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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Cast

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

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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1 February 1976 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In "A Matter of Honor", Columbo talks about Columbo: Troubled Waters (1975) with the local police chief in Mexico, referring to it modestly as the time he got seasick. Columbo learns that the case has made him a hero in Mexico, where all of the newspapers reported how he solved the murder at sea. Columbo's fame from "Troubled Waters" is probably what saves him from getting his car permanently confiscated after his traffic accident in "A Matter of Honor". See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Commandant Sanchez: A bull like Marinaro, how much he worth?
Luis Montoya: $8,000 - more with inflation.
Lt. Columbo: Seems like a valuable piece of property to destroy without permission.
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Connections

Features The Hour of Truth (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Columbo investigates a murder in a bullring; Ricardo Montalban plays in something more watchable than "Fantasy Island"; the audience gets an adequate time-filler
5 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Luis Montoya (Ricardo Montalban) is an ex-bullfighter, renowned throughout Mexico for his courage in the ring. His trusted bookkeeper, Hector Rangel (Robert Carricart), has a son (A Martinez) who is also a bullfighter. The son was recently gored in the ring and sent to the hospital. Montoya and the elder Rangel were both at this bullfight, and something happens that neither can ever forget. When days later, Rangel ends up dead in the bullring, it looks as if he tried to revenge his son on the bull by fighting it alone. Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) of the Los Angeles police department, on vacation with his wife in Tijuana, is persuaded to investigate the case by Commandante Sanchez (Pedro Armendáriz). Our rumpled, redoubtable detective notices things that lead him to suspect murder—with a bull as the murder weapon.

Columbo's official trip to London ("Dagger of the Mind"), his vacation on a cruise ship to Acapulco ("Troubled Waters") and now his trip to Tijuana, all have lead him into investigating tricky crimes. No matter where he goes, rich and famous people are trying to pull off the perfect murder.

This is the first time that any direct reference is made to another episode. Commandante Sanchez is familiar with the case in "Troubled Waters," which is why he asks Columbo to join him on this one. Acknowledging earlier episodes is a mistake. It requires a great suspension of disbelief to accept that a single L.A. police lieutenant would ever encounter more than one of these high profile cases in a lifetime; or that any one of them wouldn't earn him fame and an instant promotion. The best way to pull this off is to pretend that each case is unique and that none of the others really happened. To me, every "Columbo" exists in its own alternate universe.

Having Columbo investigate a murder in a Mexican bullring is one of several novelties the series tried around this time. It's odd that the more this show departs from its strict formula, the more it seems like a conventional TV show. There's nothing particularly wrong with this episode; it just feels like a hundred other TV time-passers. Also, by this point in the series, the show had begun to look and sound more conventional anyway. Gone are the weird visual flourishes, like the murder cover-up that is presented to us in Robert Culp's eyeglasses (" Death Lends a Hand."); and gone is the psychedelic music from Billy Goldenberg.

Still, the scenes where Peter Falk plays cat-and-mouse with the guest villain-of-the-month are invariably entertaining, even in the weakest episodes. And it's nice to see Ricardo Montalban in something more watchable than "Fantasy Island."


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