Columbo

Season 1 Episode 2

Ransom for a Dead Man

1
Aired Unknown Mar 01, 1971 on NBC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

8.3
out of 10
Average
73 votes
  • A distinct improvement on Prescription Murder.

    9.5
    Leslie Williams is a very clever lawyer and has just become an equally clever murderer. Shooting her husband and dumping his body, Leslie uses a tape recorder and some threatening letters to make it appear that her husband has been kidnapped. Naturally she contacts the police and drops off the money only for her husband to be found dead with the police all lamenting their failed attempt to get him back alive. However the liaison with the local police (Lieutenant Columbo) has one or two things that just don't ring true and suspects something other than a simple kidnapping.

    A distinct improvement on PRESCRIPTION: MURDER, especially in the visual field: this was actually released in cinemas in Britain, in 1973, and it's easy to see why. Despite some gimmicky camera effects, dating the show as the product of the early 70's , the style of the visuals, particularly the opening murder scene, and the atmospheric music lend the TV production an enjoyable air of assured professionalism more associated with the big screen. (Especially, one might add, with Hitchcock, whom Levinson and Link had previously written for.) Lee Grant is a simply superb adversary, coldly beautiful and never once descending to the "chink-in-the-armour" factor that let down some of the later COLUMBO murderesses. Falk looks no different in this second pilot (in effect a special, anticipating the series' current status) than he would in the series, and has also raised his voice above the near monotone employed in PRESCRIPTION: MURDER, although his loss of temper with Grant's obnoxious stepdaughter is quite unlike the easy-going Lieutenant we all know.
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