" Sam Wanamaker Sy Salkowitz May 1, 1989 Colonel Frank Brailie (Robert Foxworth) runs a paramilitary mercenary school owned by General Padget (Stephen Elliott), with whose wife Brailie is having an affair. The Colonel is siphoning money into what he calls "The Special Projects Fund." The suspicious General asks an employee to look into the matter, but when he decides to blackmail the Colonel into sharing the profit instead of reporting his findings, Brailie kills him with a landmine explosion staged to look like an accident.
Series # Season # Title Directed by Written by Airdate 50 1 "Murder: A Self Portrait" James Frawley Robert Sherman November 25, 1989 Temperamental artist Max Barsini (Patrick Bauchau) kills his first wife, Louise (Fionnula Flanagan), out of fear that she will reveal that Max killed his first agent, who was robbing him, especially since she has been seeing a therapist. 51 2 "Columbo Cries Wolf" Daryl Duke William Read Woodfield January 20, 1990 When Diane Hunter (Deidre Hall), the partner of men's magazine publisher Sean Brantley (Ian Buchanan), goes missing after expressing a desire to sell her 51% interest, suspicion falls on Brantley and his girlfriend Tina (Rebecca Staab). Columbo sets out to find the body, eventually digging up much of Brantley's estate. But once it turns into a full-blown media event, Diane resurfaces, explaining she needed some time to herself. Sales and the magazine's value are increased by the controversy, but she still intends to sell. Sean actually does kill her and hides the body, believing that Columbo won't fall for the same trick twice. 52 3 "Agenda for Murder" Patrick McGoohan Jeffrey Bloom February 10, 1990 Frank Staplin, a mobster facing an indictment, asks high-priced lawyer Oscar Finch (Patrick McGoohan) for his help, reminding him of a favor Finch and his friend, Vice Presidential candidate Congressman Mackey, performed earlier in their careers, and threatening to bring it to light, so Finch kills Staplin and makes it look like a suicide. Patrick McGoohan won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role. 53 4 "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo" Vincent McEveety Peter S. Fischer March 31, 1990 Vivian Dimitri (Helen Shaver), a real-estate executive and wife of a recently deceased man Columbo sent to prison, seeks revenge by first killing Columbo's wife, then poisoning the detective. First she must do away with her boss, her husband's partner, who skipped jail by ratting on him. Columbo begins investigating that murder, while Vivian moves on to her next target: the detective's wife. 54 5 "Uneasy Lies the Crown" Alan J. Levi Steven Bochco April 28, 1990 Dentist to the stars Dr. Wesley Corman (James Read) wants to be rid of his unloving wife and use her money to support his gambling habit. When a Hollywood heartthrob having an affair with Corman's wife comes under the dentist's care, Corman puts a time-release poison under his dental crown, one that takes effect just as he is making love to Corman's wife that evening, thereby framing her for the murder. 55 6 "Murder in Malibu" Walter Grauman Jackson Gillis May 14, 1990 Jess McCurdy (Brenda Vaccaro) fails to convince her sister, best-selling author Theresa Goren (Janet Margolin), to cancel her wedding to Wayne Jennings (Andrew Stevens), a playboy/tennis bum half her age and a golddigger. McCurdy impersonates her sister on the phone with Jennings to dump him. Jennings reacts by killing Goren. Further complications ensue, leaving Columbo to untangle a plot that involves his surprisingly detailed familiarity with women's panties.
Season 10 and special episodes
Series # Season # Title Directed by Written by Airdate 56 1 "Columbo Goes to College" E.W. Swackhamer Jeffrey Bloom (teleplay and story) and Frederick King Keller (story) December 9, 1990 When a college professor threatens to expel (or flunk) spoiled fraternity brothers Justin Rowe (Stephen Caffrey) and Cooper Redman (Gary Hershberger) for cheating (by stealing the final exam), they lure the professor away from class and shoot him in the parking garage via remote control, while they sit in class listening to Columbo deliver a guest lecture. The boys then plant evidence making it appear that the professor was killed because of a mafia expose he was working on. Robert Culp returns to the series as Justin's powerful lawyer father. 57 2 "Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health" Daryl Duke Sonia Wolf, Patricia Ford and April Raynell February 20, 1991 Wade Anders (George Hamilton), host of crime show Crime Alert, kills his rival, Budd Clarke (Peter Haskell) with a poison cigarette after Clarke threatens to release a porn video starring a young Anders. Anders then uses a doctored surveillance video to provide himself with an alibi 58 3 "Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star" Alan J. Levi William Read Woodfield April 29, 1991 After unfaithful rock star Marcy Edwards threatens her lover, high-priced lawyer Hugh Creighton (Dabney Coleman), with a palimony suit, he drugs the champagne in her beach house and waits until she shows up there with her current lover. As Edwards does not drink, Creighton shows up while her lover is passed out, and snaps her neck. Her lover awakens and flees the scene. Creighton enlists his associate (Shera Danese) to help him concoct an airtight alibi, but she instead blackmails Creighton into a full partnership in the firm. Columbo cracks the case, with the help of a speeding ticket. Little Richard cameos as himself. 59 4 "Death Hits the Jackpot" Vincent McEveety Jeffrey Bloom December 15, 1991 After winning a $30 million lottery, photographer Fredy Brower, who wishes to keep the money a secret from the wife who is divorcing him, arranges with his uncle, wealthy jeweler Leon Lamarr (Rip Torn), to pretend the lottery ticket is Lamarr's, until the divorce is final. Little does Brower know his uncle is broke and having an affair with Brower's wife. Lamarr kills Brower in order to keep the lottery winnings for himself. 