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

at Amazon




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 focuses on a photograph of Brenner in front of a jet aircraft. Brenner refers to the aircraft as a "T-33 Silverstar." The aircraft is properly called a "T-33 Shooting Star". See more »


Lt. Columbo: You have my house bugged.
Nelson Brenner: I know.
See more »


References Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) 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

Another mystery thriller from the master sleuth
24 November 2001 | by vpadgettSee all my reviews

This episode has all the trademarks: Guest appearances by Hollywood notables; memorable one-line throwaway gags; a baffling mystery; familiar L.A. locations; problems with the car ("there's only three like this in the country" he says; and Columbo's tying things together by staying on that one thing that doesn't make sense.

Guest was Leslie Nielsen, looking younger and much more serious than in the other roles I've seen him in.

Can we catalog the great one-liners in these 68 movies? Here are two from this episode: Columbo: "Do you have any wine?" McGoohan: "I have a whole cellar full." Columbo (waving his hand) "Oh, I'll just have a glass." Another classic: McGoohan: "Do you like music?" Columbo: "Oh, I hear it all the time."

Seeing the action at Travel Town, where I took my daughter 10 years ago, added to my enjoyment of this episode.

Maybe it's my tv adjustment, but the clash is getting greater between the color of Columbo's suit and his raincoat ...

Stay the course, Lieutenant Columbo, stay the course.

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