Columbo (season 2)

This is a list of episodes from the second season of Columbo.

Columbo
Season 2
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes8
Release
Original networkNBC
Original releaseSeptember 17, 1972 (1972-09-17) –
March 25, 1973 (1973-03-25)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 1
Next →
Season 3
List of Columbo episodes

Broadcast historyEdit

The season originally aired Sundays at 8:30-10:00 pm (EST) as part of The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie.

DVD releaseEdit

The season was released on DVD by Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

EpisodesEdit

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Victim(s) played by Original air date Runtime
101"Étude in Black"Nicholas ColasantoS : Richard Levinson & William Link;
T : Steven Bochco
John CassavetesAnjanette ComerSeptember 17, 1972 (1972-09-17)97 min

Alex Benedict (John Cassavetes), the married conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, murders his mistress, Jennifer Welles (Anjanette Comer), after she insists on going public with their affair, and tries to make it look like a suicide. Columbo searches for clues to place Benedict at the murder scene.

Final clue/twist: During the murder, Benedict loses his signature boutonnière. While conducting that night's concert he realizes its loss and goes back to the now police-crowded crime scene. He recovers the flower and puts it back on. A TV news team records him leaving the house with it, while the recording of the earlier concert shows him being without it. Columbo insists this proves that Benedict must have been there the night of the murder. Witnessing their confrontation, Benedict's wife refuses to support his alibi.

Blythe Danner and Myrna Loy guest star as Benedict's beautiful wealthy wife and her mother, respectively. Pat Morita cameos in one scene as Benedict's butler. During filming Danner was pregnant with her daughter Gwyneth Paltrow, who was born ten days after the episode aired. The episode was directed by Nicholas Colasanto, who later became known for his role as Coach in Cheers.
112"The Greenhouse Jungle"Boris SagalJonathan LatimerRay MillandBradford DillmanOctober 15, 1972 (1972-10-15)74 min

Jarvis Goodland (Ray Milland) and his nephew, Tony (Bradford Dillman), stage Tony's kidnapping in order to break into his trust fund and use his half to hold on to his wife, to whom he wishes to remain married, despite her expensive tastes and separate social and romantic life. Jarvis, disgusted at the notion, shoots and kills Tony, whom he has always despised, once the ransom is paid, and a careful swapping of guns with Tony's wife casts suspicion in her direction.

Final clue/twist: After Columbo remembers that Jarvis Goodland had years earlier fired a gun at a burglar but only managed to hit a flowerpot, Columbo searches the greenhouse with a metal detector for the old slug. It turns out to be identical to the bullet with which Tony was murdered, proving Goodland killed his nephew, and that the gun evidence against Tony's wife was part of a frame-up.

This episode marks the first appearance of Bob Dishy as Columbo's newly assigned and totally unwanted neophyte partner, full of the latest techniques from Berkeley. He appears again in Now You See Him... (Season 5, Episode 5). It is also the first episode in which the main crime is committed after Columbo's initial appearance.

Gloria, Tony's mistress, who believes Tony's wife is the killer and wants to collect a reward, is played by Arlene Martel.
123"The Most Crucial Game"Jeremy KaganJohn T. DuganRobert CulpDean StockwellNovember 5, 1972 (1972-11-05)74 min

Paul Hanlon (Robert Culp), the general manager of the Los Angeles Rockets football team, wants to create a sports empire, but Eric Wagner (Dean Stockwell), who inherited the team, lacks ambition. Hanlon sneaks out of the stadium during the national anthem by disguising himself as an ice cream truck driver. He drives to a pay phone near Wagner's home, knowing Wagner's phones have been bugged, during which Hanlon makes it appear he's in his private box at the stadium by holding a radio to the receiver. He then drives to Wagner's house, bludgeons him with a blow to the head with a heavy piece of ice, which melts in the swimming pool, to make it appear to be an accident. Complicating matters is Eve Babcock (Valerie Harper), ostensibly a secretary but actually a call girl and an operative placed in Eric's home by a private detective (Val Avery) who was, in turn, hired by Eric's attorney, Walter Cannell (Dean Jagger). James Gregory plays the football team’s coach.

