Columbo (1971–2003)
29 user 9 critic

Death Lends a Hand 

Columbo matches his skills against Brimmer, a former cop turned private investigator with a quick temper who tries to blackmail a client's wife. When she refuses, he accidentally kills her and it's up to Columbo to nail him.


Bernard L. Kowalski (as Bernard Kowalski)




Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Robert Culp ... Investigator Brimmer
Pat Crowley ... Mrs. Lenore Kennicutt (as Patricia Crowley)
Ray Milland ... Arthur Kennicutt
Brett Halsey ... Ken Archer
Eric James Eric James ... R.J. Denning
Don Keefer ... Medical Examiner
Len Wayland ... Capt. Of Detectives
Lieux Dressler ... Ceil Gentry
Barbara Baldavin Barbara Baldavin ... Brimmer's Secretary


A private detective kills the wife of one of his most important clients when she refuses to take part in his blackmail scheme and even plans to expose his unsavoury methods to her husband. In an ironic twist, the PA is rehired by his client to assist Columbo in the investigation.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


In "Death Lends a Hand," Ray Milland is cast in a sympathetic role. A year later in "The Greenhouse Jungle," he would play the killer. See more »


Brimmer states that around 10% of the world's population are ambidextrous. In fact it's about 1%. About 10% are left-handed. See more »


Arthur Kennicutt: Oh, Lieutenant. Thanks for the coffee.
See more »


Referenced in Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Dead (2002) See more »

User Reviews

I guess this means he's fired...
11 August 2019 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

When the story begins, rich Arthur Kennicutt (Ray Milland) is meeting with a private detective, Mr. Brimmer (Robert Culp). It seems Kennicutt suspected his wife was cheating on him....but Brimmer assures him that there's nothing to it and his investigations have turned up nothing incriminating. However, after Kennicutt leaves, Brimmer then meets with Mrs. Kennicutt (Pat Crowley) and tells her he KNOWS she cheated on her husband and he tries to blackmail her. But Mrs. Kennicutt is insistent...she'll tell her husband and hope he forgives her. Well, this is NOT Brimmer's plan and he attacks her...killing her in his rage!

When Lieutenant Columbo begins investigating the killing, he is told by Mr. Kennicutt that he is ALSO having the case investigated by private investigators....not to hurt Columbo but to assist him. But the head of this organization is Brimmer....and you know Brimmer will do everything he can to send Columbo looking in the wrong directions. To get to the truth, Columbo later resorts to a trick...and it naturally works. After all, Columbo ALWAYS catches the killer!

This episode surprised me with how viscious the killing well as that it was NOT premeditated (unusual for "Columbo"-type shows). Additionally, it was a bit unusual because it featured two big-time actors--Milland and Culp. Overall, excellent acting and writing...I am surprised that although this was supposed to be the first show of the series shown, the network chose to air the second one first. Both are dandy...and well worth your time.

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Release Date:

6 October 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

"Colombo: Una trappola di Colombo" (1971) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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