Season 3 Episode 6

Mind over Mayhem

Aired Unknown Feb 18, 1974 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
48 votes
  • Nothing special.

    I believe there are no bad episodes of the original run of "Columbo" on NBC...but there are some that aren't as good as others. Case in point - "Mind Over Mayhem." The premise is great (and it's one the series would revisit in Season 6) as Columbo faces a crime planned out by a genius mind. An airtight alibi - a room full of military brass can vouch for the suspect's whereabouts. Of course, in classic "Columbo" style, a single clue sets Columbo on the trail of the killer.

    So why isn't it a better episode? Hammy acting from Ferrer's son drag down any scenes where he appears, and the "cute" kid scientist Stevie is just annoying. Watching Columbo defer to this kid make for some of the worst scenes in the series. For some reason, Peter Falk and Jose Ferrer don't have great chemistry and a lot of their interplay falls flat. "Mind Over Mayhem" gets points for its creative alibi set up by the killer, but it isn't one of the more memorable episodes from the NBC run.
  • Spoilers

    It's WWIII at the wargaming tables of the Cybernetics Research Institute, a think tank. "Oh, a place full of geniuses," says Lt. Columbo, "may I ask what you do here, Sir?" Marshall Cahill (that's his name) replies, "I'm the director." His son's been very naughty, written a paper someone else actually composed. The "radical" Dr. Nicholson wants the lad to confess, or by gad he'll turn him in. Marshall Cahill does the doctor in.

    Of course, he has to send young Spelberg to the movies (a child prodigy). "Everyone can use a robot," says little Spelberg, who has invented one. The robot types instructions to the wargamers while the deed is done.

    Lt. Columbo's dog washes out of obedience school. The lieutenant abandons his notebook for a tape recorder, miniature. "Bad dog! Bad dog!", it says when benefiting Marshall Cahill with a demonstration.

    There is much amusement. Elderly Dr. Nicholson has a young wife (Jessica Walter, marvelously aggrieved). Burnt match and missing pipe at the scene of the crime. Is there any hope for the natural gas car? They're testing them at the Institute.

    The good doctor (Lew Ayres) was researching heroin for the government. Jose Ferrer as Cahill manages an impression of, say, John Van Neumann.
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