Columbo (1971–2003)
23 user 7 critic

Lady in Waiting 

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 »

On Disc

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Episode complete credited cast:
Bryce Chadwick
Joel Fluellen ...
2nd Detective
Garry Walberg ...
1st Detective
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


TV-PG | See all certifications »





Release Date:

15 December 1971 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was Jessie Royce Landis' final acting role before her death on February 2, 1972 at the age of 75. 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 »


Peter Hamilton: Suppose you ask the question that you haven't asked.
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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

Decent Columbo episode but the revealing clue could have been spotted earlier!?
19 April 2002 | by See all my reviews

Susan Clark gives a fine performance as a male-dominated female who "bumps-off" her brother to protect her relationship with her boyfriend (Leslie Nielsen) and give her back her independence.

This story gathers intensity as the murderess (the first female killer in the actual TV series) is dismissive of any intrusion by others into her family business and she becomes more manipulative and insensitive as Columbo gets closer to the truth - an effective piece of scripting and a hallmark of the series in that Columbo invariably annoyed his chief suspect almost to the point of a nervous breakdown!

The ending is also significant since Columbo's life is clearly on the line. However, the effectiveness of the irony that the killer's boyfriend unwittingly gives Columbo the vital piece of incriminating information, is undone by the fact that the clue could easily have been pinpointed earlier.

This clearly gives the impression that the script-writer had some difficulty in providing a satisfactory conclusion to an originally well-thought-out concept.

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