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Columbo Murder Under Glass (1971–2003) Online

Columbo Murder Under Glass (1971–2003) Online
Original Title :
Murder Under Glass
Genre :
TV Episode / Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller
Year :
Directror :
Jonathan Demme
Cast :
Peter Falk,Louis Jourdan,Shera Danese
Writer :
Robert Van Scoyk,Richard Levinson
Type :
TV Episode
Time :
1h 15min
Rating :
Columbo Murder Under Glass (1971–2003) Online

Paul Gerard is a famous gourmet whose books about restaurants can decide the fate of a chef. In his way, Paul is a very powerful man, but Paul is threatened by Vittorio Rossi, the proprietor of a renowned restaurant, and one night, after a fight with Paul, Vittorio is poisoned by a bottle of wine he himself had uncorked. Lt. Columbo begins to investigate and we have no doubt that, between a steak and some Chinese dim sum, he will find out who killed Rossi, his motive, and the way he did it.
Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk Peter Falk - Columbo
Louis Jourdan Louis Jourdan - Paul Gerard
Shera Danese Shera Danese - Eve Plummer
Richard Dysart Richard Dysart - Max Duval
Mako Mako - Kanji Ousu
Michael V. Gazzo Michael V. Gazzo - Vittorio Rossi
Larry D. Mann Larry D. Mann - Albert
France Nuyen France Nuyen - Miss Choy
Antony Alda Antony Alda - Mario DeLuca
Todd Martin Todd Martin - Sgt. Burke
Fred Holliday Fred Holliday - Crawford
Alberto Morin Alberto Morin - Chef Louis
Jimmy Murphy Jimmy Murphy - Charlie (as Jim Murphy)
Carolyn Martin Carolyn Martin - Clair - Lady Cashier
Miyako Kurata Miyako Kurata - 1st Geisha

One of the few episodes where Columbo admits to disliking the murderer.

The suspect, Paul Gerard, drove the Stutz Blackhawk, a rare American car from the early 70's. It was a status symbol that demonstrated affluence far beyond that of even Rolls Royce or Bentley.

This is the second episode in which Columbo speaks Italian.

In this episode Columbo admits that his wife is a lousy cook.

This episode features Antony Alda (the younger half-brother of actor/director Alan Alda) as an Italian-only speaking waiter.

Although Mrs. Columbo never actually appears, Mrs. Falk is in this episode (and five others as well). Actress Shera Danese was, in real life, married to Peter Falk, starting a month before this episode aired and until his death in 2011.

Portions of this episode were shot at a favorite location of Hollywood stars -- Perino's, on Wilshire Bvld. After over 50 years of business, the restaurant permanently closed its doors just a few years later (in 1986).

Robert Van Scoyk's teleplay won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Television Episode.

This is the final "Columbo" episode in which the actor playing the murderer, Louis Jourdan, is older than Peter Falk.

Shera Danese, Peter Falk's real-life wife appeared in six episodes of the series, playing a different character each time:

  • Episode 13.2 Columbo: A Trace of Murder (1997) - Cathleen Calvert
  • Episode 12.3 Columbo: Undercover (1994) - Geraldine Ferguson
  • Episode 10.3 Columbo: Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star (1991) - Trish Fairbanks
  • Episode 9.1 Columbo: Murder, a Self Portrait (1989) - Vanessa Barsini
  • Episode 7.2 Columbo: Murder Under Glass (1978) - Eve Plummer
  • Episode 6.1 Columbo: Fade in to Murder (1976) - Molly

One of the few episodes where the murderer attempts to kill Columbo.

User reviews



For those who might think, that television productions could never touch the glory of Hollywood productions, this Columbo episode is one of the best examples to doubt. Even Columbosists, I think, would agree, that this is one of the best episodes of the confused detective and the best thing about it, it's absolutely timeless!

