Columbo

Season 1 Episode 8

Short Fuse

2
Aired Unknown Jan 19, 1972 on NBC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

8.2
out of 10
Average
67 votes
  • Roddy McDowall plays an excellent murderer, Columbo is in fine form, and the dénouement is one of the best of the series.

    10
    Spoiler warning: do not read further if you haven't yet seen this episode!

    The episode is expertly plotted. Roger (Roddy McDowall's character) works for his uncle's chemical factory and has, so far, been given free rein to carry out his own pet projects. His uncle calls him in and tells him he's going to sell the company, forcing out Roger. Roger plants a bomb in a cigar case in uncle's car shortly before a long journey, and to ensure he opens it en route, removes all other cigars from the car. The car explodes on a remote mountain road. Enter Columbo.

    Following the usual game of cat-and-mouse with Roger, which includes some superb lines ("Well, my wife, she says I'm second best but, uh, she claims there are 80 fellas tied for first"), Columbo figures out the murder method and -- of course -- turns it back on the murderer. In one of my all-time favorite "gotchas", Columbo tricks Roger by convincing him that the explosion that killed his uncle was unrelated to the bomb, and that the rigged cigar case survived the explosion. He explains all this to Roger while they are in a cable-car halfway up the mountain. He then produces the cigar case and Roger watches horrified when Columbo proceeds to open it! In a desperate bid to save his own life, Roger is forced to reveal his guilt.

    Sheer genius; it is always a pleasure watching Columbo outwit a murderer, and in this case the murderer was absolutely hoist by his own petard.
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