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 755 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 »


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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?


Sid's comb-over hairstyle is a little windswept from one camera angle, but not others, as Columbo is speaking to him beside the "Jaws" shark pool. See more »


Lieutenant Columbo: I sometimes have a funny effect on people, being a police lieutenant. At least I hope that's what it is.
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

Duel of Champions
30 December 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

For Lieutenant Columbo this case must have been like looking through the mirror because he was facing a TV creation here. Of course the elegant, dapper, white suited Lt. Lucerne is so unlike the working class hero that Peter Falk made so immortal.

Our murderer here is William Shatner who as Columbo with his usual dogged style keeps seeking his company and getting bit by bit of information, goes in and out of his TV character. It also turns out that his name of Ward Fowler is also a pretense and he didn't just change it for stage purposes.

I won't reveal the reason, but it's why Lola Albright who was the producer of Shatner's TV show is murdered in a plot that predates the Mark Wahlberg film Four Brothers where Fionula Flanagan is killed during a convenience store holdup. She was also involved with Shatner at one time, but now she's blackmailing him and sucking him dry. It's all she has because husband Alan Manson is out stepping with Shera Danese.

I agree with another reviewer that the solution does come out of the left field bleachers, but the best thing that this Columbo episode has going for it are the scenes of Shatner and Falk together. A real duel of champions.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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