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
Robert Culp's character of Dr. Bart Keppel blackmails one person too many, thus resulting in the victim being killed. A similar situation befalls his character of Investigator Brimmer in "Death Lends a Hand". See more »
When Columbo is riding in the golf cart with Dr. Keppel, there are no golf clubs on the cart and Dr. Keppel uses the same club for three consecutive shots, including one near the green - something no golfer would do. See more »
A Season 3 Columbo episode that is particularly underestimated for its engrossing qualities, which are facilitated by a very tightly-structured plot and script with very few secondary characters, brisk pacing and an enormous amount of screen time between Columbo and villain.
Robert Culp makes his third and final appearance as a Columbo villain, playing a motivational research specialist whose blackmailing scheme, involving his potential (married) business clients and a model he is using for the advertising campaigns, is threatened to be exposed by one of his clients...
Quite possibly this is Culp's best performance of the three; remarkably calm, assured and purposeful throughout despite the increasingly intrusive nature of Columbo's questioning. There are some great scenes between the two in a supermarket and (even better) on a golf course.
The quality of the episode is all the more remarkable given the moderate quantity of circumstantial clues, yet the basic murder set-up is really quite ingenious, particularly as the murderer is able to hide the murder weapon in a very clever and almost foolproof manner. This accentuates the lack of predictability in this story as Columbo has to be really smart to uncover the truth: the finale is superbly ironical and the elements of smartness possessed so markedly by the villain in the preceding sequences are wonderfully transferred to the dogged and ultra-persistent hero.
Addicts may also note that Columbo mentions the "Hayward case" early on in this story, which interestingly refers to the previous episode entitled "Candidate for Crime."
An undoubtedly solid episode, which is precise in its intentions and very competent in its delivery.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?