ABC SUNDAY NIGHT MOVIE, THE: COLUMBO: IT'S ALL IN THE GAME (TV)

Summary

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"), a high society ball is hosted by Lauren Staton. Upon boyfriend Nick Franco's arrival, Lauren calls and updates the mysterious Lisa Martin, who says she is "ready." Lauren feigns being upset at Nick's claims that he has to leave the party early to get to a poker game. Once Nick prepares to depart, Lauren again calls Lisa to tip her off. Soon, Nick has rendezvoused with Lisa, romancing her, while offering thinly veiled threats at the same time. Later, Lauren gets a call from Lisa, informing her that she is now with Nick at a bar in the Valley. When Nick brings Lisa to his pitch-black apartment, Lauren is there waiting and shoots the man dead. Lauren and Lisa embrace, then try to keep Nick's body warm, wrapping it in an electric blanket. Meanwhile, Lauren returns to her soiree, pretending as if she had just been resting upstairs due to a headache. Lisa goes to the apartment fuse box and turns the electricity back on. As the party goes late into the night, Lauren heads upstairs, seemingly to bed. Instead, she goes back to Nick's apartment building. As Lisa removes the blanket from Nick's body at the designated time, Lauren buzzes for building manager Mr. Ruddick, claiming that she forgot her key to Nick's place. Walking to Nick's apartment, a gunshot is heard. Mr. Ruddick and Lauren then find Nick lying dead in his living room. Columbo, still in his pajamas, is soon on the scene. The police immediately think that Nick, an inveterate gambler, was killed in an act of robbery. The police observe that, though jewelry is missing, a large money clip was not taken off his person. Columbo inspects the refrigerator, finding it defrosting. He then questions why the thermostat is at seventy-two degrees, noting that Nick reportedly left his apartment at 2 p.m., long before the weather became chilly. Columbo goes to speak with Mr. Ruddick, questioning him about Nick's behavior. Next, Columbo speaks with Lauren about her relationship to Nick. By morning, Lauren calls Lisa to tell her that everything has gone well. In fact, she found Columbo to be quite courteous, if a little odd. She then sees Columbo outside her house, pouring water in a bowl for his pet basset hound. Columbo asks about her party and tells Lauren that her guests mentioned the headache she contracted. However, he later discovers that Lauren doesn't even have an aspirin. Later, unknowingly observed by Columbo, Lauren goes to a pay phone and rings up Lisa, telling her that she finds something about Columbo that scares her. Later, while shopping, Lauren is approached by Columbo. Columbo questions whether Nick was truly gambling the previous night, unable to corroborate Lauren's story about where Nick said he was going. Lauren boldly flirts with Columbo by insisting on buying him a tie. Afterward, Lauren asks Lisa to meet with her, and they profess their love for each other. In a public bathroom, Lauren wants to be certain that Lisa can in no way be linked to Nick. Lauren tells Lisa to head back to Rome, an idea she refuses as she wants to stay close. Later, Columbo goes back to Nick's pad to look for more clues and finds that the phone is disconnected. Then, Columbo goes to the phone company to try and get Nick's bill. He finds that a new phone number had been used by Nick for the last ten days. Columbo discovers that each of the twelve calls from that number went to the same residence -- Lisa's. At his favorite watering hole, Columbo tells bartender Barney about the new tie, then states that he's curious if and why Lauren is making a play for him. Columbo again goes to meet with Lauren, wondering if she knew why Nick's refrigerator was defrosting when he died. He figures that the electricity went off some time during the day, though it was working when Nick's body was discovered. Lauren tries to change the subject by trying on hats. Soon, Lauren is smooching Columbo. Columbo seems flattered and interested. Later, Columbo speaks with Nick's maid about how she cleaned the man's apartment on the day of his death. Then, Columbo tests the circuit breakers, realizing that the location of different plug sockets effect whether the refrigerator -- and lighting system -- is operational. Meanwhile, a giant package is delivered by Mr. Ruddick to Columbo. That night, Lauren goes to meet Columbo at Barney's, and he explains that Nick's killer accidentally powered down the refrigerator when the lights were purposely shut off. He mulls whether the information helps him, as the case is still making him "wacky." Soon, the two are having a steak meal at a special table and Columbo opens his gift to find a dog bed for his pooch. Lauren tells Columbo that she had been seeing Nick for three months, which troubles the detective. Columbo reveals that Barney called Nick a "scumbucket." Columbo then details Nick's problems, stating that the man's financial quandary began three months ago. Lauren gets upset when Columbo infers that Nick was using her, and taking her cash. She states that Nick's marital intentions are a private matter. Later, Columbo gets two photos blown up. That night, Columbo has Lisa brought to the station. Meanwhile, Lauren is summoned to the station to speak with Columbo. She finds him watching Lisa being interrogated by detectives. The cops accuse Lisa of covering up her relationship to Nick, stating that she had talked to him on the phone at least a dozen times. Lauren is visibly upset, even more so after Columbo shows her the blown-up pictures: one of Lauren sitting in a unique chair in her home, and one of Lisa in the exact same chair. Then, Lauren asks if Columbo would let Lisa go if he got a bigger prize. Columbo agrees, then privately tells Lisa to return to Europe. At the same time, Lauren pens a confession, telling Columbo that Nick was romancing Lisa in Rome when he found out about her wealthy mother in Beverly Hills. She tears up when admitting that she is Lisa's rich mother. Nick then flew to America and began courting Lauren, threatening to kill Lisa if she told her mother of the scam. When Lisa secretly defied him, she and Lauren opted to kill Nick before he realized he'd been betrayed. Answering Columbo's questions, Lauren says she turned up the thermostat in the apartment by rote, and accidentally turned off the refrigerator to ensure no lights being seen by neighbors. However, Lauren refuses to say that Lisa was her accomplice, claiming that it was an unnamed man. Regretfully, Columbo handcuffs and arrests Lauren. Later, Columbo gives away his tie at Barney's, then leaves to take Mrs. Columbo bowling. Also includes an "ABC News Brief" hosted by Sheilah Kast. Includes commercials. This program is closed-captioned.

