Columbo

The Most Crucial Game

Season 2, Ep 3, Aired 11/5/72
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  • Episode Description
  • The manager of a football team kills the team's owner, disguising himself as an ice cream vender as a cover. He then uses a recording of a faked phone call as an alibi to prove he was elsewhere at the time of the murder.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Richard Levinson

  • Dean Jagger

    Walter Cunnell

  • Dean Hargrove

  • James Gregory

    Coach Larry Rizzo

  • Valerie Harper

    Eva Babcock

  • Fan Reviews (3)
  • Water Evaporates

    By janeanddoughowell, Feb 04, 2014

  • Game On

    By DannMichalski, Aug 16, 2013

  • Spoilers

    By LAntichristo, Jul 21, 2006

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (4)

    • Columbo: Uh, sir? Walter Cunnell: Yes? Columbo: You don't mind if I ask you a personal question, do you? Cunnell: No. Columbo: What'd you pay for those shoes? Cunnell: I think about 60 dollars. Columbo: I stepped into some water yesterday and ruined mine. You don't know where I could find a pair that looks like that for around 16 or 17? Cunnell (befuddled): 16 or 17? Sorry, I don't really, Lieutenant. Columbo: Thank you.

    • Paul Hanlon (angry): Columbo, I'm trying to watch this game! What is it? Columbo: You know, you did the same thing the first time I came in here last Sunday. I guess that's what started me wondering. Hanlon: I did what? Columbo: You turned the radio down but not quite off. When I told you that Eric Wagner was dead. It's alright. I do the same thing. You know, when I'm listening to the game and my wife interrupts, I can't help myself. I want to hear that game and I don't care how the important the interruption. Hanlon (annoyed): Your wife has my sympathy.

    • Columbo: You now, I listened to this thing I can't tell ya how many times, over and over again, figuring maybe I'd hear something that shouldn't be there, some sound that shouldn't be there, an ambulance, a fire truck, like you were in a phone boothe, something... Hanlon (impatiently): But you didn't because it isn't there. I made the call from this booth from that phone. Columbo: Then it suddenly occurred to me. I had it backwards. Maybe there was a sound that should be there and wasn't.

    • Hanlon (yelling): Columbo, I'm going to throw you out of here on your ear! Columbo: I wouldn't do that, sir. I mean, you'll miss the best part. You see, I'm not finished.

    Notes (5)

    • Dean Stockwell is billed as Special Guest Star.

    • The six basketball players seen playing in the gym (Jim McMillan, Flynn Robinson, Pat Riley, Harold Hairston, LeRoy Ellis, and Keith Erickson) were members of the Los Angeles Lakers who earlier that same year won the World Championship, the first for Los Angeles.

    • The set used as Wagner's house in this episode is a slightly remodeled version of the living room at Ken Franklin's house in "Murder by the Book."

    • This is the second appearance for Robert Culp as the murderer. His first murder was in "Death Lends a Hand" in Season 1.

    • 90 minutes long.

    Trivia (1)

    • During the pre-game chitchat, we hear the commentator state: "Today, all holds are barred." No idea what he means by that. The line is more usually heard as "No holds barred."

  • Add a Comment
    In reply to :
    • jmikeh Mar 25, 2013

      To answer the trivia portion holds are barred in football. Penalties are assessed.