Columbo (1971–2003)
7.6/10
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26 user 6 critic

Étude in Black 

An amoral 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
...
Jenifer Welles
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Lizzy Fielding
...
Billy Jones
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The House Boy
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Sam (scenes deleted)
Michael Fox ...
Dawn Frame ...
Audrey
Charles Macaulay ...
Durkee
...
Everett
Wallace Chadwell ...
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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The jazz club seen in this episode reappeared later as the basement of the wax museum in Columbo: Dagger of the Mind (1972). See more »

Goofs

Alex Benedict has long hair, in the Maestro tradition: curling over his ears, covering his neck, flipping up in back and generally flying around in disarray. But there is a memorable (and largely irrelevant) scene where Columbo visits Alex Benedict's home, and ends up asking about how much he pays in taxes, how big the house is, etc. In this scene, John Cassavetes' hair is visibly shorter than before or afterwards - trimmed farther up on his ears, neatly poufed all around, and shaved in back to expose his neck. The likely explanation is a bit of "Columbo" history: this scene was probably part of the extra footage added after the network ordered director Cassavetes to lengthen the episode, from 90 minutes to 2 hours, and Cassavetes apparently got a haircut before the additional scene was shot. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Columbo: I never got to ask you last night what I wanted to ask ya.
Alex Benedict: Go ahead.
Lieutenant Columbo: Terrific place. Terrific.
Alex Benedict: Thank you. We like it.
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Connections

References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Wonderful interaction between Cassavetes and Falk.
10 September 2004 | by (Knoxville, TN) – See all my reviews

Interesting to see this movie 30 years later; it's still good theater, even better TV. I think the unique qualities of this particular Columbo episode may have been largely due to the relationship between Falk and Cassavetes off screen, but it certainly worked in this show. This one reiterated Columbo's quirky, irritating methods; and again, one of the reasons the entire series was so watchable was the low-key progression of the drama. This is one of the few 'cop shows' I ever watch because it's based in human interaction and pyschological issues, not in violent shocks. I think Bochco did a very good job on this film.


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