Columbo (1971–2003)
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Death Hits the Jackpot 

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
Det. Jack Stroller
Antony Ponzini ...
Gregory Lopiccolo
Penny Santon ...
Marilyn Tokuda ...
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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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The champagne that George Brower stocks his refrigerator with is the exact same brand that the murderer from the previous episode, Columbo: Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star (1991) stocked his refrigerators with. 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: You know, on second thought, maybe I oughta have our old car repainted. Jack, it's 25 years. I oughta do something special.
Jack: Your car or her car?
Columbo: I didn't hear that.
See more »


Followed by Columbo: A Trace of Murder (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Not really buying it
14 June 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The best Columbos depend on the interaction between the detective and the murderer. They also depend on the intricacy of the plot - usually the murderer puts together a elaborate charade and we get to watch Columbo gradually pull it apart by tugging a thread here and a thread there.

The supporting cast in this Columbo is not very strong - a bunch of no-name actors and Rip Torn. We really need Torn to carry the episode. But he doesn't pull it off. It's not entirely his fault. But partly it is.

His accent is grating. Is this his natural accent? But worse is the general blandness of the plot. And then, inexplicably, he's having an affair with his nephew's wife. The writing completely fails to motivate this affair. Why is this woman having an affair with a man nearly twice her age? And of all the much older men to hook up with, her husband's uncle? It's not like Rip Torn is exuding charm towards her. It's just unconvincing.

The whole story doesn't make sense. The nephew doesn't have the cash to pay his rent, but he spends $500 on a case of champagne?

The biggest problem is the lack of chemistry between Falk and Torn. There are two ways the Columbo mysteries work. The most common way is for the culprit to think that Columbo is just an idiot, and then the episode enjoys Falk playing the fool. Occasionally the culprit realizes Columbo is a genius, and the two have a good game of cat- and-mouse.

Torn does neither. He treats Columbo as an annoyance that he wants to avoid. While this is a realistic strategy, it doesn't make for a very entertaining mystery.

And then the story ends out of the blue, with very little in the lead-up that suggests that Columbo has anything close to evidence. Boom, it's over. Oh well. Torn's talent was wasted and nobody else looked capable of contributing much.

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