Murder, a Self Portrait

Episode 50 – Murder, a Self Portrait

The forty eighth episode of Columbo was titled Murder, a Self Portrait and was the first episode of the show’s ninth season. A famous artist murders his ex-wife to protect a dark secret. In this podcast Gerry and Iain examine the killer’s motives and assess Columbo as an oneirocritic.



There are once again echoes of episodes past here as we meet Patrick Bauchau‘s Max Barsini, a man who has killed before and kills again to protect this secret. In Murder, a Self Portrait his victim is his ex-wife Louise, portrayed by the wonderful Fionnula Flanagan, who knows all about his earlier crime.


Principal support comes from the familiar face of Shera Danese (previously seen in Fade in to Murder and Murder Under Glass) as Barsini’s present wife; Isabel Lorca as his model-cum-live in lover Julie; the indefatigable Vito Scotti making his final Columbo appearance as “Vito”; and George Coe as Louise’s former therapist turned lover Dr Sydney Hammer.


This episode marked the last of director James Frawley‘s six shows, while writer Robert Sherman contributed his only Columbo story on this occasion.


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Murder, a Self Portrait was released in 1989. It is 98 minutes long and originally aired on the ABC network. This episode is not available on Netflix, but can be found on the Season 9 or complete collection DVD box sets from Universal.


The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast team develops, produces and promotes The Columbo Podcast.