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.


Patrick McGoohan


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

On Disc

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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?


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


Columbo visits Brenner in his house and the two are seated on the patio. Just before Columbo leaves, Brenner holds a matchbox in his left hand and taps it with the fingers of his right hand. When they shake hands the matchbox is lying on the table. Then Brennan tells Columbo that he would show him out and he still has the matchbox in his left hand tapping it with the fingers of the right hand. See more »


Nelson Brenner: Lieutenant, I think that I should warn you that I am not an unworldly man. I have powerful and important friends, even in the police department. I respectfully request... that you do not... harass me.
See more »


References The Prisoner (1967) See more »


Un bel di vedremo
from Madama Butterfly
Composed by Giacomo Puccini
Heard over the End Credits
See more »

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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?

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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