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?


In a scene where William Shatner's character walks across the back lot of the TV studio the hull of the PT Boat PT-73 from the TV show McHale's Navy (1962 -1966) can briefly be seen in the background. See more »


While watching the baseball game, Mark downs the drugged drink from the glass Fowler gives him, drinking till the glass is empty. After he passes out, Fowler takes his glass from him and places it on the table with the drink still in it. 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

As with most Columbo mysteries, very enjoyable
9 March 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Columbo is one of my favourite TV series of all time, and once again Fade in To Murder is a solid and very enjoyable episode. I like Fade in To Murder especially for one of the most cleverly executed murders in Columbo history, the fact that the murderer leaves evidence, clues and questions helping Columbo in a sense, and the scenes between Columbo and Fowler which are very dynamic. What I didn't quite like so much was that was final solution was a little underwhelming, I liked Shatner's final line but other than that the ending could have done with a stronger build-up and at the end of the day considering how well-executed the murder itself was it felt somewhat amateurish introducing the incriminating clue that wasn't even mentioned until then.

However, it is slickly filmed, with everything looking beautiful especially the settings, the dialogue amuses and the story is clever and interesting a vast majority of the time. Pacing is solid and Kowalski's direction shows why he was one of the more consistent directors of the show. Peter Falk is as always brilliant as Columbo, playing with humour, an inquisitive air and cunning. William Shatner, whose performance is better than in Butterfly in Shades of Grey(an episode I was mixed on and I wasn't crazy about Shatner in it), can be seen as hammy and a little stiff at times, but considering the ego of his character and the story concept it works.

All in all, very enjoyable and a solid entry in one of the all-time great detective series. 8/10 Bethany Cox

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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