Season 4 Episode 6

A Deadly State of Mind

Aired Unknown Apr 27, 1975 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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    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.
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