Columbo: Season 11, Episode 1

Death Hits the Jackpot (15 Dec. 1991)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 723 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 3 critic

Freddy, a down-on-his-luck photographer in the final stages of a divorce, wins $30 million in the lottery. In order to not share it with his wife before the divorce is finalized, he ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Leon Lamarr
Nancy Brower
Gary Kroeger ...
Freddy Brower
Martha Lamarr
Warren Berlinger ...
Det. Stroller
Antony Ponzini ...
Gregory Lopiccolo
Penny Santon ...
Marilyn Tokuda ...
Brit Lind ...
Trish (as Britt Lind)
Robert Alan Browne ...
Detective Lancer
Daniel Trent ...
Detective Braverman
Donald Craig ...
Peter Schreiner ...
Shane McCabe ...
Meyer McGinty


Freddy, a down-on-his-luck photographer in the final stages of a divorce, wins $30 million in the lottery. In order to not share it with his wife before the divorce is finalized, he arranges for his uncle Leon to cash in the ticket and give Freddy the money after the divorce. But Uncle Leon has ideas of his own... Written by Jerry Milani <>

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Release Date:

15 December 1991 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the third episode in which columbo speaks fluent Italian. See more »


When Leon breaks the watch, he waits for the second hand to stop. This was clearly achieved by freeze-framing, rather than the watch actually stopping. See more »


Columbo: Well, the bad news, ma'am, is that Mr. Lamarr here is going to be arrested for the murder of your husband.
Nancy Brower: Oh, my God. Leon, how could you?
Leon Lamarr: Ha!
Nancy Brower: And what's the good news?
Columbo: That you've just inherited the better part of $24 million after taxes. It wasn't Mr. Lamarr who won the lottery, it was your late husband.
Nancy Brower: [pretending surprise] What?
Columbo: And even though you were in the process of getting a divorce, you were still legally married at the time of the drawing.
Nancy Brower: I get the money?
Columbo: All of it. All of those ...
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User Reviews

Affectionate, amiable detective offering
19 October 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A nice cosy little mystery for Columbo and one of the better revamped TV movies I've watched. So far, this one seems closest to the spirit of the '70s originals, with a rather complicated murder scene and lots of clues for the detective to pick up on. No twists with the formula here, just straightforward detective work.

The delightfully rascally Rip Torn stars as an unscrupulous fellow who takes immediate action when his nephew wins thirty million dollars on the lottery. Due to the guy's soon-to-be ex wife's entitlement to half the sum, he convinces his nephew that he himself will cash in the cheque and pretend to be the winner, and pass on the cash further down the line. Inevitably he bumps his nephew off instead, making it look like an accident, which is where Columbo comes in.

Torn makes for a fine guest star villain. He doesn't really have any big or shouty moments with the crumpled gumshoe, but he exudes an air of quiet menace which works well. Falk acquits himself well with the material and has quite a few comic scenes in the midsection which work well in a gently humorous way. Betsy Palmer (FRIDAY THE 13TH) shows up playing Torn's wife, and there are enough twists and turns along the way to keep viewers enthused. Watch out for the chimp!

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