IMDb > "Columbo" A Friend in Deed (1974)

"Columbo" A Friend in Deed (1974)

« Prev | 24 of 68 Episodes | Next »


User Rating:
8.0/10   1,034 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Peter S. Fischer (written by)
Richard Levinson (created by) ...
View company contact information for A Friend in Deed on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
5 May 1974 (Season 3, Episode 8)
A police commissioner provides a false alibi for a wife killer, but then expects an alibi in return. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
A top episode of a top series See more (19 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Peter Falk ... Columbo

Richard Kiley ... Mark Halperin

Rosemary Murphy ... Margaret Halperin

Michael McGuire ... Hugh Caldwell

Val Avery ... Artie Jessup

Eric Christmas ... Bruno Wexler
Eleanor Zee ... Thelma

John Finnegan ... Lt. Duffy

Arlene Martel ... Salesgirl (as Arlene Martell)
Victor Campos ... Doyle
Joshua Bryant ... Dr. MacMurray
John Calvin ... Charlie Shoup
Byron Morrow ... Amos Lawrence
James V. Christy ... Sharkey

Alma Beltran ... Mrs. Fernandez
Albert Popwell ... Al Como
Ben Marino ... Sgt. Ned Randall
Judson Morgan ... Charles
T.J. Castronovo ... Policeman (as Tom Castronova)
Paul Sorensen ... Police Pilot
Bernie Kuby ... Nathan Flowers
Mike Lally ... 2nd Bartender
Richard Lanci ... 1st Patrolman (as Richard Lance)
Eldon Burke ... Photographer
Jack Krupnick ... Limousine Driver
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Duke Fishman ... Cop (uncredited)
Ben Frommer ... Bartender (uncredited)
Mickey Golden ... Reporter (uncredited)
Michael Jeffers ... Barfly (uncredited)
Cosmo Sardo ... Club Member (uncredited)

Dianne Travis ... Woman In Bar (uncredited)
Max Wagner ... Barfly (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Ben Gazzara 
Writing credits
Peter S. Fischer (written by)

Richard Levinson (created by) &
William Link (created by)

Produced by
Edward K. Dodds .... producer
Dean Hargrove .... executive producer
Roland Kibbee .... executive producer
Original Music by
Dick DeBenedictis  (as Dick De Benedictis)
Billy Goldenberg 
Cinematography by
William Cronjager (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Robert L. Kimble 
Art Direction by
John W. Corso 
Set Decoration by
Bill McLaughlin (set decorations) (as William McLaughlin)
Production Management
Brad H. Aronson .... unit manager (as Brad Aronson)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Phil Cook .... assistant director (as Phillip Cook)
Sound Department
Wallace R. Bearden .... sound (as Wallace Bearden)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Grady Hunt .... costumes
Editorial Department
Richard Belding .... editorial supervisor
Arnold Baker .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Steve Johnson .... colorist (uncredited)
Music Department
Henry Mancini .... composer: Mystery Movie theme
Hal Mooney .... music supervisor
Other crew
Wayne Fitzgerald .... main title design
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:95 min | USA:98 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-18 (2005) (DVD) (self applied) | UK:12 (video rating) (2005)

Did You Know?

We hear Columbo being paged over his car's police radio, and for the first and only time, Columbo's call number is revealed: it is "194".See more »
Revealing mistakes: Mark Halperin (played by Richard Kiley) addresses Amos Lawrence (played by Byron Morrow) as "Byron".See more »
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 »
Movie Connections:
References Strangers on a Train (1951)See more »
Jesus, Joy of Man's DesiringSee more »


List: Murder swaps
See more »
12 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
A top episode of a top series, 11 November 2006
Author: caa821 from Tulsa OK

This series - particularly the earlier episodes - is certainly one of the best ever. I missed this particular one when originally aired, but saw it several years later, and then again recently. (Like Andy Griffith's "Andy Griffith Show" and "Matlock," this is a program for which one is grateful for the reruns available on cable today.)

This particular program, though, is the one I'd probably label my all-time favorite - among many, including those with the ubiquitous Columbo "killers," Jack Cassidy, George Hamilton, etc.

One of the greatest mistakes in the entire history of film was the casting of Peter O'Toole in the lead for "Man of La Mancha," rather than Richard Kiley, whose Broadway performance in this role was among the most acclaimed, ever. Kiley was an immensely- and diversely-talented actor, who should be more prominently recognized and remembered among his peers than he is.

His portrayal as the egotistic, manipulative, greedy deputy police commissioner, and the villain of this episode, is outstanding. The "shtick" of this series, of course, included the usually smooth, urbane, well-dressed, cosmopolitan qualities of the villains - contrasted markedly with Columbo's being the opposite in all of these.

This aspect is certainly apparent here - and the only somewhat puzzling part of the story is the seeming absence of Kiley's knowledge of Columbo's abilities beneath his sloppy exterior - and he would have certainly seen the records of the department certifying the lieutenant's significant abilities.

The main paradox in the history of "Columbo" was the ease with which he seemed to be able always to remain "under the radar," both within the department (even with those with whom he was most closely associated) and on the outside - despite having had to possess a better record for detection and solution of serious crimes than Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Sam Spade - combined.

There is no way a review of a "Columbo" episode could be a spoiler. We know from the outset that Kiley is the villain here - however, Columbo's inevitable foiling his devious, wily superior, is perhaps the most clever in the history of this long series.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (19 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for "Columbo" (1971)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
How Does Columbo Not Know That? arnomation
Did Columbo separate from his wife? klingon-attack
See more »

Related Links

Main series Episode guide Full cast and crew
Company credits External reviews IMDb TV section
IMDb Crime section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.