IMDb > "Columbo" Lady in Waiting (1971)
"Columbo: Lady in Waiting (#1.5)"
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"Columbo" Lady in Waiting (1971)

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Steven Bochco (teleplay by)
Barney Slater (story)
View company contact information for Lady in Waiting on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
15 December 1971 (Season 1, Episode 5)
A mousy heiress murders her brother, pretending she thought he was a burglar. Lt. Columbo unravels her alibi. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
A "Columbo" movie where the killer elicits our sympathy only to lose it halfway through See more (22 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Peter Falk ... Columbo

Susan Clark ... Beth Chadwick

Jessie Royce Landis ... Mrs. Chadwick

Richard Anderson ... Bryce Chadwick

Leslie Nielsen ... Peter Hamilton
Joel Fluellen ... Charles

Richard Bull ... 2nd Detective
Garry Walberg ... 1st Detective

Barbara Rhoades ... Hostess
Jon Lormer ... Hearing Officer
Frank Baxter ... Fred
Susan Barrister ... Waitress
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fred Draper ... Cab Driver (uncredited)
Mickey Golden ... Executive (uncredited)
Hans Moebus ... Inquest Spectator (uncredited)
Frances E. Nealy ... Hilda (uncredited)
Leoda Richards ... Executive (uncredited)
Cosmo Sardo ... Dress Shop Worker (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre ... Executive (uncredited)

Marcia Wallace ... Woman at Inquest (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Norman Lloyd 
Writing credits
Steven Bochco (teleplay by)

Barney Slater (story by)

Richard Levinson (created by) &
William Link (created by)

Produced by
Everett Chambers .... producer
Richard Levinson .... executive producer
William Link .... executive producer
Robert F. O'Neill .... associate producer
Original Music by
Billy Goldenberg (music score)
Cinematography by
Russell Metty (director of photography) (as Russell L. Metty)
Film Editing by
Edward M. Abroms 
Art Direction by
Archie J. Bacon  (as Arch Bacon)
Set Decoration by
Richard Friedman (set decorations)
Production Management
Henry Kline .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ralph Ferrin .... assistant director
Sound Department
David H. Moriarty .... sound
Larry Holt .... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Burton Miller .... costumes
Editorial Department
Richard Belding .... editorial supervisor
Steve Johnson .... colorist (uncredited)
Music Department
Henry Mancini .... composer: theme
Transportation Department
Donald P. Desmond .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Steven Bochco .... story editor
Wayne Fitzgerald .... main title design
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
75 min | Italy:68 min (cut version)
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG | Australia:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-7 (2004) | UK:PG (video rating) (2000)

Did You Know?

Leslie Nielsen and Richard Anderson previously performed together in the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet.See more »
Continuity: Beth's sitting on her bed, waiting for Bryce to come home. She opens a box of chocolates and reaches in for a piece. There are no wrappers on the bed at this point but as she puts the piece of candy in her mouth, the bed is suddenly littered with candy wrappers.See more »
Peter Hamilton:Suppose you ask the question that you haven't asked.See more »
Love Theme from 'Red Sky At Morning'See more »


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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
A "Columbo" movie where the killer elicits our sympathy only to lose it halfway through, 15 March 2005
Author: J. Spurlin from United States

Beth Chadwick (Susan Clark, best known for the sitcom, "Webster") has a brilliant scheme to murder her overbearing brother. On the night the servants are off, she'll trick him into entering the house through her French windows. Then she'll shoot him and tell the police she thought he was a burglar. To make this lie seem credible, she'll leave several deceptive clues, including a burnt-out light bulb and a set of keys thrown in the bushes.

But on the night of the murder, a couple of things go wrong. Her brother does not act according to her plan. And her boyfriend (Leslie Nielsen) unexpectedly shows up at the door only minutes after she pulls the trigger. These later seem to have been minor obstacles – until our rumpled Lt. Columbo unravels her defense.

Stephen Bochco, who earlier had scripted the great "Columbo: Murder by the Book" (then went on to create TV series like "Hill Street Blues," and "NYPD Blue") gives us our most sympathetic "Columbo" killer yet. Miss Chadwick is a mousy introvert who suddenly flowers when her domineering brother is dead. And when Chadwick's belittling mother (Jessie Royce Landis) greets her daughter with a slap across the face, we're willing to forgive this murderess anything.

But Bochco makes the interesting decision to slowly turn us against her. As she reaps the rewards of her crime, she becomes arrogant and imperious. She takes over the family business, makes radical changes and threatens to fire anyone who may disagree with her. She even announces her engagement to her boyfriend, which surprises him as much as anyone else. Bochco's decision was probably wise. We can't help but root for the most diabolical of murderers in this series, but ultimately we want Lt. Columbo to triumph. Make the killer too sympathetic, and we'd want to throttle our beloved detective.

Still, this absorbing entry is not one of the top-notch "Columbo" episodes. It's one thing for a killer to be a charming rogue from beginning to end. But it's another to engage our emotions then cut them off halfway through.

I think the key to the problem is Peter Hamilton, the boyfriend. When we lose sympathy for Miss Chadwick, we naturally should be transferring it over to him. But we can't. We can accept as plausible the idea that Hamilton really loves her; we can accept that he is not the fortune hunter her family says he is. But nothing – in the script or in the male mannequin charms of Leslie Nielsen – makes this fact come alive for us. Hamilton is about to lose the woman he loves, and we don't care.

But you won't be griping about any of this when you see it. This probably won't be your favorite "Columbo" episode, but you'll still be thoroughly entertained.

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