Columbo: Season 5, Episode 5

Now You See Him (29 Feb. 1976)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 885 users  
Reviews: 18 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 ...
Danny Green
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 <>

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Release Date:

29 February 1976 (USA)  »

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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 »


When Santini is about to do the vase-on-the-table trick for the woman in the hat, the babies' breath portion of the bouquet is visible just behind the table. You can see that the woman is holding the vase down while Jack Cassidy holds the napkin up and she then places the vase on the table. See more »


Lt. Columbo: Now, when the cube is in the water tank, you're not really in that cube, right?
Santini: Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Lt. Columbo: It's not that I want you to give away any professional secrets.
Santini: My dear friend, I'd rather confess to a murder than to do THAT.
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 Great Columbo vs. The Great Santini
3 April 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Columbo has always been one of my favourites, and Now You See Him... while not quite among my absolute favourites is still a very good episode. It has lovely locations and the editing and photography are as slick as ever. The music also adds much to the atmosphere. The story is diverting in concept right from the well-constructed murder and never lets go. The ending is clever and satisfying if not going off like fireworks like Suitable For Framing or A Stitch in Crime did. The script is tense and clever with bits of humour that doesn't feel jarring. Now You See Him... is beautifully directed too. Of the support cast, it was interesting to see Nehemiah Persoff and Robert Loggia, but neither don't have that much to do really. I have to say though Bob Dishy has a role that is much better written than his role in The Greenhouse Jungle(which I liked but remember it for Ray Milland than anything else) and it shows, he really makes the most of it. I was most impressed by Cynthia Sikes, very beautiful and she can act. But it is the two leads that dominate. Peter Falk is brilliant as Columbo, while Jack Cassidy(one of the series' most justifiably most frequent and memorable guest stars) is wonderfully and smug. While Publish and Perish is my personal favourite of his three episodes(Murder By the Book is great too), my personal favourite performance of his in the Columbo series is here. In conclusion, a very good, no scratch that, great Columbo. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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