Columbo: Season 1, Episode 1

Murder by the Book (15 Sep. 1971)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,853 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 7 critic

When one member of a mystery writing team wants to break from his less talented partner, he becomes the victim in a real-life murder mystery.

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Title: Murder by the Book (15 Sep 1971)

Murder by the Book (15 Sep 1971) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
Ken Franklin
...
Joanna Ferris
...
Jim Ferris
Barbara Colby ...
Lilly La Sanka
Lynette Mettey ...
Gloria (as Lynnette Mettey)
Bernie Kuby ...
Mike Tucker
...
Sergeant
...
Woman (credit only)
Haven Earle Haley ...
2nd Reporter
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Storyline

Ken Franklin is a rich socialite living in a luxurious coastal mansion bought from his years of writing crime and mystery books. However, what he once wrote as fiction becomes reality as he murders a man and then desperatly tries to cover up his crime when he is blackmailed by a witness. As usual, Columbo arrives on the scene and begins to pester his suspect with questions about the murder. Mr. Franklin soon realises though, that no murder is perfect, and that one of his books may return to haunt him. Written by Scott Dawson <sdawson@easynet.co.uk>

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Release Date:

15 September 1971 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The inscribed mystery novel that Ken Franklin gives to Miss LaSanka is titled "Prescription: Murder", the same title as the first Columbo movie, Prescription: Murder (1968). See more »

Goofs

Position of Ken Franklin's hands and arms whilst being interviewed by the female reporter at his home. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Jim works in his office]
Jim Ferris: [knock on the door] Who is it?
[another knock on the door]
Jim Ferris: [He opens the door - Ken is aiming a gun at his face. Jim laughs]
Ken Franklin: Oh, you're not intimidated.
Jim Ferris: Oh, come on, Ken. You're forgetting that I'm one-half of the world's greatest mystery-writing team? You, ah, don't have gloves on, your finger's not on the trigger, and there are no bullets in the cylinder.
Ken Franklin: [smiling] You're right. I'm a lousy practical joker.
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Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.52 (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Theme from 'Red Sky At Morning'
Composed by Billy Goldenberg
Heard during the bar scene
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User Reviews

 
First "Columbo" series episode

Peter Falk's third appearance as Columbo (after a pair of two-hour NBC World Premiere Movies) officially kicked off the "Columbo" series, as well as the "NBC Mystery Movie" in September 1971.

Filmed after the superior "Death Lends a Hand," but aired first, it has the distinction of having been directed by Steven Spielberg in those days before "Jaws" when he was still cranking out episodic television on the backlot of Universal. There are some smart directorial touches, particularly in the opening scenes where the sound of Martin Milner's typewriter serves as the sole soundtrack, but this a disappointing episode overall.

As the less talented half of a famous mystery writing team (not unlike Richard Levinson and William Link, "Columbo"'s creators), Jack Cassidy makes a classy villain, one who would be invited to square off against Peter Falk on two more occasions (including season three's "Publish or Perish" which was also set against a publishing background). Unfortunately, Steven Bochco's script drags along, making this a frequently dull episode. Worse, the denouement finds Columbo wrapping things up based on flimsier than usual evidence. Had the killer not confessed, he could have walked away from his crime.

Still, Peter Falk is terrific, and makes it worth watching.

Brian W. Fairbanks


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