The thirteenth episode of Columbo was titled A Stitch in Crime and was the sixth episode of the show’s second season. A brilliant doctor is forced to improvise when a suspicious nurse begins to investigate his behaviour and Columbo goes head-to-head with the killer. In this podcast Gerry and Iain look at a popular guest star on what is a well-regarded episode.
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In A Stitch in Crime Columbo is forced to face off with Star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy is known around the world for his iconic role as Mr Spock across the Original Series, Animated Series, Next Generation and Deep Space Nine shows, together with the first six Star Trek movies and both of JJ Abrams’ rebooted movies – Star Trek in 2009 and Star Trek Into Darkness in 2012. Outwith the Star Trek universe Nimoy has had a diverse and celebrated career in acting, but also direction and latterly in photography.
Nimoy’s calculating Dr Mayfield calmly murders the returning Anne Francis‘ Nurse Sharon Martin and former Dallas actor Jared Martin‘s ex-drug addict Harry Alexander (not to mention attempting to murder Dr Hideman, played charismatically by The Waltons‘ Will Geer). Indeed, Nita Talbot‘s Marcia Dalton is the only principal character who escapes Mayfield’s ire for the duration of the episode -though she is cruelly manipulated into guiding the police down the wrong track.
There was a welcome return to a more tight-knit principal cast in this episode and the show was better for it. The Columbo-Mayfield dynamic was allowed to take centre stage and that was a wise decision, allowing two strong actors to wring every ounce of drama from the script.
During this episode we asked listeners a couple of questions. Firstly, was the operating room (or any other part of the hospital set) used for a medical-themed show, or was it bespoke for Columbo? Also, do you think Columbo lost his temper with Mayfield, or was it a strategic move? If you have thoughts on those issues or any other aspects of A Stitch in Crime then please feel free to comment below, or find us on Twitter at @columbopodcast.
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A Stitch in Crime was released in 1973. It is 74 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.