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
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 »
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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