IMDb > "Columbo" Death Lends a Hand (1971)

"Columbo" Death Lends a Hand (1971)

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7.7/10   1,312 votes »
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Richard Levinson (written by) &
William Link (written by) ...
View company contact information for Death Lends a Hand on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
6 October 1971 (Season 1, Episode 2)
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
User Reviews:
A well-plotted and solid early Columbo adventure See more (17 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Peter Falk ... Columbo

Robert Culp ... Investigator Brimmer

Pat Crowley ... Mrs. Lenore Kennicut (as Patricia Crowley)

Ray Milland ... Arthur Kennicut

Brett Halsey ... Ken Archer
Eric James ... Denning

Don Keefer ... Medical Examiner
Len Wayland ... Capt. Of Detectives

Lieux Dressler ... Ceil Gentry
Barbara Baldavin ... Brimmer's Secretary
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Bill Hickman ... Traffic Cop (uncredited)
Mark Russell ... Brimmer Agency Detective (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Bernard L. Kowalski  (as Bernard Kowalski)
Writing credits
Richard Levinson (written by) &
William Link (written by)

Richard Levinson (created by) &
William Link (created by)

Produced by
Richard Levinson .... producer
William Link .... producer
Robert F. O'Neill .... associate producer
Original Music by
Gil Melle (music score) (as Gil Mellé)
Cinematography by
Russell Metty (director of photography) (as Russell L. Metty)
Film Editing by
Edward M. Abroms 
Art Direction by
Archie J. Bacon  (as Arch Bacon)
Set Decoration by
Richard Friedman (set decorations)
Production Management
Henry Kline .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jack Barry .... assistant director
Sound Department
David H. Moriarty .... sound
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Burton Miller .... costumes
Editorial Department
Richard Belding .... editorial supervisor
Steve Johnson .... colorist (uncredited)
Music Department
Henry Mancini .... composer: theme
Transportation Department
Donald P. Desmond .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Steven Bochco .... story editor
Wayne Fitzgerald .... title designer: main titles
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
76 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-7 (2004) | UK:PG (video rating) (2004)

Did You Know?

Arthur Kennicut's mansion is the same mansion used in the film "The Bodyguard". It is used as the home of Rachel Marron, Whitney Houston's character.See more »
Continuity: When Brimmer, seated at his desk, is writing the receipt for Columbo he's writing on the folder cover in the first shot. In the second shot he's writing on a receipt pad.See more »
Teddy:[Columbo's pushing Teddy on a swing] Higher!
Columbo:Higher? If I push you any higher you're going to go clear over the top.
See more »


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17 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
A well-plotted and solid early Columbo adventure, 19 April 2002
Author: The Welsh Raging Bull ( from Port Talbot, South Wales, UK

A very high-standard Columbo story which was actually the first filmed episode of the long-running series but was originally transmitted second (after "Murder By The Book").

Robert Culp makes his first of three appearances as the guest murderer in the series and plays the owner of a private detective agency, who blackmails the wife (Patricia Crowley) of a rich, highly influential businessman (played very sympathetically by Ray Milland) after he falsifies a report, in her favour, after it is discovered she was having an affair. The wife later rebels against the blackmail scheme but is killed in a fit of rage....

A very satisfying episode in many respects, particularly as the plot is so strongly set-up and subsequently developed and also because of the rare Columbo ingredient that the crime is an unpremeditated killing. The whole thing is further enhanced when the widowed husband uses the murderer to assist Columbo in his investigations: a feature that facilitates numerous good quality scenes, particularly in the first sequence when the three central characters meet and Columbo's crucially deceptive qualities are wonderfully in evidence.

Directed with flair by Bernard L. Kowalski and acted to an appropriately high level, this really set the tone for whole series (since "Murder By the Book" was let down by a poor ending). The script by Columbo creators Richard Levinson and William Link is precise, well-structured and well-thought-out and is underpinned by a steady, productive pace and meaningful sequences which really exhibit the unpredictability of the story. Ultimately, the finale fittingly epitomises that Columbo has always been one step ahead of the murderer.

Overall, this is a very fine piece of detective work for Columbo, and strongly suggests that the production team had worked positively and constructively to render a polished Columbo story.

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