The fortieth episode of Columbo was titled Murder Under Glass and was the second episode of the show’s seventh season. A famous food critic kills to keep his extortion of restaurant owners concealed. In this podcast Gerry and Iain look at a suave killer who isn’t prepared to come quietly.
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Determined not to be exposed for his illicit racket, taking cash from restaurateurs in exchange for favourable – or a lack of unfavourable – coverage, Louis Jourdan‘s Paul Gerard is a European food critic of world renown, with murder on his mind. Faced with a furious Vittorio Rossi (Michael V. Gazzo), proprietor of an Italian restaurant of some quality, who threatens to tell the world about Gerard’s true nature, Gerard opts to kill rather than negotiate. Drawing poison from the Japanese Fugu he disposes of Rossi with the aid of a gas-propelled bottle opener.
Shera Danese features as Gerard’s assistant-slash-lover Eve Plummer, while Richard Dysart and France Nuyen appear sufficiently nefarious as other restaurateurs participating in Gerard’s scheme. Antony Alba plays Mario, Rossi’s nephew who speaks only Italian, while Larry D. Mann (as chef Albert) and Mako Iwamatsu (as Gerard’s houseguest Kanji Ousu) also feature.
Jonathan Demme, famed for his Academy Award winning turn as director on Silence of the Lambs, directs his only Columbo episode from a script by Robert Van Scoyk, who would go on to pen two further episodes in the 1990s.
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Murder Under Glass was released in 1978. It is 75 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.