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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).


  1. Ant Ant

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

    • That is eminently possible.

      I forgot to mention on the podcast that my wife and I took to calling it his “Sabo’tash”

  2. Carlos Carlos

    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.

    • Jade Dermody Jade Dermody

      Loved that line too

  3. Ant Ant

    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.

    • Jade Dermody Jade Dermody

      Yes I agree with you, I also thought they meant his partner had died of aids

  5. Jade Dermody Jade Dermody

    Ok so did no one else wonder about vickys back story. Shatner says her dad died. But of what??? I suspect he killed him. I also suspect he may have killed her mother ( probably when she realised he killed her husband then tries to leave him) but he told everyone she died on cancer.
    I loved the scene where Vicky finally walks out on her father and then Columbo pops up in the living room. Reminds me of when he does the same thing in Murder a self portrait. Where the wife and girlfriend walk out on the murderer and columbo pops out from upstair asking if this is a bad time.
    Lastly I thought the butterfly in shades of grey was Vicky. Her character where’s alot if grey and light tones in this. Even at the funeral she is wearing dark blue and not black.

  6. Joe Joe

    About the tram at Fielding Chase’s house: the word you were looking for is “funicular.”

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