After a much maligned Hollywood gossip columnist is murdered by her former lover, Columbo tries to find a way to prove he was responsible for the crime.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Sheik Yarami
Eddie Fenelle (as Ron Másak)
Scott N. Stevens ...
Henry Chalfont (as Conrad Bachman)


Hollywood gossip reporter, Verity Chandler is planning her next expose. Which is to reveal how famed mortician, Eric Prince built his empire. When she reveals to Prince her plans he kills her. He then places her in the casket of a man scheduled to be cremated. And cremates her. He then goes to her house and changes the story she was working on to make it seem someone else wanted to get her. When no one hears from her, the police are called in and Lt. Columbo is on the job. Eentually he learns that she went to a funeral at Prince's and talks to him. And he finds his behavior odd. Written by

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Release Date:

8 October 1998 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Final live action TV acting role of Patrick McGoohan. See more »


Pagers do not transmit. They only receive. See more »


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

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User Reviews

Reflective, gently humorous story
19 August 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

ASHES TO ASHES is one of the last Columbo movies made before Peter Falk retired from the role (I think there were only two subsequent stories filmed). It's not great, but it acts well as a kind of 'celebratory' piece of all things Columbo. Hell, you even get Patrick McGoohan returning to the series for what would be the sixth and final time over the years, in a capacity of both guest star and director, so that's reason to watch alone.

McGoohan plays a funeral director who spends most of his time hanging out at his crematorium, so there's plenty of ghoulish humour evident throughout the production. The way he kills off a rival and subsequently covers up the crime is unique to say the least, and direction-wise he shoots a story that's never less than interesting.

At the same time, it's not exactly a stellar effort; there's an odd, jokey tone to the whole thing and Falk's portrayal of the titular gumshoe is at odds with what we see elsewhere. Columbo seems genuinely befuddled at some points and you can't help but feel the weight of years catching up with the old-time star. Still, ASHES TO ASHES is never less than a perfectly acceptable slice of TV mystery, if not perhaps up there with the best COLUMBO had to offer.

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