The thirty ninth episode of Columbo was titled Try and Catch Me and was the first episode of the show’s seventh season. A successful author seeks to avenge her niece’s murder. In this podcast Gerry and Iain look at a game of cat-and-mouse between a playful killer and the lieutenant.
Season seven kicks off with a memorable contest between Columbo and Ruth Gordon‘s Abigail Mitchell. Over the course of the show the two gain respect and no small degree of fondness for one another; but as understandable as Mitchell’s actions are, they still add up to murder and the lieutenant is left with no choice but to take her in.
The victim of Mitchell’s act of vengeance is her niece’s widower, Edmund Galvin – played with perfect detachment by Charles Frank. The episode features a small principal cast – Mariette Hartley returns (after an appearance in Season 3’s Publish or Perish) as Abigail’s assistant Veronica; Mary Jackson plays her housekeeper Annie and G.D. Spradlin makes an impression as her loyal attorney Martin Hammond. Beyond these three only Jerome Guardino (Sgt. Burke) and Marie Silva-Alexander (Veronica’s belly-dancing instructor) have credited appearances.
This episode marked the arrival of Richard Alan Simmons as the show’s producer and he was to implement a focused approach to storytelling, as we discuss on the podcast.
James Frawley directs the first of his six Columbo episodes (he would ultimately helm more than half of season seven’s shows) from a script by Gene Thompson (interestingly uncredited for his involvement in writing Ransom for a Dead Man).
During the podcast Iain was convinced that Dog was played by a new actor in this episode. If you have thoughts on that or any other aspect of Try and Catch Me, please share them below, or find us on Twitter at @columbopodcast.
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Try and Catch Me was released in 1977. It is 73 minutes long and originally aired on the NBC network. It can be viewed on Netflix in the United States and is available on DVD in other countries, including a comprehensive box set of all the show’s seasons released by Universal.