An egotistical but successful star of a TV detective show murders his blackmailing producer and makes it look like a robbery.


(teleplay by), (teleplay by) (as Peter Feibleman) | 3 more credits »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Alan Manson ...
Sid Daley
Clare Daley
Danny Dayton ...
Tony (as Timothy Agoglia Carey)
Sgt. Johnson
Assistant Director (as J.P. Finnegan)
Jimmy Joyce ...
Camera Operator
Frank Emmett Baxter ...
Walter Gray
Fred Draper ...
Joseph (first scene, flubbed line)


Ward Fowler is an actor of a soap opera and his character is Detective Lucerne. His producer is Claire Daley, once his lover and now his blackmailer. Fowler decides to kill Claire and to do in such a way as to accuse her husband. Lt. Columbo begins to investigate and he is helped by Detective Lucerne who at a certain moment suspects the actor Fowler... Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

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Release Date:

10 October 1976 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Tony's Deli, where Ward Fowler commits his crime, is next door to Lovejoy's Antiques which can be seen in season 2 episode 7, The Most Dangerous Match. The chess players in that episode, Clayton & Dudek, meet at a restaurant on the night before their match. It must be in the same row of shops as Tony's Deli. See more »


Ward and Mark watch a televised Dodgers baseball game. Though it's night, the live game occurs on a bright sunny day. See more »


Lieutenant Columbo: I sometimes have a silly effect on people. You know what I mean, just being a police lieutenant. You know, uh... At least I hope that's why.
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References Jaws (1975) See more »


This Old Man
Traditional English children's counting folk song.
[Sung without words by Columbo (Peter Falk) while walking towards Fowler's dressing room.]
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User Reviews

One of my favorites
1 November 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is an interesting Columbo episode, and quite different from some of the other episodes. At times it appears a bit more light- hearted than usual, but what really makes it unique is the interplay between the two lead characters, Columbo and the guest star. It was a special treat seeing two of my favorite actors on screen together, and they had a great chemistry. William Shatner plays a character who is playing a character, and Peter Falk plays Columbo in the usual endearing way, though what makes this episode different is that the two characters really hit it off. Now, if you've watched enough Columbo episodes, it becomes clear that it is part of Columbo's style as a cop to pretend to befriend suspects. He does this so that he can lull them into a false sense of security. But in this episode, Columbo really does have genuine affection for Ward Fowler, and the two characters become so enamored with each other, that there are some very slashy undertones, which is not something that is usual for a Columbo episode. It's clear that Columbo comes to really care for Ward Fowler, and Fowler feels the same about him. This is really what makes the episode so good. Also, the allusions to Shatner's real life with the character of Fowler wearing lifts and heeled shoes to appear taller on screen and also dealing with weight fluctuations was a nice touch. All in all, it's a very enjoyable episode and one in which Shatner's haminess is very contained and when it does surface, plays very well with the Fowler/Lucerne characters he portrays in this episode.

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