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

"Columbo" A Friend in Deed (1974)

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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 »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
One of the more original Columbo movies. 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?

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 »
Plot holes: When Commissioner Halperin peruses Artie Jessup's police file, Jessup's home address is listed in its entirety as "874 South Central Ave. L.A." Halperin goes to that address - an apartment building - intending to plant evidence to frame Jessup. Halperin walks through the front door, heads up the stairs and goes to unit 13 - even though the report didn't list Jessup's room number. (Halperin doesn't even bother to check the mailboxes.)See more »
Columbo:I, uh, I looked at her body, and right away I saw on her finger the biggest diamond ring I ever saw in my life. Now, I gotta ask myself this question: What kind of burglar robs a house and leaves a ring like that on the victim's finger?See more »
Movie Connections:
References Strangers on a Train (1951)See more »
Jesus, Joy of Man's DesiringSee more »


List: Murder swaps
See more »
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
One of the more original Columbo movies., 18 July 2008
Author: Boba_Fett1138 from Groningen, The Netherlands

Plotwise and the way the story is build up from its beginning till end, every Columbo movie is basically the same. It's the reason why most of the Columbo movies are of the same high quality. There however are a few Columbo movies that stand out. Often a Columbo movie can distinct itself from the others and the usual quality, through its directing style, plot or acting. This is a Columbo movie that knows to distinct itself through its plot.

Storywise this is simply one fine movie. It on top of that is also quite original for a Columbo movie, thanks to some nice little touches that makes the story and its storytelling different from the usual Columbo formula. For instance we don't get to see the first murder being committed at all and there is not one murderer but two, of which one is the deputy police commissioner and Columbo's boss. In the long run the story isn't at all about the first murder in fact. The story on top of that has some small side-plots, which isn't something common for a Columbo movie, also due to its normal short running times. It's a story that develops nicely and has plenty of twists and surprises in it. It's the kind of script that would had also worked out for a good cop thriller movie.

But it's still a typical Columbo movie alright with most of its usual ingredients. The character of Columbo himself can be seen as a real police investigator this time, interrogating and looking for clues, while in most other Columbo movies he doesn't really feel and act like a police-man but more like a noisy, smart, observing private detective, like for instance Agatha Christie's Poirot or Miss Marple.

Perhaps it's true that the movie focuses more on the perpetrators than on the Columbo character, even more than usual but I see this as a part of the reason why this movie is different and more original from other Columbo movies, rather than as something that is bad about the movie.

The movie also really benefits from Richard Kiley, who plays a fine role, as Columbo's main suspect. His character carries the movie for quite a large part.

A movie that doesn't follow all of the usual Columbo movie rules but works out fine anyhow thanks to its well written script, that helps to make the movie one of the more original Columbo movies out there.


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