Columbo (1971–2003)
7.6/10
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Étude in Black 

A ruthless conductor murders the gifted pianist with whom he is having an affair. Lt. Columbo is on the case.

Directors:

, (uncredited) | 1 more credit »

Writers:

(teleplay by), (story by) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Paul Rifkin
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Janice Benedict
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Jenifer Welles
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Lizzy Fielding
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Billy Jones
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The House Boy
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Sam (scenes deleted)
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Dawn Frame ...
Audrey
Charles Macaulay ...
Durkee
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Everett
Wallace Chadwell ...
TV Director
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Storyline

Music conductor Alex Benedict has an affair with a pianist. When the pianist threatens to reveal their affair to Benedict's wife, whose wealthy mother owns the company on which Benedict's career is dependent, Benedict decides to permanently silence his mistress. He arranges for her death to look like a suicide by kitchen stove gas asphyxiation. Lieutenant Columbo, a cunning detective in a rumpled raincoat, doesn't believe the pianist took her own life and suspects that Benedict was responsible for her death. He pesters Benedict with constant questions as he searches for clues to place Benedict at the murder scene. Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

17 September 1972 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Pat Morita, who became largely famous for his role as "Miyagi" in The Karate Kid (1984), makes an appearance in this episode as "The House Boy." See more »

Goofs

Columbo tells Benedict that there are nine unexplained miles on the cars odometer, the exact distance to the victims house. This would require 18 miles on the odometer for a round trip. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Columbo: Can I ask you a personal question?
Alex Benedict: Please.
Lieutenant Columbo: What do you pay in taxes on this place?
See more »

Connections

References A New Leaf (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Eine kleine Nachtmusik
(uncredited)
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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User Reviews

 
Just a few nerdy comments...
15 August 2005 | by (London) – See all my reviews

My first 'Columbo'. Rather enjoyed it. Great format, and Peter Falk's character extremely good...wonderfully quirky, he can take his place next to Poirot, Miss Marple, and also the likes of Marlowe and Rick Diamond. I can see why this series has such a following.

As a professional musician, I HAVE to say a few things. First of all, a conductor who merely produces these pedestrian performances of the most basic examples of the repertoire (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Strauss Waltzes, Beethoven...) is never going to have a house like that or fame like that or cars like that, much less be called a genius. And the conducting that the actor does is so bad as to be laughable. No orchestra would take him seriously.

There are several little things too, such as his rehearsal of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (why rehearse it when they've just performed it for TV? Any orchestral musician would be able to play it in his or her sleep anyway...). His instructions to the ensemble are downright nonsensical, and when Columbo asks Blythe Danner what 'quasi fantasia' means, she says it's 'Latin'. It's Italian, as are the vast majority of musical instructions.

And finally, no two great musicians would EVER have the following interchange: "Play something." "What should I play?" "Chopin". Music is their job and passion, they know it well. Something far more specific would be asked for, and offered!

I know. I should get out more...


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