Columbo (1971–2003)
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Columbo Goes to the Guillotine 

An egocentric psychic murders his old mentor, a magician charged to expose him as fraud, by beheading him while he's rehearsing his guillotine trick.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
James Greene ...
Dana Andersen ...
Sgt. Russo
Colonel Eckherdt
Milt Kogan ...
Medical Examiner
Rob Garrison ...
Young Man
Polygraph Operator
Lenny Hicks ...


Famous (and fraudulent) psychic Elliot Blake uses his old mentalist skills to live a lavish lifestyle at the expense of a psychic research institute and hopefully, the US Government. What seems at first like a threat, a test devised by a well-known magician and debunker of psychics, turns out to be his chance for revenge against his former mentor. What he can't foresee is a police lieutenant who knows all the tricks. Written by Mark Cabot Robinson

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Release Date:

6 February 1989 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Tommy does the card trick for Columbo in the magic shop he holds the deck a bit too high for the camera angle - you can see that, in fact, the entire deck is made up of Aces of Diamonds. See more »


When the magician demonstrates the guillotine to Columbo for the first time, he has Columbo lay down on the bench and he puts the wooden collar over his neck. He then lowers the inside track from horizontal ("safe" position) to perpendicular so the blade can come down. After the blade drops he removes the collar, but the track is back in the horizontal position without him putting it back to "safe". See more »


Medical Examiner: [talking to a reporter] Both doors were locked from the inside. Freight elevator, locked. The door to the stairs, locked. The safety bolt over there, it's hangin' from its chain, I mean, the guy obviously screwed up. I'm gonna give you this one as an accident and you can count on it.
[Columbo picks up guillotine collar from the floor]
Medical Examiner: Hey, that was off when I got here.
Lt. Columbo: It was off when I got here, too.
Medical Examiner: [to reporter] I mean, it could have been a suicide, but whoever heard of a suicide with a ...
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User Reviews

A welcome return
23 September 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

COLUMBO GOES TO THE GUILLOTINE is the first of the revamped shows that saw Peter Falk returning to the famous role of Lieutenant Columbo after an eleven-year break from the role. And it's business as usual for the crumpled detective, as he goes after a psychic who may or may not be involved with the murder of a magician and professional debunker.

The script offers an uneasy combination of psychic-busting thrills with more traditional magician fare. The influences are clear; the delightful Anthony Zerbe stars in a role that's obviously modelled on James Randi, the real-life debunker who made a living of exposing fraud. The villain of the piece is BRIDESHEAD REVISITED's Anthony Andrews, delivering a fun plummy character who Columbo has to get to grips with.

COLUMBO GOES TO THE GUILLOTINE is notable for featuring a particularly gruesome murder and a rather exciting denouement for the star. Falk is on assured form and the only thing missing is a hefty dose of the comedy that I particularly love from this show.

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