Columbo (1971–2003)
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An Exercise in Fatality 

A health club owner murders one of his franchisees. Lt. Columbo is on the case.


(as Bernard Kowalski)


(teleplay by), (story by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Gretchen Corbett ...
Jessica Conroy
Buddy Castle (as Pat Harrington)
Ruth Stafford (as Collin Wilcox)
Gene Stafford
Jude Farese ...
Darrell Zwerling ...
Lewis D. Lacey
Dennis Robertson ...
Raymond O'Keefe ...
Sgt. Rickets
Medical Examiner
Eric Mason ...
J.R. Clark ...
Harry Lassiter (as J. R. Clark)
Mel Stevens ...
Dr. Freeman
Manuel DePina ...


Milo Janus owns a chain of health clubs, but one of his franchisees discovers the man is cheating him - and can prove it to the authorities. Janus responds by murdering his partner and making it look as if he had accidentally killed himself trying to lift a barbell that was too heavy for him. Janus creates a would-be perfect alibi for himself involving a tape recording of his victim's voice, a phone that doesn't light up, a sexy secretary, a party for friends at his house, and a pornographic horror movie. But no alibi is perfect when the rumpled Lt. Columbo is on the case. Written by J. Spurlin

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Release Date:

15 September 1974 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Lewis D. Lacey was born on December 2, 1920. He began working at Tri-Con on August 23, 1961 and was terminated on June 12, 1974. See more »


(at about 18 minutes in) Just after Columbo arrives at the crime scene, on his way to to Stanford's office, he walks down a corridor. In the end room you see a chair is visible in the distance. Somebody is hiding behind it, and ducks down as Columbo approaches. See more »


Buddy Castle: Listen, if I had any scruples, do you think I'd be in this racket?
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Crazy Credits

During the end credits the usual theme music is not heard. In its place is a jingle for the fictional Milo Janus fitness club instead. See more »


References The Rockford Files (1974) See more »


Stout-Hearted Men
Music by Sigmund Romberg (1928)
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Instrumental variation heard satirically whilst Columbo (Peter Falk) is jogging.
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User Reviews

A great detective
28 August 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I think the thing that makes Columbo such a compelling series is that as the audience you see the murder. Then what makes Columbo so fascinating is that while you see the murder you do not see the mistakes that the murderer makes so you can actually be surprised as the murderer is when mistake after mistake is unravelled by Columbo. In this episode what was extra compelling was that the murderer really tried to take Columbo on. He was not trying to solve the case with him, he was indulging Columbo instead he was making it very clear that Columbo was an irritant. Then finally when confronted he still tried to front it out (The can you prove it scenario) until at the very last Columbo provided that proof. I liked this episode a lot and I only wish I had it on DVD so I could replay the moment the murderer got his. Excellent stuff.

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