60 5 "No Time to Die" Alan J. Levi Robert Van Scoyk (teleplay), Ed McBain (story) March 15, 1992 Columbo attends the wedding of his police officer nephew. While her husband takes a shower, the bride disappears from the bridal suite. The groom enlists Uncle Columbo's help in unraveling the case. Seems she has been kidnapped by a psychopath who intends to kill her once he consummates "their" marriage. Based on a story by Ed McBain (actually the 87th Precinct novel So Long As You Both Shall Live, though not credited as such). 61 6 "A Bird in the Hand..." Vincent McEveety Jackson Gillis November 22, 1992 Given a deadline to pay his debts or else, chronic gambler Harold (Greg Evigan) plants a bomb under the Rolls Royce of his uncle, sports magnate Big Fred (Steve Forrest). However, Big Fred is killed by a hit-and-run driver while jogging that very morning, and the Rolls Royce explodes when Fred's gardener tries to move it out of the way of the TV camera crews. Just when Columbo thinks he has the goods on Harold, it is Harold who turns up dead. Tyne Daly plays Fred's wife, Delores. (This was veteran Columbo writer Gillis's last script for the series.) 62 7 "It's All in the Game" Vincent McEveety Peter Falk October 31, 1993 After wealthy socialite Lauren Staton (Faye Dunaway) and her globe-trotting daughter (Claudia Christian) find out that their boyfriends are the same abusive, gold-digging gigolo, they murder him. Lauren decides to take all the heat from Columbo in order to protect her daughter, even going so far as to romance him. This was the only episode to be written by Peter Falk. 63 8 "Butterfly in Shades of Grey" Dennis Dugan Peter S. Fischer January 10, 1994 When Jerry Winters, an employee of domineering right-wing radio host Fielding Chase (William Shatner), tries to help his coworker, Chase's adopted daughter Victoria, escape from under Chase's thumb, Chase kills Winters, making it look like the crime was committed by Winters' gay lover. A cell phone is a key to Columbo's solution of the crime. Molly Hagan co-stars as Fielding's daughter. 64 9 "Undercover" Vincent McEveety Gerry Day (teleplay), Ed McBain (story) May 2, 1994 Irving Krutch (Ed Begley, Jr.), a crooked insurance investigator, enlists the help of Columbo to solve a series of murders that starts with two men, each of whom possesses a piece of a photograph. Some years back a group of men committed a robbery and hid the loot somewhere which can only be found through the assembled photograph. Columbo must go undercover to recover some of the pieces, solve some murders to get some others. This instalment departs from the usual format by not revealing the culprit until the end of the show. Based on a story by Ed McBain (actually the 87th Precinct novel Jigsaw, though not credited thus). Unlike the previous episode based on McBain source material, No Time To Die, this features a regular character from the 87th Precinct series, Arthur Brown (played here by Harrison Page). 65 10 "Strange Bedfellows" Vincent McEveety Lawrence Vail May 8, 1995 Graham McVeigh (George Wendt), a thoroughbred ranch owner, kills his brother, and frames a local mob bookie. Then, under the guise of making good on his brother's debt, he kills the bookie as well, claiming self-defense. Mob boss Vincenzo Fortelli (Rod Steiger) starts to exert pressure on McVeigh. To solve the crime Columbo must work with the gangster. 66 11 "A Trace of Murder - 25th Anniversary Movie" Vincent McEveety Charles Kipps May 15, 1997 Cathleen Calvert (Shera Danese) and her lover, crime scene investigator Patrick Kinsley (David Rasche), plot to get rid of Calvert's husband, Clifford (Barry Corbin), a powerful businessman, by killing an investment broker with whom he is currently feuding, and pinning the murder on Clifford. As long as he is alive and in prison, Cathleen has access to all his money. Columbo must uncover a criminal who is part of the team handling the investigation. 67 12 "Ashes to Ashes" Patrick McGoohan Jeffrey Hatcher October 8, 1998 Mortician to the stars Eric Prince (Patrick McGoohan, in his fourth and final appearance), kills gossip reporter Verity Chandler (Rue McClanahan), who had knowledge of skeletons in Prince's closet. Columbo must figure out what happened to her and why. Patrick McGoohan holds the record for the most episode appearances as guest murderer with this episode. 68 13 "Murder With Too Many Notes" Patrick McGoohan Jeffrey Cava (story, teleplay) and Patrick McGoohan (teleplay) May 12, 2000 Hollywood film composer and conductor Findlay Crawford (Billy Connolly) has been mentor to a talented young composer who has been ghostwriting most of Crawford's work for the last few years, and penned Crawford's entire last movie score, which won an Oscar. When the protege wants to venture out on his own, Crawford, whose own talent seems to have run dry, rather than be exposed as a "has-been", concocts the perfect murder, made to look like a tragic accident. (This was the final Columbo to involve Patrick McGoohan.) 69 14 "Columbo Likes the Nightlife" Jeffrey Reiner Michael Alaimo January 30, 2003
The final Columbo story starring Peter Falk, Los Angeles rave promoter Justin Price (Matthew Rhys) helps his girlfriend Vanessa (Jennifer Sky) get rid of the corpse of her ex-husband, who was backing Price's new club, after he drops dead in Vanessa's apartment. When an investigative reporter pieces the crime together and threatens to blackmail Justin, Justin kills him.This is the last episode to use the series.
- ^ TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. pp. 184. ISBN 0-7624-3007-9.
- ^ Kim, Victoria (May 28, 2009). "Relatives Fight For Control of 'Columbo' Star Peter Falk". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-me-falk28-2009may28,0,3158489.story. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
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