Columbo (1971–2003)
7.6/10
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29 user 6 critic

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)
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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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Release Date:

1 March 1971 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The plane Columbo and Leslie Williams are flying in is a 1968 Beech 36 Fixed wing single engine, registration number; N7835R. 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

Leslie Williams: Lieutenant Columbo, thank you for straightening Margaret out. I appreciate it.
Lt. Columbo: Oh, it was the only thing I could do. I mean I just can't have you accused of murder on the wrong evidence.
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Connections

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

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User Reviews

very good, but kinda long
29 October 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If I recall correctly, Lee Grant won or was nominated for an award for her great performance of Leslie Williams, a cold blooded killer and confident lawyer who is both arrogant and greedy. She exhibits no remorse whatsoever during the entire episode, as we get to see her coldly murder her influential husband. She manipulates the detective in charge, but when the husband's body finally surfaces, Columbo is in charge and he sees right through Leslie, even when she falls apart at the bad news in front of several people. Without describing in detail the rest of the episode, there are some memorable scenes which has Columbo attempting to fly Leslie's plane, and how Leslie's step daughter Margaret constantly hounds her, because she feels that Leslie murdered her father. I thought perhaps there was a bit too much Margaret, as her tirades towards her step mother go on and on for much of the latter half of the segment. Anyhow, you'll have to sit through close to 2 hours before we finally get to the underwhelming finale when Columbo finally arrests Leslie, which seems slightly convenient rather than grand.

This is a solid season 1 episode, and watch for the fine portrayal by Lee Grant, who makes this Columbo a memorable one. Peter Falk also does a fine job as he's on the hunt after the killer.


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