Columbo (1971–2003)
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Strange Bedfellows 

When Graham McVeigh kills his brother and frames a mob bookie for the crime, then kills the bookie and claims self-defense, he finds himself facing trouble from both Columbo and the bookie's superior in the mob.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Graham McVeigh
Teddy McVeigh
Bruno Romano
Lorraine Buchinsky
Sgt. Phil Brindle
William Bogert ...
Randall Thurston
Vincenzo Fortelli
Gerry Gibson ...
Pat O'Connor
Lt. Albert Schiffer
Alex Henteloff ...
Karen Mayo-Chandler ...
Tiffany Keene


Graham McVeigh has had it with his ne'er-do-well brother Teddy who is a degenerate gambler and is in serious debt to his bookie Bruno Romano. He develops an elaborate plan to eliminate both of them by first having Teddy suffer a large loss at the track - Graham drugs his own horse, a sure winner, so it loses - and then framing Bruno for his Teddy's murder. He then arranges for Bruno to come to his house, ostensibly to collect Teddy's losses. He then kills Bruno and claims self defense. Lt. Colombo begins to find a number of anomalies that he simply cannot explained including mice in a restaurant bathroom. He's pretty certain Graham is responsible for both murders but he will need some assistance in order to get a confession out of him. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

8 May 1995 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Columbo complains about the 'clams' he ate the evening before - and is offered 'vongele' by Rod Steiger. This is a direct reference to Rod Steiger's comments in "W C Fields & Me". He always blames 'bad clams' for leaving any production featuring Charlie Chaplin. See more »


When Lt. Columbo is searching the car containing Teddy McVeigh's body, you can very clearly see the murder victim is breathing. See more »


Vincenzo Fortelli: I'll give you a choice. You can walk outta here and never come back, keep your mouth shut; the other choice, I don't think I have to go into a bunch of detail about.
Lieutenant Columbo: You're not gonna kill a police officer?
Vincenzo Fortelli: Wouldn't be the first time.
Graham McVeigh: [after long, pensive stares at McVeigh and Fortelli, Columbo turns and heads out] For God's sake!
Lieutenant Columbo: [Stopping and turning around] I'm sorry sir. They don't pay me enough for this kind of stuff.
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Follows Columbo: No Time to Die (1992) See more »


This Old Man
Traditional children's song
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User Reviews

Dribbles past three defenders only for Wendt's performance to put the ball wide of an open goalmouth
11 December 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Tired of his brother's gambling losses and influence on his life, Graham McVeigh sets it out so that younger Teddy will get in way over his head with bookie Bruno Romano. Graham kills Teddy on a deserted road and then arranges for Romano to come to his house to collect payment – only to kill him and call the police claiming self-defence. His plan is that the police will put the murder on Romano and just close the case. However some cigarette ash in Teddy's car is enough of a problem for Lieutenant Columbo to keep poking his nose in long after Graham had hoped it would all just go away. Meanwhile Romano's mobster boss informs Columbo that it must have been Graham that did the crime and that, either way, he must be punished.

With the last two or three of the new Columbo's I watched the producers (including Falk himself) seemed to be busily trying to do something different from the usual formula – with mixed results it must be said. So with this entry in the series I welcomed the return to the basic cat'n'mouse games that are played between Columbo and his prey while he gradually closes in on them. The film sets up the usual "perfect plan" and then moves ahead from there; it was almost a relief to me to see the formula back in place. The story is a nice one and in some ways the addition of the mobster adds a bit of spice to it but did change the character of Columbo a little bit – would he really just sit and listen to a man threaten murder and just eat soup? Anyway, the story unfolds reasonably well and it does just enough to work as a formula and, although the conclusion lacks logic it is still enjoyably delivered - it is just a shame that the usual strength of the films is a weakness here – namely the performances Well, not performances plural maybe but certainly performance. Wendt is far too boorish and lacking subtlety to convince – it is very much an one-note man and it doesn't lend itself well to the twists and turns within the story. It is a shame because so few of the new Columbo films produce a really good cat n'mouse story and this should have been a good one if not for his very basic turn. Falk is good although I don't think he or the material coped well with the moral complexity that came with technically working with a mobster. Kirby makes a welcome return in a small role that honours his long term connection to the series. Steiger is a nice addition despite my reservations and he certainly stands above a poor Yagher and a terrible "apples & pears, gov'ner" performance from a laughable Mayo-Chandler (influence within the industry one suspects).

Overall this was a welcome return to the formula after one too many duff Columbo's trying something new. The story is fine but it is just a shame that the usual tense chemistry is blown by a roundly poor turn from Wendt. A solid enough formula piece for fans but it is hard not to feel like it has managed to dribble past three defenders just to put the ball wide of an open goal.

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