Columbo (1971–2003)
32 user 5 critic

Fade in to Murder 

An egotistical but successful star of a TV detective show murders his blackmailing producer and makes it look like a robbery.


Lou Shaw (teleplay by), Peter S. Feibleman (teleplay by) (as Peter Feibleman) | 3 more credits »




Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
William Shatner ... Ward Fowler
Bert Remsen ... Mark
Alan Manson Alan Manson ... Sid Daley
Lola Albright ... Clare Daley
Danny Dayton ... Director
Timothy Carey ... Tony (as Timothy Agoglia Carey)
Walter Koenig ... Sgt. Johnson
John Finnegan ... Assistant Director (as J.P. Finnegan)
Victor Izay ... Conroy
Shera Danese ... Molly
Jimmy Joyce Jimmy Joyce ... Camera Operator
Frank Baxter Frank Baxter ... Walter Gray (as Frank Emmett Baxter)
Fred Draper ... Joseph


Ward Fowler is an actor of a soap opera and his character is Detective Lucerne. His producer is Claire Daley, once his lover and now his blackmailer. Fowler decides to kill Claire and to do in such a way as to accuse her husband. Lt. Columbo begins to investigate and he is helped by Detective Lucerne who at a certain moment suspects the actor Fowler... Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

10 October 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ciak... si uccide See more »

Filming Locations:

Beverly Hills, 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?


The televised baseball game recorded by the killer is supposed to be that of a fictional Los Angeles baseball team. It is in fact a home game of the Baltimore Orioles played at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. Furthermore, the game was being played at the time of the murder at 8:50pm. Although it is possible an east coast baseball game could still be playing at 8:50pm PST in Los Angeles, this game had just started. Night games in Baltimore during the 1970's started at 7:30pm EST which would be 4:30 PST in Los Angeles. See more »


The baseball footage shows the Baltimore Orioles of the American League at home in Memorial Stadium (during the daytime) but the announcer refers to one team as "Los Angeles". That would make the visitors the Los Angeles Dodgers of the National League who would not play a regular season game at Baltimore until more than twenty years later. See more »


Lieutenant Columbo: Boy, you and I think the same way. It's amazing.
See more »


References Jaws (1975) See more »


This Old Man
Traditional English children's counting folk song.
[Sung without words by Columbo (Peter Falk) while walking towards Fowler's dressing room.]
See more »

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User Reviews

Columbo vs Kirk
29 March 2012 | by stones78See all my reviews

I would probably have to say this is my favorite episode of this great series, as both Peter Falk and William Shatner have great chemistry together, and it's very obvious from start to finish that they enjoy each other's company and bring out the best in each other. I know that Shatner has basically become a ham of late, and although I'm not sure he planned for this back in 1976, one can easily see how he set the stage for his future career being one, and how many more fans he's acquired over the years. In this instance, he smugly portrays Ward Fowler, a television detective of all things, who murders a woman named Clare Daley, who he used to have an affair with; it turns out that she's blackmailing him by taking half of what he makes for a reason I don't quite recall, but it has to do with silver certificates. There's a few Columbo familiar faces like Timothy Carey, the unimpressive Shera Danese, and John Finnegan; also watch for Alan Manson and Danny Dayton, who I know from All in the Family(Hank Pivnik). For a good laugh, look for a poor imitation of the shark from Jaws, as this episode takes place on a film set. The best moments are the scenes between Columbo and Fowler, who seem enamored with each other, and constantly compliment each other too; watch for a few very funny scenes, especially when Columbo tries on Fowler's hat and platform shoes, and another good scene is when Fowler records Columbo acting silly on a new fangled and very expensive gizmo called a vcr. The ending is a bit of a letdown, compared to the rest of the show, as Columbo finally gets proof to Fowler's guilt, because he forgot to wipe clean a bullet in the gun he used to murder with. It's also slightly odd the way that Fowler acts guilty through most of the episode, as he must've thought Columbo was too fond of being with a celebrity to think of him as a murderer. Although I mentioned a few aspects which I had a problem with, I wouldn't hesitate to call this my favorite Columbo episode, mainly because the chemistry between Falk and Shatner was very real and entertainingly funny.

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