Season 3 Episode 4

Double Exposure

Aired Unknown Dec 16, 1973 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Double Exposure
A film maker kills one of his clients in a break during the screening of a new ad campaign.

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  • Spoilers

    This eerie masterpiece is what television is all about: a chamber opera with stage machinery, "transformations," etc.

    A reading of it puts you on your mettle, because of its uncanny deftness and the receding (or advancing) perspectives it affords. Essentially, this is built as a fantasia on entrapment and blackmail. A motivational psychologist, Dr. Bart Keppel (Robert Culp), is conceived as financing his operations by seducing his clients (with the help of Arlene Martel as Tanya Baker) and then forcing them to pay up. This is metaphorical, if you like, but the writer (Stephen J. Cannell) is just getting warmed up. Dr. Keppel is the author of several books on his subject (The Mind String And How To Pull It, Human Values Vs. Human Motives, etc.), and generates motivational films at his research labs (these scenes were shot at the former Preview House on Sunset Blvd., a place where studios ran new films and programs for test audiences). His latest film is, coincidentally, about sales. "Historically," says its narrator, "we are a nation of salesmen." Dr. Keppel's specialty is the subliminal cut, the famous advertising technique in which single frames stimulating thirst or hunger are spliced unnoticeably into a film.

Peter Falk

Peter Falk

Lieutenant Columbo (no first name)

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The techinique of using subliminal cuts would not have worked as shown in this episode since the audience would be aware of individual frames spliced into a film. In the original experiment, conducted by James Vicary in 1957, a tachistoscope (specialized and separate projector) was used, projecting a message for an interval of only 1/3000th of a second; such a brief period that only the subconscious mind could be aware of it.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Dr. Kepple: Your innuendos keep clumping through our conversations like hob-nailed boots.

    • Columbo: I had an uncle who made a killing in real estate up in San Dimas. Know what he did before he started sellin' dirt? Drove a school bus. Now he owns a ranch, a couple of Cadillacs, sends out embossed Christmas cards.

    • Dr. Kepple: I know one thing, Lieutenant. You have to admit it. You never would have solved it without using my technique.
      Columbo: That's right, Doc. If there was a reward I'd support your claim to it.

    • Columbo: That's why the barrel and the chamber were clean when Ballistics checked out the gun. That's a lovely touch. A converter! I never figured on a converter.

    • Dr. Kepple: In that case I'm deeply grateful for one thing.
      Columbo: What's that, Doctor?
      Dr. Kepple: That you've established that White was killed between 7:30 and 8 because you and I have been together constantly since 7:30, starting in the cutting room and ending, I hope, now. Otherwise I'm positive you'd still be accusing me.
      Columbo: Well, Doctor, I've never accused you of anything.
      Dr. Kepple: I'll ignore that because I'm convinced that my only real protection in this matter is the fact that you personally are my alibi.
      Columbo: And that's a tough nut to crack.
      Dr. Kepple: That's not tough. That's impossible.

    • Columbo: Can anyone confirm that?
      Mrs. Norris: No.
      Columbo: No one at all?
      Mrs. Norris: Nobody at all. Which means that I don't have what you call an alibi.
      Columbo: Oh yes you do, Mrs. Norris. You were at the corner of Valley and Magnolia.
      Mrs. Norris: With nobody to prove it.
      Columbo: Well, I didn't say you had a good alibi but you do have an alibi.
      Mrs. Norris: Lieutenant, I didn't kill my husband.
      Columbo: I believe that.
      Mrs. Norris: You do?
      Columbo: Yes, ma'am.
      Mrs. Norris: Why?
      Columbo: My wife's got no head for crime. We go to those whodunit movies. She always picks the wrong murderer. I want to tell you something. If my wife decided to murder me she could come up with a better alibi than you got.
      Mrs. Norris: Thank you.
      Columbo: You're welcome.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Apparently the scene or scenes with the character Tanya Baker were edited out of the finished episode. Arlene Martell is listed in the credits as Tanya Baker, yet this character is only referred to in the episode, never seen.

    • This is the third of Robert Culp's appearances as a murderer in the original series (and his third out of four if you count the entire series). This makes him the first actor to hit this record, although Jack Cassidy would tie him three years later in "Now You See Him."

    • Columbo mentions "the Hayward case", as in Sen. Hayward in the previous episode "Candidate for Crime"; one of the few times an episode refers to a previous episode.

    • 90 minutes long.