Columbo: Season 11, Episode 3

A Bird in the Hand... (22 Nov. 1992)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 609 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 3 critic

Harold likes to gamble, but as a rule he loses and he is heavily in debt. His uncle is the famous Big Fred who is the owner of a football team and he is a millionaire. But Harold can't get ... See full summary »



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Title: A Bird in the Hand... (22 Nov 1992)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Harold McCain
Lt. Robertson (as Frank Mc Rae)
Fernando (as Leon Singer)
Mr. Hacker
Big Fred
Casino Manager
G.F. Smith ...
Carol Swarbrick ...
Casino Waitress
Ed McCready ...
John Petlock ...
Medical Examiner
Joel Beeson ...
Kay Perry ...


Harold likes to gamble, but as a rule he loses and he is heavily in debt. His uncle is the famous Big Fred who is the owner of a football team and he is a millionaire. But Harold can't get a dime from him. So Harold decides to kill his uncle by a pipe bomb under his car. He is not surprised when he is told Big Fred is dead. He is surprised however that the death is due to a road accident. He rushes to his uncle's house and he finds Lt. Columbo getting excited about the car with the bomb... Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

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Release Date:

22 November 1992 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The football footage which shows two mock American football teams are excerpts from an actual Canadian Football League game shot in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Edmonton Eskimos. See more »


Rags To Riches
Written by Richard Adler & Jerry Ross
Performed by Tony Bennett
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User Reviews

A really well written Columbo entry.
25 October 2008 | by (Groningen, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

It could be just me but I though that this was a wonderfully written Columbo movie. It's the type of story that would had also worked out for a regular movie thriller. The movie offers plenty of twists and surprises in it and slightly differs from the usual Columbo formula.

Of course in a way all Columbo movies are mostly predictable, since they are basically all the same. This movie perfectly plays around with this. Every time you think something is going to happen in that way, it happens in a totally different way. Even the murder(s) within this movie occurs in an unexpected way. What the movie does well is building up its tension. It's really thanks to the movie its very well written script that this movie works out so solidly, despite being somewhat different from the usual successful Columbo formula.

It isn't really thanks to the acting though that this movie works out so well. Greg Evigan is really one horrible actor, who is terribly overacting within this movie. Luckily the movie still features Tyne Daly who plays a real good and also fun role. There also are some solid supporting actors within this movie, such as Don S. Davis, Steve Forrest and Frank McRae. Of course Peter Falk is also in good form again, although he really looked quite old in this movie. It's perhaps also maybe true that he isn't as much in this movie as in most other Columbo movie entries. This movie just also focus a lot on the interaction between the Tyne Daly and Greg Evigan, which pushes Lt. Columbo a bit to the background at times but of course he still has plenty of screen time and he does all of the usual things and investigations and interrogations you expect to see him do.

Despite not sticking entirely to the formula, the movie still features all of the right required Columbo movie ingredients, such as its comedy. It makes this movie also real pleasant and fun to watch.

Director Vincent McEveety directed quite a few Columbo movies in the '90's and it doesn't seem like a coincidence that some of his movies are among the best Columbo movies of the '90's. His movies always slightly differ from the usual Columbo movie entries, which often make them unexpected as well as original and also perfectly watchable movies for those who aren't really familiar with the Columbo-series.

A real recommendable Columbo movie entry.


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