Final clue/twist: Columbo notices that the tape of the phone call Hanlon made to establish his alibi, which Hanlon insists was made from his private box in the stadium, did not capture the sound made whenever Hanlon’s office clock chimes to signal the bottom of the hour (the half hour). It proves that Hanlon’s phone call was not made from his private box.
134"Dagger of the Mind"Richard QuineS : Richard Levinson & William Link;
T : Jackson Gillis
Richard Basehart and Honor BlackmanJohn Williams and Wilfrid Hyde-WhiteNovember 26, 1972 (1972-11-26)98 min

When Sir Roger Haversham (John Williams) realizes that actors Nicholas Frame (Richard Basehart) and his wife, Lillian Stanhope (Honor Blackman), have manipulated him into backing their theater production, he confronts the couple, and is accidentally killed during the ensuing scuffle. The pair cover up the killing by stuffing the body into a trunk, taking it home to his estate, and staging an apparent fall down the stairs.

Columbo is visiting London to study British police techniques as the guest of Scotland Yard Detective Chief Superintendent William Durk (Bernard Fox), who is called to investigate the incident. Sharon Johansen plays Miss Dudley, an attractive young understudy Frame has his eye on, and thus intensely disliked by Stanhope. Wilfrid Hyde-White plays the butler who covers for the couple but later tries to blackmail them and is murdered by Frame. Arthur Malet is the theater doorman who comes into possession of the dead man's umbrella, which becomes vital to the resolution of the case.

Final clue/twist: Columbo engineers a situation whereby, before witnesses, they search the dead man’s closed umbrella, on exhibit in a wax museum, for a pearl from Lillian Stanhope's broken necklace. According to Columbo this could only have gotten there during the killing. When the umbrella is opened and a pearl is revealed, the increasingly unstable Frame starts babbling, and Stanhope, now overwhelmed, confesses to how they killed Sir Roger. (Columbo had, however, used his childhood marble-playing skills to shoot the pearl into the umbrella moments before it was opened.)

The first of several episodes to feature locations outside the United States, it was filmed in both London and Hollywood.
145"Requiem for a Falling Star"Richard QuineJackson GillisAnne BaxterPippa ScottJanuary 21, 1973 (1973-01-21)74 min

Jean Davis (Pippa Scott), personal assistant to aging movie star Nora Chandler (Anne Baxter), is marrying gossip reporter Jerry Parks (Mel Ferrer), and she has secret information about Chandler. One night Nora deflates the tire of Jean's car so that the engaged couple will have to switch vehicles. Chandler starts a gasoline fire just as Parks's car (being driven by Davis) pulls into his garage. It initially appears that the murderer's intended victim was Parks, but actually Jean was the target. Columbo solves the case after connecting it to the mysterious disappearance of Chandler's husband a decade earlier. Kevin McCarthy appears as a physician and friend of Chandler.

Final clue/twist: Columbo is not sure of anything. He watches one of Nora's old movies in which she disguised herself as a man to commit a murder. He remembers some facts about the disappearance of her husband years before, that the fountain in Nora’s garden does not work, and learns it was purchased the day after her husband disappeared. He tricks Nora into thinking her husband’s body might have been discovered. When she rushes home and runs straight to her garden, Columbo, lying in wait, confronts her. She confesses that she killed her husband and buried his body under the fountain, and that Jean knew it and that is why she killed her.

Oscar-winning costume designer Edith Head made a cameo appearance as herself.
156"A Stitch in Crime"Hy AverbackShirl HendryxLeonard NimoyAnne Francis and Jared MartinFebruary 11, 1973 (1973-02-11)74 min

Cardiac surgeon Dr. Barry Mayfield (Leonard Nimoy) and Dr. Edmund Hiedemann (Will Geer) have pioneered a major medical breakthrough that Mayfield wants to publish about immediately, but Hiedemann wants to wait and do more tests. When Dr. Hiedemann's heart condition worsens, requiring the insertion of a heart valve, Mayfield performs the surgery using non-permanent sutures, that will kill his partner when it dissolves in his body.

Nurse Sharon Martin (Anne Francis), a friend of Hiedemann, who has never trusted or liked Mayfield, uncovers a suspicious piece of suture, which she takes with her from the operating room. Mayfield observes her doing and later kills Martin in the hospital garage parking area, staging it as an apparent mugging. He later tries to pin the crime on her ex-boyfriend, a former drug addict (portrayed by Jared Martin), whom he kills as well. This episode contains one of the rare occasions when Columbo loses (or appears to lose) his temper; suddenly slamming a coffee pot down onto Mayfield's desk he angrily warns him that if Hiedemann dies, the police will have his body autopsied to check what sutures were used in his operation.

