Columbo: Season 5, Episode 5

Now You See Him (29 Feb. 1976)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 996 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 3 critic

A stage illusionist kills his employer and makes it look like a contract killing; it's up to Lt. Columbo to trick the master trickster.



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Title: Now You See Him (29 Feb 1976)

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Episode complete credited cast:
The Great Santini
Sgt. John J. Wilson
Harry Blandford
George Sperdakos ...
Redmond Gleeson ...
George Thomas
Patrick Culliton ...
Robert Gibbons ...
Michael Payne ...


The Great Santini, a successful Los Angeles night-club illusionist, is really an ex-Nazi named Stefan Mueller. When his employer, Jesse Jerome, threatens to reveal his true identity to the Israeli government, Santini kills Jerome in a cleverly conceived scheme to commit the crime while in the process of performing an act on stage, in which he is bound by chains and submerged in a tank. Lieutenant Columbo, the cheaply dressed yet extremely intelligent detective from the LAPD's Homicide Division, arrives to investigate Jerome's murder and instantly suspects Santini. Columbo patronizingly pursues Santini with incessant questions while searching for a clue to prove Santini's guilt and to dispel the illusionist's "perfect" crime. Written by Kevin McCorry <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

29 February 1976 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In what appears to be pure coincidence, given the timing, the main character of this segment is named The Great Santini, the title of Pat Conroy's autobiographical novel published the same year, later made into a film starring Robert Duvall. See more »


The building The Great Santini is performing his show is the same building (or only the facade) where Edna Basket Browns funeral celebration takes place ("Swan Song") and the manager tries to sell Columbo a funeral plan. See more »


Rogers: Handmade. Two special baffles. I figured as much when I saw the key. That's why I can't figure out how it happened.
Lt. Columbo: How WHAT happened?
Rogers: This lock was picked.
Lt. Columbo: Are you sure?
Rogers: Take a look. Now, you see those scratches? Somebody picked it open with a thin piece of steel. Impossible - but it happened.
See more »


References Charade (1963) See more »


Music by Henry Mancini
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Sung by cabaret singer and incorporated into the background score
See more »

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User Reviews

The Magical Jack Cassidy!
14 April 2004 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

Sadly, this was Jack Cassidy's third and final outing as a Columbo villain, in a episode made not long before his tragic death in a housefire. Here he is just as effective as before as he perfectly conveys the wholesesome villainy and cold-bloodedness of his characterisation - a stiff jaw, humourless and stern-faced expressions, hard-hitting and economical use of dialogue, a piercing focus of the eyes and simmering arrogance that is often forced out of him.

All in all, Cassidy's contribution aside, this is a entertaining, well-produced and watchable addition to the series., with some interesting insights into the world of magic, accompanied by some typically robust forms of deduction (the creases/sweat on the back of the victim's shirt being an obvious example).

There are, as you might expect, some strong scenes between Falk and Cassidy; particularly memorable ones are when Columbo challenges Cassidy's character to escape from the former's handcuffs, and at the finale -

Santini (Cassidy) says: "..And I thought I had performed the perfect murder..." Columbo (Falk) says: "....there is no such thing...that is just an illusion!"

A very good standard Columbo, made at a time when original scripts were becoming increasingly difficult to conceive.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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