Columbo

Season 3 Episode 5

Publish or Perish

1
Aired Unknown Jan 18, 1974 on NBC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

8.1
out of 10
Average
46 votes
  • Spoilers

    9.5
    The superfices of Peter S. Fischer's script are impeccable. It develops that a publisher (Jack Cassidy), whose titles include My Home Was A House and Modern Aztec Courtship Practices, is about to lose his "pocket-sized Hemingway" (Mickey Spillane) to a rival (Jacques Aubuchon). Cassidy has taken out a standard million-dollar life insurance policy on his author, and plans to kill him. A rather frayed demolitions expert (John Davis Chandler) will do the job in exchange for a publishing contract (his book is titled How To Blow Up Anything In Ten Easy Lessons).

    The essence of the plot is Cassidy's careful incrimination of himself and simultaneous provision of an alibi. Butler films the murder with the screen split twice and then thrice so Cassidy, Spillane and Chandler are all seen at once.

    The dialogue is pristine. At Aubuchon's party announcing the signing of Spillane, the former looks up from a conversation and says, "Did somebody arrive? I invited Norman Mailer." Cassidy, drinking and belligerent, opines that "sex is our only mystery in our age of new illiterates." Drunk, and getting himself thrown out of a bar in the San Fernando Valley while the murder is taking place downtown, he hands the bartender money and says, "Here, buy yourself a personality." Furthermore, "You, and this place, DESERVE to be in the Valley."
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