Columbo: Season 8, Episode 2

Murder, Smoke and Shadows (27 Feb. 1989)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 906 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 4 critic

An egocentric wunderkind director murders a childhood friend who threatens to expose his negligent complicity in the death of his sister years earlier.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Alex Bradey
Ruth 'Ruthie' Jernigan
Rose Walker
Leonard Fisher
Mr. Marosco
Jerome Guardino ...
Elizabeth Ruscio ...
Phil Crossette
Gayle Harbor ...
Avner Garbi ...
Meg James ...
Tour Guide


This time Columbo pits his wits against a movie director who murders an old friend on a set, because this friend is in possession of a damaging piece of film, on which the actress died and isn't helped by the movie director. Written by Maarten Hofman <>

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Release Date:

27 February 1989 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Columbo tells him the victim is his friend Lenny, Alex puts his glasses up to his forehead. He later moves the glasses back on his nose, but in the next shot from behind the glasses are still on his forehead. See more »


Alex Bradey: Coincidence is what makes a story, Lieutenant. Without coincidence, life runs evenly like a train on a track. Coincidence is a trainwreck, violence, suffering, and guilt.
See more »


References Lady Godiva of Coventry (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

A fun Columbo
8 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A Steven Spielberg type director murders an old friend who has uncovered the director's murder of a young woman years earlier. Columbo investigates, and we are treated to him walking around a studio and spending time in this young man's opulent dressing room, complete with a soda fountain. Columbo, of course, helps himself to a sundae.

This is one of the better "comeback" Columbos of the '80s and early '90s, with a delightful performance by Fisher Stevens as the director, who, despite a childlike quality is a total jerk. Nan Martin and Molly Hagen also turn in good performances.

There's a rumor that Steven Spielberg ghost-directed this episode. Hard to know, but the director does seem to have been modeled on him - not the murder part, though.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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