The eleventh episode of Columbo was titled Dagger of the Mind and was the fourth episode of the show’s second season. Columbo travels to London and finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation involving Shakespearean actors, butlers and cockney handymen. In this podcast Gerry and Iain consider the highs and lows of a controversial episode.
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In a unique episode, compared to what had come before, Columbo was removed from his comfort zone and placed in London to learn from Bernard Fox‘s Detective Chief Superintendent Durk and the team at Scotland Yard. Although there was a limited amount of actual filming in the UK, the whole story unfolded across the Atlantic as Columbo failed to resist involving himself in a foreign investigation.
For the first time in Columbo so far we had multiple killers in Dagger of the Mind, as Honor Blackman and Richard Basehart‘s husband-and-wife team accounted for one fatality each. Their victims, John Williams‘ Sir Roger Haversham and Wilfrid Hyde-White‘s outstanding Tanner, play their parts but meet with tragic ends.
One of the more debated characters in this episode is Arthur Malet‘s Joe Fenwick, a particularly stereotypical portrayal of a cockney handyman. This exaggerated caricature grated with many viewers, though the character had an important role to play in the unfolding of Columbo’s investigation.
During this episode we asked listeners if they could remember how the episode was originally promoted on NBC. If you have thoughts on that issue or any other aspect of Dagger of the Mind then please feel free to comment below, or find us on Twitter at @columbopodcast.
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Dagger of the Mind was released in 1972. It is 98 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 eleven seasons released by Universal.