Columbo: Season 5, Episode 4

A Matter of Honor (1 Feb. 1976)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 685 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 3 critic

When a famous bullfighter's trusted bookkeeper turns up dead in a bullring, Lt. Columbo suspects murder--with a bull as the murder weapon.



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Title: A Matter of Honor (01 Feb 1976)

A Matter of Honor (01 Feb 1976) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Episode complete credited cast:
Commandante Sanchez (as Pedro Armendariz Jr.)
Curro Rangel
Jorge Rivero ...
Miguel (as Emilio Fernandez)
Enrique Lucero ...
Jaime Delgado
Chambermaid (as Evita Munoz Chachita)
Robert Carricart ...
Hector Rangel
Nina Montoya


Famed matador Luis Montoya is a national hero in Mexico. His ego cannot countenance any blemish on his reputation; so, when one of his best friends witnesses an event that could shatter that reputation and tries to leave Montoya's sphere of influence, the bullfighter acts quickly and decisively with a clever murder. Unfortunately for him, Lieutenant Columbo finds himself stuck in Mexico, and local police ask him to assist in the investigation. Columbo quickly finds that he must take the bull by the horns if he wants to take down a legend like Montoya. Written by Leaper

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Release Date:

1 February 1976 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In "A Matter of Honor", Columbo must give a Mexican police officer his I.D. following a car accident. Columbo's signature can briefly be seen in close-up, clearly showing his full name to be "Lt. Frank Columbo." This is the only time in the show's 35 year history that Columbo's first name was revealed. See more »


When Curro is rescuing Luis, there is a very brief shot of Curro's cape as pink. In the other shots, the cape is red. See more »


Commandant Sanchez: I hope you understand, Luis, that, uh, the lieutenant here is here as my guest. He has no official status.
Luis Montoya: So inquisitive. I find him amusing.
See more »


References Columbo: Troubled Waters (1975) See more »

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Fear is the Key
21 August 2006 | by (brooklyn NY) – See all my reviews

(There are Spoilers) On vacation with his old lady in Mexico Let. Columbo, Peter Falk, gets into a minor fender-bender. Columbo is then forced to leave his car, which has only a slight dent on it,for the weekend to be examined by the local authorities to clear up any local insurance charges. Not willing to leave his car behind and go back to L.a Columbo gets very friendly with local police Commandante Sanchez, Perdro Armendariz, who's a big fan of his by reading about Let. Columbo's exploits as a L.A homicide detective in the local Mexican press.

It just turns out that Commandante Sanchez is involved in investigating a messy accident at the famous Montoya Ranch. One of the workers Hector Rangel, Robert Carrlcart, was gored to death by the ranch's most dangerous bull "Marinero". "Marinero" had earlier put Hector's son the local up and coming star bull fighter Curro, A. Martinez, in the hospital when he also gored him but in the foot not like he did Hector in the chest and upper body that ended up killing him.

The ranch owner the legendary Mexican bull fighter Luis Montoya, Rocardo Montalban, begged Hector not to fight "Marinero" but the bull-headed Hector wouldn't listen. Knowing that his hot-blooded son Curro would go back into the bull ring to have another round with the dangerous bull as soon as he recovered. Hector in an effort to keep his son from getting killed in him wanting to face "Marieno again in the bull ring went to take on bull himself. Something strange happens when Hector readied himself to take on "Marinero". Luis shoots him with a dart gun, loaded with a dose of Choloral Hydrate, from behind getting Hector a bit dozy. This gave "Marinero" all the time he needs, by making Hector an easy and stationary target, to run Hector through and finish him off with his deadly horns.

At first thinking it's was just a terrible accident with a father trying to finish the job that his son started, kill "Marinero" in a bull-fight, Commandante Sanchez is about to file it away as just that an accidental death. Let. Columbo, who's just tagging along for the ride, thinks outer wise and unofficially takes control of the case, to Luis Montoya's great annoyance. Let. Columbo starts to zero in on the circumstances of Hector's death and they all spell premeditated murder.

Being afraid of challenging the legendary Montoya's description of Hector's death, an unfortunate accident, Commandante Sanchez has Let. Columbo, unofficially mind you, take over the case. It's then that Let. Columbo comes up with a number of major inconsistencies that lead straight to Montoya as the murderer of Hector Rangel. With Montoya using the killer bull Marinero" as the murder weapon.

Dogging Luis like a bloodhound Let. Columbo never gives him a moments rest as he constantly pesters him about his whereabouts the day Hector was killed. Coming up with a number of clues that contradicts all of Luis' alibis Let. Columbo drives Louis almost to the point of using his skills as a champion bull-fighter to do in the very aggressive and no BS, Det. Columbo. Commandente Sanchez who at first wouldn't dear to stand up to national hero Luis Montoya sees like Let. Columbo that he's holding something back in his description of the last hours of the life of his good and life-long friend Hector Rangel. Risking his job as a well paid comm-andante in the Mexican Police Commandente Sanchez himself, like Let. Columbo, starts getting under Luis' skin together with the pesky and annoying L.A detective.

It turned out that the brave and heroic champion bull-fighter Luis Montoya turned yellow and chickened out when Curro was attacked and gored by the rampaging bull "Marinero". It turned that Hector, not Luis, coming to his son's rescue. This fact that only Hector knew of Luis' cowardice and would have gladly kept it secret in order the save his friend Luis' reputation, as a fearless man in the bull ring, was what got the hurt and humiliated him. Luis Montoya had to have Hector killed to save his reputation even if he was the only one who know about his freezing up at the sight of danger.

It was only later when Columbo, together with a recovered Curro, tricked Luis Montoya to get into the bull ring with the wild mad, and foaming from the mouth, "Marinero" that he proved just what a gutless coward he is, or became, and at the same time also proved that he was responsible for Hector's murder.

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