Columbo: Season 3, Episode 1

Lovely But Lethal (23 Sep. 1973)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,075 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 4 critic

The formula for a miracle wrinkle cream leads the founder of a cosmetics company to murder. Lt. Columbo is on the case.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Viveca Scott
Karl Lessing
Sian Barbara Allen ...
Shirley Blaine
Fred Draper ...
Lab Attendant Doug
Richard Stahl ...
Burton (as Dick Stahl)
Marc Hannibal ...
Fingerprint Man
David Toma ...
Layne Mathess ...
Fashion Moderator (as Layne Matthess)


Viveca Scott runs Beauty Mark, the cosmetics company whose products are in every woman's home. With sales dropping, she's counting on the miraculous new beauty cream created by her chief chemist to boost sales and overtake her rival, David Lang, but the chemist's assistant steals the formula. Scott attempts to negotiate with him but, in a rage, knocks him over the head with a heavy microscope, killing him. Her rival's secretary finds out and attempts to blackmail her, but the cosmetics queen's worst news is that the rumpled, redoubtable Lt. Columbo is on the case. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

23 September 1973 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Actor David Toma, who plays a police officer in this episode, was a real policeman and had a TV series (TOMA) named after him. See more »


Immediate beginning of the episode: woman sees doctor wearing rubber gloves from her perspective, but he wears no gloves from his perspective (when he touches her face) and then gloves again from her perspective. See more »


Lab Attendant: I guess he figured if you can't bed the mother hen, why waste time with the chickens.
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References Frankenstein (1931) See more »


The Girl from Ipamnema
("Garota de Ipanema") (uncredited)
Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim (1962)
Portugese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes
English lyrics by Norman Gimbel
Toned down instrumental version played at fashion show
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User Reviews

A satisfyingly good episode
30 December 2004 | by (Garner, NC) – See all my reviews

Vera Miles as cosmetics mogul Viveca Scott is a rarefied hoot. Vera Miles at her all time best. Sian Barbara Allen ( a 1970's TV-Movie staple), a young Martin Sheen, and the always eloquent Vincent Price show up as fine supporting players. Seems the high-strung Viveca killed her research chemist (Sheen) to silence him as he falsified the testing on her newest beauty cream, that was actually an age renewing miracle.Vincent Price shows up as a rival cosmetics tycoon who uses Sian Barbara Allen as a spy. Meanwhile, Fred Draper, a John Cassavetes regular has a field day as the drunken plastic surgeon Dr. Murcheson. Levinson and Link's TV show COLUMBO was at the very least, classy. It had a great formula, and was social commentary on the motives of the L.A. rich.

This is a delicious episode you shouldn't miss. Buy it on Amazon, you won't regret it.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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