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"Columbo" An Exercise in Fatality (TV Episode 1974) Poster

(TV Series)

(1974)

Goofs

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

Janus' secretary gets a phone call from Mrs Stafford. She turns on the tape recorder and starts talking. She says "Mrs Stafford?", then a moment later we hear a dial tone, indicating that Mrs Stafford has hung up. She then plays the tape recording of the conversation. This time, we hear the dial tone begin before she says "Mrs Stafford?"
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Continuity 

When Janus offers Columbo the carrot juice, the glass is full. The next shot shows only half a glass, later it is full again.
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When Columbo finishes walking on the treadmill at the gym he enters the office to talk to Milo Janus. Just before he leaves the office he borrows a pencil from a black box on the desk. When the camera switches from Columbo to Janus the number of pencils change from three to one, and they are also pointing in a different direction. When Columbo puts the pencil back in the box there are two pencils, but the next angle shows three pencils as Columbo is heading toward the door.
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When Columbo is speaking with Milo Janus in his office after he's been doing exercise his tracksuit is all sweaty, but when they meet in the corridor a moment later it is clean.
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When Milo Janus is cutting the tape of Gene Stafford, the initial statement made by Gene says "uhhhh....can I speak to him." Every time this tape is replayed, the "uhhhh....is omitted.
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Columbo's hair, sweat and towel whilst exercising on the treadmill vary from shot to shot.
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After kissing his secretary, Milo's right hand moves from his hip to being interlocked with his left hand and back to his hip again. Also, his secretary's arms move between shots both before and after the kiss while she is talking to Milo.
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During Columbo's visit to her in the hospital, Mrs. Stafford's hand changes positions. In the wide shots, her left hand is palm up next to her head; in the close shots, it is on her chest.
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Crew or equipment visible 

(at about 18 minutes in) Just after Columbo arrives at the crime scene, on his way to to Stanford's office, he walks down a corridor. In the end room you see a chair is visible in the distance. Somebody is hiding behind it, and ducks down as Columbo approaches.
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When Milo opens the door of his Rolls Royce, the film crew is reflected in the door.
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Factual errors 

The bar used in staging the "accidental" bench-press is not a pressing bar, but a bent "curling" bar. That type of barbell is only used while standing and "curling" the bar to build biceps. It is too narrow for use in bench-pressing movements, which should have been an additional "flag" for Columbo. The wrong bar is never mentioned as a clue.
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The lockers that Columbo asks the janitor to open with his "Master key" have no places to insert a key. They are made for the owner of the locker to place his/her own padlock.
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Milo places a barbell on Stafford's neck which is supposed to appear as the cause of death. Columbo says that the barbell weighs 180 pounds and Milo doesn't question him. However, that type of barbell weighs no more than 120 pounds.
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After Columbo is Informed That Lewis Lacy Has Been Terminated by The Receptionist, he Calls The Contact Number & The Answering Machine States That he is Away From His Desk...Not Something You Would Have on a Home Answering Machine...
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Miscellaneous 

At the beginning, the secretary turns on the recorder to "record", but that red button must be pressed to put it in record, otherwise it's in playback.
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When Milo starts the film at his house, most of the movie is on the take up reel (the back reel), the front reel should have been full.
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Revealing mistakes 

After Milo Janus has just killed Gene Stafford, he moves the body. As he moves the body of Gene Stafford, his feet are crossed, but when he drags him through the door to the underground garage, his feet are wide apart.
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The floor when Columbo goes to find Mr. Lewis at the elevator is continuous from the office into the elevator revealing it is not a real elevator as there would be no way for it to move.
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Spoilers

The goof item below may give away important plot points.

Plot holes 

Columbo demonstrates that the victim's exercise shoes were not tied the way a right handed man would tie them, indicating that someone else tied the laces instead. However, in the second scene with the victim, he shows himself to be left-handed (holding a pencil).
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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