The fifty first episode of Columbo was titled Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo and was the fourth episode of the show’s ninth season. Retribution is in the air as the widow of a man Columbo sent to jail seeks revenge on those she blames for his subsequent death. In this podcast Gerry and Iain look at a change in format and a uniquely personal case for Columbo.
Helen Shaver stars as killer Vivian Dimitri, a brilliant real estate agent with a secret vendetta. Dimitri’s husband was investigated by Columbo and convicted of manslaughter in the early 80s, in an investigation initiated by a tip-off from Charlton Chambers (Edward Winter). Chambers’ plan of edging Dimitri’s husband out of the picture to give himself a clear run at her affections has not, however, paid off. Understanding where the tip-off came from, Dimitri bides her time, but when her husband dies in prison she becomes intent on taking revenge.
Dimitri’s alibi is established by dinner with her married lover, Leland St. John (Ian McShane), while Chambers’ body is left to be discovered by office colleague Dede Perkins (Teresa Ganzel). Columbo gains vital assistance in his investigation from a new LAPD sidekick, Tom Isbell‘s Sergeant Brady, while important additional information is gleaned from Dimitri’s former therapist, Dr. Steadman (Roscoe Lee Browne).
Vincent McEveety directed the first of his seven Columbo episodes working with a script by the legendary returning figure of Peter S. Fischer (the seventh of his nine Columbo stories and the first since Season 6’s Old Fashioned Murder).
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Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo was released in 1990. 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.