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.
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.
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 was...as 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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