Columbo : Prescription Murder (1968)

Genres - Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Police Detective Film  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Prescription: Murder, a 1967 TV movie, represents the first appearance of Peter Falk as the rumpled but crafty detective Columbo. Gene Barry plays a distinguished doctor whose happiness is thwarted by his drunken wife (Nina Foch). Barry is in love with a pretty actress (Katherine Justice), and to smooth the path of his romance he murders his wife and arranges the evidence to pin the blame elsewhere. Enter Columbo, who seems to be slow on the uptake but who in fact is suspicious of the doctor's story. Snooping, prodding, puttering, and forever stopping at the doorway with the inevitable "just one more question," Columbo gets to the truth by playing a psychological trick on Barry, with the grudging cooperation of Barry's mistress. Written by Richard Levinson and William Link, Prescription Murder began life as a Broadway play in the late 1950s, starring Thomas Mitchell in the Columbo part (with a different character name), Joseph Cotten as the devious doctor, Agnes Moorehead as the victim and Patricia Medina (Mrs. Cotten) as the mistress. It would be adapted into a one-hour special on NBC in 1961 (with Bert Freed as the disheveled detective) before finally hitting weekly-series paydirt with Peter Falk in the lead.




police-detective, psychiatrist, robbery, wife, murder