Columbo: Season 2, Episode 4

Dagger of the Mind (26 Nov. 1972)

TV Episode  |  Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,058 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 5 critic

In London, a respected Shakespearean acting duo cover up the unintended killing of their producer.

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(teleplay), (story), 3 more credits »
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Title: Dagger of the Mind (26 Nov 1972)

Dagger of the Mind (26 Nov 1972) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Nicholas Frame
...
Tanner
...
Det. Chief Supt. William Durk
...
Sir Roger Haversham
...
Lillian Stanhope
John Fraser ...
Richard Pearson ...
Diver
...
Fenwick
Harvey Jason ...
The Director
...
Mr. Jones
Hedley Mattingly ...
Customs Man (as Hedley Mattingley)
John Orchard ...
Country Constable
Peter Church ...
Constable
Walker Edmiston ...
Gardener
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Storyline

Lillian Stanhope and Nicholas Frame are two famed actors in London, a venerated husband and wife team set to act in 'Macbeth.' Producer Sir Roger Haversham has been Lillian's lover but finds out he has been deceived by the couple and threatens to interrupt their engagement. Lillian kills him accidentally during an ensuing fight. Thereafter, the pair take the corpse to his mansion and stage his "accidental" death; however, Lt. Columbo (in London to learn about new investigation methods used by Scotland Yard) smells something fishy in this supposed accident. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

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Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

26 November 1972 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Columbo walks down the small spiral staircase to the waxworks museum's storage basement, the staircase with the octagonal light above it is the same set as used in the previous episode "Etude in black" for the club where the trumpeter (James Olson) is playing. See more »

Goofs

Sir Roger Haversham's house is supposed to be in England, but everyone drives their car up the right hand side of the drive. See more »

Quotes

Columbo: [hearing Big Ben chime and checking his watch] Boy, that's terrific. Thing that old, it's only a minute slow.
Det. Chief Supt. William Durk: Really. We must put another penny on the governor.
See more »

Crazy Credits

John Fraser, who is Scottish, and Richard Pearson, who is Welsh, are credited as "From London - Special Guest Stars". See more »

Soundtracks

Pass Me By
(uncredited)
by Carolyn Leigh and Cy Coleman
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User Reviews

 
A tepid "Columbo" effort featuring a shallow view of Londoners, weak comedy relief and a pair of cartoonish murderers
20 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Richard Basehart and Honor Blackman are Nicholas Frame and Lilian Stanhope, a famous husband-and-wife acting team about to do "Macbeth." Just before dress rehearsal, Sir Roger Haversham (John Williams), the impresario behind this production, discovers they have tricked him – Lilian has seduced him for his money and Nicholas put her up to it. He secretly visits her dressing room to tell her the show is off. Nicholas joins them, and the three wind up in a scuffle that ends when Lilian hits Sir Roger on the head with a cold cream jar, accidentally killing him. They move Sir Roger's body back to his home and make it look as if he fell down a flight of stairs. Too bad for them our rumpled Lt. Columbo, visiting London as a guest of Scotland Yard, brings his sharp eye to this case.

Some English IMDb posters have already noted that this is a shallow and condescending view of Londoners, and I believe them. Nothing about this episode rings true, and the plot is thin stuff.

Basehart and Blackman have no trouble playing affected stars, but their roles are caricatures of actors, not real people. There's no fun in watching Columbo play cat-and-mouse with a couple of cartoons. In fact, this episode starts going badly the moment he enters the scene. We first see him bumbling and inadvertently creating havoc at the airport, a would-be comic sequence that falls flat. Columbo is funny only when his seeming ineptitude causes his quarry to underestimate him. Whenever the writers have him clowning like this, you wonder if they underestimate him, too. They even having him stumbling through crowds, trying to take pictures of all the London landmarks. For all these scenes add to the story, the producers might have scrapped the location shooting and spent the money on a better script.

This whole thing just feels like a cheap imitation of an English murder mystery down to the unsatisfying conclusion at a wax museum. If Basehart and Blackman weren't having such obvious fun with their roles (they even get to play a little Shakespeare), this would be a complete bore. Columbo may be a fish out of water in England, but so is "Columbo."

MISCELLANY. This is the second episode so far to feature an unpremeditated murder. The first was in "Death Lends a Hand."


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