There's not much to say about Peter Falk's performance... GREAT as in each minute, we've seen of Columbo. But fortunately, the producers were able to capture an outstanding guest star: Louis Jourdan. While many musical stars, who had problems to get engagements after the breakdown of the studio system, were featured as guests in Columbo episodes, Jourdan probably gives one of the most outstanding performances. (Sure, he wasn't one of those who had problems to get other engagements) I also recommend this episode to those people, who know Jourdan only as Gigi's lover Gaston. No, he was able to do much more!

In its length of just 75 minutes, the production is as attractive as a major Hollywood production. Highly recommended to anybody, not only to television buffs!


Both Steven Spielberg and Jonathan Demme cut their teeth on Columbo. This is a particularly good episode that sports not only Demme directing but an excellent script by Robert Van Scoyck, an award winning writer who wrote episodes for Columbo, Ellery Queen, Banacek, and other shows.

Louis Jourdan is the murderer du jour in this one, playing a blackmailing restaurant reviewer who collects big time from some of the local establishments, owned by France Nuyen, Michael Gazzo, and others, in return for good TV reviews. Shera Danese, Falk's then new wife, plays Jourdan's associate, who's in love with him but isn't getting very far. One of the restaurant owners has had enough and threatens to expose Jourdan, so he poisons him over dinner. Columbo pegs Jourdan within minutes of getting to the scene. At this writing, the dialogue at the end of the show is on the home page for this episode, and I hope it's removed. We all know who did it, but learning how Columbo reached his conclusion is a lot of the fun.

It's a strange thing about these shows. When you see them as often as I have, you realize that a lot of the shows are based on the same formula: successful man using a woman accomplice with the promise of love unlimited, and yet the shows are presented in such an interesting way that they're not tired. This is a particularly good one, and you'll love Columbo eating his way through restaurant after restaurant while questioning people, and his conversation in Italian with an employee. Basta!


I have conflicting views of Murder Under Glass. It's one of the most entertaining Columbo episodes. The problem is that Columbo lacks all of his regular idiosyncrasies, and his technique is far too straightforward. Columbo typically lures suspects into a false sense of security by appearing inept. In this episode, he introduces himself as shrewd, confident, and cultured. Is Columbo finally taking off his mask, or did a script for another show suddenly have Columbo inserted into it? After all, this episode was the first one written by Robert Van Scoyck, who worked on several other mystery programs and could easily have had a random script lying around. Also, the ending is entertaining but lacks plausibility-- why would anyone be stupid enough to kill two people the exact same way and in the exact same location? Sigh. It's true that this season built around showing how intelligent Columbo really is, especially the episode with the high IQ society, but this episode suffers from a severe lack of character continuity and I don't find it credible.


This whole episode, but most certainly its succinct ending, full of subtle life and summation via its robust subtext, captured my interest so much so that I had to come online and see if Robert Van Scoyck had an entry in IMDB. Sure enough, he does, and I also see he won an Edgar Allan Poe Award for this particular show. Kudos to myself for recognizing great work without any bias, and congrats to Mr. Van Scoyck for the award. Thanks for leaving memorable work we can look up to!


Louis Jordan is very good in this Columbo movie. Peter Falk, as usual, comes through, and we can't get enough of him! 'Don't know if it was intentional or not, but it seems someone was using similarities on purpose, in this film, to the old movie "History Is Made At Night" with Charles Boyer and Jean Arthur. 'The restaurant, both men named 'Paul', both women named 'Irene' (in 'Columbo', 'Irene was the alias of the gal, which she used at the bank.), the connection to France,...just thought I'd mention that. We were amused by it, even if it wasn't intentional. 'Would like to know, however, if it WAS done on purpose.

'Hope Falk lives forever, 'cause we just love that Columbo!!


