Columbo: Season 7, Episode 4

How to Dial a Murder (5 Apr. 1978)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 832 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.

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

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

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Cast

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
...
Technician
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Storyline

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


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Release Date:

5 April 1978 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the many movie posters on display in Dr. Mason's house is for the 1940s thriller, "The Suspect", starring Charles Laughton. This is significant, as the structure of "The Suspect" prefigures the formula for "Columbo", presenting us, not only with a killer whose identity is known from the outset, but also a seemingly mild-mannered and polite police detective who befriends the killer and knowingly uses him, rather than a police colleague, as a sounding-board for his various theories about the crime. It is the close relationship between killer and detective thus formed that leads to the resolution of the story. It is not known if William Link and Richard Levinson, creators of "Columbo", ever saw this film, but it was made by Universal, like "Columbo". See more »

Goofs

Trees in the background remain still while tumbleweeds are blown around by high winds. See more »

Quotes

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

References King Kong (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

This Old Man
(uncredited)
Traditional English children's marching song
Whistled by Peter Falk
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User Reviews

 
Doberman's have been known to turn on people
23 February 2014 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Peter Falk matches wits in this episode with Nicol Williamson in this Columbo episode. Williamson is a behavioral psychologist who is an old movie buff. He's hatched a full proof plan so he thinks of killing Dr. Joel Fabiani who was fooling around with his late wife.

It all depends on killer reputation of Doberman Pinchers who Williamson has and has trained to kill on command. Those dogs have been known to turn on people and Williamson has worked out a system of remote control commands where he's not even at the scene of the crime when they are given by him an attack command to turn on Fabiani.

Williamson does make a couple of stupid mistakes that get Lt. Columbo sniffing in his direction. But it's while at the kennel where the two animals are scheduled to be put down where Columbo puts it all together.

You can almost feel sorry for Williamson, the man's not a killer by nature and he was betrayed. Still you love when these clever types are tripped up by a seemingly bumbling Lt. Columbo.

It's the secret of the series.


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