Columbo (1971–2003)
11 user 4 critic

Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health 

Lt. Columbo investigates a self-proclaimed security expert turned crime show host for the murder of a rival with incriminating evidence of pornography.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Wade Anders
Budd Clarke
Maxine Jarrett (as Penny Johnson)
Henry Santos
Marie Chambers ...
Sergeant Lewis
Patricia Allison ...
Jack Tate ...
Barbara Baylor
Michael Russo ...
Duke Dimarco


Wade Anders is the host of a popular television show. Budd Clarke was the one who was originally suppose to be the host of the show but Anders did a hatchet job on him and got it. Clarke discovers that Anders once did a porno movie with an underage actress and is threatening to expose this unless Anders resigns thus paving the way for him to take over the show that he believes is rightfully his. Anders then doctors some cigarettes and replaces chain smoker Clarke's and Clarke smokes them and dies. Anders then steals the evidence that Clarke had on him. Columbo then comes in to investigate and discover a few inconsistencies. Written by <>

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Release Date:

20 February 1991 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Columbo's car is a 1959 Peugeot Model 403 convertible. See more »


The floppy disc that Wade takes from his office is different than the one he uses to plant the story on Budd's computer. The disc, when he first takes it, has about 5 stories written on the label with a blank line between each title. When he takes it out of his pocket at Budd's house, there are more titles written on the label with no blank lines between them. See more »


Columbo: [on set for a TV award ceremony] Can you tell me something? Is Roseanne Barr here?
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Spoofs Debbie Does Dallas (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

Good Columbo plot and formula covers up dreadful writing.
1 May 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Like the other reviewers, I generally enjoyed this episode, which pretty much sticks to formula and has a decent murder plot with lots of real sleuthing for the good detective to figure out. However, there were two aspects that I think really kept it from being great - neither of which anyone else has mentioned. Firstly, I never was a great George Hamilton fan. Not only did his crazy tanning efforts totally disfigure his truly handsome face of the early years, he simply was not a very good actor. I think he was more truthful than humble when he said that he was a movie star, not an actor. There are none of the subtle changes in facial expressions and tone that the true stars like McGoohan and Cassidy implemented so well. He either smiles to Columbo, or loses his temper. There are none of the subtle in-between expressions, where you smile while indicating irritation or discomfort. Secondly, I thought the writing was dreadful. I have a simple test for the quality of a Columbo episode: see how many enjoyable quotes there are. The great ones had tons of funny quips about Columbo's quirks, and subtle hints by the detective that revealed his train of thought and suspicions. This movie had exactly one decent line (which I submitted to the site), when the victim chokingly states he can't breath, and Anders quips, 'I told you those things will kill ya.' There was not a single other line that I could rate as even half decent. All attempts at humor, which usually add so much to this series, were dreadful here, such as the infantile and overly extended scene where Columbo crashes into Anders' car, or the one where he picks up 'dog' from the pedicure, or when he asks about the cost of Anders' shirt and wonders why his own shirt is so much cheaper even though it 'travelled just as far.' Pullease. Can professional writers do no better than that? Finally, as in many late Columbos, instead of making the detective sound quirky and old-fashioned, it makes him speak like an old dimwit, who explains everything as if to a three year old - such as the demonstration with the typewriter pages being pulled out, or when showing Anders the cigarette butts. It just makes you wince. In this episode, it is the overall plot and the old Columbo formula that saves matters and makes it enjoyable - despite all its faults.

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