With a script by Robert Van Scoyck and direction by Jonathan Demme, later to go on to direct Oscar winners "Philadelphia" and "The Silence of the Lambs, "Murder Under Glass" is, without a doubt, one of the best acted in the show's history. Louis Jourdan makes a rare television appearance as a popular food critic with a penchant for blackmail, that, ultimately, leads to murder. The witty script allows for some marvelous banter between "Paul Gerard" (Jourdan) and the ever-inquiring "Columbo" (Falk).

Rounding out the cast are some familiar faces of stage, screen, and television: Mako ("The Sand Pebbles", "Conan the Barbarian"), Richard A. Dysart (TV's "St. Elsewhere," "The Hindenburg"), France Nuyen ("Flower Drum Song," "Diamondhead"), veteran character actors Michael V. Gazzo, and Larry D. Mann. Alan Alda's younger brother, Antony, has a small part as Gazzo's "nephew".

Topping off the fine production is an "appetizing" score from Jonathan Tunick.

This is one television "meal" that comes highly recommended by this viewer.


I have always loved Columbo, and while Murder Under Glass is not for me one of the very best of the series it is still a solid and worth watching episode. I do agree that a few of the scenes leading up to the murder and the murder itself feel a little rushed, and while still interesting the ending could've been more plausible. However it is strikingly filmed, with an atmospheric score, terrific direction from Jonathan Demme, a well-written and compelling story and dialogue that is as clever and as intelligent as ever. Peter Falk always embodied Columbo and here is no exception. Louis Jourdan's performance is not what I call an amazing one, with the odd moment of stiffness but it was good with his very intellectual and aloof character playing off against Columbo's more shrewd, humorous and cunning persona very well. The support cast do what they can, but I found the revelations aside from Falk to be the script and the direction here. In conclusion, not perfect and not one of the best of the series, but solid and recommended. 8/10 Bethany Cox


Paul Gerard is a famous gourmet and his reviews on televisions, radio, books and magazines can make or break a restaurant. When one restaurant owner decides that 25% of his profit is too high a price to pay for Gerard's support, he confronts Gerard and threatens to expose him as a fraud. Not keen to end his career this way Gerard poisons Vittorio Rossi with the poisonous part of a Japanese fish. He hopes it will look like an accident but when Detective Columbo is put on the case it starts to look like it won't all go away as quickly as he had hoped.

As always I confess my bias towards this series because I grew up in Northern Ireland spending wet weekends watching Columbo and Perry Mason on BBC2 so both those film series hold a special place in my heart. This film is typical of the series which, for fans like myself, is a good thing even if I understand why some don't see any reason for fuss. The plot sees the usual "perfect" murder fuelled by hidden motives followed by Columbo picking away at it. Although this episode lacks tension it is still fun and is built well on the usual formula – cat and mouse games in a world where the sharp detective "learns" from his suspect while also building a trap for them. The script is very good (by the standards of the series) and produces lots of nice scenes including some in Italian.

With this series a lot rests on the cast to make something happen with the plot. Falk is nearly always perfect in the "old" Columbo films and so it is here; he wears his character like a second skin and he is as reliable as ever. Jourdan's intellectual and aloof character offered a nice conflict between the two men and, although it is not the best pairing in the series, it is enjoyable to watch them work off one anther. Jourdan could have been better but it is fun to watch his annoyance at Falk building. Support is OK with turns from Danese, Alda, Gazzo and the recently deceased Mako but as ever the film is made with the lead two.

Overall then this is a good entry in an ever-reliable series. The script is good and both Falk and Jourdan work well together to produce an enjoyable relationship dynamic which is the heart of the film. Fans will love it.


