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 1,153 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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(teleplay), (story), 4 more credits »
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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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Trivia

Produced as a second pilot for Columbo (1971) three years after Prescription: Murder (1968). Its success led to "Columbo" being made part of a rotating Mystery Movie wheel of programs for most of the 1970s. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning Leslie Williams is shown constructing the bogus ransom letter without wearing any gloves. Her fingerprints would have been all over it, showing that it was she who had actually made the letter. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Columbo: Uh, did she ask where the body was?
Agent Carlson: No.
Lt. Columbo: I didn't think so. Oh, listen, one more thing, Mr. Carlson. She didn't, uh, ask how her husband was killed, did she?
Agent Carlson: No...
Lt. Columbo: That's what I thought.
Agent Carlson: All right, Lieutenant, what's bothering you now?
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
Great but not great
20 November 2010 | by (France) – See all my reviews

Compellingly logical mystery plots are rare in Columbo, this one is extremely flawed: the inconsistencies start with "how the heck does Lee Grant get a body almost twice her size into a trunk", continue to "how can a bag dropped from an airplane in the dark get found immediately if ever" and just go on and on.

If Peter Falk is still searching for Columbo, Lee Grant is brilliant... but the rest of the acting is high school drama class.

The flying sequences add nothing except perhaps justify to the executive producer the rental of a Beechcraft for 24 hours.

But there are lots of reasons to love Columbo and this episode has plenty of them. The camera angles, fade effects and other devices are fabulous, a pinnacle of a stylish 70's look that broke the barrier between small and big screens. And in the long line of real Hollywood residences that served as Columbo sets, this one is the worst... meaning the best!

So in some ways this is one of the worst Columbo's ever... and one of the best.


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