Season 4 Episode 1

An Exercise in Fatality

Aired Unknown Sep 15, 1974 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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out of 10
57 votes
  • 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.
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