I’m Just Another Cop

Episode 15 (Murder By The Book)

For our latest, we go back to Columbo‘s first episode (yes, yes- there was the TV movie and then the pilot, but this is the first episode), directed by a young go-getter named Steven Spielberg. It’s Jack Cassidy’s first turn as a murderous creep, killing his writing partner (Martin Milner), rather than letting him break up the team. Joining us is The AV Club‘s Gwen Ihnat, who wrote a wonderful column about Columbo‘s best episodes a little while ago.

7 comments on “I’m Just Another Cop

  1. When you consider the various phone calls in the episode, keep in mind that 1971 local calls didn’t show up in phone records — only long distance calls. So there would be no record of a call from Ferris’ office to his wife, but there would be a record of a call from Franklin’s San Diego cabin to Joanna Ferris. Accordingly, Franklin had to create an innocent explanation for the record of Ferris’ phone call from the cabin. That’s why he called Joanna from the grocery store.

    But there is a plot flaw: Joanna would tell Columbo that as soon as she heard the gunshot, she immediately called the police. The LAPD would have a record of the precise time she first made her report. The phone records would show the time the call was made from Franklin’s San Diego cabin. It would be seconds before Joanna called the police. And Joanna could say that Franklin’s call to her from San Diego was significantly earlier.

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