Columbo: Season 9, Episode 3

Agenda for Murder (10 Feb. 1990)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 635 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 3 critic

This time Columbo is put on a murder that was made to look like a suicide. However, he notices some loose ends, and asks a lawyer and a governor to clear these problems up.



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Title: Agenda for Murder (10 Feb 1990)

Agenda for Murder (10 Feb 1990) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Mackey
Frank Staplin
Penny Fuller ...
Mrs. Finch
Anne Haney ...
Tim Haines
Toby Ritt
Arthur Hill ...
The Governor
Michael Goldfinger ...
Laundry Truck Driver
Annie Stewart ...
Rebecca Christy
Carol Barbee ...
Security Man #1


Oscar Finch is a lawyer, who uses illegal and underhanded methods to get his clients off, like coercing young men into destroying evidence, like Paul Mackey who worked for the D.A.'s office twenty years ago and whom he bribed into destroying some evidence against a client of his. Today they are joined at the hip and Mackey is a congressman and who has been asked by the Governor who is running for president to be his vice president. Finch hopes that this will mean a cabinet position for him. Finch is then contacted by Frank Staplin, the client that Mackey helped get off twenty years ago. Now unless Finch helps Frank again, he will tell everyone that Finch and Mackey were the ones who helped him avoid prosecution twenty years ago. Finch then kills him and makes it look like a suicide. But a few inconsistencies lead Lt. Columbo to believe that it was not and the fact that Staplin made a few phone calls to Finch before he died leads Columbo to see him. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

10 February 1990 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Last film of Arthur Hill. See more »


Immediately after the murder when the killer puts his yellow gloves on, the dead victim in the background is breathing. See more »


Oscar Finch: He didn't have a hope in hell, so I told the guy to get lost. And, boy, did he ever.
See more »


References Singin' in the Rain (1952) See more »


Mystery Movie Theme
by Mike Post
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User Reviews

It restores your faith in the new Columbo movies
17 October 2006 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

The effervescent Patrick McGoohan plays a Columbo murderer for the third time (and does a directorial turn to boot), as he depicts the hitherto untouchable lawyer, Oscar Finch, whose past comes back to haunt him in the form a notorious racketeer, Frank Staplin, who threatens to expose a 21 year old scandal in which Finch bribed the District Attorney at the time, Paul Mackey (who is now running for Vice President) to discard vital evidence that would have had severe consequences for Staplin.

McGoohan's performance deservedly won him an Emmy - McGoohan encapsulates the "charm" of a Columbo villain effortlessly with a crisp, precise and purposeful portrayal, tinged with a mild eccentricity, ensuring that his scenes with Falk have a razor-sharp entertainment value.

The script-writer, Jeffrey Bloom, also ensures that the vital commodity of humour is inserted at several well-timed moments in this TV movie, and like the 1973 episode from the original Columbo series "Candiadate for Crime", Columbo's intrusions with key personnel become increasingly antagonising as the presidential campaign reaches it's climax.

Satisfying as a whole, the episode is really only guilty of losing some its initial zest and pace around its mid-section when some of the investigation becomes a little drawn-out as the discussion of the clues becomes deliberately selective and individualised.

The resolution is totally unexpected and it astounds the murderer and viewer in equal measure: a devilishly clever element to a largely solid, well-made adventure for Columbo, which is probably one of the most polished stories of Columbo's latter-day movies.

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

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