Columbo (1971–2003)
7.7/10
2,785
37 user 11 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.

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writers:

Steven Bochco, Richard Levinson (created by) | 1 more credit »
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On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Jack Cassidy ... Ken Franklin
Rosemary Forsyth ... Joanna Ferris
Martin Milner ... Jim Ferris
Barbara Colby ... Lilly La Sanka
Lynette Mettey Lynette Mettey ... Gloria Jr. (as Lynnette Mettey)
Bernie Kuby Bernie Kuby ... Mike Tucker
Hoke Howell ... Sergeant
Marcia Wallace ... Woman (credit only)
Haven Earle Haley 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 September 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Homicidio de acuerdo con el libro See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

French title: "Le livre témoin" ("The Witness Book") See more »

Goofs

Before Columbo begins to grate cheese, he grabs a bowl from the cabinet to put the cheese in. The bowl already has grated cheese in it. 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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.52 (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Very good episode, but not quite my favourite
25 February 2011 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

For me, there have been better Columbo episodes, but there have been worse as well. Murder By the Book is a very good episode and apart from losing steam a bit after the second murder, with Columbo and Franklin's scenes together being disappointingly sidelined and the final solution while well acted felt I agree delayed and Franklin's change in character at being found out felt uncharacteristic, it is well worth watching.

The episode once again looks good with the photography quite striking especially, and the music is haunting. The episode is very well directed by Steven Spielberg, it has some top notch writing and the premise like How to Dial a Murder is ingenious and given justice by a well written plot with many scenes to savour especially with Franklin.

The acting is very good, with Peter Falk exceptional and Jack Cassidy wonderfully smug. The two men work really well together too.

Overall, without being one of the best, it is an interesting one and is very good. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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