Don't get this one mixed up with the episode in which Martin Landau plays twins, one of them a TV chef. This is the one in which Louis Jourdan is the TV chef and restaurant critic who is extorting three high-end restaurateurs. They pay him a quarter of their profits. He prints laudatory reviews. This is known as "pay for play." One of the owners, the estimable Michael V. Gazzo, of Hillside, New Jersey, finally balks at the exorbitant nut and he invites Jourdan to a final meal at his restaurant to tell him he's backing out. Jourdan has anticipated this and has rigged a new fangled corkscrew with some potent poison derived from the liver of the Fugu, or Japanese blowfish. Jourdan shows up at Gazzo's restaurant just long enough to substitute the poisoned bottle opener for an innocuous one, so that Gazzo opens the bottle himself, drinks the wine, and drops dead.

Enter Columbo. Not the Columbo of the earliest episodes though. This was late in the series and although the plot is pretty decent, Falk's character seems to have evolved. His head no longer darts about. He no longer seems so ignorant. His movements are more expansive and he speaks more slowly, as if to an audience of unusually mature celery stalks. He squints knowingly and smiles almost constantly. The episode lacks the humor his fans were accustomed to. Maybe it would be more accurate to say the character has devolved.

It's more enjoyable when Columbo stumbles into a milieu that is completely alien to him -- fine art, computer geniuses, that sort of thing. Here, though, he invites Jourdan to a final meal over which he will explain to the murderer how the scheme was unraveled. And, lo, Columbo knows how to cook! "My fodder used to cook for us kids when my mudder was in da hospital having a baby, which was about once a year." But did Dad REALLY have the time, inclination, and skill to prepare meals of escallop de veau with finely chopped shallots and white pepper? Jourdan makes a fine villain. He'd been in American movies for almost thirty years by this time and still looked disgustingly handsome and dapper, a kind of Gallic Cary Grant. He's a food expert, of course, but the script fails to turn him into one of those entertainingly snobbish and demanding villains who looks with disdain at anyone in an old raincoat. He's charming throughout and never is impatient.

The episode was directed by Jonathan Demme, who went on to considerable commercial and some critical success, but you might not know it.

I enjoyed the episode but it was increasingly clear that the time for the series to end was almost here. How many experts can there be for Columbo to outwit? An anthropologist would call this "pattern exhaustion." Egyptian hieroglyphics contained a picture of a reasonably well-drawn hand that stood for a syllable. After a while, scribes got tired of drawing the hand with any precision. They became careless and sloppy and oversimple, until, over the course of multiple borrowings, that finely drawn hand with its extended fingers became our letter "D". Something similar happened to Columbo over the years.
Very Old Chap

Very Old Chap

Paul Gerard is a noted food critic with a tasty sideline in extorting money from prominent restaurateurs in exchange for positive reviews. But when one threatens to go public on the scam there's poisonous work to be done, and another case for Columbo to solve ...

I hate to pick favourites, but I think this one is maybe the most enjoyable Columbo ever made. The excellent script by Robert Van Scoyk isn't as devious as some, and Jourdan's ingratiating slimeball isn't the best villain, but for sheer overall entertainment this is just pure class. The acting is excellent throughout, the details of the investigation are crafty and fascinating, the production is first rate, and the comic atmosphere is priceless. Made by a young Demme (Stop Making Sense, Silence Of The Lambs) with great skill and a deft eye for humorous timing as Columbo literally eats his way through the story, this just flows together beautifully in a way that television rarely does, and Falk gives perhaps his best performance in his keynote role - shrewd, amusing, charming and incisive. The rest of the cast are a great bunch of cult actors, with fine work by Dysart (The Thing), Gazzo (The Godfather: Part II), Mako (Tucker: The Man And His Dream) and Nuyen (The Joy Luck Club). And don't miss Falk's real-life wife Danese (who was also in Fade In To Murder and some of the second-generation ones) as the none-too-bright PA; he comes to the door and asks if Jourdan's in, to which she responds she's not sure, so he asks, "Why, is it a big place ?". There is also an excellent score by Jonathan Tunick, which is one of the few to explicitly use the This Old Man nursery rhyme Columbo is fond of whistling. I like murder mysteries - they've been a staple of crime writing for a hundred years, but they can sometimes be a bit tedious and contrived. Watch this brilliant little TV-movie for a cracking example of how to do them with wit and style.


