Columbo (1971–2003)
29 user 4 critic

Identity Crisis 

A top CIA operative commits murder the way only a brilliant spy can, never guessing he'll have to contend with a man like Lt. Columbo.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Otis Young ...
Lawrence Melville
Geronimo / "A.J. Henderson"
Phil Corrigan
Salvatore Defonte
William Mims ...
Gallery Attendant
Coroner Anderson
Cliff Carnell ...
Photo Shop Man
Edward Bach ...
Angela May ...


Nelson Brenner, a top CIA operative, is really a double agent who finds it necessary to rid himself of a fellow spy and make it look like a mugging. Brenner inadvertently leaves tiny clues in a photo shop at a carnival, on Brenner's corpse at the beach, in a tape recording he makes while in his Agency-approved identity as a speech-writing consultant - the kind of clues that no one would ever pick up on. No one, that is, except the rumpled, redoubtable Lt. Columbo. The indefatigable detective will find himself followed by mysterious agents, visited by the top man himself and entertained with a recording of "Madame Butterfly" in Brenner's own mansion before solving this difficult case. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

agent | cia | spy | murder | mansion | See All (92) »


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Release Date:

2 November 1975 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Director and co-star Patrick Mcgoohan's first turn at directing an episode of Columbo. He also directed episode 6 of the same season and stared in another episode, 1974's "By Dawn's Early Light", directed by Harvey Hart. This epidode co-stars Bruce Kirby; "By Dawn's Early Light" co-stars Kirby's son Bruno. See more »


Columbo visits Brenner in his house and the two are seated on the patio. Just before Columbo leaves, Brenner holds a matchbox in his left hand and taps it with the fingers of his right hand. When they shake hands the matchbox is lying on the table. Then Brennan tells Columbo that he would show him out and he still has the matchbox in his left hand tapping it with the fingers of the right hand. See more »


Geronimo/A.J. Henderson: Double-agents don't go broke. They die sometimes but they don't go broke.
Nelson Brenner: Oh, come along now. That theory about my being a double agent? Now, you know there's no fact in it.
Geronimo/A.J. Henderson: The agency doesn't deal in facts, only in rumors, and I have a lot more than rumors, Nelson.
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References Secret Agent X-9 (1945) See more »


Un bel di vedremo
from Madama Butterfly
Composed by Giacomo Puccini
Heard over the End Credits
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User Reviews

McGoohan resurrects the secret agent for one last outing
25 August 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Leslie Nielsen dying in the first few minutes tells you that this is going to be a good TV film after all! However he does get to accompany McGoohan at the funfair first. McGoohan's portrayal of a cynical killer who is kind to little girls takes us all right back to those gallant Danger Man days! Then he even has the nerve to deliver the line "Be Seeing You" repeatedly, a farewell to his Prisoner devotees? What a star! Peter Falk shuffles in and you know even McGoohan's time is limited but what a lot he packs in first! McGoohan even gets to do his favourite 'pretending to be a very old man' party-piece. As other reviewers have said, an excellent piece with many strands. Columbo was always great but some episodes were brilliant. The only criticism of this one would be that even Columbo would never have caught this guy!

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