Columbo (1971–2003)
7.6/10
1,815
28 user 8 critic

Étude in Black 

A ruthless conductor murders the gifted pianist with whom he is having an affair. Lt. Columbo is on the case.

Directors:

Nicholas Colasanto, John Cassavetes (uncredited) | 1 more credit »

Writers:

Steven Bochco (teleplay by), Richard Levinson (story by) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
John Cassavetes ... Alex Benedict
James Olson ... Paul Rifkin
Blythe Danner ... Janice Benedict
Anjanette Comer ... Jenifer Welles
Myrna Loy ... Lizzy Fielding
James McEachin ... Billy Jones
Don Knight ... Mike Alexander
Pat Morita ... The House Boy
Michael Pataki ... Sam (scenes deleted)
Michael Fox ... Dr. Benson
Dawn Frame Dawn Frame ... Audrey
Charles Macaulay Charles Macaulay ... Durkee
George Gaynes ... Everett
Wallace Chadwell Wallace Chadwell ... TV Director
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Storyline

Music conductor Alex Benedict has an affair with a pianist. When the pianist threatens to reveal their affair to Benedict's wife, whose wealthy mother owns the company on which Benedict's career is dependent, Benedict decides to permanently silence his mistress. He arranges for her death to look like a suicide by kitchen stove gas asphyxiation. Lieutenant Columbo, a cunning detective in a rumpled raincoat, doesn't believe the pianist took her own life and suspects that Benedict was responsible for her death. He pesters Benedict with constant questions as he searches for clues to place Benedict at the murder scene. Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 September 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Etude i sort See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Blythe Danner (Janice Benedict) is the aunt of Hillary Danner, who played Rebecca in Columbo: Murder with Too Many Notes (2000). Coincidentally, in both episodes, the murderer was a conductor. See more »

Goofs

While leading a rehearsal of Mozart's "Eine kleine Nachtmusik", John Cassavetes tells the orchestra "Remember: quasi una fantasia". That particular musical direction does not appear anywhere in this piece. It is famously associated with Beethoven's "Moonlight" piano sonata. See more »

Quotes

Paul Rifkin: You're not for real, Lieutenant. The only thing next door is a laundromat.
Lieutenant Columbo: Well, there USED to be a cigar store.
Paul Rifkin: You're not a jazz freak. You made a special trip over here to see me. Why?
See more »

Connections

References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Eine kleine Nachtmusik
(uncredited)
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful interaction between Cassavetes and Falk.
10 September 2004 | by dotijean-1See all my reviews

Interesting to see this movie 30 years later; it's still good theater, even better TV. I think the unique qualities of this particular Columbo episode may have been largely due to the relationship between Falk and Cassavetes off screen, but it certainly worked in this show. This one reiterated Columbo's quirky, irritating methods; and again, one of the reasons the entire series was so watchable was the low-key progression of the drama. This is one of the few 'cop shows' I ever watch because it's based in human interaction and pyschological issues, not in violent shocks. I think Bochco did a very good job on this film.


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