One of Columbo's most elegant opponents appears in this episode. It is Louis Jourdan well known gourmet and food critic who's gotten himself quite a nice racket. For a good review he takes nice kickbacks and one fine day restaurant owner Michael V. Gazzo decides he's not paying any more and is going to expose the whole thing. After dining with Jourdan at his own restaurant, Gazzo takes sick and dies within minutes.

A rather rare and exotic poison that only someone like Jourdan would know about is used. But this particular Columbo is about how it was administered. Jourdan is even helped by the fact that originally suspicion falls on busboy Anthony Alda from the old country who speaks no English. Columbo has to communicate with him in Italian.

The final confrontation scene between Jourdan and Peter Falk is about 20 minutes and it's a classic. Columbo wants Jourdan's professional opinion on his veal scallopine and it's over some fine dining that Falk tells Jourdan how he did it. The dialog is some of the best ever done for a Columbo story and both the players are superlative.

You ought to see this episode for that alone.


Louis Jordan plays a food critic who is blackmailing local restaurateurs into giving him a percentage of their profits in return for favourable television reviews. When one owner tires of the arrangement and threatens to expose him, he is killed off with poisoned wine...

On reflection, this is a rather slowly developed and humourless tale which suffers from a stilted performance from Louis Jordan as the conniving food critic. His best efforts to conjure up the fiendishly plotting villain characterised in the script fail and his scenes with Columbo are consequently indifferent; lacking the typical distinctive charm and vigour.

Additionally, Falk's portrayal of Columbo shows continuing signs of a certain arrogance at the root of the character (evident since "The Last Salute to the Commodore") which grossly conflicts with the strongly-established traits of his seeming absent-mindedness and unassumingness.

There are other more minor quibbles about this story - the pre-murder and actual murder sequences are a little rushed and generally the whole thing could have been done in 70 minutes: the majority of the additional, superfluous sequences which have often contained sufficient comedy and/or revealed detail about the life and personality of Columbo are uncharacteristically moderate.

Two other things to note in the context of the history of the series - this is a rare occasion when Columbo explicitly states that he dislikes the murderer; also, the villain tries to murder Columbo....

A patchy addition to the hugely successful TV series, whose basic premise has significant merits; however, the overlong script and the antagonising performance from Columbo's antagonist are sufficiently off-putting.


Louis Jourdan plays this role pretty much tung in cheek but his mouth is full in this one about a Restaurant Critic who has been extorting restaurants of large amounts of money in exchange for good press. When Vittorio threatens to expose Paul Gerard (Jourdan) to get him out of his wallet, Gerard manages to stop him via poisoning his wine.

Then Columbo comes into the picture and does his usual outstanding dogged pursuit of the facts. As he does so, it becomes very much a food fest for Falk who appears to gain weight during the show. Eating Blow Fish pumps him up too.

What is great is at the end when Gerard is going to be taken by police, Columbo says he knew it all the time. When asked how he said that the main character was on of the biggest "civic minded" citizens in the history of the country.

Kourdan pretty much plays the role the same as he would do Bond Villain Kamal Khan in that movie later on.


I guess Columbo episodes were getting harder to contrive. Again, this episode deals with food. Louis Jourdan has the prime suspect role as a popular chef of a cooking show. Peter Falk's real life wife Shera Danese plays Jourdan's girlfriend. Jonathan Demme is the director which I didn't know. Some of America's great directors like Jonathan Demme has directed Columbo episodes even Steven Spielberg. This episode is entertaining. I love watching Columbo playing with his chief suspects and the restaurant community. One of the best assets about Columbo is that even though it's mostly set in Los Angeles, California. There is always a mix of people involved whether celebrities, restaurant, authors, and other kinds of people. We see another side of Los Angeles that we don't often get to see. We just assume of Hollywood. There is more to Los Angeles than Hollywood and COlumbo shows us that.


