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 Sunday Night Movie"), Lt. Columbo attends the wedding of his nephew, Detective Andy Parma, and model Melissa Alexandra Hayes. Columbo schmoozes with Melissa's mother Louise, who soon has to leave due to her fragile health. Later, Melissa pulls Columbo onto the dance floor. By 10:40 that night, Melissa's father Sheldon offers a toast before Columbo speaks. Afterward, the couple takes an elevator to the "Empire Suite," where Andy showers while Melissa gets out of her bridal gown. When he returns to the room, Melissa is nowhere to be seen. Based on an earlier conversation, Andy is certain one of his groomsmen, Detective Dennis Mulrooney, has pulled a prank and "kidnapped" the bride. Andy calls Dennis, who claims he had just been joshing. Slightly after midnight, Columbo meets with a concerned Andy, who shows him a discarded rag doused with chloroform, leading him to believe his bride has been kidnapped. Columbo immediately begins sleuthing, suspecting that this could be the result of someone with a vendetta against Andy.

Columbo goes off alone to begin figuring out how an unconscious Melissa could have been taken from the hotel. He bangs on an unlabeled door, talking with Bill Bailey, the cleaning man at the hotel's restaurant. Bill offers some possible clues, claiming to have seen a white van fleeing the scene. Meanwhile, Melissa lays bound and gagged in a dark room. She recalls getting kidnapped by a masked, scalpel-wielding assailant as Andy showered. Soon, the detectives are discussing the possibility that it could be a kidnapping for ransom. Later, Andy talks with Columbo about Albert Wagner, a man who may be seeking revenge for Andy having killed his brother. Then, Columbo questions who left cologne as a gift in Andy's bathroom. Columbo thinks it is time to investigate all the wedding guests. Columbo goes to Sheldon's hotel room where, while Louise sleeps, the detective breaks the bad news to Melissa's father. Sheldon makes it clear that he will pay any ransom amount. Columbo also asks for the guest list. Columbo starts to wonder about the wedding photographer, Alex Varrick, who helped Melissa become a model. Meanwhile, Melissa's captor comes to speak with her, claiming the night's wedding was "bogus" and that her current locale precludes her being rescued. The man says he wants Melissa's love. Later, he gives her cookies and water, which he has drugged with a sleeping pill. He wants to marry Melissa the next day, claiming she never consummated her relationship with Andy. He also reveals how his own father killed his mother by slicing her throat, then killed himself via the same method. Later that night, Sergeant Robert Goodman goes to a steam bath to speak with Tubby Comfort, who may know where Albert is residing. Robert asks Tubby to help him find Albert.

Meanwhile, Columbo goes to speak with Alex to get copies of his wedding photographs and look for "unknown" guests at the ceremony. By 4:45 a.m., Columbo has gone through all the wedding photographs. Columbo also borrows some of Alex's photography markers. Columbo, Andy, and Sheldon go through the group picture, looking for any strangers. Sheldon has still yet to tell Louise about the kidnapping. Soon, seven unidentified wedding-goers are singled out. Columbo thinks the seven may be the dates of invited guests. From there, Columbo, Andy, Dennis, and Robert head off to follow a tip about Albert being holed up at the Barclay Hotel. Meanwhile, Melissa awakens to a note from her captor, saying that he's gone to work. Columbo and Andy bust into Albert's apartment, trying to figure out if he was the one who kidnapped Melissa, though prostitute Samantha provides his alibi. Ironically, Columbo has Albert arrested for having given drugs to Samantha. Meanwhile, all the unknown wedding guests are identified, with the exception of one blond man. Andy begins to think that some "freak" has captured Melissa. At the same time, Melissa tries to break out of the room by unscrewing the hinges on the door, using the silverware left for her by her captor. Columbo goes to speak with Alex and his editor, Eileen Hacker, questioning the photographer on the mystery man. Alex provides another picture of him, lurking near the elevator used by the newlyweds. Columbo gets the picture blown up, seeing a Ramsey College signet ring on his finger. Columbo calls Robert to get some information on how the mystery man is related to Ramsey College. College president Loren Jefferson sends Robert, Dennis, and Andy to the library to look at old yearbooks. Columbo then speaks with Bill again, showing him brochures depicting different van styles and trying to get him to identify the one he saw on the night of Melissa's abduction.

Meanwhile, Melissa finally breaks out of the room, but still finds herself locked in the apartment. She makes some odd discoveries in one room: a slideshow of her modeling shots, with a bridal gown nearby. Then, her captor returns, talking about their upcoming "wedding." At the same time, Andy finally finds the mystery man's yearbook photo, accompanied by the name Rudy "Doc" Strassa, a onetime pre-med student and now possibly a doctor. Meanwhile, Columbo and Bailey realize that he probably saw an ambulance fleeing the scene. Later, Rudy makes Melissa put on the wedding gown and dictates what makeup and hair style she should wear for the "nuptials." With a phone call, Columbo learns that Rudy stole an ambulance the previous night and was subsequently fired from his job as an ambulance driver. Columbo also gets Rudy's address. The police loudly race to the scene as Rudy conducts his strange wedding ceremony with Melissa. Just as Rudy is about to honor his mother's memory by cutting Melissa's throat, the police burst into the room. Andy shoots Rudy dead, rescuing his bride. Also includes an "ABC News Brief" with Sheilah Kast. Includes commercials. This program is closed-captioned.


  • DATE: March 15, 1992 Sunday 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:55:36
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:25847
  • GENRE: Drama, police/private detective
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Drama, police/private detective
  • SERIES RUN: NBC - TV series, 1968-1978; ABC - 1989-2003
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  • Peter Falk … Executive Producer
  • Alan J. Levi … Co-Executive Producer, Director
  • Christopher Seiter … Producer
  • Todd London … Co-Producer
  • Richard Levinson … Created by
  • William Link … Created by
  • Van Scoyk, Robert … Writer
  • Ed McBain … Based on a story by
  • Patrick Williams … Music by
  • Peter Falk … Cast, Lt. Columbo
  • Joanna Going … Cast, Melissa Alexandra Hays
  • Thomas Calabro … Cast, Detective Andy Parma
  • Dan Butler … Cast, Sergeant Robert Goodman
  • Doug Savant … Cast, Detective Dennis Mulrooney
  • Daniel McDonald … Cast, Rudy Strassa
  • Daniel Davis … Cast, Alex Varrick
  • Lance LeGault … Cast, Police Captain Derek
  • Juliet Mills … Cast, Eileen Hacker
  • David Byrd … Cast, Bill Bailey
  • Don Swayze … Cast, Albert Wagner
  • Donald Moffat … Cast, Sheldon Hays
  • Patricia Huston … Cast, Louise Hays
  • Cliff Emmich … Cast, Tubby Comfort
  • Beth Chamberlin … Cast, Cindy
  • Siobhan McCafferty … Cast, Samantha
  • Stack Pierce … Cast, Loren Jefferson
  • Yvonne Farrow … Cast, Janet
  • Richard Assad … Cast, Abdul
  • Tom Marvich … Cast, Technician #1
  • Gary Hollis … Cast, Technician #2
  • Jose Rey … Cast, Bartender
  • Darnell Harrison … Cast, Technician #3
  • Mark Alan Kaufman … Cast, Sandy
  • for "ABC News Brief"
  • Sheilah Kast … Anchor