Columbo (1971–2003)
21 user 7 critic

Murder, a Self Portrait 

Columbo investigates the apparent drowning of a famous painter's first wife.


James Frawley


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

On Disc

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Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Patrick Bauchau ... Max Barsini
Fionnula Flanagan ... Louise
Shera Danese ... Vanessa Barsini
Isabel García Lorca Isabel García Lorca ... Julie (as Isabel Lorca)
Vito Scotti ... Vito
George Coe ... Dr. Sydney Hammer
David Byrd David Byrd ... Ralph
Don Bovingloh Don Bovingloh ... Customer
Lenny Hicks Lenny Hicks ... Morgue Attendant
Danny Hassel Danny Hassel ... Lifeguard
Roger Etienne Roger Etienne ... Night Visitor
Frank Wiltse Frank Wiltse ... Officer (as Frank L. Wiltse)
Harold Harris Harold Harris ... Harry Chudnow
Don Schneider Don Schneider ... Bystander at Beach


Max Barsini is an artist who has a most unusual living arrangement with three women. He is married to Vanessa, and Julie is his live in model. Louise is his first wife who lives next door. Max takes delight in the way they fight for his attention, but also likes to control them. So when Louise starts seeing a psychologist, Max not only fears that she will break away but also that she will reveal a secret that Max will kill to keep hidden and he does. He makes it appear that she drowned but Columbo knows something is wrong. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 November 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murder, a Self Portrait See more »

Filming Locations:

Burbank, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Shera Danese is Peter Falks wife in real life See more »


While Columbo is looking around the studio in the store room at Vito's bar, he gets dirt on his hands when he opens the window. He takes a handkerchief and goes to the sink, presumably to moisten it to clean his hands. However, when the shot changes to show him turning on the tap, the handkerchief is nowhere to be seen, then he takes his notebook from his jacket pocket, so he hadn't put it in there. See more »


Julie: I'm a orphan, life's hard when you're an orphan.
Vanessa Barsini: You think you got it bad? I'm a double orphan. I got adopted, and then my adopted parents they died too.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Good Cast, Good Plot, Good Time!
4 December 2000 | by BSandorSee all my reviews

I am a Columbo-fan, and this episode is really one of the best. Max Barsini (played by Patrick Bauchau (Dr. Sydney Green in the drama series "The Pretender" (1996-2000)) has a secret and his wife knows what it is. Max murders her, "pretending" it was an accident. Max also has an alibi: he was painting at Vito's. The case is clear, but then comes a police officer to solve the case: Lt. Columbo.

I was really enjoying this movie. A cast is excellent, many of my favourites (Peter Falk, Shera Danese, Patrick Bauchau to name a few) were here and did a wonderful job. Now I could see behind the scenes of painting artists...

For all Columbo-fan, this movie is a must see!

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