Food critic Paul Gerard, who has been extorting money from restaurant owners in exchange for good reviews, murders one when threatened with exposure.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Eve Plummer
Kanji Ousu
Vittorio Rossi
Larry D. Mann ...
Miss Choy
Antony Alda ...
Mario DeLuca
Todd Martin ...
Sgt. Burke
Fred Holliday ...
Alberto Morin ...
Chef Louis
Jimmy Murphy ...
Charlie (as Jim Murphy)
Carolyn Martin ...
Clair - Lady Cashier
Miyako Kurata ...
1st Geisha


Paul Gerard is a famous gourmet whose books about restaurants can decide the fate of a chef. In his way, Paul is a very powerful man, but Paul is threatened by Vittorio Rossi, the proprietor of a renowned restaurant, and one night, after a fight with Paul, Vittorio is poisoned by a bottle of wine he himself had uncorked. Lt. Columbo begins to investigate and we have no doubt that, between a steak and some Chinese dim sum, he will find out who killed Rossi, his motive, and the way he did it. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

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Plot Keywords:

food critic | food | murder | wine | chef | See All (58) »


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Release Date:

30 January 1978 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


(US dvd)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the few episodes where the murderer attempts to kill Columbo. See more »


The bottle of "Margaux" the nephew brings to the table by Vito's request is incorrect. A "Margaux" is a Bordeaux and would come in a Bordeaux-shaped bottle. The bottle the nephew brings is a Burgundy-shaped bottle. See more »


Albert: Lieutenant, we're behind you, all of us. And I want you to know this: as long as you're on this case, you'll never go hungry.
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This Old Man
Traditional children's marching song.
Heard on sountrack during two restaurant scenes and whistled by Peter Falk.
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User Reviews

A Columbo story that is disappointingly starved of the familiar qualities
25 April 2002 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

Louis Jordan plays a food critic who is blackmailing local restaurateurs into giving him a percentage of their profits in return for favourable television reviews. When one owner tires of the arrangement and threatens to expose him, he is killed off with poisoned wine...

On reflection, this is a rather slowly developed and humourless tale which suffers from a stilted performance from Louis Jordan as the conniving food critic. His best efforts to conjure up the fiendishly plotting villain characterised in the script fail and his scenes with Columbo are consequently indifferent; lacking the typical distinctive charm and vigour.

Additionally, Falk's portrayal of Columbo shows continuing signs of a certain arrogance at the root of the character (evident since "The Last Salute to the Commodore") which grossly conflicts with the strongly-established traits of his seeming absent-mindedness and unassumingness.

There are other more minor quibbles about this story - the pre-murder and actual murder sequences are a little rushed and generally the whole thing could have been done in 70 minutes: the majority of the additional, superfluous sequences which have often contained sufficient comedy and/or revealed detail about the life and personality of Columbo are uncharacteristically moderate.

Two other things to note in the context of the history of the series - this is a rare occasion when Columbo explicitly states that he dislikes the murderer; also, the villain tries to murder Columbo....

A patchy addition to the hugely successful TV series, whose basic premise has significant merits; however, the overlong script and the antagonising performance from Columbo's antagonist are sufficiently off-putting.

13 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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