Columbo: Season 7, Episode 4

How to Dial a Murder (5 Apr. 1978)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 907 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 4 critic

A behavioral psychologist whose wife died under suspicious circumstances trains his dogs to kill on command using a telephone.



(teleplay), (story), 2 more credits »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

On TV: Peabody Award Winners

The list of entertainment winners for the 74th Annual Peabody Awards was revealed this week, and Comedy Central's "Inside Amy Schumer," FX's "Fargo," and HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" are among the honorees. Read the IMDbTV Blog for the full list of winners!

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 6602 titles
created 01 Jan 2012
a list of 311 titles
created 15 Dec 2012
a list of 2628 titles
created 16 Apr 2013
a list of 25 titles
created 15 Nov 2013
a list of 3504 titles
created 10 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: How to Dial a Murder (05 Apr 1978)

How to Dial a Murder (05 Apr 1978) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Columbo.
« Previous Episode | 43 of 68 Episodes | Next Episode »


Episode cast overview:
Dr. Eric Mason
Joanne Nicholls
Joel Fabiani ...
Dr. Charles Hunter
Dr. Garrison
Tricia O'Neil ...
Mrs. Cochran - the dog trainer
Officer Stein
Fred J. Gordon ...


Dr. Eric Mason is a self-controlled man and he teaches how to get control over one's own life. His wife died suddenly because of an inexplicable accident and his best friend is Dr. Garrison, or so it seems. Eric has two dogs and his two Doberman pinschers will be his arms to kill Dr. Garrison. But Lt. Columbo love dogs... Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 April 1978 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the movie "Citizen Kane" the sled named "Rosebud" was destroyed in an incinerator. See more »


When Dr. Charles Hunter (Charlie) is on the phone at the house saying "Rosebud", the Boom Mic shadow is very apparent moving up and down on the wall above the telephone. See more »


Lt. Columbo: [trying to trigger the attack word for the dogs] Kill! Kiss! Diamonds! Rubies! Sneakers!
See more »


References King Kong (1933) See more »


This Old Man
Traditional English children's marching song
Whistled by Peter Falk
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Columbo learns about movies
9 April 2005 | by (Odense, Denmark) – See all my reviews

A very good, and above average, Columbo episode. This is caused by that it makes small variations from the classic scheme. The motive of the murder isn't present at the beginning, which is something, that really improves the movie. Columbo is playing up against Dr. Eric Mason (nicely played by Nicol Williamson), who doesn't loose his temper as much as the characters that Columbo previously met.

The third main character, Joanne Nicholls, should have a special mention, since she is not only played extremely well - by Kim Cattrall, later of "Sex And The City" fame (however her role in this movie is the complete opposite, a true romantic who has her teddy bear as her true companion) - but also that her unbalanced character adds well to the movie plot.

And ad with that, some great incidental music, good directing spots (particularly in a wordless sequence with Columbo and the dog trainer), a generally good script(rarely have I laughed so much in a Columbo movie, and the many references to old movies - particularly Citizen Kane

  • and psychology are well-put and well used), and that Peter Falk seems

in top shape makes it a great movie, and a Columbo classic.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
What actor/actress would you have liked to seen as the villain? KenClement
What about the hottest hunk to appear on Columbo pinwheel333
The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case: Riddle pgadesertfox
Troubled Waters josephturner1975
If Columbo Was Rebooted - Your Choice For Villians Nexusfactor
Columbo blackmailers are really stupid wwwocls
Discuss How to Dial a Murder (1978) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: