Season 6 Episode 1

Fade in to Murder

Aired Unknown Oct 10, 1976 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • As Fowler and Claire walk together through the studio near the beginning, a woman with two bags--one on her left shoulder and one in her right hand--and another woman with a bag on her left shoulder are in the background on their left. Fowler and Claire come to a halt and the two women are twenty feet. The camera cuts to a reverse shot and the women have instantly passed them. The woman with the two bags is now holding them both in her left hand.

    • When Fowler steals his clothes from the wardrobe department, he puts them into a black garbage bag. However, as he walks out the door, the bag is now light gray.

    • Fowler and Mark are supposedly watching a live baseball game in LA on TV. Although it's night and they're in LA themselves, the game on the TV is set in broad daylight.

    • Why is Sgt. Johnston grinning like a loon when Columbo questions the deli owner? Walter Koenig seems to be extremely happy to be working, but it seems kinda inappropriate for the character.

    • During one of the conversations between Columbo and Fowler, they sit on a hot set, i.e. a area that´s all set-up for filming. But both move things around, which would cause all kinds of continuity errors.

    • During one scene, Columbo comes running up dockside and watches Bruce the Shark come bursting out of the water, before turning to speak with Sid Daley. You can clearly see a small circle chalked on the back of his raincoat. In the very next scene, the coat is clean, and Columbo has Ward Fowler chalk the circle on his raincoat to demonstrate that the bullet hole in Claire's dress had been made while she was holding her hands in the air.

    • When Columbo talks to Sid at the Jaws dock, Sid's hair is blown out of place in a few shots but combed perfectly in others.

    • When Fowler draws the chalk circle on Columbo's back, his left hand is higher. When the camera cuts to a reverse angle, the left hand has instantly dropped several inches.

  • Quotes

    • Columbo: Tony, sir, he's the one who runs the delicatessen...
      Fowler: I swear, if you tell me that one more time I'm going to kill myself.

    • Columbo: The parka and the ski mask, that's where they both came from.
      Fowler: And the gun?
      Columbo: Oh, come on, sir. You're putting me on. You know that guns don't come from the wardrobe department.
      Fowler: Of course. How stupid of me.
      Columbo: Nope, that's the props department, sir, not the wardrobe department. How does a smart man like Lt. Lucerne make a mistake like that?
      Fowler: Because you're not talking to Lt. Lucerne at the moment, are you, Lieutenant? You're talking to Ward Fowler.
      Columbo: Well, what's the difference, sir?
      Fowler: The difference is Ward Fowler's under suspicion of murder. And a man under that kind of threat is apt to make mistakes, he's apt to get rattled.
      Columbo: Well, whoever said anything about Ward Fowler being under suspicion of murder?
      Fowler: Lt. Lucerne did.
      Columbo: He did?

    • (Talking to the actor who plays a TV detective)
      Columbo: Brilliant, sir! I'm very impressed! No wonder you solve more crimes than I do, sir.

    • Ward Fowler: You think she was murdered, don't you?
      Columbo: I, I beg your pardon, sir?
      Fowler: You heard me.
      Columbo: Yes sir, I did. Uh, I mean, yes, I do think it was a premeditated killing, sir. I mean I think the robbery was staged to cover up the murder. Um, (acts incredulous) How did you know, sir?
      Fowler: Why else would you be here?
      Columbo: It could be just a routine check, sir.
      Fowler: No, Lieutenant. They don't send a police detective stumbling around, asking silly, fake, innocent questions on a routine check. I know that from my show.
      Columbo: Silly, fake, innocent questions, like what, sir?

    • Columbo: There were no prints on the gun because you wiped the gun clean, sir. But there is a reason the lab report took so long. You remembered to clean the gun, but you didn't remember to do the same thing with the bullets.
      Fowler: Damn! I had to forget something. That's always how the third act ends.

    • Columbo: He didn't mean any harm. Forgive me for saying so. I sometimes have a silly effect on people, you know what I mean? Just being a police lieutenant, you know. At least I hope that's why.

  • Notes

    • This is the first of six appearances by Shera Danese in the Columbo series, she played Molly in this movie. All six are unrelated characters, even though Shera is Peter Falk's (Columbo) real-life wife. The other five Columbo movies are "Murder Under Glass," "Murder, A Self Portrait," "Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star," "Undercover," and "A Trace of Murder."

    • This is one of very few Columbo episodes that can be said to "date". At the time, video recorders were a rarity, affordable only by the very wealthy. Nowadays no one would dream of attempting to create an alibi in such a manner.

    • When Columbo visits Ward Fowler in his trailer while on location, the house where they're shooting should be familiar to fans of the 1980 film "9 to 5". It was used as the home of "sexist egotistical lying hypocritical bigot" boss, Franklin Hart (Dabney Coleman).

    • Although the interior decor is altered slightly, the house used for Ward Fowler's home is the same one used for villain Patrick McGoohan in last season's "Identity Crisis".

    • Along with Patrick McGoohan, Robert Culp, Jack Cassidy and George Hamilton, William Shatner is one of only five actors to play more than one murderer on the series.

    • 90 minutes long.

    • The opening scene where Claire meets with the studio execs and demands a bigger salary for TV detective Lucerne deliberately meant to echo similar conversations and the general situation between actor Peter Falk and the NBC studio execs at the time. He kept asking for the money and they eventually ended up giving in because Columbo was such a hit.

    • William Shatner and Walter Koenig are both stars from Star Trek, although they never meet on-screen here.

  • Allusions

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