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?


In this episode Columbo admits that his wife is a lousy cook. See more »


When Columbo re-enacts the death of Vittorio with Mario and Albert, he uncorks a wine bottle with the gadget. He leaves the gadget with the cork on the table but takes the tray with knives to a chest of drawers where he discovers canceled checks in one of the drawers. He then takes the same tray back to the table, but now he also carries the gadget with the cork in his left hand. See more »


Lt. Columbo: Sorry, Mr. Gerard, but I can't let you get away with it.
Paul Gerard: What?
Lt. Columbo: Your recipe. You didn't think I'd remember, did you? It's onion sauce.
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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

Jonathan Demme directs - not too shabby!
23 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Both Steven Spielberg and Jonathan Demme cut their teeth on Columbo. This is a particularly good episode that sports not only Demme directing but an excellent script by Robert Van Scoyck, an award winning writer who wrote episodes for Columbo, Ellery Queen, Banacek, and other shows.

Louis Jourdan is the murderer du jour in this one, playing a blackmailing restaurant reviewer who collects big time from some of the local establishments, owned by France Nuyen, Michael Gazzo, and others, in return for good TV reviews. Shera Danese, Falk's then new wife, plays Jourdan's associate, who's in love with him but isn't getting very far. One of the restaurant owners has had enough and threatens to expose Jourdan, so he poisons him over dinner. Columbo pegs Jourdan within minutes of getting to the scene. At this writing, the dialogue at the end of the show is on the home page for this episode, and I hope it's removed. We all know who did it, but learning how Columbo reached his conclusion is a lot of the fun.

It's a strange thing about these shows. When you see them as often as I have, you realize that a lot of the shows are based on the same formula: successful man using a woman accomplice with the promise of love unlimited, and yet the shows are presented in such an interesting way that they're not tired. This is a particularly good one, and you'll love Columbo eating his way through restaurant after restaurant while questioning people, and his conversation in Italian with an employee. Basta!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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