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"Columbo: Double Shock (#2.8)"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Columbo" Double Shock (1973)

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24 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

The rare Columbo mystery

Author: budikavlan from Austin, Texas
23 October 2002

This Columbo is unique in that we don't really know the exact outcome until the very end. Our favorite dark horse detective suspects a pair of identical twin brothers of killing their rich uncle; each points the finger at his brother. In a mystery series in which the crime is shown at the beginning of the drama, this twist could reasonably be used only once or twice, and this was Columbo's time. Other than that wrinkle, this episode fits in well with others of the series. It has a lighter tone than some, with a very funny performance by Jeanette Nolan as the fastidious and loyal housekeeper who takes an instant dislike to Columbo.

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Another great episode of Columbo

Author: HunterDK ( from Denmark
21 January 2002

Double Shock is one of the many good Columbo episodes which reaches the level of a good movie.

It has all the elements we like in the Columbo episodes. We get the laugh when Columbo makes something clumsy, and it happens more than once in Double Shock. I can almost guarantee that you will laugh several times if you decide to watch this episode.

We also get the riddle as usual with an almost perfect murder, but something about the murder troubles Columbo. The end is the usual, we get the story about how Columbo solved the mystery.

This is another good Columbo-episode, and I will rate it 7/10. It is close to 8/10.

"Just one more question" - The acting? Peter Falk is very good as usual.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

One? Both? Neither? Columbo must find out!

Author: Steven Digby from United Kingdom
5 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is my favourite Columbo. Martin Landau (excellent!) plays twins, one of whom may have committed a murder. This Columbo is unusual because the usual murder scene at the beginning doesn't give you any clue to which one did it! Peter Falk is on form as usual in this episode written by Steven Bochco (who also wrote 'Murder by the Book', my second favourite episode). The supporting cast are great especially Julie Newmar (very under-rated) and Jeanette Nolan as the house keeper that Columbo just keeps on upsetting. The surname of Martin Landau's characters in this is 'Paris'. That was the surname of Leonard Nimoy's character in Mission Impossible. Coincidence? Or a Steven Bochco joke?

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Simply worth watching!

Author: ( from United States
19 May 2006

What a cast of actors and actresses in this Columbo episode, beside Peter Falk, you have Julie Newmar, Jeannette Nolan, Martin Landau as twins. Anyway, the old uncle dies mysteriously and it looks like a heart attack on the bicycle discovered by his fiancé, Julie Newmar, who plays the role so deliciously. Jeannette Nolan plays the other woman of the house, the housekeeper who prides herself on her talents and chides Columbo's sloppy and often typical behavior with his cigar. Martin Landau plays identical twins in this one. Each who accuse the other of murdering their uncle for money. Well, you'll just have to watch and see the outcome but I can assure you that it's always worth watching this one for the cast and the crew.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Falk vs. Landau vs. Landau

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
4 April 2012

Double Shock was neither one of the best or one of the worst of the Columbo series but it was still very solid. I do think some of the story takes a while to get going and that the tension between the two brothers wasn't quite as tense or effective as it could've been, mainly because Dexter was a far more interesting character than Norman. However, it is filmed and edited beautifully, and the music is suitably atmospheric. Apart from some sluggish pacing and some scenes that feel padded, the story is a good change of pace and remains interesting with a genuinely surprising ending, and the writing is arch and witty often. Peter Falk looks very comfortable as Columbo and is a joy to watch. Julie Newmar is a pleasant surprise as the fiancée, but in support the standout was Jeanette Nolan, whose rapport with Columbo is hilarious. Double Shock is notable mostly for Martin Landau playing twins, and he does a very good job in both roles, especially as Dexter. Overall, interesting and very solid. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Some aspects don't work as well as they should but it is up to the usual standard and therefore worth seeing (spoilers)

