Columbo (1971–2003)
14 user 4 critic

A Bird in the Hand... 

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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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)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Repeated "stock footage": The film of two police cars racing to the scene of the second murder in "A Bird In The Hand", swerving around the corner by the liquor store is the same film seen in Columbo: No Time to Die (1992), as police rush to rescue Melissa. These two episodes were originally broadcast during the same year, one after the other. See more »


When Columbo shows Dolores the video playback of the Rolls Royce exploding, a crew member can be clearly seen in front of the car kicking a piece of bodywork (presumably a wing or bonnet section) across the shot. See more »


Because Of You
Music by Dudley Wilkinson
Lyrics by Arthur Hammerstein
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User Reviews

A really good episode, with a lot of twists and turns
28 June 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

There may be the odd unlikeable character, then again I don't think Harold McCain was meant to be particularly likable in the first place, but this is a top notch Columbo episode.

The whole episode is striking to look again, yeah the fashions make you cringe a tad, but the scenery and photography are wonderful. And the score is excellent, especially in the scene of the explosion, which in my opinion was one of the better and more jump-out-of-your-seat moments of the whole episode.

A Bird in the Hand is brilliantly written as well, there is some really nice dialogue between Columbo, Harold and Dolores, and the story is filled with great twists and turns that had me gripped right up the denouncement. The direction is also great.

And the acting is excellent. Peter Falk is exceptional of course as Columbo, while Tyne Daly is terrific as boozy Dolores. Greg Evigan does play a character who isn't so easy to like at first, but he does play him really well, while Leon Singer is a delight as Fernando. Overall, a really good episode and brilliantly written especially. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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