Columbo (1971–2003)
23 user 5 critic

Now You See Him 

A stage illusionist kills his employer and makes it look like a contract killing; it's up to Lt. Columbo to trick the master trickster.



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Episode complete credited cast:
... Columbo
... The Great Santini
... Sgt. John J. Wilson
... Jesse Jerome
... Harry Blandford
... Della
... Thackery
... Clerk
Redmond Gleeson ... George Thomas
Patrick Culliton ... Danny Green
... Lassiter
Robert Gibbons ... Rogers
Michael Payne ... Jefferson


A stage illusionist kills his employer after the latter threatens to expose his true identity and past occupation as a prison guard for the SS during WWII to the Israeli government when the illusionist refuses to be a victim of his employer's blackmailing.

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TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 February 1976 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jack Cassidy was one of few actors to make repeat appearances in Columbo, guest starring in three unrelated episodes as the murderer. (Others were "Murder by the Book" in 1971 and ""Publish or Perish" in 1974.) This episode, "Now You See Him..." , was Jack's last third and final appearance on Columbo as Jack died later that year (1976). See more »


Detective Sergeant John J. Wilson is identified by this name not only by Columbo, but by himself, and both characters mention having worked together earlier. They did work together before in the episode "The Greenhouse Jungle" but Detective Wilson's name (played by the same actor) in that episode is Frederic, not John J. See more »


Magic Shop Clerk: Dear Jesse. To know him was to detest him.
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References Charade (1963) See more »


Music by Henry Mancini
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Sung by cabaret singer and incorporated into the background score
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User Reviews

Columbo tricks a master illusionist in this splendid episode, with all the artful plotting, delightful comedy and tense cat-and-mouse play fans love
6 February 2007 | by See all my reviews

The Great Santini (Jack Cassidy) is a brilliant stage magician with a hidden past. His real name is Stefan Mueller and he was an SS officer assigned to the concentration camps. Jesse Jerome (Nehemiah Persoff), his current employer, has learned of the illusionist's Nazi career and is using the information to blackmail him. One night, while ostensibly performing his celebrated trick of being locked in a steel cabinet and dowsed in a tank of water, Santini is really disguising himself as a waiter and walking unseen to Jerome's office. When Jerome turns up dead, it looks like a contract killing. But our rumpled, redoubtable Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk), assisted by the overeager Sgt. Wilson (Bob Dishy), has a few tricks of his own.

If Columbo can outmaneuver a chess champion ("The Most Dangerous Match"), out-think a scientific genius ("Mind Over Mayhem") and outwit a master spy ("Identity Crisis"), what made a master illusionist think he could do any better?

This is a splendid "Columbo" episode, with all the tricky plotting, delightful comedy and tense cat-and-mouse play that fans love. Did I mention the comedy? In the weak "Greenhouse Jungle," Bob Dishy is clearly a good actor playing a tedious character. Here he returns as Sgt. Wilson but the script by Michael Sloan is much better. Wilson's comic business, this time involving Columbo's new raincoat, is much better integrated into the plot than in "Greenhouse"—and it's much funnier.

Harvey Hart does a very nice directing job. Somebody in his crew had an excellent eye for detail. I especially like how a little water trickles out of the trap door after Santini's daughter (Cynthia Sikes) opens it.

The ending is ordinary, without one of those great thunderclap surprises, as in "A Stitch in Crime" and "Suitable for Framing." I love the final scene anyway, with Columbo's funny yet unnerving imitation of a magician's stage technique. This "Columbo" will work like magic on any fan.

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