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Liquid Filth!

Poor Adrian Carsini (Donald Pleasance). When we meet him in “Any Old Port In a Storm,” all he wants is to run the family winery, play the big shot with his wine nerd friends and decant the days away. When Carsini’s playboy half-brother threatens to sell the winery’s land to the Two Buck Chucks up the road, he flies into a rage, mostly killing him with a solid blow to the head, then finishing the job by suffocating him in the wine cellar while jetting off to NYC for the weekend. Columbo coincidences his way into the case when it turns from a missing person gig into a homicide. Steven Goss (Drunk Columbo) joins in to talk about a solid episode from a solid season.


  1. Rich Weill Rich Weill

    This episode features perhaps the most decorated actor or actress ever to appear on a Columbo: Julie Harris (5 Tony Awards; 10 Tony nominations; 3 Emmys; an Oscar nomination). Too bad she had such a small part, however well handled.

  2. Joe Joe

    I don’t think Columbo would ever bring his wife to meet a murder suspect. It’s a murder suspect, for heaven’s sake — you don’t want him meeting your family or knowing where you live. I think he mentions bringing his wife to set the killer’s mind at ease, but he already has some excuse in the back of his mind — whether bowling or baby sitters. He’d never bring her into an active investigation.

    • RJ RJ

      You know what? That is an excellent point.

      • Seconded. I guess we always focus on him using semi-mythical stories about his family as a tool to keep the killers off-balance, but they also serve the purpose of protecting what family he does have from any possible retaliation…

        • Boy, that being said, it’s weird that Columbo has put away so many incredibly rich murderers and none of them have used their power and influence to sabotage his career or go after his family from prison.

          • Joe Joe

            There are only two episodes in which the perps targeted a member of Columbo’s family, and it didn’t work out too well either time — for them or for us.

          • Joe Joe

            Now that you bring it up, I’m wondering who the richest guy Columbo ever arrested is. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any with unlimited resources. Most are well to do, but many seem to have money troubles. Carsini is broke. Ken Franklin killed for money. Alex Benedict married for it. None of Robert Culp’s characters was obscenely rich. I think the only one really in a position to retaliate is McGoohan’s character in Identity Crisis, and once Larry Tate finds out he’s a double agent, he’s going to disappear.

  3. Jason Brown Jason Brown

    Watched this episode in anticipation of the pod a week ago. Far better than I remember (the pod has done a great job of making me appreciate subtleties I’d not seen before), and yes, season three was arguably the best season of the lot (there isn’t much between the first five, seasons, perhaps?)

  4. Nick Nick

    Just a couple things – the thing about Columbo crushing grapes in the bathtub as a kid is probably a reference to Prohibition, and the sitting down on the job joke is obviously about crushing grapes (don’t plop down and sit in the goopy liquid).

  5. Lisa Stein Lisa Stein

    Great episode and great podcast. That brussel sprouts line always got me too. Like how would that guy from the Lou Grant show know that he didn’t like brussel sprouts. I also found funny the scene after Carsini dumps the body and takes that folding bike out to ride. Can you imagine riding that thing through the twisty, curvy mountain sides of California in order to get back home? Finally, do you think that it would have been more poetic if Carsini had hit his brother over the head with a bottle of cheap wine – maybe one of those square Manischewitz bottles?

    Thanks again,

  6. Chana Masaledar Chana Masaledar

    Excellent work as always.

    I liked the point about their father arranging his will so as to insure that both children would stay tied to the winery. At least that probably would have been his plan; turns out it didn’t work out. And Adrian’s situation was at least partly of his own making: he probably could have bought the winery from his brother and owned it outright, but then he wouldn’t have the money required to treat it as a hobby instead of a business.

    Part of the reason is somewhat sympathetic, despite all his obvious negative qualities, is because his whole reason for living was about to be taken away; and then his impulsive attempt to protect it ends up destroying it anyway. Even if he’d never been caught, the murder ruined his precious wine collection. He had no way of coming out ahead.

    • Chana Masaledar Chana Masaledar

      Correction: that should read “part of the reason Adrian is somewhat sympathetic…”

      Only eighteen episodes left, by my count. Plus however many Mrs. Columbos you get around to.

  7. Luciaphile Luciaphile

    Great podcast and a great episode. I loved every second of it. You were wondering if this was an ep that most people put down there with Last Salute to the Commodore and I’m pretty sure the answer is no. Every list of people’s top 10 episodes has this one near the top.

    • Yeah, in retrospect, I have no idea where I got that notion…

  8. OK so here are my theories/questions on this episode
    1. Does anyone else think Adrian younger brother use to beat him? Every time he goes to touch him he violently flinches? Or is that suppose to be his British social awkwardness vs the over affectionate American?
    2. One of the reasons I LOOOOVE this episode is because we see Colombo go gather evidence on the murderer before he even meets him. He gets the weather report for the car, he gets opinions about the brother relationship from friends and work colleagues. Then when he meets Adrian he already knows he did it. I think this happens a lot in Colombo but we never actually see it. For instance when he first meets the murderer in Bye Bye Sky High IQ. He already knows a lot about him and his relationship with the victim and has already decided he is the guy.
    3. Jon’s idea that Colombo is an angle or an anti body I think is best seen in the shot when Adrian is walking back up the hill from throwing the wine in the sea and Colombo is silently sat in the boot of his car with all his destroyed wine (evidence). There is such a feeling of other worldliness from Colombo, possibly because of Adrain’s relief and acceptance of being caught.

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