Columbo (1971–2003)
35 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.


Patrick McGoohan


William Driskill, Richard Levinson (created by) | 1 more credit »

Watch for Free

on IMDb TV





Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Patrick McGoohan ... Nelson Brenner
Otis Young ... Lawrence Melville
Val Avery ... Louie
Leslie Nielsen ... A.J. Henderson
David White ... Phil Corrigan
Bruce Kirby ... Sergeant George Kramer
Vito Scotti ... Salvatore De Fonte
Barbara Rhoades ... Joyce
William Mims William Mims ... Gallery Attendant
Carmen Argenziano ... Coroner Anderson
Cliff Carnell ... Photo Shop Man
Edward Bach Edward Bach ... Executive
Paul Gleason ... Parsons
Angela May 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

Plot Keywords:

barkeeper | cia | spy | agent | mansion | See All (72) »


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

2 November 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Doppio gioco See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Monica, California, USA 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?


Mrs. Columbo is said by her husband to love classical music, especially Beethoven and Mozart. Her favorite piece is Puccini's "Madame Butterfly". See more »


When Brenner is recording the speech, which will be delivered later - and which is designed to establish his whereabouts for his alibi - he first turns the clock to coordinate the time. Just after starting to speak, he gets up to close the blinds (which will later be the decisive clue for Columbo). As he continues to speak, there is no chiming of the clock; however, when he plays the tape back, you can hear the chiming during the same speech passage. The fact that the closing of the blinds can later be heard on the tape reveals that he did not do a second take of the recording, but that it was still the same he had started with. See more »


Nelson Brenner: Colorado is a river.
Geronimo/A.J. Henderson: Geronimo is an Indian.
Nelson Brenner: There is no beach like a long beach, an amusement park.
Geronimo/A.J. Henderson: When?
Nelson Brenner: In two hours.
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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The ending
9 August 2009 | by Crimpo2See all my reviews

Several have commented that the murderer gives up too easily.

Well - whatever the verdict of a jury Columbo has anyway proved that he is a double-agent who has killed one of the Agency's best operators. The murderer is finished whether a jury would convict him or not. Given that McGoohan delivers a splendidly world-weary performance the murderer may not even mind too much!

Some fine acting and direction here and the settings for most of the scenes are very attractive. If you like the average Columbo then you will love this. If you don't like the average Columbo then why are you reading this?

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 35 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed