Columbo (1971–2003)
33 user 4 critic

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


| (DVD release)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although Robert Conrad's birth name was Conrad Falk, he was not related to Peter Falk (Lt. Columbo). See more »


When Columbo is speaking with Milo Janus in his office after he's been doing exercise his tracksuit is all sweaty, but when they meet in the corridor a moment later it is clean. 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 »


This Old Man
Traditional English children's song
Sung by Peter Falk on beach
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User Reviews

Does Columbo's clue prove guilt or innocence?
27 March 2006 | by (California) – See all my reviews

*****This contains Spoilers*****

Overall, I really enjoy watching this episode. Both Falk and Conrad play well off one another. But this comment concerns the shoe evidence that trips up (no pun intended) the murderer's alibi. Columbo explains in detail how someone else had tied the victim's shoe laces on his gym shoes. He explains how when right handed people tie their shoes the big loop of the lace ends up over the same toe every time. However, the victim's gym shoe laces show the big loop over the opposite toe; which conflicts with the way his work shoes were tied. Proving that someone killed the victim and then dressed him in his gym clothes and tied the gym shoes from the opposite direction; and by the killer's sworn statement he said the victim told him he had already changed his clothes. This leads Columbo to the conclusion that the killer couldn't have known the victim was in his gym clothes unless he was the one that changed the clothes. Now, as logic goes, that's not a bad supposition. However, in one of the earlier scenes the victim is seen writing with his left hand; which by Columbo's reasoning would conclude that the victim tied his own gym shoes. Seems like all the killer would've had to do was to tell Columbo that bit of news.

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