Columbo: Season 3, Episode 8

A Friend in Deed (5 May 1974)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 1,034 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 5 critic

A police commissioner provides a false alibi for a wife killer, but then expects an alibi in return.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Mark Halperin
...
Margaret Halperin
...
Hugh Caldwell
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Artie Jessup
...
Bruno Wexler
Eleanor Zee ...
Thelma
...
Lt. Duffy
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Salesgirl (as Arlene Martell)
Victor Campos ...
Doyle
Joshua Bryant ...
Dr. MacMurray
John Calvin ...
Charlie Shoup
Byron Morrow ...
Amos Lawrence
James V. Christy ...
Sharkey
...
Mrs. Fernandez
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Storyline

Hugh Caldwell kills his wife Janice and in despair asks for the help of his friend and neighbor Mark Halperin. Mark helps a friend in deed, of course, so the death appears to be the job of a thief, but Lt. Columbo has some doubts. There is not a single fingerprint of the deceased in her house and he begins to suspect Halperin. Unfortunately for Lt. Columbo, Halperin is the deputy police commissioner. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

5 May 1974 (USA)  »

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(Technicolor)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The funeral home featured in the stock shot (at around 36 mins) is not California. It is the luxurious Ephrussi de Rothschild villa and gardens in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera. This location is notably featured in the James Bond movie Never Say Never Again. See more »

Goofs

Dr. MacMurray (Joshua Bryant) first appears with Commissioner Halperin after his wife's murder, reminding him to take the pills he prescribed for him. A few minutes later, as the body is taken away, Columbo asks him to check for a few things in the autopsy. A personal physician and a coroner? See more »

Quotes

Police Pilot: A little early in the evening for this burglar, isn't it, Commissioner?
Mark Halperin: You never know, Pete. Clocks don't mean a thing in an empty house, you know.
See more »

Connections

References Strangers on a Train (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring
(uncredited)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Played at funeral
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Enthralling, stylishly-scripted and plotted, vintage Columbo story
17 September 2005 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

In all honesty, Columbo adventures do not come much better than this one, simply because plot, script, acting, clue development and analysis, Columbo's characterisation and direction all interlink to captivating and thoroughly entertaining effect.

The plot is easily the best in the series: man kills wife after argument, rings his friend (the Deputy Police Commissioner) - he makes it look like a burglary gone wrong (taking advantage of a recent spate of burglaries in the area) and he also kills his own wife later on for her money, further capitalising on the "burglary gone wrong" theory.

In typical Ben Gazzara style, the story is carefully and deliberately developed with Columbo's meticulous appreciation of the crime scene the first hint that he is going to disagree with the prevailing burglary theory.

Falk's scenes with Kiley are well-crafted and incisive; Columbo is not afraid to be forthright about his observations in front of his boss as he subtly uncovers the truth.

The conclusion is arguably the best entrapment of a murderer in the entire series; the Deputy Police Commissioner turns to Columbo, after the latter states that he thinks that he was involved in both murders, and says "you've just lost your badge my friend!". The ensuing scenes are an absolute classic and thoroughly uphold the decisive quality that prevailed throughout the story. Watch it!


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