Columbo: Season 1, Episode 3

Dead Weight (27 Oct. 1971)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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A war hero shoots and kills his business partner; an easily manipulated young divorcée is the only witness.



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Title: Dead Weight (27 Oct 1971)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Maj. Gen. Martin J. Hollister
Mrs. Walters
Helen Stewart
Col. Roger Dutton
Harry Barnes
Clete Roberts ...
TV Newsman
Ron Castro ...
Officer Sanchez
Glen Vernon ...
1st Officer
Jim Pelham ...
2nd Officer (as Jimmy Pelham)
James Halferty ...
1st Marine Cadet (as Jim Halferty)


While on a sailing-boat Helen Stewart witnesses far-away, inside a room, a man with a gun killing another. She notifies the fact to the Police and Lt. Columbo begins to investigate. The man is the famous General Martin Hollister, a war hero. Lt. Columbo searches his house and afterwards he is very doubtful about Helen's statement... Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

27 October 1971 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Suzanne Pleshette, who had been friends 'with Pete Falk (I)' since she was 14 years old said that he had behaved very badly during the making of this show. In fact, she didn't talk to him afterwards for a year. She also said that guest star Eddie Albert told Falk, "I always wanted to meet you, I always wanted to work with you, but you're a real asshole." See more »


The German swastika at the war display is backwards. See more »


TV Newsman: In the Korean War, commanding a regiment of armored cavalry, General Hollister captured the imagination of the American people.
See more »

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User Reviews

Were They Trying For A Spin-Off?
31 October 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm not entirely sure of my facts here, but I believe that "Columbo" was one of several mystery shows that were shown in weekly rotation by ABC (again I'm not entirely sure here). This allowed them to make TV-movies, with slightly higher production values and deeper plots than they would otherwise be capable of, if they had to make a new episode every week.

Having watching this episode last night, it seems like they were using this episode to test-drive a possible new series starring Suzanne Pleshette as a "kooky" divorcée who lives with her mother and solves crimes. Far more of the focus of this episode was on Pleshette than was on Peter Falk as Columbo.

I don't wish to cast any aspersions on Suzanne Pleshette, who is an amazing actress, but she was really grating in this role. Her character was not very likable, and her mother was downright annoying. If they were using this as a try-out for her own series, then I am not surprised it never worked out. "The Bob Newhart Show" was a much better fit for her.

As for the episode itself: I agree with other posers who say that the role of retired war-hero is one that Eddie Albert was uniquely ill-suited for. In my opinion, the only role Albert could carry off convincingly was that of a benign and slightly senile grandfather.

Will Albert succeed in getting away with his plan of murdering his business partner and seducing the only witness? Well, since I didn't check the "Contains Spoiler" button, I can't say here. You will have to watch the episode and find out for yourself.

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