The psychiatrist husband who takes his wife to Acapulco for the weekend on their tenth wedding anniversary. The wife is lost in the mistress, it isn’t a crime of passion, the wife reappears in the mistress.
The first Columbo (from the play, out of a teleplay) is among the most abstruse and characteristic of the series. A great director takes it in hand, a great score by Dave Grusin caps it, a theatrical release is all that was wanting.
Ransom for a Dead Man
First the objective correlative of the murder, man standing up shot by woman sitting down, to remove him from her life. A fake kidnapping scheme, discovery of the body, etc.
Her hobby is flying, she’s a leading trial attorney.
Second the entire crime as a narrative related at Barney’s Beanery. She got him off the State Supreme Court bench, opened a law firm with him, trading on his name, dumped him, he planned to close the firm, a boring, much too perfect man.
The final image is the stepdaughter who knows all, paid her large allowance out of the proceeds and seen off at LAX for Zurich.
Flashy editing early on recurs much later in the series.
Hargrove has the teleplay from Link & Levinson. Flying by Tallmantz.
Conscience is a thing, Lt. Columbo explains, without which imagination is limited. He’s lost his pen right from the start.