Columbo (1971–2003)
7.1/10
1,296
19 user 5 critic

Lovely But Lethal 

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

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Viveca Scott
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Karl Lessing
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Shirley Blaine
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Ferdy
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Jerry
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Murcheson
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Lab Attendant Doug
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Sergeant
Richard Stahl ...
Burton (as Dick Stahl)
Marc Hannibal ...
Fingerprint Man
David Toma ...
Policeman
Layne Mathess ...
Fashion Moderator (as Layne Matthess)
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Storyline

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

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Release Date:

23 September 1973 (USA)  »

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(Technicolor)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film Psycho (1960) in which Vera Miles co-starred, the character Norman Bates gives the famous line "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly". In this episode, the character Viveca Scott played by Ms. Miles gives the line to the ever inquisitive Detective Columbo "I didn't kill Karl Lessing. I couldn't kill a fly." See more »

Goofs

When Karl arrives home he looks into a microscope. There is a brief shot of the slide he is looking at and the microscope light is obviously on (otherwise wouldn't be able to see the cells on the slide). He then hears a noise and goes off to investigate (finding Vivica in the kitchen). Later when Vivica grabs the microscope to hit Karl with, she lifts hit high over her head and then hits Karl. The microscope has no plug attached to it and so was never plugged in, so the light could not have been on. See more »

Quotes

Karl Lessing: You still like those, uh, tequila cocktails with the organic cactus juice, right? I've always thought that was an appropriate drink for you.
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Soundtracks

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 rather lightweight but watchable Columbo story
22 April 2002 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

A cosmetics queen tries to save her flagging Beauty Mark empire by acquiring a revolutionary wrinkle-removing cream from a disloyal chemist working within her company, who is ready to sell the formula to one of her rivals. Realising his total reluctance to do a deal with her she kills him in a rage....

Not a particularly strong Season 3 opener, which has an interesting if somewhat far-fetched plot. Vera Miles's characterisation does not quite have the complexity and substance of other murderesses in the series (e.g. Susan Clark and Janet Leigh) and despite her best efforts, she cannot bring much out of her rather bland part.

The approach by the script-writer (the prolific Jackson Gillis) is rather subdued and subtle. Columbo scenes with the murderess don't really have much impact until the finale and the one main clue (which leads Columbo to deduce that the murderer was woman),where he finds a magazine at the murder scene with sums of money written on it in eyebrow pencil, is symptomatic of a rather unintelligent murderess and a struggle for the script-writer to point Columbo in the direction of that person.

Disappointingly, Vincent Price, only has two scenes and his character could have been developed much more, especially as Columbo curiously seems to get very little information from him. Ultimately, one can't help thinking about Vincent Price's calibre as a Columbo murderer - he would have really shone with the right script!

The contagious nature of poison ivy becomes an all-too-easy focal point of the episode also, since both Columbo and the murderess catch it from the same source.

Two other things: the coincidence that gives Columbo the case is not particularly believable and the second murder (of the murderesses's rival's blackmailing secretary) is not referred to in a slightly rushed ending, which is also guilty of no significant build-up.

Despite the somewhat negative comments, this is generally an average but distinctly watchable Season 3 story, which is well above the quality of the series's weak episodes like "Dead Weight", "Fade Into Murder", "Old-Fashioned Murder" and "Last Salute To The Commodore."


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