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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 October 1974 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


(dvd release)

Sound Mix:



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 »


Sgt. Hoffman handing the ransom note, photo to Columbo, Columbo, "What happened? "

Sgt, Hoffman, "Careful how you handle this. Lab guys are on the way."

What does Columbo do, bare handles, very roughly, the ransom note, going so far as pushing his finger on the photo pointing something out.

So much for fingerprints.

Why not just say, "The lab boys are here or been here, no finger prints on these." See more »


Captain Sampson: Columbo, why... why are you wasting your time with this?
Lt. Columbo: Because it bothers me, and I couldn't sleep, and, uh, I kept thinking about it!
See more »


Featured in Brilliant But Cancelled (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

fab Columbo with a dramatic turn by a comedy master
12 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Dick Van Dyke is a photographer whose artistry gets in the way of the murder of his wife in "Negative Reaction," an excellent Columbo episode. Van Dyke is married to Antoinette Bower, who is such a bitch, Van Dyke doesn't care if he gets caught for murdering her or not. Nevertheless, he goes to great lengths to set things up perfectly. But he doesn't count on the man in the raincoat.

There is a hilarious bit in which Columbo goes to a soup kitchen to try to find a homeless man who witnessed the murder of Van Dyke's accomplice, whom Van Dyke has also killed. The well-meaning nun, beautifully portrayed by Joyce van Patten, gives Columbo some soup and tries to find him another coat, believing him a bum! I dearly love Falk as Columbo, and this is a great episode where he unmasks a murderer who was just a little too artistic for his own good.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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