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A connoisseur running a California winery murders his younger half-brother to prevent him from selling the family business. Lt. Columbo is on the case.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Joyce Jillson ...
Joan Stacey
Gary Conway ...
Enrico Guiseppe Carsini
...
Falcon
...
Karen Fielding
...
Maitre d'
...
The Drunk
...
Stein
...
Billy Fine
Regis Cordic ...
Lewis (as Regis J. Cordic)
Reid Smith ...
Andy Stevens
John McCann ...
Officer
...
Frenchman
Monte Landis ...
Steward (as Monty Landis)
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Storyline

Adrian Carsini is a fanatical wine connoisseur who operates an elite winery on the California coast. When Adrian's indifferent brother, who owns the winery property, threatens to sell it, Adrian bludgeons him in a fit of rage, then binds and places his brother in his air-tight wine vault while he travels to New York to attend a conference. Adrian disposes of the body on his return in such a way as to make his brother's demise look like a scuba diving accident, but Adrian hadn't reckoned on the canny Lieutenant Columbo from LAPD's Homicide Division (a cigar-smoking detective with many fetishes: a constantly referred-to but unseen wife, an old car, and a rumpled raincoat). In his usual patronizing manner, Columbo suspects Carsini almost immediately, befriending him while slyly searching for clues to link Carsini to the killing. Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca> / edited by statmanjeff

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Release Date:

7 October 1973 (USA)  »

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(Technicolor)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the few times Columbo mentions he and his wife having kids. At one point he says Mrs. Columbo may join them for dinner if they can get a babysitter. "You know how it is when you have kids," he says. Earlier, he mentions going on a picnic with his wife and "my kid." See more »

Goofs

When Columbo calls from the winery telephone, he dials directly, yet a sign immediately above it says to dial 3 for an outside line. See more »

Quotes

Adrian Carsini: Would you care for a sip of the wine that made Carsini famous?
Enrico Guiseppe Carsini: I'd rather have some wine that made Carsini rich.
See more »

Connections

References This Gun for Hire (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

This Old Man
(uncredited)
English children's folk song
Whistled by Peter Falk
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User Reviews

 
Julie Harris and, especially, Donald Pleasance make this a vintage "Columbo" case
9 January 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Adrian Carsini (Donald Pleasance) runs a California winery owned by his younger half-brother (Gary Conway, in a flat performance) who reveals he's about to sell it. This enrages the older wine connoisseur who knocks the young playboy out cold and ties him up in the wine cellar. Soon Carsini has committed a murder and makes it look like a scuba diving accident. Our rumpled Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) is on the case and is willing to harass everyone—even Carsini's cold but devoted secretary (Julie Harris)—until he's discovered the truth.

Leo Penn directs a script by Stanley Ralph Ross (from a story by Larry Cohen) that is mainly excellent. The murder—or rather its cover up—is splendidly tricky. Columbo's scenes with his main adversary and the secretary are inventive and witty. "Columbo vs. wine connoisseur" was a premise waiting to happen, and Ross makes the most of it. Not all the scenes are as tight and purposeful as they are in "Murder by the Book" or "A Stitch in Crime," but this slow-paced episode never seems to drag.

What makes this "Columbo" rank among the best are Julie Harris, in a familiar but welcome performance, and Donald Pleasance, who seems to have lived in his character for years and knows the man's every aspect, from his imperious snobbishness and petulant tantrums to his nervous boyishness and childlike enthusiasm. We don't care about the half-brother; but a second tragedy happens in the wine cellar, and it's one of the saddest moments in the series.


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