Columbo (1971–2003)
7.8/10
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How to Dial a Murder 

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

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(teleplay by), (story by) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Dr. Eric Mason
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Joanne Nicholls
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Dr. Charles Hunter
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Dr. Ernie Garrison
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Miss Cochran - the dog trainer
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Officer Stein
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Technician (as Fred J. Gordon)
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Storyline

Dr. Eric Mason is a self-controlled man who teaches how to get control over one's own life. Six months earlier, his wife died suddenly in an inexplicable car accident. Now his best friend, Dr. Charles Hunter, dies when Eric's two Doberman pinschers, Laurel and Hardy, suddenly tear him apart in Eric's kitchen while Eric is away. Lt. Columbo love dogs and needs to figure out what happened before Laurel and Hardy are put down and Dr. Mason gets away with murder. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia / revised by statmanjeff

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Release Date:

5 April 1978 (USA)  »

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(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

Maybe it wasn't well known in 1978, but chocolate is poisonous to dogs. Dr. Mason offering his dogs chocolate treats may be his way of deliberately trying to poison and kill them. This fact is either not understood or not pointed out. In that he afterward eats one of the treats himself says that he didn't lace them with anything stronger than chocolate. 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 The Adventurer (1917) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
One episode with a twist!
23 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This Columbo episode is about dogs who kill on command. British actor Nicol Williamson plays a doctor is better known for his role as Hamlet in 1968 production. Another British born actress and better known for her role as Samantha on Sex and the City, the actress Kim Cattrall in an early performance at a very young age is also in a supporting role. Anyway, St. Elsewhere's Ed Begley Jr. has a small role as a police officer. Anyway, the episode is a Columbo favorite because it has film references around. Of course, Peter Falk's Columbo has become like an old family friend with great stories and interest in anything whether psychiatry, dogs, or movies. The ending is also brilliant with a twist and of course, Columbo catches his man in this case.


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