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

"Columbo" Death Lends a Hand (1971)

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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:
This is one great Columbo movie! See more (19 total) »


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

Peter Falk ... Columbo

Robert Culp ... Investigator Brimmer

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

Ray Milland ... Arthur Kennicutt

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:
Marvin Goux ... Leo Gentry (uncredited)

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 verified as 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?

The first regular Columbo episode filmed, after two pilot movies. It was the second episode aired, however.See more »
Continuity: When Columbo is talking to Arthur Kennicutt at the pool he has a shorter hair cut then when he walks into the house to meet Brimmer where his hair is longer. There must have been a time difference in between scenes for Falk's hair to grow out that much.See more »
Columbo:Say, you know, 's a funny thing about your appointments with Mrs. Kennicutt? Uh, the first two were in the morning and all the rest - and I counted thirteen of 'em - uh, they were always in the middle or the late afternoon.
Ken Archer:So?
Columbo:Uh... Well, I guess it's not important. I guess it's nothin'. Wait, let me... I'm gonna take off my coat. Except that, uh... you know, every time you had an appointment with Mrs. Kennicutt, it was always the last lesson of the day.
See more »


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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
This is one great Columbo movie!, 26 January 2008
Author: Boba_Fett1138 from Groningen, The Netherlands

This was the first regular filmed Columbo movie episode but yet it aired as the second, after Steven Spielberg's "Columbo: Murder by the Book". It's also at the same time among one of the better ones!

Bernard L. Kowalski was one great creative director! No wonder that they later asked him to direct three more Columbo movies. The movie has some real creative and innovative shot sequences and the movie as a whole is also clearly made with style, passion and eye for detail. Every shot connects and is a reason why this movie is better and also better looking just any other average made for TV movie. It's definitely one of the better directed Columbo movies.

It's a quit original Columbo entry for a couple of reasons. The murder is more or less an accident and was an impulsive act. So the killer this time doesn't have any time to plan out the 'perfect murder' in advance and his to clean up any of the traces afterward and has to dispose the body. The killer in this movie is not only being handled as the man who committed the crime but more as the man who helps out Lieutenant Columbo to solve the murder. It makes the character a more interesting and layered one as well and also helps to make the way Columbo solves the whole crime seem way more interesting as well because of that. Of course Columbo starts to suspect him pretty early on and as always he comes to solution by making himself vulnerable and look more stupid than he of course truly is and by gaining the killer's trust. This is obviously no spoiler since this is the way every Columbo movie gets set-up. I liked the story of the movie and how it progressed.

It also helps the movie that it has such a fine cast. At the time of this movie Peter Falk had really made the Columbo character his own and the character at this was already fully developed. Robert Culp is truly great as the short tempered Brimmer. Funny thing is that he would later star in three different Columbo movies again and one "Mrs. Columbo" episode, only in totally different roles. He even played the murderer in a couple of those movies as well again. He by the way was not the only actor that did this in other later Columbo movies. Also the great Ray Milland makes an appearance in this movie, as the husband of the victim.

All in all, a real great early Columbo movie and among the better ones out of the long running series of movies.


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