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|Columbo (season 7)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||5|
|Original release||November 21, 1977– May 13, 1978|
This is a list of episodes from the seventh season of Columbo.
Although NBC had brought an end to the Mystery Movie series that Columbo had been a part of since 1971, the network decided to keep the series in production and ordered five new telefilms. The first two aired on Monday nights, the first on November 21, 1977 and the second on January 3, 1978. After that, the remaining three films were broadcast on Saturday nights beginning on February 25, 1978 and concluding with the final film of the original Columbo series on May 13, 1978.
The season was released on DVD by Universal Home Video along with season six.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Murderer played by||Victim played by||Original air date||Runtime|
|41||1||"Try and Catch Me"||James Frawley||Story by : Gene Thompson |
Teleplay by : Gene Thompson & Paul Tuckahoe
|Ruth Gordon||Charles Frank||November 21, 1977||70 minutes|
Mystery author Abigail Mitchell (Ruth Gordon) is convinced that her nephew-in-law, Edmund Galvin (Charles Frank), murdered his wife (Mitchell's niece) in a boating "accident" and got away with it. Mitchell asks him to retrieve something from her airtight walk-in safe, then locks him in it before flying off to New York.
Final clue/twist: Columbo eventually solves the case by piecing together clues left by Galvin as he suffocated in the safe. The most incriminating is the title page of Mitchell's new manuscript, altered to read "I was murdered by Abigail Mitchell". At the end of the episode, Mitchell notes that had Columbo been the one to investigate her niece's death, "none of this need ever have happened". Gordon's character is perhaps the most sympathetic killer caught by Columbo and he seems genuinely sorry to have to arrest her.Mariette Hartley plays Mitchell's trusted assistant, Veronica Bryce, who becomes embroiled in the crime.
|42||2||"Murder Under Glass"||Jonathan Demme||Robert van Scoyk||Louis Jourdan||Michael V. Gazzo||January 30, 1978||73 minutes|
Paul Gerard (Louis Jourdan) is a renowned restaurant critic, but he runs a lucrative side business where he extorts restaurant owners in return for good reviews. When one of them, Vittorio Rossi (Michael V. Gazzo), refuses to pay, Gerard kills him with a bottle of wine poisoned with fugu.
Final clue/twist: Columbo figures out that Gerard poisoned the needle of the bottle opener, not the pressure cartridge itself. He tricks Gerard into an attempt to poison him in the same way, but he swaps the glasses in time. Assuming Columbo just poisoned himself, Gerard confesses. Columbo later also states that he suspected Gerard right from the beginning because Gerard didn't rush to a hospital to be checked after he learned that the man he just had dinner with was poisoned.After Columbo gets the goods on him, he asks Gerard what he thinks of a meal he has just prepared, and the charming murderer says, "I wish you had been a chef".
Richard Dysart and France Nuyen also star. Antony Alda (son of veteran actor Robert Alda) plays Rossi's nephew, Mario, who speaks only Italian. Falk's real-life wife Shera Danese returns as Gerard's secretary/treasurer/mistress Eve Plummer.Writer Robert van Scoyk received an Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his teleplay. This episode was the first television directorial work from Jonathan Demme, better known for his later film work on movies such as The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia.
|43||3||"Make Me a Perfect Murder"||James Frawley||Robert Blees||Trish Van Devere||Laurence Luckinbill||February 25, 1978||93 minutes|
West Coast television production boss Mark McAndrews (Laurence Luckinbill) is promoted to a high-level position in New York. He fails to name his lover and logical successor, TV programmer Kay Freestone (Trish Van Devere), as his replacement, since he believes as a professional that she's not ready for the responsibilities. Her consolation prize is a new Mercedes. She is more interested in a gun he holds while jokingly inviting her to shoot him. Freestone takes him up on it during an important preview for a new made-for-TV movie called "The Professional" that she helped produce. She tricks the projectionist (James McEachin) by fiddling with the projector's timer and then sends him on an errand. Freestone sneaks up to McAndrews's office and shoots him, then returns to make the reel change successfully before the projectionist gets back. Patrick O'Neal plays Frank Flanagan, her boss. Van Devere's real-life husband George C. Scott has an uncredited cameo as a technician.Final clue/twist: Towards the end of the episode, Kay sees what she thinks is the murder weapon now visible against the lights of the elevator ceiling. She manages to recover and get rid of it, only to be later confronted by Columbo, revealing the police had found the gun on top of the elevator earlier and moved it to the visible spot. They watched Kay retrieve and get rid of the weapon.
|44||4||"How to Dial a Murder"||James Frawley||Story by : Anthony Lawrence |
Teleplay by : Tom Lazarus
|Nicol Williamson||Joel Fabiani||April 15, 1978||70 minutes|
Mind control (or, as the doctor corrects the detective, "life control") seminar guru Dr. Eric Mason (Nicol Williamson) uses two trained Doberman Pinschers, Laurel and Hardy, to savagely kill his "best friend" Dr. Charlie Hunter (Joel Fabiani), who had been having an affair with Dr. Mason's now-deceased wife. Kim Cattrall plays the resident of Mason's guest house who discovers the body.Final clue/twist: When Columbo assumes that the dogs were trained to react violently when a certain word is said, he has a long conversation with Mason, hoping that he will use the word during the conversation (secretly recorded by Columbo). After the dogs react to the word "Rosebud", Columbo reverses the effect of the word through training. When he confronts Mason with his conclusions, Mason orders the dogs to attack, saying "Rosebud". But this time, the dogs give kisses instead of attacking Columbo, who had them retrained by specialists. Ed Begley, Jr. has a minor role as an animal control officer and Tricia O'Neil plays a dog trainer.
|45||5||"The Conspirators"||Leo Penn||Based on an Idea by : Pat Robison |
Teleplay by : Howard Berk
|Clive Revill||Albert Paulsen||May 13, 1978||97 minutes|
Joe Devlin (Clive Revill) is a renowned Irish poet, author, raconteur, and terrorist supporter. He, along with his own family and the heads of O'Connell Industries, is secretly a fund-raiser and gun-runner for the Irish Republican Army. He raises money in Los Angeles for his radical cause through a charity ostensibly meant to help victims of terrorism. Devlin has a strong belief in honor. Thus, when Vincent Pauley (Albert Paulsen), an arms dealer selling guns to Devlin, tries to skim off $50,000 for himself, Devlin shoots and kills Pauley for being a traitor. With Columbo hot on his trail, Devlin must find more guns and arrange their shipment out of the country.
Final clue/twist: Columbo discovers, that a bottle of whiskey at the crime scene has the same markings Devlin uses to make in his presence prior. Because every diamond has a unique cutting habit, Devlin's ring is proof of his presence at the crime scene. As for Devlin's illegal gun shipment, customs agents originally search the ship, but do not find it. When the ship is pulling out of the harbor, Columbo spots the tugboat flying an O'Connell Industries flag, and thus deduces that the guns were actually on the tug, and that they will be transferred to the ship just before it pulls out to sea.This was the last episode of the Columbo series broadcast on the NBC television network. Columbo's last line is "This far, and no farther", words spoken by Devlin as he marked a whiskey bottle to determine how much he would drink in a session. These words were taken from a speech by the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) leader Charles Stuart Parnell, a 19th-century Irish politician and supporter of Home Rule. A noted IPP politician of the same name as the fictional killer in this episode, Joseph Devlin, represented West Belfast early in the 20th century and opposed the use of violence in the cause of nationalist politics.