Columbo (1971–2003)
33 user 5 critic

Identity Crisis 

A top CIA operative commits murder the way only a brilliant spy can, never guessing he'll have to contend with a man like Lt. Columbo.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Columbo
... Nelson Brenner
... Lawrence Melville
... Louie
... A.J. Henderson
... Phil Corrigan
... Sergeant George Kramer
... Salvatore De Fonte
... Joyce
William Mims ... Gallery Attendant
... Coroner Anderson
... Photo Shop Man
Edward Bach ... Executive
... Parsons
Angela May ... Ruth


Nelson Brenner, a top CIA operative, is really a double agent who finds it necessary to rid himself of a fellow spy and make it look like a mugging. Brenner inadvertently leaves tiny clues in a photo shop at a carnival, on Henderson's corpse at the beach, in a tape recording he makes while in his Agency-approved identity as a speech-writing consultant - the kind of clues that no one would ever pick up on. No one, that is, except the rumpled, redoubtable Lt. Columbo. The indefatigable detective will find himself followed by mysterious agents, visited by the top man himself and entertained with a recording of "Madame Butterfly" in Brenner's own mansion before solving this difficult case. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 November 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Doppio gioco  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Columbo confirms his dog (who has taken up swimming in the mornings) is called Dog. See more »


when McGoohan's character is recording the speech which will be delivered later, and this is when he is trying to establish his whereabouts for his alibi, he has turned the clock to coordinate the time and he starts to speak and then gets up to close the blinds, which is the clue for Columbo, but as he is speaking there is no chiming of the clock, however, when it is played back you can hear the chiming, oops... See more »


Lt. Columbo: Uh, just between us, sir...
Nelson Brenner: Mm-hm?
Lt. Columbo: ...somebody's following me.
Nelson Brenner: Now who would be following a cop?
Lt. Columbo: Well, that's what I'm trying to figure out. Can't be the collection company. The car's paid for.
See more »


References Secret Agent X-9 (1945) See more »


Un bel di vedremo
from Madama Butterfly
Composed by Giacomo Puccini
Heard over the End Credits
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User Reviews

They cut out the clue!
14 August 2004 | by See all my reviews

In 1975 I saw this episode on the first run.

Roughly fifteen years later I saw this episode on late night television and they cut the clue scene short five seconds before the clue.

This week I saw this episode on Bravo and they cut out the scene with the clue entirely.

I won't spoil it for you, but it would be a much better episode if they showed the full scene of the perp driving his car in the early morning light, listening to the car radio, the morning after the murder.

(Is it okay to say that there was a murder?)

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