Columbo (1971–2003)
29 user 6 critic

Murder, Smoke and Shadows 

An egocentric wunderkind director murders a childhood friend who threatens to expose his negligent complicity in the death of his sister years earlier.


James Frawley


Richard Levinson (created by), William Link (created by) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Fisher Stevens ... Alex Brady
Molly Hagan ... Ruth 'Ruthie' Jernigan
Nan Martin ... Rose Walker
Jeff Perry ... Leonard Fisher
Steven Hill ... Mr. Marosco
Jerome Guardino ... Sergeant Burke
Elizabeth Ruscio ... Fran
Al Pugliese ... Phil Crossette
Time Winters ... Stan
Gayle Harbor Gayle Harbor ... Lisa
Stewart J. Zully ... Sewell
Avner Garbi Avner Garbi ... Kardarsian
Meg James Meg James ... Tour Guide
Lisa Barnes ... Waitress


This time Columbo pits his wits against a movie director who murders an old friend on a set, because this friend is in possession of a damaging piece of film, on which the actress died and isn't helped by the movie director. Written by Maarten Hofman <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

27 February 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ombres et lumières See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode takes place in February 1989. See more »


Columbo spots a couple of ice-cream sodas left on the counter in Alex Brady's office, known as his "boys' club". One glass is almost full, the other about half-full. Not only can we see this, but Columbo comments on it at length, theorizing with uncanny accuracy how the full and the half-full glasses show what happened earlier, when the victim was visiting Brady's office. The moment Columbo leaves, Brady rushes to the soda glasses, to destroy the evidence. Inexplicably, he finds both glasses are now empty except for a milky residue. See more »


Alex Bradey: Coincidence is what makes a story, Lieutenant. Without coincidence, life runs evenly like a train on a track. Coincidence is a trainwreck, violence, suffering, and guilt.
See more »


References Star Castle (1980) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not too shabby....
13 March 2014 | by zmarteverSee all my reviews

I liked this installment better than the first movie from '89 where the snobby villain was rather dull. At least here the villain, although a tad young, had some personality. I liked to watch his building frustration as Columbo tightened the noose. All in all, a better effort all around. I think i am figuring out why the original columbos were just better. Made in the '70s they had a certain style and simplicity thats maybe lacking in the newer films.....the newer versions try to do too much. Everything is a bit cheesier, even the music. Funny but the "newer" episodes seem more dated to me than the older stuff. And i am, so far, missing the big name villains. I am hoping the episode with Faye Dunaway will rectify this. However, as always, i enjoy Peter Falk. He remains as good as ever. Best moment: columbo shows his incredible deduction skills to the viewer and the villain during an early scene where Columbo can tell so much from 2 left over ice cream sodas. It's right up there with vintage Columbo. Secondly, the scene where Columbo literally hangs in the air scanning a movie set. His dislike of heights is known from vintage episodes.

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