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
9 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Clifford Paris is a wealthy old man who has a passion for keeping fit and a passion for a very young woman who he intends to marry – much to the silent disapproval of his nephew and housekeeper. Dexter disapproves so much that he decides to kill his uncle by throwing an electric blender into his bath and then putting him on an exercise bike to make it look like he had a stroke. Despite this apparent accident, Columbo gets called out of his bed and, thanks to a missing towel and a wet bath, suspects that this was no accident. Columbo knows that the motives lie with those who stand to inherit his Clifford's millions – namely his twin nephews, celebrity chef Dexter and serious banker Norman, neither of who speak to each other; however which of the twins could it have been? As with many TV film series (such as Perry Mason), if you like one or two of them then you'll pretty much like them all. This entry in the Columbo series pretty much follows the usual formula – we know the killer and the "perfect" plan but then watch Columbo follow his hunch and gradually starts to pick holes in the story he is told before eventually finding enough to prove his suspicions. Saying this is not a spoiler – it is simply what happens in all the films. With this strict adherence to formula it is usually down to several factors whether or not the Columbo film stands out or if it is just average. In this case the twist is that the suspect is one of twins, a gimmick that you know must be going to be used in some way or other as indeed it is. The plot sees the twins putting Columbo onto the other in a way that should have been twisty but it doesn't work as well as it should; it lacks tension and isn't as intriguing as it should have been. The ending is satisfyingly delivered though and it is yet another good film in the series.

Falk is a joy as Columbo; as usual his sharp mind is well hidden behind the bumbling but he also has a talent for comedy as seen in his TV appearance and his chemistry with Nolan. She plays a simple role of the aggressor to Columbo and together they produce some very funny moments, even if it is a rather one-not repeating gag. Landau is interesting but his Norman is pretty dull and he tends to save his actual performance for Dexter, who is a more colourful and interesting character. Support is good from Stewart and those with a mind for the camp will instantly recognise the one and only Julie Newmar most notably of Batman fame.

Overall this is a good entry in the series even if the twins aspect does feel a little gimmicky and seems to take precedence over the actual plot. The performances are good and the comedy is always a welcome addition but somehow the attempts at tension between the brothers just doesn't come off as it heads towards the twist that we all knew was coming simply because why else would they write twins into it unless it was key to the story. Fans will still enjoy it though and it generally meets the enjoyable standard of the majority of the Columbo films.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

"Martin Landau scores in a double role."

Author: jamesraeburn2003 from Poole, Dorset
19 October 2003

Lieutenant Columbo sets out to prove that two estranged brothers united in order to kill their wealthy uncle, because they wanted to stop him from disinheriting them from his will.

An enjoyable Columbo episode with the usual formula competently assembled, but the real delight here is the excellent Martin Landau who scores in his double role as the twin brothers.

This episode has been released on video in the UK paired with the second pilot episode, Ransom For A Dead Man (1971).

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The Columbo Where Martin Landau Plays Identical Twin Brothers

Author: ShootingShark from Dundee, Scotland
30 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When a rich man dies of an apparent heart-attack whilst exercising, Columbo suspects his ne'er-do-well nephew Dexter. What he doesn't count on is that Dexter has an identical twin brother, Norman, who has an equally plausible motive for murder ...

This is a very recognisable Columbo story, with the twist of having the normally singular killer be identical twins, played with considerable flair by Landau. Dexter is flamboyant and gay (one of the best scenes involves him ribbing Columbo on his TV cooking show) and Norman is sensible and dogmatic. Steven Bochco's script keeps both us and Columbo guessing about them all the way - are they covering up for or trying to incriminate each other ? Nolan is funny as the zealot housekeeper and leggy Newmar (Catwoman from the old sixties Batman TV show) adds an unusual dash of glamour. The details of the murder investigation are a little pedestrian here, but it's a very agreeable little thriller all the same. Best moment - Columbo's reaction to the TV repair van.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A pair of potential perpetrators

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
27 April 2014

Guest villain in this Columbo story is Martin Landau. The victim in this case is Paul Stewart who is Landau's uncle and tight controller of the family purse strings. Stewart is also going out with Julie Newmar who is an overage flower child and Landau is worried that the family fortune will go to her and with good reason.

