A mousy heiress murders her brother, pretending she thought he was a burglar. Lt. Columbo unravels her alibi.



(teleplay by), (story by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Beth Chadwick
Mrs. Chadwick
Bryce Chadwick
Joel Fluellen ...
2nd Detective
Garry Walberg ...
1st Detective
Jon Lormer ...
Hearing Officer
Frank Baxter ...
Susan Barrister ...


Beth Chadwick has lived all her life controlled first by her father, then after his death, by her brother Bryce who manages the family business. Now she has fallen for Peter Hamilton, who works for Bryce. But, as usual, Bryce objects to her choice and threatens to fire Peter. So Beth decides to murder her brother and to do it in such a way to let it to appear like an accident. Lt. Columbo realizes at once the truth and starts looking for evidence. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

15 December 1971 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


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Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Leslie Nielsen and Richard Anderson previously appeared together in the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet (1956). See more »


While Columbo is talking to Bryce in his car at the hamburger place, Columbo's coffee level in his cup keeps changing after every camera change during their conversation. See more »


Hostess: Ah, Lieutenant. Your cigar?
Columbo: What about it?
Hostess: Uh... Well, the fragrance is not, um... compatible.
Columbo: That's a shame. I just lit it.
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Love Theme from 'Red Sky At Morning'
Composed by Billy Goldenberg
Heard during the bar scene
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User Reviews

25 February 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As people know, I love Columbo and consider it one of the best detective shows ever even with one or two lacking episodes later on. Lady in Waiting is a very interesting episode in many respects. And it isn't just because it features the first female killer.

The episode is a little slow occasionally, and I felt the final solution could have been expanded a little more so that the evidence had more time to unfold.

That said, like all the Columbo episodes I was impressed with how it looked. The episode with its clever use of photography and striking locations and costumes does look great, while the music is quite effective and doesn't intrude with the tone of each scene. The writing is good and the story is clever and makes the most of a great idea.

The acting is fine. Peter Falk while more subdued(more to do with how Columbo is written than Falk himself) is still brilliant in the title role, staying true in character and delighting us once more with that quintessential catchphrase. Susan Clark is excellent as well, and I was further impressed with how she was developed in Lady in Waiting, she starts off as someone you sympathise with and are touched by and then quite suddenly she is like a different person, more ambitious and ruthless. Leslie Nielson is good in a different role to what I am used to seeing him in, but supporting wise Jessie Royce-Landis was the standout being wonderful as the domineering mother.

In conclusion, an interesting episode mainly in the show's first female killer and how she is written. 8/10 Bethany Cox

13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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