Prescription: Murder

The perfect crime had one flaw.

Crime Mystery TV Movie
100 min     7.761     1968     USA


In Columbo's first outing, a psychiatrist uses a patient he is having an affair with to help him kill his wife, but his perfect alibi may come apart at the hands of a seemingly befuddled LAPD lieutenant.


Wuchak wrote:
***“Prescription: Murder” (1968)*** PLOT: An arrogant, nonchalant psychiatrist (Gene Barry) murders his wife and uses his naïve actress girlfriend to get away with it (Katherine Justice), but Lt. Columbo strongly suspects the therapist and steadfastly works to obtain evidence. William Windom is on hand as the doctor’s loyal professional friend. COMMENTARY: This was the first of two pilot movies for the Columbo series (1968-2003). It featured the inverted detective story, which starts by showing the murder and the murderer; and then focuses on HOW the perpetrator is ultimately caught and exposed. Because this format has no "whodunit" element, these shows/movies are sometimes referred to as a "howcatchem.” Since Falk was 40 during shooting, it features the youngest version of the detective (Falk was 75 when his last episode was shot in 2002, “Columbo Likes the Nightlife,” 69 installments in all). All the notable quirks of the famous detective are here, although some aren’t as pronounced yet. As he ages they would naturally become more prominent in future segments, like his disheveled appearance. This is easily one of the best Columbo episodes ever (which are actually TV movies). The script, cast and acting are of top caliber, which makes the story gripping despite the fact that it’s all drama and no violence beyond the original murder. It helps that the antagonist is a psychologist because he accurately psychoanalyses our beloved expert sleuth and by the end we feel we know and understand the Lieutenant, which lays a strong foundation for the forthcoming series. Katherine Justice is a winsome beauty and a highlight. GRADE: A
GenerationofSwine wrote:
As far as detectives go, Columbo is my guy. He's the wrinkled low expectation mess that uses his appearance and working class persona to lull everyone into a felling of superiority that he can exploit... ... and that really works for the detective genre. Most everything else has more of a gimmick. Psyscic Powers, fake psychic powers, OCD, sports cars, Asperger, Dr. House as Sherlock Holmes, you get the point. Columbo seems more pure detective than all the others do. And Prescription: Murder, with a title that comes straight from the 60s is sort of the pinnacle, it's almost class warfare as Columbo takes on the countries educated elite only to best them in the end.