The twenty-ninth episode of Columbo was titled A Deadly State of Mind and was the final episode of the show’s fourth season. A psychologist gets close to a patient and kills first to protect her and next to protect himself. In this podcast Gerry and Iain look at the important evidence and Columbo’s unorthodox investigation.
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There was a familiar face in the killer’s role for this episode as George Hamilton slipped effortlessly into the role of a charming professional with a personal interest in his patient. Dr. Mark Collier is an experimental psychologist using hypnosis and narcotics to help his patients (and provide the narrative for his latest book). When his affair with Nadia Donner (Lesley Ann Warren) is challenged by her husband, Carl (Stephen Elliott), he does stand up for her (after all, he has his book to think of) and when Carl attacks Nadia, Collier intervenes with a poker and inadvertently kills his rival.
Hamilton won a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer in 1960 and has become almost ubiquitous since in a film career spanning 57 years and counting. This was the first of his two Columbo appearances which sandwich higher-profile appearances on Dynasty and in The Godfather: Part III. Some listeners may also remember Hamilton from his run on the ninth series of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! reality show alongside Samantha Fox, Katie Price and snooker legend Jimmy White.
There were not many substantial supporting roles, but Karen Machon was entertaining as Collier’s colleague Dr. Anita Borden and Bruce Kirby returned as Sergeant George Kramer. Jack Manning and Fred Draper played brothers Daniel and David Morris who proved critical in catching the killer.
Harvey Hart‘s second of four directorial stints followed By Dawn’s Early Light from earlier in Season Four, while Peter S. Fischer was back as the writer in the fifth of his nine Columbo episodes. There is little to be said about this talented pair that we have not already covered in previous episodes.
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A Deadly State of Mind was released in 1975. It is 70 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.