Final clue/twist: Mayfield operates on Heidemann again, ostensibly for medical reasons but actually to replace the dissolving sutures. As soon as the procedure is completed, police swarm the operating suite and search for the removed sutures. Mayfield loses his composure, demanding to be allowed to leave the operating room and shoving Columbo in the process. Just as it seems that no sutures are to be found and that Mayfield is in the clear, Columbo re-enters the doctor's office and reveals that he was puzzled as to why Mayfield, always so calm and collected, would have shoved him, then realized that Mayfield used the scuffle to rid himself of the sutures. Here, Columbo pulls the sutures from the pocket of the surgical scrubs he, Columbo himself, had worn in the operating room - "the only thing not searched". The hitherto impassive Mayfield shows the first signs of distress.

Nita Talbot plays Marsha, Sharon Martin's roommate.

Apart from season 10's "No Time to Die", which had no murderer and is a vast divergence from the series formula, this is the only Columbo episode in which a murderer fails to kill his intended target.
167"The Most Dangerous Match"Edward M. AbromsS : Richard Levinson & William Link;
S/T : Jackson Gillis
Laurence HarveyJack KruschenMarch 4, 1973 (1973-03-04)74 min

When Chess Grandmaster Emmett Clayton (Laurence Harvey) loses an impromptu game to Eastern European champion Tomlin Dudek (Jack Kruschen) the night before their championship match, Clayton decides to kill Dudek. The hearing impaired Clayton shoves him into a garbage grinder in the basement. Dudek survives so Clayton poisons his rival in the hospital before he can regain consciousness. Heidi Brühl plays Linda Robinson, who follows in her mother's footsteps in looking after Dudek. Lloyd Bochner plays Dudek's accompanying coach, Mazoor Berozski.

Final clue/twist: Columbo learns that Dudek's injuries were caused by the fall into the grinder rather than by the grinder itself, and that the machinery automatically shuts off if something falls into it while it is in operation. Realizing that someone wanting to kill Dudek would merely have had to turn the grinder back on after it shut itself off, Columbo concludes that since it was not turned back on it means Dudek’s attacker did not know the grinder had shut itself off. This in turn means the culprit must be deaf.

This is one of two episodes (the other is season 10's "A Bird in the Hand...") in which Columbo himself is present at a victim's death.
178"Double Shock"Robert ButlerS : Jackson Gillis, Richard Levinson & William Link;
T : Steven Bochco
Martin Landau in a dual rolePaul Stewart and Julie NewmarMarch 25, 1973 (1973-03-25)74 min

Flamboyant television chef Dexter Paris and his identical twin brother, conservative banker Norman (both played by Martin Landau), are supposedly not talking to one another. But both disapprove that their uncle Clifford Paris (Paul Stewart) has become engaged to young, beautiful Lisa Chambers (Julie Newmar). One of the brothers kills uncle Clifford by dropping an electric mixer into the bathtub while he is bathing, electrocuting him. The body is moved to the gym to make it seem like he had a heart attack while using an exercise bike. Clifford's lawyer, Michael Hathaway (Tim O'Connor) reveals to the twins that a new will exists, one which he is willing to "lose" for a price. However, Chambers, who became fearful when Columbo questioned her, also has a copy of the will, and thus she is murdered too. Unlike most Columbo episodes, this has a whodunit element which is not resolved until the end of the episode. Dabney Coleman plays Columbo's colleague, Detective Murray. Jeanette Nolan plays Mrs. Peck, a sharp-tongued, fastidious, loyal housekeeper who is appalled by the "terrible mess" Columbo makes in the house.

Final clue/twist: The audience has seen one of the twin brothers commit the murder, but does not know which one. During much of the episode both twins try to convince Columbo the other is the killer. Columbo eventually establishes that two persons must have been involved in the actual murder. Due to the short time frame between the short circuit caused by the electrocution and the re-powering of the house, and due to the physical exertion required to drag the dead body out of the bathtub and prop it up on a stationary bike, he realizes the brothers must have worked together. When confronted, Norman admits to what they did, while Dexter screams at him to shut up.