Columbo (1971–2003)
7.7/10
2,097
35 user 9 critic

Ransom for a Dead Man 

A brilliant tort attorney gets rid of her boring husband by faking his kidnapping and keeping the ransom. The FBI may be fooled, but not Columbo.

Director:

Richard Irving

Writers:

Dean Hargrove (teleplay by), Richard Levinson (story by) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Lee Grant ... Leslie Williams
John Fink ... Michael Clark
Harold Gould ... Agent Carlson
Patricia Mattick Patricia Mattick ... Margaret Williams
Paul Carr ... Hammond
Jed Allan ... Phil
Charles Macaulay Charles Macaulay ... Richard
Hank Brandt Hank Brandt ... Attorney (as Henry Brandt)
Jean Byron ... Pat (as Jeane Byron)
Richard Roat ... Perkins
Norma Connolly Norma Connolly ... Celia
Harlan Warde ... Paul Williams
Bill Walker ... Crowell
Timothy Carey ... Bert
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Storyline

Leslie Williams, a brilliant tort attorney is bored by her husband, a respected member of the state supreme court. After trading on his famous name to get ahead, she tries to get her freedom by murdering him and concocts a scheme to make it appear that he's been kidnapped and held for ransom. After she pays the ransom to herself, his dead body is found. She may have fooled the FBI but not Lt. Columbo, who is aided by her vengeful stepdaughter. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 March 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lösegeld für einen Toten See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Throughout the episode Columbo identifies himself as being from the "local police." See more »

Goofs

When the injured plaintiff is being examined on the witness stand, he is asked by his attorney about his injuries and he replies that he injured his back. Lee Grant objects on grounds that this is expert testimony that can only be given by a medical expert and the court sustains the objection. This is incorrect. A person can testify as to what part of his body he injured and where he feels pain. If the question asked was a technical one, such as what specific disc was injured,that question could only be answered by a medical expert. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Columbo: You know the soap you have in the bathroom, the ones shaped like little lemons? Well I was almost afraid to use 'em.
Leslie Williams: But that's what they're there for, lieutenant - to be used.
Lt. Columbo: Well if you don't mind my asking: when you use one, and you put it back in the plate, how do you keep it from sticking to the others?
Leslie Williams: It's a problem.
Lt. Columbo: That's what I figured.
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Connections

Features Double Indemnity (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

very good, but kinda long
29 October 2010 | by stones78See all my reviews

If I recall correctly, Lee Grant won or was nominated for an award for her great performance of Leslie Williams, a cold blooded killer and confident lawyer who is both arrogant and greedy. She exhibits no remorse whatsoever during the entire episode, as we get to see her coldly murder her influential husband. She manipulates the detective in charge, but when the husband's body finally surfaces, Columbo is in charge and he sees right through Leslie, even when she falls apart at the bad news in front of several people. Without describing in detail the rest of the episode, there are some memorable scenes which has Columbo attempting to fly Leslie's plane, and how Leslie's step daughter Margaret constantly hounds her, because she feels that Leslie murdered her father. I thought perhaps there was a bit too much Margaret, as her tirades towards her step mother go on and on for much of the latter half of the segment. Anyhow, you'll have to sit through close to 2 hours before we finally get to the underwhelming finale when Columbo finally arrests Leslie, which seems slightly convenient rather than grand.

This is a solid season 1 episode, and watch for the fine portrayal by Lee Grant, who makes this Columbo a memorable one. Peter Falk also does a fine job as he's on the hunt after the killer.


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