Columbo: Season 6, Episode 1

Fade in to Murder (10 Oct. 1976)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 724 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 3 critic

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


(teleplay), (teleplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Fade in to Murder (10 Oct 1976)

Fade in to Murder (10 Oct 1976) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Episode complete credited cast:
Alan Manson ...
Sid Daley
Lola Albright ...
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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

detective | actor | blackmailer | star | murder | See more »


See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 October 1976 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode starred William Shatner, but also has a minor role for Walter Koenig, both of whom starred throughout the Star Trek series as Captain James Kirk and Pavel Chekov, respectively. See more »


Ward's hand positions, whilst holding the chalk, after drawing the chalk circle on Columbo's back. See more »


Detective Lucerne: Is there anything that doesn't bore you, Clare?
Clare Daley: Yes, silver certificates. I'd paper my bedroom with them.
See more »


References Jaws (1975) See more »


"This Old Man' (uncredited)
Traditional English children's counting folk song.
Hummed by Peter Falk while in Shatner's dressing room.
See more »

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User Reviews

Good last Bernard L. Kowalski Columbo movie.
9 August 2008 | by (Groningen, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Bernard L. Kowalski was probably the most consistent director out of all the Columbo movie directors. His Columbo movies are not necessarily the best (though "Columbo: Death Lends a Hand" is still one of my favorite Columbo movies) but his ones are always really solid and bring out the best of the classic successful Columbo formula. It's probably also the reason why they let him direct so many Columbo movies in the '70's, with this movie as his last Columbo movie.

3 years after his Star Trek buddy Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner also plays in a Columbo movie, as the killer as well. He's not as good as Leonard Nimoy in it but of course still plays the role well enough. William Shatner is actually a really stiff actor. He doesn't seem to move a muscle when he's delivering his lines and when it does so it feels very forced, in a B-movie kind of way. It makes him mostly such a cult-favorite but of course at the same time is also the same reason why he has never really starred in any big Hollywood productions and is mostly an actor who is doing his work for TV productions. He and Peter Falk have some great interaction together in their sequences. Lt. Columbo as always manages to get close to his suspect and gains his trust, by letting him think he is helping Columbo with the case this time.

The movie has a well written plot, with a cleverly executed murder and it uses some nice settings. This time Columbo has to snoop around the set of a popular police series, in which the William Shatner plays the main part and of course soon becomes Lt. Columbo's prime suspect. It luckily isn't one of the longest Columbo episodes though, since it also just isn't the most interesting one.

Nothing too special, just simply one fine executed Columbo movie entry and a great example of why the Columbo formula was such a great and successful one.


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