Columbo: Season 4, Episode 5

Playback (2 Mar. 1975)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 966 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 3 critic

A gadget-happy inventor murders his mother-in-law; Lt. Columbo is on the case.

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, (as Booker T. Bradshaw) , 2 more credits »
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Title: Playback (02 Mar 1975)

Playback (02 Mar 1975) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
Harold Van Wick
...
Elizabeth Van Wick
...
Arthur Meadis
...
Francine
...
Margaret Meadis
...
Baxter (as Herb Jefferson Jr.)
Trisha Noble ...
Marcy
Bart Burns ...
Thompson
...
Officer Banks
Joe Ohar ...
Attendant (as Joe O'Har)
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Storyline

Electronics expert Harold Van Wick has wired his estate-home with closed-circuit television cameras and video recorders. His costly fascination with gadgetry raises the ire of his frugal mother-in-law, who owns the firm where Van Wick is the chief executive. She orders him to resign, threatening to reveal his philandering ways discovered by her private detective, but Van Wick has already set in motion a scheme to murder his angry mother-in-law, recording her demise on video tape while feeding a recording of an empty study to the guard monitoring the estate's rooms on television screens at the gate to the Van Wick estate. Having already forced open a window and planted footprints outside it to make the kill look like the deed of a burglar, Van Wick timer-sets the recording of the murder to play while he is away at a social function, thus giving him an alibi. But Lieutenant Columbo - that super-smart detective in a rumpled raincoat - suspects Van Wick and asks incessant questions as he ... Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

2 March 1975 (USA)  »

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands starred in A Woman Under The Influence released the same year as this episode. See more »

Goofs

A gunshot (both during the murder and during Columbo's re-enactment) causes the bedroom door to open, but does not cause the folding room-divider doors to close, despite being much closer. See more »

Quotes

Francine: Marcy, have you been smoking something awful?
Marcy: We have a customer with a cigar.
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Connections

Referenced in Remington Steele: Stronger Than Steele (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Ballade No.1 in g-minor, op.23
(uncredited)
Written by Frédéric Chopin
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User Reviews

 
Electronics expert murders his mother-in-law to retain possession of the family business.
7 May 2006 | by (Massachusetts, United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of the better "Columbo" episodes. Oskar Werner is excellent as Harold van Wyck. The company name is "Midas Electronics." The previous reviewer misspelled that. Van Wyck is an inventor ahead of his time. The gadgets portrayed are now everyday things so someone on the production staff did a bit of research in '74 when the episode was filmed. It was originally broadcast during the spring of '75. Van Wyck is a complex genius as the character shows. He clearly enjoys creating the new "inventions." But, he is no saint in that he does apparently like the ladies, and has several extra marital relationships going on. The acting is excellent from an excellent cast. Martha Scott as the mother-in-law is suitably nasty as the company owner out for profit over ideas. Gena Rowlands is, as usual, equally good. This episode of "Columbo" is a rarity. It is the only work done by Oskar Werner on American television.


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