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That Leaves Us With Sid Daley


In “Fade In To Murder,” William Shatner is Ward Fowler, TV’s popular Detective Lucerne. When he murders his blackmailing agent/producer, can Columbo prove it? RJ, Jon and Maggie Serota find out. Also- would Mark Ruffalo make a decent Columbo?

And, like we say on the show- post your ideas for modern-day NBC Mystery Movie casts below and we’ll mention them on the next program.


  1. I’m enjoying your podcast quite a bit. Looking forward to the next one!

    “This Old Man” is usually heard when Columbo has twigged as to how the murderer did it.

    Also, regarding the existence of Mrs. Columbo, he makes a number of references to her to characters either before a murder happens (“Troubled Waters”) or to characters in law enforcement (“Lovely but Lethal) and lastly after a murder is solved (he calls home to her in “RIP Mrs. Columbo”). So while it’s clear he makes stuff up all the time, I get the feeling she does exist. He just embroiders what she’s interested in/about.

  2. SaintFu SaintFu

    I’m loving this podcast.

    It struck me that this episode came out in 1976, a couple of years before Bob Crane’s death in 1978. I don’t think Crane’s video activities were public knowledge before that. I wonder if the video stuff was meant an inside joke at Crane’s expense. There were probably at least a few people who knew about it.

    “Mrs. Columbo” (later “Kate Columbo” then “Kate the Detective” and finally “Kate Loves a Mystery”) ran for a few months in 1979, after Columbo had finished at NBC. It was done without the input or permission of anyone in involved with Columbo. Peter Falk: “It was a bad idea. It was disgraceful.”

  3. Thanks so much for chiming in, and super-thanks for the additional info! The multitude of Columbo episodes means RJ and I can always stand to be better educated about the canon and trivia about the character, so we love to hear about it!

    Thanks again for listening, folks!

  4. Carlos Carlos

    One very funny but strange thing in this episode is Ward gets very annoyed at Columbo repeatedly identifying Tony as the deli owner. Ward finally says (and Shatner’s delivery is perfect), “if you tell me that one more time I’m going to kill myself”. Which is the weirdest thing to get annoyed at.

    The funny thing is that you yourselves say a number of times that Tony was the deli owner, so if Ward listens to this podcast he is very annoyed right now.

    Keep up these podcasts, they are tons of fun.

    • Maybe this is because Ward is upset at the fact he had to hurt Tony and doenst want to be reminded of it. At the end of the show ward says he has been happy about his killing but maybe he didn’t like having to involve Tony.

  5. This has already been mentioned but “This Old Man” was an auditory clue to the audience that Columbo has clued in on to how it was done. There are a couple episodes that it becomes very prominent.

    If you’ve ever watched Luther, the titular character is actually inspired by Columbo. Idris Elba in a couple interviews and articles stated that he took a lot of inspiration from Peter Falk’s portrayal of Columbo for the show.

  6. Glenn Glenn

    Sometimes you guys say the dumbest stuff.

    Don’t be afraid to call out guests when they say dumb stuff too. When Maggie says Ruffalo would be a good Rockford…. WTF? no not good. Bad very bad.

    Ruffalo would be the only person I could think of who could pull off a Columbo from an aesthetic perspective anyway. He looks like Columbo. But if they did do a reboot would he mimic Falk’s Columbo or do his own thing? would it work?

    • Leigh Leigh

      Weirdly, since seeing him in American Hustle and the two-parter episode of Louie, I actually think fellow Avenger Jeremy Renner might be able to play a damn good Columbo too.

  7. Leigh Leigh

    On the subject of likeable/unlikeable murderers, there’s a must-see: Columbo’s speech to the mystery writer’s group in Try And Catch Me. Columbo talks about the nature of his respect for some of the people he catches, and it’s one of the best monologues in the show in my opinion — and it features Ruth Gordon as probably the most likeable and sympathetic killer of them all. In general, I’d say that episode definitely needs to be on your list… And for contrast, there’s Murder Under Glass, with possibly the most unlikeable killer in the show, and one of the very very few who actually attempts to kill Columbo.

  8. Lisa A. Lisa A.

    The guest stars they are getting for the podcast, who are they? Are they actors or just fans of the show?

    • RJ RJ

      Fans of Columbo, folks we know. That sort of thing.

  9. Joe Joe

    While you were talking about casting a 21st century Columbo, for some reason I thought of Owen Wilson. He’d be great as the deferential, bumbling guy no one takes seriously. (Jim Carrey could be a murderer in one episode.)

    For McMillan and wife, Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein, though I think they’d make a better Spenser and Susan Silverman.

    And for McCloud, hm … Daniel Day Lewis.

  10. Never seen this episode before, which is odd as I’ve been watching Columbo on British TV since I can remember. And it is definitely one of my favourites. The interplay between Shatner and Falk was brilliant! The scene where he walks in on him trying on his hat made me laugh out loud! I also loved how Ward tries (quite well) to play Columbo at his own game, making it harder for Columbo to read him. Brining in his own character detective as a third character was a great mind game and probably one Ward could use as an insanity defense

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