Columbo: Season 4, Episode 4

Troubled Waters (9 Feb. 1975)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 1,013 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 3 critic

Lt. Columbo takes a trip to Acapulco, but finds himself on a new case when a used car dealer commits murder on the cruise ship.



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Title: Troubled Waters (09 Feb 1975)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Robert Douglas ...
Dr. Frank Pierce
Capt. Gibbon
Poupée Bocar ...
Artie Podell
Curtis Credel ...
The Magician


Hayden Danziger is on a cruise with his older but much, much richer wife Sylvia. Rosanna Wells is on the same ship, as its singer. Rosanna and Hayden were recently lovers, after which Rosanna began blackmailing Hayden; so, having decided to kill her, he has planned the perfect crime - or so it seems, since Lt. Columbo is cruising on that very same ship and the captain has asked for his help. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

9 February 1975 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (dvd release)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This story deals with a ship loaded with used car dealers. Actor Curtis Credel, who plays the magician, will later become owner and operator of his own used car lot. See more »


When Columbo is talking to the doctor, he asks if there was any bruises on Miss Wells' body, and is told, "No bruises". But Danziger (Robert Vaughn) punched her in the face in her cabin just a few hours earlier, knocking her down. It's unlikely this would have left no bruise. See more »


Lt. Columbo: [Pointing to surgical gloves] Do you know how many pairs of these you have on board?
Doctor Frank Pierce: Uh, no, not offhand.
See more »

Crazy Credits

We gratefully acknowledge the co-operation and courtesies furnished by Princess Cruises and the offices and staff of the Sun Princess. See more »


Referenced in Columbo: A Matter of Honor (1976) See more »


Written by Sid Rubin and Charlie Chavers
Played by ship's band
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the very best Columbo episodes
3 March 2007 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

I am a complete Columbo nut and this is one of my favourite episodes. The murder is very elaborately planned and executed, however, the murderer, Mr Danziger, does make a couple of big mistakes. The first is planting the receipt for the gun in the receipt box of Lloyd Harrington (the pianist and recently dumped boyfriend of the victim Rosanna Wells). The second mistake is to draw the letter L in lipstick on Rosanna Well's mirror, trying to implicate Lloyd H. I think Danziger must have watched too many Agatha Cristie movies! Rosanna Wells died instantly and so could not have written anything.

Having made these mistakes, this makes Columbo suspect that something is afoot. It then becomes clear that whoever is trying to setup Lloyd Harrington, must have had a master key to various parts of the ship. This immediately suggests Danziger himself...

Unsually for a Columbo episode, the murderer's downfall is sheer bad luck. A feather from the pillow he used to muffle the shot sticks to his body, stays on his body even when changing from the steward uniform to his pyjamas and then falls to the ground in the sick-bay. And Columbo is only there to see this feather because he suffers from seasickness.

A lot of people refer to Columbo as "bumbling". I think this is totally wrong. He is really VERY shrewd. Watch Columbo study the pianist's face when they tell the pianist that Rosanna Wells is dead. He is studying the guys reaction. Dean Stockwell does a great job as Lloyd H and his reaction is completely natural as an innocent guy. Columbo likes to give the impression of being absent-minded and bumbling, but this is just a ruse to catch the murderer off-guard. Columbo is a very perceptive man.

The British crew on the ship are excellent. I particularly love the Captain's frustration in Columbo not being able to see that "obviously the pianist committed the crime".

One of the best Columbos. I give it 10/10.

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