A successful mystery writer suspects her niece's husband murdered her, and she exacts revenge by asphyxiating him in her house safe.



(teleplay by), (teleplay by) | 3 more credits »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Abigail Mitchell
Martin Hammond
Charles Frank ...
Edmund Galvin
Mary Jackson ...
Jerome Guardino ...
Marie Silva-Alexander ...
Dance Instructor


An aging but successful and wealthy crime fiction writer blames the death of her niece on the girl's husband. One night she invites him up to the house to sign their wills before getting him to leave and return within a few minutes so she can spring a trap (locking him in her soundproof safe). Detective Columbo arrives and suspects the writer of murder but clues are few and far between. Written by Scott Dawson <sdawson@easynet.co.uk>

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Plot Keywords:

writer | safe | revenge | death | detective | See All (59) »


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Release Date:

21 November 1977 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The ship shown as Abigail Mitchell and Veronica prepare to depart on their cruise is the American President Lines vessel SS President Wilson. Sold to CY Tung's Orient Overseas Line in mid-1973, some four years before this episode aired, she was renamed Oriental Empress and given a brand-new livery. The fact that her much earlier American President Lines livery is seen in this episode indicates that this was actually stock footage. See more »


When Abigail and Edmund are signing their wills, Abigail holds Edmund's will open with her left hand, while Edmund's will overlaps Abigail's. When the scene changes to an overhead shot, Abigail is no longer holding open Edmund's will, and neither will overlaps the other. See more »


Abigail Mitchell: [about Columbo's basset hound] Is he all right?
Lt. Columbo: Well, yes, ma'am. Do you see something wrong?
Abigail Mitchell: He seems to be scraping bottom.
Lt. Columbo: Well, that's the way they were made.
See more »


References Gone with the Wind (1939) See more »


This Old Man
Traditional English children's marching song
[First two lines played by Peter Falk on piano. Later he whistles it.]
See more »

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User Reviews

Simply one of the best Columbos
22 April 2003 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

A top notch Columbo from beginning to end. I particularly like the interaction between Columbo and the killer, Ruth Gordon.

As an avid Columbo fan, I can't recall another one in which he doesn't set up the killer at the end as he does in other episodes. In this one, as he's trying to determine the correct sequence of the boxes and the "message" that the nephew left behind, it finally dawns on him.

The music in this episode is very good as well, as it is in many of other ones.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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