Columbo: Season 1, Episode 0

Ransom for a Dead Man (1 Mar. 1971)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,151 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 5 critic

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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Title: Ransom for a Dead Man (01 Mar 1971)

Ransom for a Dead Man (01 Mar 1971) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
John Fink ...
Michael Clark
...
Patricia Mattick ...
Margaret Williams
...
Hammond
...
Phil
Charles Macaulay ...
Richard
Hank Brandt ...
Attorney (as Henry Brandt)
...
Pat (as Jeane Byron)
Richard Roat ...
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 Lt. Columbo, who is aided by her vengeful stepdaughter. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

1 March 1971 (USA)  »

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Billy Goldenberg scored the opening "Columbo" stories in 1971, his commercially released "Columbo Theme" recorded as such by Norrie Paramor and His Orchestra ("Law Beat" album, Contour Records 2870 369) did not become a regular feature of the show. The theme is first heard during the helicopter sequence of "Ransom for a Dead Man" but Goldenberg did not use it as a title theme and composed mainly fresh music for "Murder by the Book" and all his subsequent scores. The "Columbo" series never had any recognizable theme tune of its own. See more »

Goofs

When Columbo and Mrs. Williams are ordering drinks at the airport bar, a Boeing 747 can be seen taxiing toward them in the background. In the time it takes for Columbo to say "I'll have a Root Beer", the plane vanishes. 20 seconds later you can see the same plane taxiing farther into its parking space. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Columbo: [to Leslie Williams] No conscience limits your imagination.
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Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
A very strong second pilot
19 June 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I'm a fan of Columbo, and Ransom for a Dead Man is a personal favourite. It does drag towards the beginning and Patricia Mattick is rather annoying. However, the usual ingredients are there. While the production values improved a tad in quality as it progressed, the episode is still very striking to look at, and the music score is one of my personal favourites of any Columbo episode. The story once it gets going is compelling, with a well-used pivotal telephone gimmick and a classic Columbo scene at an airport, and the writing is strong throughout having some funny, thoughtful and atmospheric moments. The performances are excellent, Peter Falk is exceptional as usual and Lee Grant as a very beautiful, cold, confident and also arrogant murderess is superb. In conclusion, a great episode. 9/10 Bethany Cox


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