Columbo (1971–2003)
35 user 6 critic

An Exercise in Fatality 

A health club owner murders one of his franchisees. Lt. Columbo is on the case.


(as Bernard Kowalski)


(teleplay by), (story by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Columbo
... Milo Janus
... Jessica Conroy
... Buddy Castle (as Pat Harrington)
... Ruth Stafford (as Collin Wilcox)
... Gene Stafford
Jude Farese ... Al Murphy
Darrell Zwerling ... Lewis D. Lacey
Dennis Robertson ... Jerry
Raymond O'Keefe ... Sgt. Rickets
... Medical Examiner
... Fred (as Eric Mason)
J.R. Clark ... Harry Lassiter (as J. R. Clark)
Mel Stevens ... Dr. Freeman
Manuel DePina ... Photographer


Milo Janus owns a chain of health clubs, but one of his franchisees discovers the man is cheating him - and can prove it to the authorities. Janus responds by murdering his partner and making it look as if he had accidentally killed himself trying to lift a barbell that was too heavy for him. Janus creates a would-be perfect alibi for himself involving a tape recording of his victim's voice, a phone that doesn't light up, a sexy secretary, a party for friends at his house, and a pornographic horror movie. But no alibi is perfect when the rumpled Lt. Columbo is on the case. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

health club | barbell | See All (2) »


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 September 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dalle sei alle nove  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Lewis D. Lacey was born on December 2, 1920. He began working at Tri-Con on August 23, 1961 and was terminated on June 12, 1974. See more »


Columbo's hair, sweat and towel whilst exercising on the treadmill vary from shot to shot. See more »


Columbo: I stopped by your place. Your housekeeper told me you were down here swimming.
Milo: Twenty minutes a day. You ought to try it, Columbo.
Columbo: No, I'm afraid not, sir. I can't swim. I don't even like a deep tub.
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Crazy Credits

During the end credits the usual theme music is not heard. In its place is a jingle for the fictional Milo Janus fitness club instead. See more »


References The Rockford Files (1974) See more »


Stout-Hearted Men
Music by Sigmund Romberg (1928)
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Instrumental variation heard satirically whilst Columbo (Peter Falk) is jogging.
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User Reviews

One of the best Columbos ever
30 March 2001 | by See all my reviews

One of the most clever murders in the Columbo series were stud Robert Conrad breaks his victim's neck and rigs it up to look like he was lifting weights which killed him. He also tries to mask the time of death by forging a phone call. When Peter Falk shows up to investigate, boy, do the enemies ever get sick of each other fast. In a hospital-set scene, Columbo even yells that he believes Conrad is responsible for the death- rare for Columbo, who tries to hide that fact normally. Interesting watching the lieutenant sort through the clues, and the office-set conclusion has the viewer hooked. Highly recommended.

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