A psychiatrist who is married, is having an affair. His wife threatens to divorce him and take him to the cleaners if she ever catches him. So along with his mistress he plans to kill her and make it seem like she was killed by an intruder. He goes out of town as part of his plan and returns to find the police there investigating and the man investigating is Lt. Columbo. Columbo is a little odd and he asks the man some questions that he finds intrusive. Columbo continues to question him and the man's friend an ADA warns Columbo to watch his step. But Columbo goes on. Written by
The beginning credits feature a series of brightly colored animated splotches. The splotches were mean to resemble the ink blots used in a Rorschach test, as the villain in this movie was a psychiatrist. See more »
This is a fascinating early outing for one of the greatest TV characters ever created. Filmed about three years before the great man was given a regular series, in an uncanny way it both stands alone and acts as a guide to what was to come.
The Columbo formula is in place: immediate suspicion leads to the hounding of the suspect until Columbo's psychological pressure is too much to bear and the victim is helplessly trapped.
I like to think that Columbo spent the years between 1968 and 1971 refining his methods, becoming subtler and more suggestive in his probing while letting his appearance become dowdier and even less threatening. Certainly this is one of the few occasions when he loses his temper on a case. Even when Columbo loses his temper, he is generally working to provoke a reaction.
There are some nice directorial touches here, too, particularly a cut based on the murderer's hands, a hand hitting a piano keyboard with a discordant 'plunk' (very Hitchcock) and Columbo's reflection materialising in a broken mirror.
After years of watching Columbo I am surprised anyone in Los Angeles even thinks about committing a murder. Surely the man is a legend in the local media? What do you mean: 'He's not real'?
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