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?


The murder occurs at the delicatessen operated by Tony played by Timothy Carey. In season one, Carey played Bert, the owner of a diner where Columbo would sometimes go for a bowl of chili. See more »


Before the in-studio patio setting, a blonde in a gold quilt-patterned dress passes Columbo left to right. When the camera cuts to a closer shot of Columbo and Ward, the blonde is seen in conversation before breaking off and passing by Columbo, again, left to right. (Other background extras also fall among errors in continuity, but none more prominently.) 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

Columbo vs Kirk
29 March 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I would probably have to say this is my favorite episode of this great series, as both Peter Falk and William Shatner have great chemistry together, and it's very obvious from start to finish that they enjoy each other's company and bring out the best in each other. I know that Shatner has basically become a ham of late, and although I'm not sure he planned for this back in 1976, one can easily see how he set the stage for his future career being one, and how many more fans he's acquired over the years. In this instance, he smugly portrays Ward Fowler, a television detective of all things, who murders a woman named Clare Daley, who he used to have an affair with; it turns out that she's blackmailing him by taking half of what he makes for a reason I don't quite recall, but it has to do with silver certificates. There's a few Columbo familiar faces like Timothy Carey, the unimpressive Shera Danese, and John Finnegan; also watch for Alan Manson and Danny Dayton, who I know from All in the Family(Hank Pivnik). For a good laugh, look for a poor imitation of the shark from Jaws, as this episode takes place on a film set. The best moments are the scenes between Columbo and Fowler, who seem enamored with each other, and constantly compliment each other too; watch for a few very funny scenes, especially when Columbo tries on Fowler's hat and platform shoes, and another good scene is when Fowler records Columbo acting silly on a new fangled and very expensive gizmo called a vcr. The ending is a bit of a letdown, compared to the rest of the show, as Columbo finally gets proof to Fowler's guilt, because he forgot to wipe clean a bullet in the gun he used to murder with. It's also slightly odd the way that Fowler acts guilty through most of the episode, as he must've thought Columbo was too fond of being with a celebrity to think of him as a murderer. Although I mentioned a few aspects which I had a problem with, I wouldn't hesitate to call this my favorite Columbo episode, mainly because the chemistry between Falk and Shatner was very real and entertainingly funny.

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