Dr. Bart Keppel has a very high opinion of himself, but, notwithstanding his opinion, he is being fired by Vic Norris. So he decides to plan a murder, a perfect alibi for himself and evidence against Mrs. Norris. He kills Vic while running commentary on a promotional short film. But there are bound to be some failures, even in the most perfect planning. And you can be sure that Lt. Columbo will find out these failures. Written by
Baldinotto da Pistoia
Although the plot turns on the effectiveness of subliminal cuts in films and Keppel mentions that the FCC had banned such cuts, the use of such subliminal advertising has never been proved to be effective and no such ban was made. 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 turned salesmanship into a creative art. Salesmanship, a profession that has become a way of life, our most powerful weapon in the war of ideas and economies, a tribute to American creativity.
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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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