I've watched this episode 6 or 7 times and can never do so without plenty of snacks and/or dinner! It's a wonderful appetizer! Mr. Gerrard suffers from a William Shatner syndrome-like over acting habit but that adds to the entertainment value. I agree with previous reviews that it is not Columbo at his best but nonetheless it's worth a watch and, if you are anything like me, a re-watch!


Louis Jordan stars as arrogant food critic Paul Gerard, who has been extorting money from local restaurants in exchange for good reviews. One such owner Vittorio Rossi(played by Michael V. Gazzo) decides to expose the scheme, but Gerard instead kills him, poisoning a wine bottle using a rare fish that he thinks will go undetected, but Lt. Columbo(Peter Falk) of course discovers quickly the truth, but finding the right proof(and avoid overeating from the often-offered food of grateful restaurant owners) will be a different matter. Classy episode with Jordan effectively cold-blooded and self-satisfied. Certainly a lot of expensive food on display here.


MURDER UNDER GLASS is a short but enjoyable instalment of the 1978 season of TV's Columbo. The guest villain duties are handled in this one by OCTOPUSSY villain Louis Jourdan, who brings an air of suave sophistication to his role of a restaurant critic who poisons a man threatening to expose him.

Despite the misnomer of a title, this entire story is about food. Columbo himself seems to spend at least two thirds of the running time being wined and dined, with room for a little detective work in between. Truth be told, the detective parts are quite limited here, but to make up for that there's a big celebration of diverse cuisine which is fun to watch.

Falk is on typically strong form here and builds a good rapport with the effortless Jourdan. Falk's wife, Shena Danese, plays a minor role but would later go on to greater stardom in the series during the 1990s. Watch out for THE THING's Richard Dysart in support. My favourite scene is the Mako cameo where Columbo intrudes on a traditional Japanese meal and even gets to take part. It's eye-opening stuff indeed. The efficient direction was handled by Jonathan Demme, of later SILENCE OF THE LAMBS fame.


BAD WRITER, BAD WRITER - down boy, down.

Although I enjoy the Columbo series from a production/entertainment standpoint, the scripts are sometimes HILARIOUSLY "hollywood author" centric.

E.G. - The writer is obviously so fixated on the brilliance of their main concept. (The "murder twist" in this plot is EASILY determined in the first ten minutes of the episode. The only real surprise is that Columbo actually puts the suspect's life at risk to prove his POINT!) This particular episode is SUPPOSED to be themed along the lines of gourmet chefs. Yet the story is LACED with HORRENDOUSLY lay person-based ideas of what gourmet food is, and how gourmet restaurants work. REALLY BAD.

1. Secondary restaurants mentioned in the episode include "House of Choy" and "Chez Duval" (Which is basically "HOUSE OF DUVAL" HA, HA, HA!) Really lame effort - Not EVERY gourmet restaurant is called "House of X" - The writer REALLY needed to get out a little bit more - or LOOK IN A FREAKIN PHONE BOOK! Lazy.

2. The dialog refers to "Bechemel Sauce" not once, but TWICE - as some kind of exotic reference. Bechemel Sauce is just PLAIN WHITE SAUCE, as any basic research would have revealed. Though it is the basis for many dishes, It is FAR from an exotic gourmet reference. - To a chef (or even a laychef like myself) it's like saying - MMMM, did you use SALT? Too basic to be of interest to any professional. Anybody's GRANDMA knows what Bechemel Sauce is.

Just because the word sounds "fancy" to a layperson, it still sounds stupid to anyone who has ever opened a Betty Crocker cookbook.

3. Most of the "dishes" shown and served are NOT gourmet food, but rather "exotic dreams" from the Sara Lee or Betty Crocker hostesses' party guide of 1971. Really BAD looking stuff in the form of a bunch of mousses of whatever, meatloaves molded into various shapes, and big indescribable mounds of glop. Nothing that uses a fresh piece of meat or individual vegetable pieces, or any kind of fresh ingredients are shows.

