One in this series of police dramas in which Los Angeles homicide detective Lt. Columbo's unassuming manner masks his keen intelligence and sharp investigative abilities. In this episode (presented under the umbrella of "ABC Thursday Night at the Movies"), rave promoter Justin Price shows Tony Galper his new nightclub, Bait, and admits that half of the place has been paid for on credit. Tony assures Justin that he will have the necessary funds within thirty-six hours. Tony then goes to see his ex-wife Vanessa and gets into a fight with her when he finds that she’s sleeping with Justin. After Vanessa pushes him, Tony crashes through a glass table and dies. Justin comes over and finds Vanessa in hysterics. They agree to cover up Tony’s death, with Justin stating that he needs Tony’s investment funds to open Bait. Thirty-six hours later, Justin gets word that Tony’s transaction is complete. Justin goes to Tony’s hotel room and makes it appear that Tony just checked out. Later, Vanessa gets an anonymous call questioning where she put the body and warning that she “won’t get away with it.” Meanwhile, Justin gets an email titled “dirty little secret,” which contains photos of Tony’s death. Justin soon finds that the blackmailer is Linwood Coben, a freelance tabloid reporter with whom he’s worked in the past. He tells Linwood that he can’t meet his financial demands for the photos. Two hours later, Justin goes to Linwood’s apartment, where he tries to strangle the blackmailer. He then steals the photos, deletes the incriminating email and destroys all evidence of the crime. As Justin writes Linwood’s suicide note on the computer, Linwood revives, though he’s tied to a radiator. Justin pushes Linwood out the window, forcing him to crash to the ground with the radiator landing atop his body. Vanessa then drives Justin to his next gig, where he tries to establish an alibi. When police find Linwood’s body, Columbo reports to the scene. He immediately finds a curious dab of green paint on a tire of Linwood’s car. He also notes that Linwood’s breath smells of mouthwash and that he gave himself a pedicure, making Columbo doubt the veracity of the suicide note. Columbo subsequently has the computer dusted for prints, then notices a page missing from Linwood’s desk calendar. Using graphite, he finds directions to a warehouse indented on the next calendar page and follows them to the building. Immediately, Columbo recognizes the green paint from a glow-stick and secures a sample. He also sees a flyer announcing the opening of Bait and decides to go there. Columbo introduces himself to Justin and asks about Linwood. Justin says that Linwood had a history of suicide attempts. Justin also admits to blackmailing celebrities who acted up at one of the raves, using Linwood’s incriminating photos. Afterward, Justin calls Vanessa and says they shouldn’t see each other during the investigation. Columbo later checks out Justin’s alibi and finds it fallacious. Columbo then interrupts Justin’s latest rave and questions his actions on the night of Linwood’s death. While back at Linwood’s apartment, Columbo hears a threatening message left by Sean Jarvis. Columbo jots down the address and goes to speak to him. Columbo finds that Linwood paid Sean for the use of his back yard to spy on Vanessa. Upon being confronted by Columbo, Vanessa says that Linwood had no reason to report on her low-level acting career. Finding photos of Vanessa in Linwood’s office, Columbo sees that those taken on the day of Linwood’s death are missing. Columbo then asks Justin if Linwood was blackmailing Vanessa, a charge that Justin denies. At police headquarters, Columbo hears that Tony is missing and realizes that he is Vanessa’s ex-husband. He also learns that Tony’s father is mafia member Joe Giannelli. Columbo discovers that Tony has been missing for three days, though his hotel and car rental fees appear to have been handled by another individual. Columbo then runs into a man on the street named Freddie, who is working on Joe’s behest concerning Tony’s disappearance. Freddie says that no one heard from Tony after his money went into Justin’s bank account. Columbo tells Justin that Linwood was following Tony, hoping to write a story about his mob connections. Columbo goes back to see Vanessa, telling her that she’s a suspect in Tony’s disappearance. He shows her Justin’s pager records, revealing how many times she called him after Tony disappeared. Bait bouncer Julius fails to keep Vanessa out of the club’s opening night as she insists on meeting with Justin. After the two speak in private, Justin goes ballistic when Columbo delivers a warrant to close Bait. Columbo tells Justin and Vanessa that he suspects Tony is buried in the club’s cement floor, then uses a radar device to corroborate his deductions. Justin and Vanessa are arrested as Columbo is congratulated by an ebullient Freddie. Includes commercials. This program is closed-captioned.


  • DATE: January 30, 2003 8:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:00:00
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:75207
  • GENRE: Drama, police
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Drama, police
  • SERIES RUN: NBC - TV series, 1968-1978; ABC - 1989-2003
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  • Peter Falk … Executive Producer
  • John Whitman … Producer
  • Jack Horger … Co-Producer
  • Jeffrey Reiner … Director
  • Richard Levinson … Created by
  • William Link … Created by
  • Michael Alaimo … Writer
  • Ken Jordan … Music by
  • Jim Latham … Music by
  • Peter Falk … Cast, Lt. Columbo
  • Matthew Rhys … Cast, Justin Price
  • Jennifer Sky … Cast, Vanessa Farrow
  • Douglas Roberts … Cast, Linwood Coben
  • Carmine Giovinazzo … Cast, Tony Galper
  • Julius Carry … Cast, Policeman
  • Steven R. Schirripa … Cast, Freddie
  • John Finnegan … Cast, Sean Jarvis
  • Valerie Landsburg … Cast, Tabloid Editor
  • Jorge Garcia … Cast, Julius
  • Patrick Cupo … Cast, Officer Rogers
  • Eve Kagan … Cast, Pink Feather Boa
  • Jamison Yang … Cast, Print Guy
  • Karen Maruyama … Cast, Maid
  • Ariel Llinas … Cast, Paramedic
  • Iris Bahr … Cast, Police Officer
  • Audrey Wasilewski … Cast, Attendant
  • Katie O'Rourke … Cast, Hotel Assistant Manager
  • Brian Patrick Farrell … Cast, Messenger