Columbo: Season 8, Episode 3

Sex and the Married Detective (3 Apr. 1989)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 687 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 4 critic

When a successful sex therapist with a best selling book and a hit TV show is crushed to learn her business partner/lover is cheating on her, she plots appropriate revenge.



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Title: Sex and the Married Detective (03 Apr 1989)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Joan Allenby
Dr. Simon Ward
Dr. Walter Neff
Marge Redmond ...
Helen Hendrix
David Kincaid
Pierrino Mascarino ...
Tuba Player
Sergeant Burke
Leeza Vinnichenko ...
Cleaning Woman
Susan Gibney ...
Peter Wise ...
Airline Clerk


This time Columbo has to deal with a passion crime by a sex therapist. As usual, this completely new environment to Columbo is an opportunity for him to show off more unusual talents, as well as pit his wit against an opponent who is well versed in the psychology that he himself uses so well. Written by Maarten Hofman <>

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Release Date:

3 April 1989 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Equipment can be seen moving back and forth in a reflection from the desk of Dr Joan Allanby, in the scene where Allanby is in her office with David Kincaid just after the start of the film. See more »


Dr. Joan: Do you think less of me?
Lt. Columbo: Ma'am, I'm just a policeman. Judging people... that's all up to someone else, but I have to say that I've enjoyed our talks very much, and I think I do understand.
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User Reviews

So-so entry in the series that is lacking in too many areas but might still do for fans
25 September 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Dr Joan Allenby is a successful sex therapist whose book and radio show has captured the imagination of free-minded Americans. In her own love life things are great with lover Simon Ward but, when a cancelled flight sees her return home unexpectedly, she learns that Ward is seeing another woman. Planning her revenge, Allenby offers to act out a fantasy of being a call girl for Ward. Meeting him in a bar in a wig and provocative clothes she gets the dual benefit of enticing him while also convincing witnesses that Ward paid a woman for sex. Back in his room she shoots him and then slips back to a corporate party unseen to keep her alibi up. Columbo is put on the case and starts to follow up the leads, although he can't help but be interested in the world of sexual therapy that he is suddenly exposed to and something about Allenby and the murder just doesn't ring true.

As with many TV film series (such as Perry Mason), if you like one or two of them then you'll pretty much like them all. This entry in the Columbo series pretty much follows the usual formula – we know the killer and the "perfect" plan but then watch Columbo follow his hunch and gradually starts to pick holes in the story he is told before eventually finding enough to prove his suspicions. Saying this is not a spoiler – it is simply what happens in all the films. With this strict adherence to formula it is usually down to several factors whether or not the Columbo film stands out or if it is just average. With this film though, I wasn't sure what I was going to get because this is the first of the "new" Columbo's that I had seen and I wasn't sure if it was going to be a good thing or not. The opening set-up to the crime doesn't have the feel of a Columbo film but it is more down to the feel and look of the film rather than the material. The plot unfolds as per formula but the comic asides (the tuba etc) don't fit in very well and they tend to break up the development of the case.

Part of the problem is the direction of the actors and the performances themselves. Falk appears to be playing Columbo rather than being Columbo; it is a difficult distinction to describe but it is occasionally quite off-putting and this is far from being his best performance (I'm not sure if this is the case with all the modern films). Crouse is pretty average, both by herself and also in her ability to play off Falk. She is all a bit bland and certainly not the flamboyant and eccentric type of character that the story suggested she would be. Support is roundly unimpressive except for a nice turn from the barman with a good eye. The direction of the film is so-so but the weakest place is the music – it is seedy and unimaginative and lacks the class that the delivery of the series in the 1970's had.

Overall this has just about enough going for it to keep Columbo fans happy but don't think for a minute that this is of the standard of the series made in the seventies because it isn't. The delivery is off, the plot is OK but the additions don't always work and, surprisingly, the performances are not all they could be and even Falk seems to be lacking something in his delivery.

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