Dr. Bart Keppel has a very high opinion of himself. Notwithstanding that opinion, he is being fired by Vic Norris, so Bart plans a murder, constructing a perfect alibi for himself while building evidence against the victim's wife. He kills Vic while running commentary on a promotional short film; but, even in the most perfect planning, there are bound to be some failures, and you can be sure that Lt. Columbo will find them out. Written by
Baldinotto da Pistoia
The Magnolia Theater is showing High Plains Drifter for only a $1.00 admission. See more »
When Keppel leaves Columbo in the grocery, he walks along the back of the store, passing by a lady in red heading in the opposite direction. When Keppel reaches the far corner of the store, the lady in red is there ahead of him, shopping. See more »
Dr. Bart Keppel:
[voiceover narration for motivational film]
Nothing can happen in this country until someone sells something. We are traditionally a nation of salesmen but, most importantly, we have advanced salesmanship to a creative art. It has been the ability of salesmen representing American products and capital around the globe that has made American business preeminent.
[as the speech continues via tape recorder, Dr. Keppel slips out, kills Vic Norris, and returns, picing up the speech many lines later]
Dr. Bart Keppel:
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Robert Culp is our guest murderer in this Columbo story and he's not about to get fired by Robert Middleton whom he works for. For such a clever guy he concocts a rather clumsy blackmail scheme in which Middleton calls his hand. Therefore he has to murder him.
It's in a large building so it's one of those closed circles mysteries albeit a large circle. No one's left the building in the short time it takes LAPD and Lt. Columbo to get there. So Peter Falk has a specific set of suspects to eliminate. As usual he zeroes in on the right one.
Culp is a market research analyst who in the course of the investigation Columbo discovers has written books. Why contract employment with Middleton was so important is never really explained. Presumably this guy could get offers all over the place for his market analyzing.
He does however concoct a perfect murder alibi and a method of murdering Middleton that is clever with Culp's own expertise working full blast. Later on he has to murder film projectionist Chuck McCann who has caught on to his guilt. Even that where he uses Peter Falk as an alibi works for a while.
To catch him Falk has to hoist Culp on his petard so to speak.
This Columbo episode left quite a bit to be desired.
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