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 943 users  
Reviews: 16 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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Technical Specs


(dvd release)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


If you pay attention to piano being played in the bar you will notice that its the exact same music used as a theme in the previous film starring Jack Cassidy Columbo: Murder by the Book (1971). See more »


(at around 37 mins) The camera pans the high rise where Riley Greenleaf's office is located. The episode (and the series) is set in the Los Angeles area, but the high rise pictured is the Bank of America world headquarters in San Francisco (featuring the black marble "Banker's Heart" sculpture in the plaza in front of the building) located at California and Kearny Streets. See more »


Mrs. Morgan: [to an apparently drunk Greenleaf] Sir, in your condition I should call the police.
Riley Greenleaf: [sarcastically] Madame, in your condition, i'd call a plastic surgeon.
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the better directed Columbo movies.
18 May 2008 | by (Groningen, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Of course basically all of the Columbo movies are more or less the same and they mostly can distinct itself mainly through its directing. This is one of the better directed Columbo movies and its made with lots of pace and style.

It's a Columbo movie that got made with a lot of class. It features cinematic tricks such as split-screens and also the cinematography is not just only static.

But director Robert Butler also knows how to handle its actors. Peter Falk is in good form in his Columbo role, who acts more in a police role this time than perhaps is the case in any other Columbo movie. Jack Cassidy also plays a good role as the movie its main suspect. Columbo movies almost always featured famous actors in the role of the key suspect. Jack Cassidy is not the best known actors of this bunch but he has played some good roles throughout his career, including a role in the previous Columbo movie "Columbo: Murder by the Book", directed by Steven Spielberg.

The main suspect in this movie uses a very original tactic. He tries to make himself look as suspicious as possible at first, by leaving clues and leaving suspicious statements, even though he himself did not commit the murder but hired someone for it to do it.

The approach and its actual story and the way it progresses also makes this a good and special Columbo movie to watch, that provides plenty of entertainment value. It also has plenty of twists and turns in it, although it of course also all remains rather predictable for most part till some extend.

One that's among the better ones of the Columbo movies.


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