Columbo (1971–2003)
22 user 6 critic

Lovely But Lethal 

The formula for a miracle wrinkle cream leads the founder of a cosmetics company to murder and Columbo is on this case.


Jeannot Szwarc


Jackson Gillis (teleplay by), Myrna Bercovici (story by) | 2 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon




Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Vera Miles ... Viveca Scott
Martin Sheen ... Karl Lessing
Sian Barbara Allen ... Shirley Blaine
Vincent Price ... David Lang
Gino Conforti ... Ferdy
Colby Chester ... Jerry
Fred Draper ... Murcheson
Bruce Kirby ... Lab Attendant Doug
John Finnegan ... Sergeant
Richard Stahl Richard Stahl ... Burton (as Dick Stahl)
Marc Hannibal Marc Hannibal ... Fingerprint Man
David Toma David Toma ... Policeman
Layne Mathess Layne Mathess ... Fashion Moderator (as Layne Matthess)


Viveca Scott runs Beauty Mark, the cosmetics company whose products are in every woman's home. With sales dropping, she's counting on the miraculous new beauty cream created by her chief chemist to boost sales and overtake her rival, David Lang, but the chemist's assistant steals the formula. Scott attempts to negotiate with him but, in a rage, knocks him over the head with a heavy microscope, killing him. Her rival's secretary finds out and attempts to blackmail her, but the cosmetics queen's worst news is that the rumpled, redoubtable Lt. Columbo is on the case. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

23 September 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Adorable mais dangereuse See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In Psycho (1960) in which Vera Miles co-starred, the character Norman Bates gives the famous line "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly". Here the character Viveca Scott played by Ms. Miles gives the line to the ever inquisitive Detective Columbo "I didn't kill Karl Lessing. I couldn't kill a fly." See more »


After the 57:00 mark, when Shirley Blaine drives off after briefly discussing prospective employment with Viveca Scott by the sea, the deep rumble we hear is clearly that of a large car probably with a V8 engine, but she's actually driving a compact 1971 Plymouth Cricket, which came with a small inline-4 engine with displacement no larger than only 1.8 litres. See more »


Columbo: Miss Scott, are you aware that Karl Lessing had a photograph of yours which he put in his dartboard and which he used as a target?
Viveca Scott: A what?
Columbo: Now, don't get excited. It doesn't mean anything. A lot of people wanna throw darts at their bosses. You know, as a matter of fact, a while back here, uh, there was a captain of detectives, and he and I didn't get along. I used to have fantasies about him. I always had my hands around his throat...
Viveca Scott: You belong in a museum!
See more »


The Girl from Ipamnema
("Garota de Ipanema") (uncredited)
Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim (1962)
Portugese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes
English lyrics by Norman Gimbel
Toned down instrumental version played at fashion show
See more »

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User Reviews

a great Columbo
25 November 2017 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Peter Falk is "Columbo" in this episode "Lovely but Lethal," which stars Vera Miles, Vincent Price, Martin Sheen, and Sian Barbara Allen.

Vivika Scott (Miles) runs Beauty Mark, a once highly successful but now failing cosmetics company. She has her hopes pinned on a miracle cream that makes wrinkles disappear, but the formula disappears when her chief chemist (Sheen) steals it and wants to sell it to her competitor (Price).

Vivika attempts to seduce her chemist, thinking that's what he wants, but it turns out he's just after revenge. In a rage, she kills him by banging him over the head with a microscope. Price's secretary (Allen) attempts to blackmail Vivika, but that's the least of her worries - Columbo is investigating.

Entertaining episode with wonderful performances, with a good scene at a fat farm Vivika runs while Columbo follows her around talking to her. We could have used more of Price and a little more script development, but this episode is still good.

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