Columbo: Season 13, Episode 4

Murder with Too Many Notes (12 Mar. 2001)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 704 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 3 critic

Findlay Crawford, a Hollywood film composer and conductor, murders a talented composer/musician who has been ghostwriting most of Crawford's work in recent years, including the entire score... See full summary »



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Title: Murder with Too Many Notes (12 Mar 2001)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Cioffi ...
Hillary Danner ...
Obi Ndefo ...
Nathaniel Murphy
Joshua Vinten
Harry Danner ...
Anne McGoohan ...
Herschel Sparber ...
Steve O'Connor ...
Larry Gilman ...


Findlay Crawford, a Hollywood film composer and conductor, murders a talented composer/musician who has been ghostwriting most of Crawford's work in recent years, including the entire score for the last film, which won an Oscar. Crawford is jealous of the young musician whose talent outshines his own. Will Columbo find out who did it? It's just one more thing. Written by Sally 4th

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

12 March 2001 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The complicated killing scene occurs in (1) a recording sound stage basement, involving an elevator shaft; (2) the elevator platform opening up on the recording stage roof; (3) the exterior stage where the body is thrown off the roof, landing adjacent the sound stage walkway which leads to the stage door. This scenario is in a continuing time frame and sequence of action that Columbo pieces together to solve the murder. This sequence was broken down into three set-ups. The sound stage basement with the elevator shaft was built on the same stage as the recording studio set.. The construction coordinator insisted using a fork lift for the elevators lift and descent instead of rigging a flying counter-weight lift system. (The rental expense of the fork lift ended up costing the same as installing the counter-weight rigged elevator lift unit). (2) The recording studio stage roof top was built on the top floor of the Technicolor production office building's fifth floor parking deck. Scissor lifts were used for the elevator platform which raised the metal roof-top double gated-doors. The sound stage roof top (parking structure set) background point of view was the Universal Studio lot's sound stages, with the studio's hotels and tour hilltop as distant studio property. (3) The exterior Universal sound stage used for the recording studio interior set was filmed for the falling body (rag 'double' male doll). Each sequence required a full day of filming, edited into the action of the orchestra conductor's process of murder. See more »


Computer printer that prints music score is accompanied by the sound of a dot matrix printer, when the printer is clearly an HP 4MP Laser printer. See more »


Lt. Columbo: Just one more thing, sir.
See more »


References Jaws (1975) See more »


Jaws (Theme)
Music by John Williams
See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable Columbo film despite a weak ending and some bum notes from Falk
2 April 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Findlay Crawford is an award winning film composer with a small secret – most of his best work has been written standing on the shoulders of the young, uncredited composer Gabriel McEnery. Now that Gabriel has started asking for some credit and has begun being vocal about it in front of others, Crawford decides that the time is right and placates him with the offer of conducting at a show the next night. However he has no intention of letting this happen and instead drugs Gabriel and puts him on the roof (where he usually hangs out) on top of a defunct lift panel. As he starts his show he times the lift to go to the roof, thus opening the panel and flipping Gabriel's comatose body off the roof to his death. All seems like a pointless waste of young talent to the witnesses but a stray noise tells Columbo that there is more to this than a tragic accident or suicide.

This is the most recent Columbo that I have seen and I was therefore very worried that it would be terrible as some of the ones I've seen from around 1990 have been mostly average at best. However the directing presence of Columbo regular McGoohan made me think again plus the plot summary suggested that, having already caught a Spielberg clone, Columbo was going after John Williams. This may be the case but given that I don't know much about Williams outside of his music so any sly digs at him were lost on me. The plot is pretty clever and it was developed well enough to hold my interest but the ending is really weak and is not enough to trap Crawford even in the world of TV detectives. The direction is good and the film feels quite modern, which I know it is but it was still a new feel for the Columbo movies for me.

The cast are so-so and mostly good. Falk was good for the most part but at times his Columbo seemed to be almost an impression of Columbo; this is most evident when trying to "name that tune" with Crawford's orchestra. Outside of this he is good but it is not his best turn in the mac. Connolly is a solid choice of guest star and he works well with Falk – it is nice to have a genuine big name in the suspect's chair. He is a big character as well and, although toned down from his comic personae, he still provides a good presence. The support isn't that great but it doesn't really matter that much (although Willett looks about 12 years old).

Overall an enjoyable film from the Columbo series despite the weak ending and a performance that isn't Falk's best. Maybe not enough to convince unbelievers that the long running series is deserved but fans will find it easy to enjoy.

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