Columbo: Season 3, Episode 5

Publish or Perish (18 Jan. 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 833 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 5 critic

A publisher hires a bomb enthusiast to murder a bestselling author of sex novels. Lt. Columbo is on the case.



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Title: Publish or Perish (18 Jan 1974)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Riley Greenleaf
Mickey Spillane ...
Alan Mallory
Eileen McRae
Jeffrey Neal
John Davis Chandler ...
Eddie Kane (as John Chandler)
Lou D'Allessandro
David Chase
Sgt. Young
Ted Gehring ...
Security Guard
Vern Rowe ...
Restaurant Manager
Lew Palter ...
Lab Technician
George Brenlin ...
J.S. Johnson ...


Riley Greenleaf is a publisher and Alan Mallory, a successful writer, is his principal asset. But Alan Mallory has decided to change publishers. Riley threatens to kill Alan. Then he hires Eddie Kane, a Vietnam veteran, to murder Alan and to leave evidence that the killer is Riley himself, who has an excellent alibi. But a key will betray him. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

18 January 1974 (USA)  »

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(dvd release)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Columbo enthusiastically refers to Bette Davis' acting abilities. Peter Falk won an Oscar nomination co-starring with Davis in Pocketful of Miracles (1961). See more »


Eddie Kane mentions a "Bouncing Betty" to Riley Greenleaf, but when asked what it is, he describes an ordinary landmine. See more »


Restaurant Manager: Your check, Lt.
Lieutenant Columbo: Six dollars! Excuse me, err... no I think there's a mistake, I had the chilli and the iced tea.
Restaurant Manager: Oh.
[makes alterations on check]
Lieutenant Columbo: Six seventy-five?
Restaurant Manager: I forgot to add the iced tea.
See more »

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User Reviews

Compelling Columbo adventure
11 August 2004 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

Jack Cassidy gives an unquestionably energetic and gritty performance in his second Columbo adventure as a murderer, which oddly mirrors the theme of fictional writing that marked his previous appearance in "Murder By the Book."

Cassidy plays Riley Greenleaf, a revengeful publisher who sees his best writer (ironically played by real-life author Mickey Spillane) poached from under his nose. So he hires an unstable bomb specialist, Eddie Kane, to murder him and leave evidence at the scene to give the impression that somebody is trying to frame Greenleaf, whilst the latter goes on a drinking spree to give himself a cast-iron alibi when the murder is committed. Greenleaf then tries to pin the murder on Edddie Kane...

A really clever, expertly written and holding mystery, which slips in some very key evidence (literally) at the end. The script is tightly structured and put together in a very professional fashion, typified by the strength of Greenleaf's alibi which makes things very difficult for Columbo all the way through, coupled with the undoubted composure of Cassidy's character, who is continually plotting in a distinctly unruffled fashion, long after the first murder has been committed.

To my mind, a very high calibre Columbo story; stylish, well-handled and not telegraphed with the predictability that has weakened some potentially top-notch Columbo adventures.

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