I Need Another Bum for This Wall

Episode Card_Butterfly in Shades of Grey

In “Butterfly in Shades of Grey,” William Shatner is popular conservative talk radio host Fielding Chase. He’ll do anything to advance his political agenda and sphere of power, as well as keep his adopted daughter Victoria close. You see, Fielding was in love with Victoria’s late mother and for him, creepily, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. When she is on the verge of leaving to seek a literary career, Chase murders her friend who set it all in motion. What follows is actually a rather good episode of Columbo! Shatner ended up two-for-two! Also keeping that perfect record is our returning guest, Alex Knapp (Forbes).

5 comments on “I Need Another Bum for This Wall

  1. The title “Butterfly In Shades Of Grey” was clearly a reference to Shatner’s moustache. Can’t believe you missed that.

  2. Shatner was such a fun murderer, watching him trying to keep his patience in the restaurant scene, as Columbo rambles on, was fantastic. And a great line from Columbo, “My cousin Dominic he’s a big fan of yours, he never misses your show. Cousin Dominic, he don’t have much of a life.” ha ha ha ha.

  3. Btw, if you think that Columbo overdid the “giggling incompetent” act when he first met Chase, then you might be interested to know there’s kind of a precedent for it in palmistry schtick in the Season 1 episode Death Lends A Hand (which RJ and Jon might cover one day if they ever shake off this ridiculous anti-Culp prejudice they’ve got going).

  4. One of the things that really surprised me about this episode was the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic. I don’t think the victim was getting over a break up with a partner. I think it was implied that the victim was getting over the recent death of a partner. Also everyone at the funeral was wearing a red ribbon.

    This scores high on my Columbo Rubric:

    Murderer lives at the beach (well in Malibu, and the mountains figure in him getting caught!)
    Reference to family: there’s a couple, he mentions his wife and his cousin Dominic.
    Columbo being mistaken for a bum.
    Not Culp, but Shatner is so great that I don’t care.

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