YES, even in the sixties and seventies, gourmet food was good individual elements, NOT blended loaves of goop. The colors were horrendous as well.

And a few other "layperson" dishes fly through once in awhile as well, cornish game hens, caviar (on horrifying little biscuits), fois gras (on same biscuits), etc.

It's exactly as if the writer had read an Ian Fleming book for his reference on gourmet food, rather than actually researching it himself.

This HUGE breakdown in reality unfortunately spoils the episode, as nothing else is believable as well.

4. And lastly, this is yet ANOTHER of the dozens of Columbo plots where he has absolutely NO PROOF of the crime, and has to resort to trying to get the murder to try to kill Columbo in a fit of panic. (Even though he has no proof - why don't these people just laugh and leave the room?) How this won an award of some kind is a "mystery" to me - I'm not that big a mystery fan, and I had the murder method figured out nearly immediately.

Oh well, must be nice to be connected in Hollywood.


This is a rather fine and enjoyable movie, set in the culinary world. Columbo is also happy with it, since he can't seem to get enough of all the great food.

There are only a few directors that made it big time after they had directed a Columbo movies. Most of them stayed in the TV directing business, while other like Jonathan Demme did break through in the 'serious' movie business. He is the director of for instance movies like "The Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia". He also did a fine job with this Columbo movie.

His biggest moment of fame came with the James Bond movie "Octopussy", in which he played the Bond villain Kamal Khan. Apparently you just either love or just detest his special performance in "Octopussy". I really like it and it is one of the best things about that movie in my opinion. Funny to see how his acting style seems to be the same for basically every production he plays in. Perhaps it's also the reason why he hasn't starred in that many productions throughout his career and the reason why he never really ever truly broke through. Amazingly he's still alive and almost 90 now but he has retired from the business long time ago.

I always wondered why there weren't any more murderers who attempted to kill the Lieutenant. They often just stand there when Columbo accuses them of murder and reveals he has proof for it as well. There had been murderers before with the intension to kill Lt. Columbo in previous movies and this movie is as well one of the few in which the murderer attempts to kill the Lieutenant.

It has a great, yet simple but effective written story, that is nothing too special really but more than serves its purpose. A typical Columbo story, that works out fine and follows the usual successful Columbo formula. It doesn't make this movie really anything special but it makes it on par with most of the other Columbo movies of high quality standards.




I feel really angry, because whenever I read that someone has a favorite Columbo episode, and I ran to watch it, I got deeply frustrated. For big example, not someone, but some ones, told me that their favorite, and the best of the series, was The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case (1977). But much to my surprise, or regret, I discovered that it's not one of the best at all. Maybe one of the worst !

Nearly the same happened here. Murder Under Glass (1978) is praised by many. However, when I got to watch it, I didn't find much, or any, to praise myself.

Louis Jourdan could be the ideal suave-and-classy type of Columbo villain. But, as most of the series' villains, he had nothing. Paul Gerard isn't a character, with history, or feelings. He's a killer, who happens to be a chief / food critic, and that's it. So that's why Jourdan looked like a chick suit with tense smile, nothing more !

Even Columbo this round doesn't have much to do besides eating. They extended that gag for longer than what it could stand, to the extent where they should have called the episode "Columbo Eats Up" !

I didn't buy that Columbo discovered that Gerard is the killer because when the latter knows that the man who he dined with was dead by poisoning right after their dinner—he came quickly to the crime's scene while not having a gastric lavage first. OK, that's not a proof in my book. It's possible that the victim was Gerard's dear friend, which pushed him to forget about anything else, and it's conceivable that Gerard didn't have any sign of food poisoning, hence chose not to clean out his stomach. Though, what I hated more is when the mystery got solved so early, and by the victim's cook. It took a lot of our hero's intelligence, and murdered big part of the climax.

