Columbo: Season 7, Episode 1

Try and Catch Me (21 Nov. 1977)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 978 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 3 critic

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



(teleplay), (teleplay), 3 more credits »
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Episode complete credited cast:
Abigail Mitchell
Martin Hammond
Charles Frank ...
Edmund Galvin
Mary Jackson ...
Jerome Guardino ...
Sergeant Burke
Marie Silva-Alexander ...
Dance Instructor


An aging but successful and wealthy crime fiction writer blames her nephew for the death of her niece. One night she invites her nephew up to the house to sign their wills and then gets to leave and return within a few minutes so she can set up her trap, which is locking him in a sound proof safe. Detective Columbo arrives and suspects the writer of murder but clues are few and far between. Written by Scott Dawson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

writer | nephew | safe | revenge | death | See All (52) »


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Release Date:

21 November 1977 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ruth Gordon was (and still is) the oldest star ever to play the murderer in "Columbo", at age 81 at the time of filming. See more »


When Abigail and Edmund are signing their wills, the lawyer Martin takes Edmund's from his hand and closes it. As the camera turns to a new angle it shows both wills open on the desk, and only then does Edmund close his will and hand it to Martin. See more »


Lt. Columbo: [to his dog] Don't go away, stay.
[Dog runs off]
Lt. Columbo: He's trained.
Abigail Mitchell: I see.
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.
See more »

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User Reviews

One of Columbo's finest moments
20 January 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As others have undoubtedly pointed out, the generic weaknesses in this series tend to be 1) the motivation for the murderer is often insufficient, and 2) the hints are sometime so obscure, it's implausible to think that even Columbo's well-hidden genius would suffice to solve the case. But, in this episode, neither of these issues are weak points. The motivation for the murder is strong and the hints are sufficient, but not too obvious (so that Columbo gets to do some very clever detective work).

Here, the writing, dialog, humor, music, and acting are all top-notch.

The writing couldn't be better. There's never a dull moment.

The dialog is excellent, especially during the interactions between Columbo and the murderer (Ruth Gordon). To take one small example, there is a subtle role reversal when the murderer asks Columbo "one more thing...". Watch closely, since there are a lot of little gems like this.

Television shows from this era that take themselves too seriously---think "Mannix"---have not aged well, so IMHO, reviewers should lighten up when it comes to humor. But, I do have to admit that the humor in Columbo doesn't always hit the mark. However, here there are some true laugh-out-loud moments (the footprint/shoe scene is hilarious and "dog" does some of his best "acting"). Best of all, the humor fits perfectly into the flow, adding to the sum total instead of being a mere distraction or time filler.

Usually, the music in Columbo doesn't make much of an impression on me. This episode is an exception. The music heightens the dramatic scenes and seems to move from background to foreground (and vice-versa) at just the right times.

Peter Falk is in top form and Ruth Gordon is dynamite---it's hard to believe she was 80 years old at the time.

This is television from a different time, when some thought and effort went into each episode (at the opposite extreme is the "reality" drivel that dominates TV today). Of course, it didn't always work. In truth, it failed far more often than it worked. But on those occasions when it did succeed, greatness was possible.

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