Columbo (1971–2003)
29 user 8 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?


The two screen prints on the wall behind the desk in Rimmer's office are from the Cathedral Series by famed pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, The building they depict is Rouen Cathedral in France. See more »


Near the beginning, Brimmer is shown driving his black Cadillac Eldorado at night with the body of Lenore Kennicutt in the trunk. For 3 seconds, a shot Lee Grant from "Ransom for a Dead Man" driving a green Lincoln Continental is shown. Then the film cuts back to Brimmer. See more »


Columbo: Isn't that a coincidence? I'll tell ya this case is just full of 'em.
See more »


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

User Reviews

This is one great Columbo movie!
26 January 2008 | by Boba_Fett1138See all my reviews

This was the first regular filmed Columbo movie episode but yet it aired as the second, after Steven Spielberg's "Columbo: Murder by the Book". It's also at the same time among one of the better ones!

Bernard L. Kowalski was one great creative director! No wonder that they later asked him to direct three more Columbo movies. The movie has some real creative and innovative shot sequences and the movie as a whole is also clearly made with style, passion and eye for detail. Every shot connects and is a reason why this movie is better and also better looking just any other average made for TV movie. It's definitely one of the better directed Columbo movies.

It's a quit original Columbo entry for a couple of reasons. The murder is more or less an accident and was an impulsive act. So the killer this time doesn't have any time to plan out the 'perfect murder' in advance and his to clean up any of the traces afterward and has to dispose the body. The killer in this movie is not only being handled as the man who committed the crime but more as the man who helps out Lieutenant Columbo to solve the murder. It makes the character a more interesting and layered one as well and also helps to make the way Columbo solves the whole crime seem way more interesting as well because of that. Of course Columbo starts to suspect him pretty early on and as always he comes to solution by making himself vulnerable and look more stupid than he of course truly is and by gaining the killer's trust. This is obviously no spoiler since this is the way every Columbo movie gets set-up. I liked the story of the movie and how it progressed.

It also helps the movie that it has such a fine cast. At the time of this movie Peter Falk had really made the Columbo character his own and the character at this was already fully developed. Robert Culp is truly great as the short tempered Brimmer. Funny thing is that he would later star in three different Columbo movies again and one "Mrs. Columbo" episode, only in totally different roles. He even played the murderer in a couple of those movies as well again. He by the way was not the only actor that did this in other later Columbo movies. Also the great Ray Milland makes an appearance in this movie, as the husband of the victim.

All in all, a real great early Columbo movie and among the better ones out of the long running series of movies.


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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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