Columbo (1971–2003)
28 user 6 critic

Swan Song 

A gospel singer wants to be rid of his zealous wife. But a murder made to look like an airplane accident does not fool the wily Lt. Columbo.


Nicholas Colasanto


David Rayfiel (teleplay by), Stanley Ralph Ross (story by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Johnny Cash ... Tommy Brown
Ida Lupino ... Edna Basket Brown
John Dehner ... Roland Pangborn
Sorrell Booke ... J.J. Stringer
Bill McKinney ... Luke Basket
Vito Scotti ... Mr. Grindell
Janit Baldwin ... Tina
John Randolph ... Colonel Mayehoff
Lucille Meredith Lucille Meredith ... Jean the seamstress
Richard Caine ... Bennett
Don Mantooth Don Mantooth ... Phil (as Donald Mantooth)
Jefferson Kibbee Jefferson Kibbee ... Frank
Bonnie Van Dyke Bonnie Van Dyke ... Maryann Cobb
Douglas Dirkson ... Jeff the airport mechanic (as Doug Dirkson)


A popular folk singer's plane has crashed. Two passengers have died, and one has escaped with minor injuries. Was it really an accident? How could it not have been? Or, was it really a nearly perfect murder? Columbo is called in to find out. Written by Cindy

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

3 March 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Il canto del cigno 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?


Tommy Brown learned to parachute in the Air Force. Johnny Cash served in the Air Force in real life. See more »


The building where Edna Basket Browns funeral celebration takes place is the same building (or only facade) where The Great Santini in "Now You See Him" is performing his show. See more »


Lt. Columbo: You know what the problem is? You're a celebrity. Because of you, my boss, he won't let me close up this case until I covered everything. Every loose end's gotta be tied up. Hey, make you crazy. So that's the problem.
Tommy Brown: That's a cryin' shame. It really is. Man with your talent, real killers loose out there, and they got you chasin' smoke.
Lt. Columbo: Whadda ya gonna do? That's the job, right? You take the good with the bad.
See more »


Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down
Written by Kris Kristofferson
Performed by Johnny Cash
See more »

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User Reviews

Oh that evil Johnny Cash!
9 July 2008 | by Boba_Fett1138See all my reviews

This is quite a special Columbo movie, not because it's very original or is of exceptional quality but because it features famous singer Johnny Cash as the murderer.

Of course Johnny Cash also plays a musician in this movie and he more or less plays himself. This is always an handy and safe approach when you work with an actor that is not really an actor in the first place. As a matter of fact, Cash spends halve of the time singing in this movie.

Besides Johnny Cash and Peter Falk the movie, among others, also features Ida Lupino. Columbo movies often featured movie stars from the 'old days'. Ida Lupino actually also starred before in the other previous Columbo movie "Columbo: Short Fuse". Lupino is best known for the work she did in the 40's, with movies such as "High Sierra", "The Sea Wolf" and "They Drive by Night" on her resume.

The movie is directed by Nicholas Colasanto, who also directed the most excellent Columbo movie "Columbo: Étude in Black". That movie was mostly great since he left the two main leading men, Peter Falk and John Cassavetes, lots of room to improvise and do things their own way, rather than being hold down by a script or directed. But of course with a movie that stars non-professional actor Johnny Cash you can't really afford to choose this approach, even though he obviously still gave some of the other actors some room. The directing for this movie also most certainly is not bad, it's actually quite great but it can't really touch "Columbo: Étude in Black". Nicholas Colasanto himself by the way still better known to the world as an actor, who portrayed the character Coach in the hit-series "Cheers", right till his death in 1985.

Nicholas Colasanto's directing style on the other hand has as a consequence that the movie is slow moving in parts and you have the feeling at times that Colasanto's overdid it perhaps at times with his directing approach.

An all in all good Columbo movie, that is obviously especially worth watching for the fans of Johnny Cash.


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