Columbo (1971–2003)
20 user 5 critic

Ashes to Ashes 

After a much maligned Hollywood gossip columnist is murdered by her former lover, Columbo tries to find a way to prove he was responsible for the crime.


Patrick McGoohan


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

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Patrick McGoohan ... Eric Prince
Rue McClanahan ... Verity Chandler
Richard Riehle ... Sergeant Degarmo
Spencer Garrett ... Roger Gambles
Aubrey Morris ... Fred
Edie McClurg ... Mrs. Lerby
Richard Libertini ... Sheik Yarami
Ron Masak ... Eddie Fenelle (as Ron Másak)
Catherine McGoohan ... Rita
Scott N. Stevens Scott N. Stevens ... Gerald
Sally Kellerman ... Liz Houston
Conrad Bachmann ... Henry Chalfont (as Conrad Bachman)
Ken Weiler ... Singer
Sid Burston ... Driver


Hollywood gossip reporter, Verity Chandler is planning her next expose. Which is to reveal how famed mortician, Eric Prince built his empire. When she reveals to Prince her plans he kills her. He then places her in the casket of a man scheduled to be cremated. And cremates her. He then goes to her house and changes the story she was working on to make it seem someone else wanted to get her. When no one hears from her, the police are called in and Lt. Columbo is on the job. Eentually he learns that she went to a funeral at Prince's and talks to him. And he finds his behavior odd. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

8 October 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Aschenpuzzle See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Patrick McGoohan and Peter Falk had a long association and friendship. In Patrick's first "Columbo" appearance, he was honored with an EMMY Award. Two years after this "Columbo", Peter asked Patrick to direct and star in "Murder With Too Many Notes" (2000). Patrick agreed to direct, declining to act in the project because he had just been in this (previous) project. True, this "Columbo" was his last acting job, the 2000 Peter Falk project was his last directing assignment. See more »


Columbo says that diamonds can't burn, that is not true, diamonds burns at 850 degrees Celsius. See more »


Columbo: [being bodily hauled off by two men] Hey! Hey, I'm a cop! I'm a cop, you monkeys!
See more »


References Casablanca (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

great fun
25 November 2017 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Ashes to Ashes" from 1998 is a great Columbo episode, with Falk coming up against repeat offender from past years, Patrick McGoohan, as a murderous funeral director.

McGoohan plays Eric Prince, an ex-actor turned funeral director who sold gossip to a Louella Parsons-type TV columnist Verity Chandler (Rue McClanahan) while they were having an affair.

The affair over, Verity has done some investigation and learned that when a great screen star, Dorothea Page died, a million-dollar necklace that accompanied her to the funeral home disappeared and is what enabled Prince to buy more and more funeral homes. While attending the funeral of an old cowboy star, Verity makes the mistake of announcing to Prince that she'll be exposing him on national television in a few days.

McGoohan is terrific, perfectly controlled in his internalized anger.

It's time for Lieutenant Columbo to investigate, and we all know the rest. McGoohan and Falk play off one another perfectly.

Very entertaining episode, certainly as good as any from Columbo's golden years. Falk was 71 here - most lieutenants would have retired by then, but not this guy. Good thing.

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