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 774 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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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

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Release Date:

12 March 2001 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film "movie" sequence used in the orchestra studio recording session was filmed first, using the Universal back lot location for the "movie" sequence. This film sequence was quickly edited in order to be used during the scenes of the orchestra recording sessions. The studio orchestra composer-conductor's office was the first sequence of scenes filmed when the company moved onto the stage. (After this set was filmed, construction turned this set around to become the police station). The company moved outside of the stage, where the exterior of the composer's studio bungalow office was built in the open parking stage space. (Interesting trivia is that the Findlay exterior and interior set of the bungalow was based upon the Spanish styled architecture of production office bungalows at Warner Brothers Studio. The crew immediately identified with the sets similarity to the Warner Brothers' facility). The orchestra recording sessions followed in the filming schedule; then the basement elevator set; followed by the exterior stage roof top elevator shaft (exterior Technicolor top deck parking structure); followed by the exterior of the sound stage. Scouting locations for budget reasons, the preliminary plan was to use the studio musicians' union hall facility in Hollywood, California, for the recording session scenes. After lengthy creative production meetings, this plan was discarded because of the location expenses for facility dressing rooms and to make the location fit the script requirements. Placing the production back at the Universal Studio lot allowed more creative control for Patrick McGoohan (director) and Peter Falk. Patrick McGoohan had made extensive script rewrites for the main characters and for the murder plot, which included the onstage elevator shaft sequence. Peter Falk enjoyed working with Patrick because the two of them could invent, contrive, vastly improving the script scenario and character development. See more »


At the end, when Columbo shows Crawford the "love note" written by Gabriel, it is written in a different, round, curly script than the original, which had a more angular script. See more »


Lt. Columbo: Just one more thing, sir.
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References Jaws (1975) See more »


1812 Overture
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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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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