..And Jonathan Demme directed this ?? It doesn't have his own imprint of style, nor any aspect other than "getting the job done". While trying to find a master scene, I only found one yet in terms of badness, which's undoubtedly the last scene. That miserable climax could be included in the series' worst moments. Despite having the "gotcha" denouement, an attempt to murder our beloved protagonist, and the surprise of disappointing that as well; it was long, un-suspenseful, and artistically poor scene.

One note concerning the word "murder" in the episodes' titles. It recurs a lot. I know that it's about murders, but I also know that the writers should have known better and created some difference. Otherwise, they should have named every episode with "murder" in its start.

As for any positive points, well, I like the scene in which Columbo intimidates the Italian young waiter, while considering him a suspect. I read that Falk used to fight the writers over the importance of making the calm friendly lieutenant angry sometimes. In fact, it completes him, as a human being of course, and the hunter who traps the killers by outward niceness, only to uncover his scary face later. In this episode's "angry" scene, Falk was no less than great, shifting from tone to tone perfectly.

Antony Alda, the half-brother of actor Alan Alda, did fine as Mario DeLuca the young waiter. His performance was natural and truthful. Shera Danese, Falk's new wife at the time, was in her brightest looks ever, oozes liveliness as the secretary. I felt that she missed those qualities in her later appearances in the series.

Still the highest positive point is the last line. It's funny, so wicked, and – to tell you the truth – better than the whole episode for me !

Murder Under Glass is between the regular Columbo, and the weak Columbo. It had endless tasty dishes for its lead, and not much for us.


***SPOILERS*** Let. Columbo, Peter Falk, mixes business with pleasure in solving a murder in the L.A Italian restaurant community that has him, while solving it, stuff his face with the most testy as well as expensive, all on the house of course, Italian foods on the menu. By the time he solved the murder Let. Columbo must have gained at least 15 to 20 pounds and needed to go to the nearest gym to work it all off in order for him to be able to stand on his feet and not tilt over.

It's when famed restaurant owner and winner of th L.A best chief of the year award two of the last three years Vittorio "Vic" Rossi, Michael V. Gazzo, decided to stop paying off food critic Paul Gerard, Louis Jourdan, to get favorable reviews about his restaurant in his column and even worse expose him as a blackmailing creep he set into motion his own murder. Gerard spiking his wine with this poison from a Japanese blow fish does the guy in before he has time to finish his main, lobster and linguine, course. Let.Columbo between his eating junkets smells out Vittorio's killer Mr. Gerard almost as soon as he both sees and smells him. From then on the crafty Let.Columbo plays it cool and close to the vest in putting the pinch on Gerard. That's by him by taking advantage of all the good Italian food made available to him by the restaurant owners that he comes in contact with him in solving Vittorio's murder.

****SPOILERS**** It's Gerard who desperate to get the bloodhound like Let. Columbo off his tail tried to do to him the same thing he did to Vittorio in neutralizing or better yet murdering him and thus getting the pesky Let.Columbo out of his hair. That with Garard spiking, with blow fish poison, his wine while Columbo, not a bad Italian chief himself, cooks up a veal and wine dish to have with Gerard for dinner. It's amazing that when Columbo spilled the beans or spaghetti sauce on Gerard in knowing that he was the killer of Vittorio and about to arrest him for murder all Gerard did was continue to eat his dinner and not make any attempt to save his hide and check out across the border into Mexico. Not even using the many sharp knives and forks available to him in offing the totally helpless and unarmed-he never carries a firearm- and almost, from all the food and wine he swigged down and stuffed himself with, immobile Let.Columbo!

P.S Check out Vittorio Rossi's young bumbling and bumping into walls and furniture assistant Mario, who seems to there only for comic relief, played by Robert Alda's 21 year old son Anthony.