Columbo (1971–2003)
22 user 6 critic

Death Lends a Hand 

When the CEO of a private detective agency threatens the wife of a publisher with blackmail and she threatens to expose him, he accidentally kills her.


(as Bernard Kowalski)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Investigator Brimmer
Mrs. Lenore Kennicutt (as Patricia Crowley)
Arthur Kennicutt
Ken Archer
Eric James ...
Medical Examiner
Capt. Of Detectives
Ceil Gentry
Barbara Baldavin ...
Brimmer's Secretary

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A private detective kills the wife of one of his most important clients when she refuses to take part in his blackmail scheme and even plans to expose his unsavoury methods to her husband. In an ironic twist, the PA is rehired by his client to assist Columbo in the investigation.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

6 October 1971 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


French title : Faux témoin. See more »


When Brimmer, seated at his desk, says "crystal ball," he holds his coffee cup in his right hand. The camera cuts to Columbo for three seconds, and when the scene switches back to Brimmer, the cup is now in his left hand while his right arm rests over on the arm of his chair. A moment later when Columbo gets up from his chair, the cup is back in Brimmer's right hand as he transfers it to his left. See more »


Teddy: [being pushed on the swing] I said higher!
Columbo: Higher? All right, listen, you go higher and I'll eat your ice cream. All right?
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best "Columbo" episodes

The second official episode of the "Columbo" series ("Murder by the Book," filmed later, hit the airwaves first), "Death Lends a Hand" is also among the best. Robert Culp, who would match wits with Peter Falk's detective in several future installments, is terrific as the short-tempered head of a sophisticated private detective agency who murders a client's wife (Patricia Crowley) when she refuses to cave-in to his blackmail schemes.

Ray Milland plays the client. With the addition of a toupee, he'd return the next season as a killer in "Greenhouse Jungle."

Falk and Culp are well-matched in this clever cat-and-mouse exercise. Trivia fans might like to know that the scene featuring a crashing mirror was directed by Steven Spielberg for the "Eyes" segment of the 1969 "Night Gallery" pilot. Universal was so impressed, they added it to their library of stock footage.

Brian W. Fairbanks

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