Columbo (1971–2003)
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A Stitch in Crime 

A surgeon has an ingenious plan for murdering his partner in a research project, but a nurse catches onto the scheme.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Dr. Barry Mayfield
Nurse Sharon Martin
Marcia Dalton
Dr. Edmund Hidemann
Nurse Morgan
Harry Alexander
Victor Millan ...
Detective Flores
Ken Sansom ...
Paul (as Kenneth Sansom)
Dr. Simpson
Leonard Simon ...
Dr. Michaelson
Ron Stokes ...
Patsy Garrett ...
Cleaning Woman


Dr. Barry Mayfield is a highly successful and respected surgeon, but his patience leaves a lot to be desired. Nurse Martin becomes suspicious about his tools in sewing up internal organs in his most recent 'successful' operation (namely, his sutures). The good doctor kills her before she spills the beans, but Mayfield doesn't count on Detective Columbo's investigative skills, which quickly uncover a trail of murderous events. Written by Scott Dawson <> / edited by statmanjeff

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Plot Keywords:

nurse | surgeon | suture | murder | doctor | See All (49) »


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 February 1973 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


This episode shares its title with Honey West: A Stitch in Crime (1965), in which Anne Francis (Nurse Sharon Martin) also appeared. See more »


Twice, blood pressures are bungled. First, Hidemann takes his own pressure with his arm bent double: this would make it impossible to get an accurate reading. The second time is when Mayfield is taking Hidemann's BP post-op: he has no stethoscope. See more »


Lt. Columbo: You must be a terrific surgeon.
Dr. Barry Mayfield: Well... Dr. Hidemann and I DO share a mutual respect.
Lt. Columbo: Oh, that. Oh, yeah, he must think you're very good. No, actually, Doctor, I was referring to your great concentration.
Dr. Barry Mayfield: Well, how is that, Lieutenant?
Lt. Columbo: Well, when I came in, you see, you were getting the news of your nurse's death on the phone - I could see you were terribly upset - but while you were on the phone, you reset your desk clock.
Dr. Barry Mayfield: Well, I fail to see the virtue in that.
Lt. Columbo: Aw, you're too modest, Doc. No,...
See more »


Featured in Pioneers of Television: Crime Dramas (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Inventive plot, cool adversary, smart comedy, great twist ending: this "Columbo" has it all
29 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

What a great "Columbo" episode. For fans, this has everything. A brilliant adversary. A tricky plot. Deftly chosen jokes. And a twist ending that comes like a thunderclap.

Dr. Mayfield (Leonard Nimoy) is a surgeon with an ingenious scheme for murdering the kindly Dr. Hidemann, his infuriatingly cautious partner in a research project. But Hidemann's devoted nurse (Anne Francis) catches on to the scheme, and Mayfield murders her to prevent discovery. It's up to our Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) not only to find out who killed the nurse but prevent another murder from taking place.

Two things often trip up even the best writers of this series. One is the ending. Too often an episode ends with Columbo revealing a damning piece of evidence that doesn't seem all that damning. Or he tricks the killer into giving himself away, which never quite feels satisfactory. I won't give away this ending, of course. Let's just say it'll please the most demanding fan.

The other thing is the comedy scenes. Columbo affects dimwittedness and bad manners to trick his quarry into underestimating him. But too often the writers seem to think that he is genuinely a buffoon. For instance, there's a terrible scene in "Dagger of the Mind" where he inadvertently creates havoc at an airport. It's not funny, and it's not our Columbo. "A Stitch in Crime," by contrast, has some splendidly comic moments where he is not a clown, just a bit inattentive to manners. What he does with a hardboiled egg is priceless.

He also has the standard scene where something makes him queasy. In "Ransom for a Dead Man" it's the airplane ride. In "Dead Weight" it's the boat ride. Here it's hospitals, especially the operating room. But I like how he's able to steel himself when it really counts. I also love a novel moment. We actually see our faux-obsequious detective drop the pretense and lose his temper. I don't think he's done that since "Prescription: Murder."

Leonard Nimoy is essentially Mr. Spock in a white coat. His Dr. Mayfield is better able to keep his emotions at bay than just about any other murderer in the series. He makes brilliant move after brilliant move, but Columbo checks him every time. And then in the very last frame: checkmate.

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