Columbo (1971–2003)
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Ransom for a Dead Man 

A brilliant tort attorney gets rid of her boring husband by faking his kidnapping and keeping the ransom. The FBI may be fooled, but not Columbo.

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(teleplay by), (story by) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Michael Clark
...
Patricia Mattick ...
Margaret Williams
...
Hammond
...
Phil
Charles Macaulay ...
Richard
Hank Brandt ...
Attorney (as Henry Brandt)
...
Pat (as Jeane Byron)
...
Perkins
Norma Connolly ...
Celia
Harlan Warde ...
Paul Williams
Bill Walker ...
Crowell
...
Bert
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Storyline

Leslie Williams, a brilliant tort attorney is bored by her husband, a respected member of the state supreme court. After trading on his famous name to get ahead, she tries to get her freedom by murdering him and concocts a scheme to make it appear that he's been kidnapped and held for ransom. After she pays the ransom to herself, his dead body is found. She may have fooled the FBI but not Lt. Columbo, who is aided by her vengeful stepdaughter. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Details

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Release Date:

1 March 1971 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The morning after Leslie makes the "drop", Margaret is watching "Double Indemnity", a movie about a woman who kills her husband to collect on an insurance policy. See more »

Goofs

In the court scene where the injured plaintiff is being examined on the witness stand, he is asked by his attorney about his injuries and he replies that he injured his back. Lee Grant objects on grounds that this is expert testimony that can only be given by a medical expert and the court sustains the objection. This is incorrect. A person can testified as to what part of his body he injured and where he feels pain. If the question asked was a technical one, such as what specific disc was injured,that question could only be answered by a medical expert. See more »

Quotes

Lt. ColumboLeslie Williams: Ah, Mrs. Williams! Don't you have any live-in servants?
Leslie Williams: Yes.
Lt. Columbo: Oh, well it must be the same problem everywhere. You want something done, you gotta do it yourself.
Leslie Williams: How's that?
Lt. Columbo: Oh, I was just saying, you pay a lot of money for help, and you end up doin the cooking.
Leslie Williams: Well, you see, my housekeeper's been on vacation the last few weeks.
Lt. Columbo: Oh, I see then, so you've been here alone. Well, listen, if there's, I mean, anything I can do to help, peel potatoes, whatever, you just feel free.
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Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Virtual Springfield (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A classic Columbo
22 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Ransom For a Dead Man," one of the earliest episodes in the entire "Columbo" series, is also one of the best. Lee Grant is terrific as the arrogant and confident Leslie Williams who is sure that she has succeeded in fooling investigators into thinking that her husband was murdered by kidnappers. Even after Columbo subtly implies that he is on to her plan, she coldly and gloatingly dismisses him in true classic Columbo killer fashion.

Everything comes to a very desirable end with that incomparable seen in the airport. Columbo gives us a wonderful conclusion as he smoothly but surely makes that smile disappear from Leslie Williams' face. Her tribute to him after being nailed serves as very memorable and very uplifting to our hero.


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