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 889 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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(teleplay), (story), 2 more credits »
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Title: How to Dial a Murder (05 Apr 1978)

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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
Fred J. Gordon ...
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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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

Dr. Mason addresses Columbo as "Lieutenant" when they first see each other at the crime scene, even though they hadn't met yet. Then the detective introduces himself as Lieutenant Columbo. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Columbo: Who knows what goes on in the head of a dog?
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Connections

References You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Williamson is good, but don't say 'Rosebud'.
4 January 2003 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

British actor, Nicol Williamson, as the guest murderer, earns his transatlantic paycheck in this fine story. As always with Columbo, the culprit is rich, resourceful and highly intelligent, and Williamson's take on the character, a motivational psychologist, is detailed and meticulous. It may not be his finest screen performance (check out The Bofors Gun and Inadmissible Evidence), but he makes a worthy foil to Falk.

The story has some interesting cultural asides, such as L.A.'s burgeoning self-help craze of the 70's, and the cult of the movies, particularly Citizen Kane; something which proves to be both the killer's murder weapon and his eventual undoing.

The only let-down is the somewhat low-key ending. I would have preferred more of a flourish from both actors, but it wasn't really in the script for them.

Over all, it's an intelligent and interesting movie. Patrick Williams' ethereal/ominous music (woodwinds and low strings) is rather good, and which, once or twice, quotes a fragment of Bernie Herrmann's Psycho score; why? For the hell of it. And why not?


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