Columbo (1971–2003)
19 user 7 critic

Publish or Perish 

A publisher hires a bomb enthusiast to murder a bestselling author of sex novels. Lt. Columbo is on the case.


Robert Butler


Peter S. Fischer, Richard Levinson (created by) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Jack Cassidy ... Riley Greenleaf
Mickey Spillane ... Alan Mallory
Mariette Hartley ... Eileen McRae
Jacques Aubuchon ... Jeffrey Neal
John Davis Chandler ... Eddie Kane (as John Chandler)
Gregory Sierra ... Lou D'Allessandro
Alan Fudge ... David Chase
Paul Shenar ... Sgt. Young
Jack Bender ... Wolpert
Ted Gehring ... Security Guard
Vern Rowe Vern Rowe ... Restaurant Manager
Lew Palter ... Lab Technician
George Brenlin George Brenlin ... Locksmith
J.S. Johnson J.S. Johnson ... Palmer


Riley Greenleaf is a publisher and Alan Mallory, a successful writer, is his principal asset. But Alan Mallory has decided to change publishers. Riley threatens to kill Alan. Then he hires Eddie Kane, a Vietnam veteran, to murder Alan and to leave evidence that the killer is Riley himself, who has an excellent alibi. But a key will betray him. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

18 January 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kustannusliike 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?


Columbo mentions a colleague who was a bestselling author. This is probably a reference to Joseph Wambaugh, a LAPD detective sergeant who rose to fame in the 1970s for his realistic police novels. At that time, the award winning drama Police Story (1973) was also being broadcast on NBC. See more »


Just before the manuscript service arrives, Columbo is drinking from a red plastic cup, like a thermos top. When the man arrives and Columbo speaks to him, the cup is gone. Even after he rises from his chair and spins it around so the desk top comes into view, the cup is nowhere to be seen. See more »


Riley Greenleaf: [sarcastically to Eddie as he throws bombs in dump] Bravo, Eddie! Very efficient and may I add that you are truly a living tribute to American ingenuity. A bit depressing for the rats, but, uh, what's one less rat in the world, eh, Eddie?
See more »


References Columbo: Candidate for Crime (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

Regular mystery, but not without charm
7 July 2015 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

PUBLISH OR PERISH is a short and straightforward mystery for the ever-dedicated Lieutenant Columbo. The villain of the piece in this one is series regular Jack Cassidy, playing a snotty publisher who finds himself peeved when a bestselling author cuts him off, planning to go with a rival house. He's not about to let this stand, however...

The scant running time means that PUBLISH OR PERISH is a fast-paced movie. The murder is already over and Columbo already investigating in the first twenty minutes. The twists and turns and uncovering of plot points is cleverly done, including a few things that I missed myself, and the cast is very good. Cassidy makes for a delightfully unpleasant bad guy, and real-life bestselling author Mickey Spillane has a pivotal cameo. And John David Chandler is up there with Reggie Nalder in terms of evil-looking actors.

As usual, this production belongs to the ever-great Peter Falk, who's on top form as the apparently befuddled detective. His interlude in a posh restaurant is a comic highlight , but overall the detective's force of personality has never been, well, so insistent. PUBLISH OR PERISH marks Columbo at his most dedicated.

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