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 ...
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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Plot Keywords:

alibi | spa | barbell | police | murder | See All (85) »


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Release Date:

15 September 1974 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD release)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Robert Conrad was born Conrad Falk. Peter Falk is, of course, Columbo. No relation to one another. See more »


After Columbo is Informed That Lewis Lacy Has Been Terminated by The Receptionist, he Calls The Contact Number & The Answering Machine States That he is Away From His Desk...Not Something You Would Have on a Home Answering Machine... See more »


Columbo: I stopped by your place. Your housekeeper told me you were down here swimming.
Milo: Twenty minutes a day. You ought to try it, Columbo.
Columbo: No, I'm afraid not, sir. I can't swim. I don't even like a deep tub.
See more »

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

Energetically done, if slightly overlong Columbo story
11 September 2005 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

Robert Conrad gives a coldly effective performance as Milo Janus, an owner of a chain of health spas who is conning the franchisees by getting them to purchase over-priced items from companies he actually owns. When one franchisee latches onto Janus's scheme and threatens to expose him, Janus murders him...

The script gets a little immersed in various secondary characters around the half-way mark and the episode could easily have been condensed. Nevertheless, the murder/made-to-look-like an accident scenario is excellent, the increasingly bitter relationship between Columbo and Janus (the hospital scene where Columbo chastises Janus is unique) is well-portrayed and there is some really good conversational waffle from Columbo.

The ending has provoked much debate for years; for me the actual reasoning is fine, but the script-writer stretches credibility in the way it is triggered in Columbo's mind.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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