Columbo (1971–2003)
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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)  »

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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 »


The morning after Harold places the pipe bomb on the car he is shown lying in bed on his back (from a top down camera angle). The phone rings and the camera angle switches to a side shot and he is now lying on his right side. No time had passed to allow him to switch positions. See more »


Followed by Columbo: Butterfly in Shades of Grey (1993) See more »


Rags To Riches
Written by Richard Adler & Jerry Ross
Performed by Tony Bennett
See more »

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User Reviews

Tyne Daly steals every scene in which she appears
21 January 2006 | by (Camilla, GA) – See all my reviews

Emmy winner Tyne Daly guest stars as the boozy wife of Steve Forrest, the rich owner of a floundering football team. Greg Evigan plays Forrest's nephew, a gambler that has bet against the team in a pivotal game. Evigan's character is also having a secret affair with Daly. Unfortunately, for Evigan, a last ditch effort by the often-injured quarterback secures the team a playoff berth, ruining Evigan's plans to clean up. Thus, he plans to do away with "Big Fred" (Forrest), hoping that his uncle's demise will improve his chances of paying off his debts and solidify his relationship with Daly.

Unlike other "Columbo" films, this one has a few more twists and turns, making it engaging all the way through until the denouement. Falk, as usual, is excellent with his befuddled manner, shabby outfit, and "Oh, just one more thing..." delivery.

Dick Benedictus delivers another masterful score.

Another highlight is an impressive explosion midway during the film.

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