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


After the murder has taken place and we cut to Columbo crashing into another car there is a commotion and naturely Columbo goes and checks on the person in the other car. The man obviously is faking whip-lash and demands money. Columbo realises immediatley whats going on and says " what broken neck, we were only going 10 miles an hour. Seconds after that remark, Columbo again states how ridiculous the situation is because he was going only 5 miles an hour. See more »


Columbo questions Miguel saying to him, "I understand sir that you were the only one on the ranch at the time of the murder." At the time of this statement, everyone thought the death was an accident and the word "murder" should have been quite a surprise to Miguel. But his answer was, "Yes sir, you're right." It should have been more like "What murder? It was an accident!" See more »


Miguel: But the patrón was kind enough to give me a bottle of mescal, and I had a very pleasant afternoon, but today I have a headache, señor.
See more »


References Columbo: Troubled Waters (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

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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