A Nero Wolfe Mystery: Season 1, Episode 2

Champagne for One: Part 1 (6 May 2001)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 90 users  
Reviews: 4 user

When Archie stands in for an acquaintance at a charity dance for unwed mothers, one of the mothers-to-be suddenly collapses and dies on the dance floor, an apparent suicide.



(novel), (teleplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Champagne for One: Part 1 (06 May 2001)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Colin Fox ...
Mr. Hackett
Mrs. Louise Grantham Robilotti
Celia Grantham
Nicky Guadagni ...
Elaine Usher
Helen Yarmis
Edwin Laidlaw
Trent McMullen ...
Paul Schuster
R.D. Reid ...


Mrs. Louise Robilotti, a well-meaning but judgmental socialite, hosts a charity dance where she tries to introduce four young women from a home for unwed mothers to prospective husbands. Although not the marrying kind, Archie agrees to fill in for a casual ne'er-do-well acquaintance complaining of a cold and proceeds to have a good time with the attractive women, the hostess' alcoholic daughter, and the free-flowing champagne. The evening suddenly comes to an abrupt end when one of the young women collapses and dies on the dance floor. Because the dead girl carried cyanide with her and openly talked about a death wish, suicide is initially suggested by Mrs. Robilotti who dreads the bad publicity a murder would bring. Along with Archie, Nero suspects that the death is indeed murder and together they expose the means, the motive, and the murderer. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Drama | Mystery




Release Date:

6 May 2001 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The books chosen date from the 1930s to the 1960s. Rex Stout never aged the characters over the 30-40 years he wrote the books. See more »


Archie: She was a good dancer, but she was also a very good drinker.
See more »


Jazz Suite No. 2 (Suite for Promenade Orchestra), VI - Waltz 2
Written by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performed by the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest conducted by Riccardo Chailly
Amazon.com ASIN B0000041ZT
Opening sequence and recurring dance theme
See more »

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User Reviews

Good renditions of Nero Wolfe
9 June 2001 | by See all my reviews

This series of A&E productions is turning out quite nicely. As a long time Nero Wolfe reader, I must say that Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin and Maury Chaikin as Nero Wolfe would probably make Rex Stout quite happy. Archie is appropriately flippant and Wolfe nicely curmudgeonly and they seem to have a nice rapport as actors.

The plots are (as Stout's plots are) busy and crowded with characters and intrigue. But it was never for the plots that I read Rex Stout - it was for Archie and Wolfe, the people around them, and the scent of dated Manhattan that permeates the novels. And this series catches those people, and that atmosphere very well indeed. The series also has its own odd humour - not unlike the novels, but with more up-to-date sensibilities.

And Timothy Hutton's direction works very well - he's not so fond of himself that he is the only character on screen - he treats the cast well, giving each member their due. (But most especially Chaykin who, it must be said, is a Nero Wolfe par excellence.) This series gives us better looks at most of the actors, and especially their faces, than almost anything else on television. Much credit is also due to the cinematographer who makes this tv production take on the color values of the early technicolor, giving a nice period feel. And colors are everywhere - sometimes startlingly so.

The scenes are nicely paced and the images carefully framed. This probably sounds awfully technical - but when something is not done this well, I usually don't notice it - it just seems normal. But for some reason I've been noticing how these are put together and it looks very good indeed (and happily enough not intrusively so). I'm rather hoping Hutton uses this series to hone his skills as a director and goes on to do the same kind of thing on the big screen.

This is a quiet series with little action and mostly interior shots, but for fans of dialog and character and mysteries of various sorts, it must be highly recommended. For fans of Nero Wolfe, it is a must.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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