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.
French title: "Le livre témoin" ("The Witness Book") See more »
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 »
[Jim works in his office]
[knock on the door]
Who is it?
[another knock on the door]
[He opens the door - Ken is aiming a gun at his face. Jim laughs]
Oh, you're not intimidated.
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.
You're right. I'm a lousy practical joker.
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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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