Season 4 Episode 1

An Exercise in Fatality

Aired Unknown Sep 15, 1974 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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  • A Flaw in the Solution

    Part of the solution was that the murderer's sneakers were tied backward for a right-handed person, meaning that someone else facing the murderer tied his shoes. I noticed earlier in the show though that the victim was left-handed and would've tied them w/ the loop on the same side as a right-handed person facing him. Good thing for Columbo that Milo Janus didn't notice that!
  • James West, meet Lt. Columbo...

    A killer with brains and brawn...a rare nemesis for Columbo, and the result is Robert Conrad as one of the coolest, meanest murderers in the history of the series.

    Conrad plays Milo Janus, whose profitable business of health club franchises is threatened by the damaging details one of his managers is about to bring to light. Janus kills him, setting up what he thinks is a perfect alibi.

    What makes this episode so satisfying? Of course, the interplay between Peter Falk and Robert Conrad is one thing. Conrad was not known for his acting chops, but he steps up his game with Falk and the results are enjoyable. Secondly, it is one of the few shows where Columbo really loses his cool with a suspect. Watch for the scene where he practically screams at Janus in the waiting room of a hospital. And finally, the reveal of the key evidence...the one thing that absolutely nails Janus, and it turns out to be his own alibi.

    What else can be said about Peter Falk? By Season 4 of this series, he knew Columbo like the back of his hand. There is not a bad episode in this season. Watch Falk get winded trying to keep up with Conrad in a jog on the beach, or when he questions Janus in a sweatsuit after a run on the treadmill. Luckily the lieutenant did not live up to his promise to do away with cigars as part of his health-kick.
  • Spoilers

    One of the most clever murders in the Columbo series were stud Robert Conrad breaks his victim's neck and rigs it up to look like he was lifting weights which killed him. He also tries to mask the time of death by forging a phone call. When Peter Falk shows up to investigate, boy, do the enemies ever get sick of each other fast. In a hospital-set scene, Columbo even yells that he believes Conrad is responsible for the death- rare for Columbo, who tries to hide that fact normally. Interesting watching the lieutenant sort through the clues, and the office-set conclusion has the viewer hooked.
    Conrad is perfect as creep crook murderer who sells health gyms and then soaks owners for supplies with over inflated prices. One of the few episodes where Columbo actually despises his suspect and lets him know it in a rare scene where Columbo angrily chews him out. Also rare for a conclusion that doesn't require Columbo to set up a trap to trip up his suspect.