Pressured to give up his birthright, a chemical company heir enacts a clever plan to get rid of his blackmailing uncle and take over the family business. But Lt. Columbo suspects the man's death was not just a tragic accident.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Roger Stanford
Valerie Bishop
David L. Buckner
Doris Buckner
Everett Logan
Steve Gravers ...
Lawrence Cook ...
Quincy [Murphy in credits]
Rosalind Miles ...
Lew Brown ...
Annette Molen ...
Jim Neumarker ...


Stanford Chemicals CEO David Buckner wants to sell the business, but he is overruled by several people: his wife Doris, company lawyer Everett Logan, and his nephew Roger, the lighthearted young genius whose late father founded the company. But he has a plan: he has uncovered some very embarrassing and illegal past activities on the part of Roger. He demands that his nephew change his aunt Doris's mind about the sale, or he'll tell Doris about all the nasty things her precious Roger has done. But Roger is one step ahead of him, and initiates a plan to murder his uncle with dangerous explosives. Unfortunately for him, he didn't count on Lieutenant Columbo investigating Buckner's "car accident." The Lieutenant quickly suspects Roger, and puts together a web of evidence to trap the young scientist in his own lies. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

19 January 1972 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


During his first deposition by Lt. Columbo, Roger Stanford casually mentions that his parents died in a freak explosion, not unlike the one that befalls David Buckner and his chauffeur. See more »


Just before the buzzer sounds when Roger sits in his deceased uncle's chair, his left finger is on his upper lip while his thumb is on his cheek. When the camera changes, his finger is on his chin and his thumb hangs below it. See more »


Lt. Columbo: You know something, Roger? The truth is hard to find - sometimes - but sometimes it's right in front of ya and ya can't prove it.
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User Reviews

A bombastic episode
26 May 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was an entertaining segment with an impressive cast of actors, which include Roddy McDowall, Anne Francis, James Gregory, Ida Lupino, William Windom, and Jason Wingreen. That is quite a cast! Let me get the bad out of the way first; that is, the guilty party usually acting too cocky when they should be the opposite, such as Roger Stanford(McDowall)does here. Also, the song that plays in the club while Gregory's character(David L. Buckner)gets blown up in the car may be the worst recorded song in the history of music. It's that bad! The good parts include a fairly original kill, a mountain railcar, Roger's cool car, some nice outdoor shots at a huge plant, and one of the funnier moments in the series that has Columbo accidentally shooting silly string all over his head. Although I mentioned above that the killers act too guilty, the final scene wasn't something I expected, and that adds to this fun segment.

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