Columbo (1971–2003)
18 user 6 critic

Columbo Goes to the Guillotine 

An egocentric psychic murders his old mentor, a magician charged to expose him as fraud, by beheading him while he's rehearsing his guillotine trick.


Leo Penn


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

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Anthony Andrews ... Elliott Blake
Karen Austin ... Dr. Paula Hall
James Greene ... Bert Spindler
Alan Fudge ... Mr. Harrow
Dana Andersen Dana Andersen ... Dori
Robert Costanzo ... Sgt. Russo
Anthony Zerbe ... Max Dyson
Michael Bacall ... Tommy
Charles Howerton ... Colonel Eckherdt
Milt Kogan ... Medical Examiner
Tony Amendola ... Clergyman
Rob Garrison Rob Garrison ... Young Man
Frank Simons ... Polygraph Operator
Lenny Hicks Lenny Hicks ... Eddie


Famous (and fraudulent) psychic Elliot Blake uses his old mentalist skills to live a lavish lifestyle at the expense of a psychic research institute and hopefully, the US Government. What seems at first like a threat, a test devised by a well-known magician and debunker of psychics, turns out to be his chance for revenge against his former mentor. What he can't foresee is a police lieutenant who knows all the tricks. Written by Mark Cabot Robinson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 February 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Columbo Vai para a Guilhotina See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


While the first episode of the new series that aired on ABC, this is the second episode in the Columbo series to feature the world of magicians, mentalists, and magic guillotines; the first being Columbo: Now You See Him (1976) TV. There is even a similar scene with Columbo in a magic shop being given a demonstration of a guillotine trick where his finger (in the original episode, the trick was large enough to include his whole hand) appears to be in danger of being cut off. See more »


While not ideal, a Phillips head screw can be screwed by a "regular" flat-bladed screwdriver, but not the other way around. To make the screwdriver plot viable, they should have reversed it. See more »


Elliott Blake: Exactly what do you want of me?
Mr. Harrow: Hard proof of your abilities.
Elliott Blake: The impossible on demand.
Mr. Harrow: That's a fair description.
Colonel Eckherdt: For a subject of your qualifications.
Elliott Blake: What flavor impossible?
Mr. Harrow: In general terms, a demonstration that you can telepathically and precisely intercept the thoughts and actions of an enemy. Fair enough?
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Referenced in Endeavour: Harvest (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

In Harm's Way
1 January 2017 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

After a hiatus of over a decade Peter Falk returns as the dogged and persistent homicide detective Columbo of the LAPD. As usual he's got himself a suspect who thinks he's a cut or two above the hoi ploi.

Anthony Zerbe is our victim here and he's a magician in the tradition of Harry Houdini. And as history has taught us one of Houdini's sidelines was the exposure of psychics whom he thought were all a gang of frauds.

Zerbe knows that Anthony Andrews is a fraud and he's got some personal knowledge of that because they have some history together. Zerbe by the way is no saint either.

Zerbe is done in by one of his magician's props, a guillotine he uses in his act that proves to be all too real.

One thing about this episode, like in a few others Columbo doesn't have much of a case, he just hopes the suspect trips himself up. Andrews does in fact, but Peter Falk puts himself in harm's way to do it.

But of course he gets his man.

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