Columbo (1971–2003)
7.7/10
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37 user 10 critic

Murder by the Book 

When one member of a mystery writing team wants to break from his less talented partner, he becomes the victim in a real-life murder mystery.

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Lynette Mettey ...
Gloria Jr. (as Lynnette Mettey)
Bernie Kuby ...
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Sergeant
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Woman (credit only)
Haven Earle Haley ...
2nd Reporter
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Storyline

One half of a murder-mystery writing team kills his more talented partner after the latter announces his intentions to go solo which would ultimately leave the former in financial ruin. Later a grocery store owner, who has important information pertaining to the case and has romantic desires for the killer, sees this incident as an opportunity to blackmail him into having a relationship with her. Feeling cornered, he kills her and tries to make it look like she'd fallen off a boat and drowned in a drunken stupor.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

15 September 1971 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Billy Goldenberg scored the opening Columbo stories in 1971, his commercially released "Columbo Theme" recorded as such by Norrie Paramor and His Orchestra (Law Beat album, Contour Records 2870 369) did not become a regular feature of the show. The theme is first heard during the helicopter sequence of pilot "Ransom for a Dead Man" but Goldenberg did not use it as a title theme and composed mainly fresh music for "Murder by the Book" and all his subsequent scores. The Columbo show never had any recognizable theme tune of its own. See more »

Goofs

Ken Franklin refers to his missing partner's body as the "corpus delicti." This term does not mean the physical body, but the body of evidence needed to prove that a crime has actually been committed. Black's Law Dictionary (6th ed.) defines "corpus delicti" as: "the fact of a crime having been actually committed." A mystery writer should have known better. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Jim works in his office]
Jim Ferris: [knock on the door] Who is it?
[another knock on the door]
Jim Ferris: [He opens the door - Ken is aiming a gun at his face. Jim laughs]
Ken Franklin: Oh, you're not intimidated.
Jim Ferris: Oh, come on, Ken. You're forgetting that I'm one-half of the world's greatest mystery-writing team? You, ah, don't have gloves on, your finger's not on the trigger, and there are no bullets in the cylinder.
Ken Franklin: [smiling] You're right. I'm a lousy practical joker.
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Soundtracks

Love Theme from 'Red Sky At Morning'
Composed by Billy Goldenberg
Heard during the bar scene
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User Reviews

excellent plot that makes this movie enjoyable...
7 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

I saw this movie a few weeks ago, and I think that it was very well made. Peter Falk is as always very amusing to see, and the other characters interact very well with each other. --a well deserved 5/5--


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