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
Columbo alludes to Columbo: Candidate for Crime (1973) in both of the episodes that immediately followed it in the original broadcast schedule. In Double Exposure, Columbo says that he has been "working late on the Hayward case." There can be little doubt that Columbo means Nelson Hayward, the politician who murders his campaign manager in "Candidate For Crime", because "Double Exposure" was the next episode after "Candidate For Crime". This is an unusual acknowledgment that Columbo must handle multiple cases at the same time. Then in the next episode, Columbo: Publish or Perish (1974), Columbo tells killer Riley Greenleaf (Jack Cassidy) that he wants to write a book about his experiences as a policeman. As an example of his potential book material, Columbo describes the plot of "Candidate For Crime". Greenleaf responds, "Lieutenant, very frankly, I don't give a damn about your Senator or your story." 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 »
Dr. Bart Keppel:
Lieutenant, I know where you're coming from, and I know where you're going. It isn't very difficult to figure you out.
I don't understand.
See more »
Can subliminal advertising help you commit a murder? Find out on today's episode of "Columbo"!
Dr. Bart Keppel (Robert Culp) styles himself as a "motivation research specialist," and it's true he has written several books on marketing and made a name for himself on the subject of "subliminal advertising"which involves inserting frames of an advertised product into the reels of a film. The frames go by too fast for the conscious mind to note them; but subconsciously the mind picks them up and makes the viewer crave what is pictured. But this advertising expert's more lucrative sideline is blackmail. He takes secret pictures of his married clients with a girl hired to tempt them. His latest victim, Vic Norris (Robert Middleton), balks and wants to turn in Dr. Keppel (don't call him Mr. Keppel) to the D.A. The blackmailer prevents this by murdering Norris during a screening of a promotional film. He finds a clever alibi and an even cleverer way of tempting his victim into the wrong place at the wrong time. But his projectionist (Chuck McCann) finds out and blackmails the blackmailer. It's up to our rumpled Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) to use subliminal tricks of his own to unmask the killer.
This enjoyable "Columbo" episode, directed by Richard Quine from a script by Stephen J. Cannell, bears resemblance to "Columbo: Death Lends a Hand," which also featured Robert Culp as a killer who blackmails one victim too many. The subject of subliminal advertising is amusing, though I think the idea was discredited at some point. The last I heard of it was when some Japanese animators innocently inserted frames of American flags into episodes of the TV cartoon, "Alf." There was an uproar, but the idea of hypnotizing people with frames of film came to look silly. Still, give this episode your willing suspension of disbelief, and you'll enjoy it.
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