Columbo: Season 3, Episode 8

A Friend in Deed (5 May 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 838 users  
Reviews: 18 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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Title: A Friend in Deed (05 May 1974)

A Friend in Deed (05 May 1974) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Mark Halperin
...
Margaret Halperin
Michael McGuire ...
Hugh Caldwell
...
Artie Jessup
...
Bruno Wexler
Eleanor Zee ...
Thelma
...
Lt. Duffy
...
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. And Mark helps a friend in deed, of course. So the murder appears to be the job of a thief, but Lt. Columbo has some doubts. There is not a single finger-print of the deceased in her house and he begins to suspect Halperin. Unfortunately for Lt. Columbo Halperin is the chief of the police. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

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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

Provided we see the bathtub murder of the commissioner's wife in real time, it seems impossible that she drowns within 2 seconds. That is the time it takes for the murderer to look satisfied. Drowning seems a little more complicated than that. See more »

Quotes

Doyle: [to Columbo about the corpse] Good-looking broad except for the marks around her neck.
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Soundtracks

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

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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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