Mark Collier is a psychiatrist and Nadia Donner is a patient of his. Mark is also Nadia's lover and his main concern is for a book he is writing. When Nadia and Mark are caught by her husband, Mark kills him with a poker. When the police arrive Nadia tells an unlikely story about two robbers. But will Lt. Columbo believe her? Written by
Baldinotto da Pistoia
This is one of the few Columbo episodes where the original murder is a spontaneous act. In most episodes the murder is carefully planned. See more »
As Columbo questions Nadia one day after the murder, he lights his cigar with Dr. Collier's lighter. He then holds his cigar and his notebook in his right hand. As Dr. Collier crosses from the sofa to a chair, Columbo transfers his notebook to his left hand, at which point his cigar completely disappears. See more »
Strong material, the usual formula and good performances
Dr Mark Collier is psychiatrist and Nadia Donner is one of his patients. As well as this she is also the subject for his upcoming book and his lover, despite being married. When Collier goes to visit Nadia he is confronted by her husband who threatens to ruin him by exposing the affair with a patient as well as Collier's drug use. A struggle ensues and Collier kills the husband with one swift blow from a poker. Realising what they have done Collier and Nadia come up with a story about two burglars breaking in, after which Collier slips away. Columbo gets the call and, although her story has some merit, he cannot help but see some holes in Nadia's description of events.
Having seen so many of the Columbo films it is always a nice surprise for me to stumble onto one I've not seen before. So it was with this one which I vaguely recall from childhood but mustn't have seen in decades. I must admit a certain bias to the Columbo formula (as well as Perry Mason) because when I was a kid my father worked from home and took breaks to watch these series on afternoon TV so, although I think they are great TV treats I do have reasons other than the films themselves. Here everything is pretty much to formula. The murder is one of instinct rather than careful planning but other than that the usual block are all in place. Those crying "entrapment" and picking holes will find plenty to criticise here but personally I found the plot really well built if you go along with it. Although there is less time available for Columbo's investigation than normal, it is still engaging and fun to watch him pick away, right down to the usual trap at the end.
The cast have fun and, as is often the case, the film is made by the lead pair. Falk wears Columbo like a second skin and is as good as always, making it look so easy to be unimpressive on the outside and sharp as a knife on the inside. Hamilton is a strong opponent for Falk and has the arrogance that many of the best guests have. They work well off one another and they bring the best out of the material. Support is good from Warren and a slightly larger than normal turn from Kirby.
Overall an enjoyable Columbo that does everything you would expect from the series. The formula is all in place with good material and both Falk and Hamilton step up into it working well individually and together. Fans will like it and others might be won over by it.
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