Nothing left to do but kill Stewart and this is accomplished by dropping an electric mixer into Stewart's bath electrocuting him. Then we have Stewart's body dried up and semi-dressed and put him on an electric exercise machine to make it look like he died of a heart attack there.

The rub in this episode is that Landau is playing a dual role. The charismatic host of a cooking show who spends money like it was going out of style and an uptight banker who has a not so secret gambling problem. Stewart's money will bail both of them, especially banker Landau out of considerable debt.

There are a couple of other substantial roles in this story. One is Tim O'Connor the family attorney who's had a good income from handling the affairs of Stewart and wants to keep right on doing it. The other is Jeanette Nolan who Peter Falk irritates the hell out of. She's a most uptight housekeeper and Columbo spilling his cigar ashes on her immaculate floor drives to distraction. She also hates having any interruption of her television shows. But the disruption of that service is an important clue for our rumpled detective.

Scenes with Nolan and Falk are the high point of this good Columbo story.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Double Exposer

Author: sol1218 from brooklyn NY
27 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***SPOILERS*** Lt. Columbo, Peter Falk, gets a bit embarrassed in this episode when his bumbling antics get's the lady of the house the very proper and applicable Mrs. Peck, Jeanette Nolan, a bit hot under the collar. Thats when he absent-mindlessly spills his cigar ash on her well waxed floor and even later flicks his ashes into an expansive silver dish that Lt. Columbo mistakes for just your average run of the mill ashtray. But it's in his wrecking of Mrs. Peck's TV set, almost giving her a nervous breakdown, that she watches her favorite programs with a religious fervor that in the end breaks open the murder case of her boss the late Clifford Paris, Paul Stewart.

Getting his Uncle Cliff all alone in his bathtub Dexter, Martin Landau, gives him a wedding present that happened to be a new egg beater. The trouble is that the egg beater was plugged in the wall electric socket and turned on causing old Uncle Cliff to collapses and die from the shock. It's until Uncle Cliff's fiancée the very well developed and some 35 years younger Lisa Chambers, Julie Newmar, came over to accompany him to their wedding that his dead body was discovered. Not in the bathtub but on an electric bicycle she gave Uncle Cliff as a wedding present.

Getting on the case Lt. Columbo feels that there's something very fishy in Uncle Cliff's sudden heart-attack, that's what he was thought to have died from at first. Columbo feels, surprise surprise, it was murder! It's later when we, and Lt. Columbo, see that the yet discovered killer Dexter has an identical twin brother Norman Paris, also played by the very multi-talented Martin Landau, that you start to wonder just which of the two was the one who did old Uncle Cliff in?

We later learn that Uncle Cliff had a will made out that left his estate, three million dollars, to none of the two twins, Dexter & Norman. Instead Uncle Cliff left it to his fiancée Lisa who has absolutely no interest in his money. She just loves Uncle Cliff for his bubbly and charming personality as well as his amazing, the guy is 75 years old, sexual prowess!

One of the strangest of all Columbo episodes since your not really sure who the killer, which we see at the very beginning of the movie, is Dexter or Norman or can it be that the killer was actually both of them? Things get even more complicated when Lisa is tricked into giving her copy of Uncle Cliff's will to Cliff's sleazy lawyer Michael Hatheway,Tim O'Connor, so it wouldn't stand in the way of brothers Dexter & Norman's attempt in getting his money, and Hatheway getting his cut as well, legally.

Later when Hatheway goes to her penthouse apartment he finds that Lisa was thrown, or jumped, some ten floors to her death. As all this is going on Lt. Columbo is bumbling and fumbling his way around the Paris Mansion and uncovers a number of clues that proves that it was physically impossible for one person to have murdered Uncle Cliff. The circumstances of his death was just to much for one man, or woman, to handle that sets us, and the killer, up for the big surprise in the end.

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