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Season 1 Episode 4

Death Lends a Hand

Aired Unknown Oct 06, 1971 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
84 votes

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Episode Summary

Death Lends a Hand
A private investigator kills his client's wife after she threatens to expose his blackmail scheme. The client then hires the detective to assist Columbo in the search for the killer.

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  • Robert Culp Lends a Hand

    A smart and well-crafted murder mystery, Death Lends a Hand delivers an impressive thriller. The head of a security company kills the wife of a media tycoon after his attempt to blackmail her fails, and it's up to Lt. Columbo to solve the case. The writing's especially good, particularly the storytelling and character development. Robert Culp makes his first appearance in the series, and gives a terrific performance. And, Columbo's notorious POS car, the Peugeot 403 convertible, makes its debut. Death Lends a Hand is an engaging crime drama that's full of intrigue.moreless
  • (spoilers)

    Robert Culp, who would match wits with Peter Falk's detective in several future installments, is terrific as the short-tempered head of a sophisticated private detective agency who murders a client's wife when she refuses to cave-in to his blackmail schemes. The two stars are well-matched in this clever cat and mouse exercise that is one of the best in the series.
Pat Crowley

Pat Crowley

Lenore Kennicutt

Guest Star

Ray Milland

Ray Milland

Arthur Kennicutt

Guest Star

Brett Halsey

Brett Halsey

Ken Archer

Guest Star

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • As Brimmer drives to the construction site in his black Cadillac Eldorado, a brief shot of Leslie Williams driving in a green car is inserted, from "Ransom for a Dead Man."

    • When Columbo asks Brimmer to write out an improvised receipt, Brimmer starts to write on the folder itself. The camera cuts to Columbo, then back to Brimmer again and he is now writing on a receipt pad.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Brimmer: You're a very observant man, Lieutenant.
      Columbo: That's not what my wife says, sir.

    • Brimmer: Lieutenant, you have a marvelously convoluted mind.

    • Columbo: You know what it was that really made up my mind?
      Brimmer: What was that?
      Columbo: The Kennicutt case. I don't want to give up working on it just now. Not when I'm so close to a solution.
      Brimmer: Well, uh, you want to let me in on it?
      Columbo: Oh, certainly. Don't worry. You'll be the first to know. Good night.

    • Arthur Kennicutt: What would you have done if the car hadn't broken down? You couldn't set up this trap.
      Columbo: Well, I guess we would have found some other way. You know what this place reminds me of, just seeing all these cars? You know, in our neighborhood we had a bunch of jokers. I mean we were a real loud bunch of guys and we figured out a perfect way to put a car out of commission. You take a potato, you stick it in the exhaust pipe. Doesn't cause any damage but the car won't start. It was a terrible thing to do. And I got a feeling that the reason I became a cop was to make up for all those jokes I played when I was a kid.

    • Columbo: I was just wondering, because your beach house and his beach house, they're fairly close, aren't they?
      Brimmer: No. It's a couple of miles.
      Columbo: That close. Isn't that a coincidence? I'll tell ya, this case is just full of 'em.

    • Columbo: Isn't that weird? What a coincidence!
      Brimmer: What's that?
      Columbo: Here a moment ago we were talking about left-handed people and you're left-handed.

    • (during a lesson with the golf pro he's investigating)
      Columbo: (while preparing to drive a golf ball) Listen, can I help you out? Don't say anything else. You don't have an attorney. Wait until you get an attorney. This way you can hurt your case. Believe me, I know something about my business. I don't know nothing about golf, you know. See, that's your business. I know something about my business. And believe me, you know, down through the years, uh, you get so that you, uh, you develop a nose for things, you see, and, uh, (makes a perfect golf shot) after a while, the ol' nose just tells you when someone is not giving you the truth. Now, uh, I'm gonna forget about the lesson because I could never learn this game, but I'll be back to talk to you.

  • NOTES (6)