Columbo (1971–2003)
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Negative Reaction 

A photographer murders his wife and blames her death on a bungled kidnapping. But Lt. Columbo has an even sharper eye than the Pulitzer Prize winner.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Alvin Deschler
Frances Galesko
Sgt. Hoffman
Lorna McGrath (as Joanna Cameron)
Thomas Dolan
Alice Backes ...
Mrs. Moyland
Harvey Gold ...
Bill Zuckert ...
Capt. Sampson
Adrian Ricard ...
DMV Clerk
Thom Carney ...


Paul Galesko is a famous photographer married to Frances, a nagging woman and a grumbler. Paul is moreover in love with his assistant, Lorna, so he decides to stage a fatal abduction of his wife. Everything seems to go very well to Paul, and the police accept his version of the events, but Lt. Columbo has some doubt. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

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Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 October 1974 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


(dvd release)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Paul Hanlon's distinctive fireplace fan in "Negative Reaction", which was also in Nelson Heyward's house in Columbo: Candidate for Crime (1973). See more »


After positively ID-ing the body of his wife, Galesko requests to ride in the ambulance with her. However her body is not placed in an ambulance, it is a coroner's car. See more »


Sister: [to Columbo in the soup kitchen as she encourages him to have some stew] An empty stomach is the Devil's playground.
See more »


Featured in Brilliant But Cancelled (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Certainly not a negative reaction to this episode!
10 September 2005 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

If Jack Cassidy had starred in this 1974 Columbo story I might have regarded it as the best episode in the entire series; however, Dick Van Dyke does a very good job at portraying a hen-pecked photographer who develops a nastily effective plot to dispose of his wife and implicate a recently-released prisoner.

Virtually flawless in plot and script, Columbo is at his most irritatingly mischievous here as the clues start accumulating in a crisp, well thought-out and well-timed manner (the newspaper clippings which are presented later in the episode is priceless).

As with all vintage Columbo episodes there is wonderful comedy too: Columbo goes to quiz a driving instructor whose car has broken down and he has to give him a lift; the ensuing moments see the driving instructor condemning Columbo's wayward driving to the point of complete and utter intolerance...

The ending is very neat and unpredictable, and is underpinned with significant irony as Columbo's newly-discovered knowledge of photography comes in extremely handy!

10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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