Season 2 Episode 1

Etude in Black

Aired Unknown Sep 17, 1972 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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  • Back in Black

    A landmark entry in the Columbo series, Etude in Black is a riveting crime drama. When an orchestra conductor kills his mistress for threatening to make their affair public Lt. Columbo is assigned to the case, which at first looks like an apparent suicide. The writing's very good, and does an impressive job at building suspense and intrigue. Additionally, John Cassavetes and Blythe Danner deliver strong performances and have remarkable on-screen presences that engage the audience. And, Columbo's famous basset hound, Dog, makes his debut appearance, which adds a nice bit of humor to the film. Thrilling and well-crafted, Etude in Black is a captivating murder mystery.
  • A maestro murders his mistress in order for her not to inform his wife about their affair.

    John Cassavetes who plays as Alex Benedict in the movie gives a fine performance. His shock and surprise at learning that his talented pianist has committed suicide is well acted; ensuring Columbo is aware of this.
    I did not particularly like the scene where Alex steals his own E-type Jaguar from the garage in order to reach his mistress to murder her. This did not really feature at a later stage of the movie.

    The flower left at the scene of the murder showed predictability of how Columbo would finally solve the case.
    Alexs' arrogance in the movie is reminiscent to his role in Rosemary's Baby.
  • Spoilers

    The script hints at a certain predictability when the possibly incriminating carnation is retrieved from the murder scene by the murderer in front of Columbo, but it is a testament to the cleverness of the script-writer that the resolution is is more substantial than anticipated.

    In other respects, the script does not sufficiently expand on certain areas of the plot; Columbo never directly mentions a precise motive for the crime, nor is it clear as to why Columbo becomes suspicious of the actual murderer when the incriminating evidence is used much later on. One other slightly negative thing is that the circumstantial pieces of evidence are not as spectacular or as numerous as some of the other quality episodes.