Columbo: Season 4, Episode 2

Negative Reaction (15 Oct. 1974)

TV Episode  |  Unrated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,077 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 3 critic

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
JoAnna Cameron ...
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


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Release Date:

15 October 1974 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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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 gets a phone call and summons Columbo back into the office. When Columbo comes through the doorway, his tie is outside his collar. In the next shot, however, the tie is completely inside the collar. See more »


Lt. Columbo: I know I've been a pest. I'm just trying to do my job. I won't bother you anymore.
Paul Galesko: Oh, I hope you mean that, Lieutenant. For your sake and for mine.
See more »


Featured in Brilliant But Cancelled (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Well worth watching for Dick Van Dyke!
27 June 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I saw Negative Reaction for two reasons, I love Columbo and I love Dick Van Dyke(Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Diagnosis Murder), so this episode was like a match made in heaven. One or two scenes go on for a little too long, but other than that it is a very solid Columbo outing with a lot going for it. It is striking to look at with great photography and locations, and the music is intense enough. The story is involving and well-rounded off at the end, and the script is well written with enough grit and humour to satisfy, especially the scene with Falk and Van Patten, one of my favourite Columbo moments. And the acting is great, Joyce Van Patten is hilarious and Peter Falk is exceptional as Columbo. But it was Dick Van Dyke who was the biggest surprise, he was wonderful in this episode, it is so different from his other roles. Here he plays a ruthless and conniving villain and he does it so well. Overall, a rock solid episode, with a great if different performance from a comedy legend! 9/10 Bethany Cox

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