Details

  • NETWORK: ABC
  • DATE: October 31, 1993 Sunday 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:31:40
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:30725
  • GENRE: Drama, police/private detective
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Drama, police/private detective
  • SERIES RUN: NBC - TV series, 1968-1972; ABC - 1989-2003
  • COMMERCIALS: TV - Commercials - Duracell batteries^TV - Commercials - Toyota automobiles^TV - Commercials - Nabisco Mr. Phipps Tater Chips ^TV - Commercials - Fisher-Price toys^TV - Commercials - Triaminic cold syrup^TV - Commercials - Royal Carribean cruise lines^TV - Commercials - Mercury automobiles^TV - Commercials - Finesse conditioner^TV - Commercials - AT&T calling plans^TV - Commercials - First Interstate Bank^TV - Commercials - Cadillac automobiles^TV - Commercials - Milky Way candy bars^TV - Commercials - Norelco razors^TV - Commercials - Post Banana Nut Crunch cereal^TV - Commercials - L'Oreal makeup^TV - Commercials - Sears stores^TV - Commercials - Citibank Visa credit cards^TV - Commercials - Continental Airlines^TV - Commercials - Mazda automobiles^TV - Commercials - Keebler CC Ricers chips^TV - Commercials - Ultima II makeup^TV - Commercials - Tampax tampons^TV - Commercials - Energizer batteries^TV - Commercials - Boys Town National Hotline^TV - Promos - "George"^TV - Promos - "Day1One"^TV - Promos - "Roseanne"^TV - Promos - "Coach"^TV - Promos - "NYPD Blue"^TV - Promos - "Moon Over Miami"^TV - Promos - "Missing Persons"^TV - Promos - "Matlock"^TV - Promos - "Dances With Wolves"^TV - Promos - "JFK: Reckless Youth"^TV - Promos - "Barbara Walters Special"^TV - Promos - "Presidential Gala"^TV - Promos - "Home Improvement"^TV - Promos - "Grace Under Fire"^TV - Promos - "Good Morning America"^TV - Promos - "Nightline"

CREDITS

    • Peter Falk … Executive Producer, Writer
    • Christopher Seiter … Producer
    • Jack Horger … Associate Producer
    • Lisa Tygett … Co-Associate Producer
    • Vincent McEveety … Director
    • Richard Levinson … Created by
    • William Link … Created by
    • Dick DeBenedictis … Music by
    • Peter Falk … Cast, Lt. Columbo
    • Faye Dunaway … Cast, Lauren Staton
    • Claudia Christian … Cast, Lisa Martin
    • Armando Pucci … Cast, Nick Franco
    • Bill Macy … Cast, Mr. Ruddick
    • John Finnegan … Cast, Barney
    • Doug Sheehan … Cast, Riley
    • Shelley Morrison … Cast, Nick's Maid
    • Tom Henschel … Cast, Fingerprint Man
    • Jack Shearer … Cast, Investigator #1
    • Shashawnee Hall … Cast, Investigator #2
    • Stewart J. Zully … Cast, Investigator #3
    • Bruce E. Morrow … Cast, Medical Examiner
    • Heath Kizzier … Cast, Photo Clerk
    • Daniel T. Trent … Cast, Detective #1
    • Ed McCready … Cast, Detective #2
    • Talya Ferro … Cast, Telephone Company Clerk
    • Johnny Gardella … Cast, Eddie
    • Michelle Bernath … Cast, Cashier
    • Art Kassul … Cast, First Drunk
    • Lorna Scott … Cast, Close Friend
    • Catherine Battistone … Cast, Second Female Guest
    • Sammy Goldstein … Cast, Pianist
    • Ann Whitney … Cast, Singing Lady
    • Di Elsi, Frank … Cast, Policeman
    • Douglas Fisher … Cast, Butler
    • John Petlock … Cast, Male Guest
    • Ron Olsen … Cast, TV Announcer
    • Gerry Okuneff … Cast, Plainclothes Detective
    • Jeff McGrail … Cast, Policeman #1
    • Joe Banks … Cast, Policeman #2
    • Jeff Bollow … Cast, Kid
    • Vincent J. McEveety … Cast, Policeman
    • Al Benner … Cast, Second Drunk
    • June Saruwatari … Cast, Maid
    • Maura Spencer-Reed … Cast, Female Guest
    • Jessica Devlin … Cast, Second Woman
    • for "ABC News Brief"
    • Sheilah Kast … Anchor