Columbo: Season 2, Episode 1

Étude in Black (17 Sep. 1972)

TV Episode  |  Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 1,324 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 5 critic

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


, (uncredited) , 1 more credit »


(teleplay by), (story), 3 more credits »
0Check in

10 Best Back-to-School TV Shows

Dust off your varsity jacket and get excited for fall with our list of the 10 best back-to-school TV shows.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 1138 titles
created 12 Jul 2012
a list of 1742 titles
created 21 Jul 2013
list image
a list of 3304 titles
created 17 Jul 2014
a list of 10 titles
created 21 Jul 2014
a list of 40 titles
created 11 Aug 2014

Related Items

Search for "Étude in Black" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Étude in Black (17 Sep 1972)

Étude in Black (17 Sep 1972) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Columbo.
« Previous Episode | 9 of 68 Episodes | Next Episode »


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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 September 1972 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

See  »

Did You Know?


The set for the TV control room at the shows conclusion is the maestro's dressing room from Act I, re-set. See more »


When Alex is outed as the murderer and talks to Columbo, Columbo's left arm is in different positions between shots, sometimes with his hand at his navel, sometimes halfway up holding a cigar. See more »


Alex Benedict: Now, you're always imagining that I'm... I'm... leaping into beds all over town. I've never done that.
Janice Benedict: Oh, Alex, don't. I know you.
Alex Benedict: Why do all these people feel that they know me?
See more »


References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »


Composed by Euphemia Allen (aka Arthur de Lulle) 1877
Played by Peter Falk on piano.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Columbo adventure that hits the right notes in most places!
23 August 2004 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales, UK) – See all my reviews

A slightly unoriginal plot aside, this is a well-unravelled, holding Columbo story, highlighted by some thoughtfully conceived and executed sequences involving real-life friends Peter Falk and John Cassavetes; a fact which unquestionably amplifies the script's effectiveness.

Ordinarily, the quality of the sequences of banter between detective and villain is a significant yardstick in the overall success of the episode; in this case, despite this characteristic, other scenes could have been expanded to better effect - no motive is really ever discussed and Columbo seems to latch onto the villain with less evident evidence than in some other experiences (the important factors about the pink carnation are not significantly developed until later).

One other slight fault is that there are less pieces of evidence to grab hold of here, but in one respect, the script-writer is very clever in intimating that the carnation is going to play an important part in this story, but the nailing of the villain is perhaps not as straightforward as one might have expected.

Generally, a very pleasing episode, which is not as predictable as one may think.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Season 4 Episode 4 Troubled Waters question bradp56
I'm done with Columbo on Hallmark! lanceus
Fade in to Murder (Goof?) McCartney42
Please answer this question for me about Any Old Port Justice5
What actor/actress would you have liked to seen as the villain? KenClement
Are the ABC reboot episodes (late '80s+) worth watching? Moon_Doggie
Discuss Étude in Black (1972) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: