Season 4 Episode 6

A Deadly State of Mind

Aired Unknown Apr 27, 1975 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

A Deadly State of Mind

A doctor kills the husband of the female patient he is having an affair with. however, he is "seen" leaving the house by a witness who happens to be blind.

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  • Spoilers

    A nice set of bifurcations runs throughout. Dr. Collier's two mistresses, the twin brothers at the end, the two purported burglars. Overall, this reflects a two-step crime stated by René Char: "It is unlawful to hypnotize a man in order to perforate him."

    The exploratory or descriptive tilt-and-pan at the opening calibrates the camera. In a lab at the College of Behavioral Science, Hart flexibly pans across cages full of lab rats and rabbits to pick up Dr. Collier (George Hamilton) and follow him to Dr. Borden (Karen Machon) at her desk.

    The murder is filmed in such a way as to strongly suggest Fritz Lang, and especially Scarlet Street. A great deal depends on matches vs. a lighter. In the College, where Lt. Columbo views a rodent in a maze, you navigate through the corridors by following colored lines on the floor. Dr. Borden, D.V.M., Ph.D., explains what the College does: "measurement and manipulation of human behavior, at all levels."

    At a collegial gathering in Dr. Collier's home, the question of his flint arises, and here he commits murder (by post-hypnotic suggestion triggered over the telephone) face-to-face with Lt. Columbo. This ultimately is an allusion perhaps to Nabokov's Look At The Harlequins!, or else Transparent Things.

    His victim (Lesley Ann Warren) is also drugged, which suggests brainwashing. Different levels of the behavioral maze are suggested (in a shot remarkably like one in Tony Richardson's Laughter In The Dark) by Dr. Collier walking along the marina with Lt. Columbo on the docks below and a fence between them, ending at a ramp by which Columbo ascends to him.

    The camera-work throughout is floating, nimble, beautiful and subtle. Static close-ups are remarkable for catching the slightest nuances of the actors, with almost unnoticeable editing.

George Hamilton

George Hamilton

Dr. Marcus Collier

Guest Star

Lesley Ann Warren

Lesley Ann Warren

Nadia Donner

Guest Star

Stephen Elliott

Stephen Elliott

Karl Donner

Guest Star

Bruce Kirby

Bruce Kirby

George Kramer

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Dr. Collier: Am I to presume that I'm currently your chief suspect?

      Columbo: I'm not sure suspect is a strong enough word.

      Dr. Collier: In that case, I should be locked up. Of course, I'm not. Therefore, I presume you have no proof.

      Columbo: Not yet.

      Dr. Collier: You'll let me know when you do, won't you?

      Columbo: You will be the first to know, Doctor.

    • Dr. Collier: Do you know, Lieutenant, you're a marvelously deceptive man. You know, how you get to the point without really ever getting to the point.

    • Columbo: See, that's a European car. You know, they have the thin tires.

      Sgt. Kramer: Yeah, I know. Our tires are wider.

      Columbo: But I don't see any European cars here, only my car.

      Sgt. Kramer: You got a European car?

      Columbo: That's a French car. Yeah, my car's French.

    • Columbo: I have an eyewitness, Dr. Collier. An eyewitness that will place you at the head of the Donner driveway at 5:30 Monday afternoon. But the eyewitness is not Mr. Morris. The eyewitness is you.

  • NOTES (2)