Columbo (1971–2003)

An Exercise in Fatality (15 Sep. 1974)

TV Episode   |  TV-PG   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery

An Exercise in Fatality (1974) Poster

A health club owner murders one of his franchisees. Lt. Columbo is on the case.



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26 July 2016 | Leofwine_draca
| Aka Columbo goes to the gym
AN EXERCISE IN FATALITY is a fine episode in the early run of Columbo. It's strength lies in the quality of the writing, in particularly the fully-realised characters. Robert Conrad is the guest villain, a fitness and fanatic and ruthless businessman, and he makes a supremely tough foe for our protagonist to butt heads with: physically imposing, urbane, charismatic, and supremely self-confident.

The opening part of the story is very well handled with a good depiction of the business workings of a gym circa 1974. The murder is sudden, sweaty, and unexpected, and the way in which it's made to look like an accident is very clever. The subsequent investigation is well paced and always entertaining, with a particular emphasis on 'fish out of water' humour as Columbo gets involved in the fitness scene and even goes for a couple of jogs. The lengthy interlude in which he tries to get information from an uptight secretary is a real highlight. In addition, both Philip Bruns and Gretchen Corbett are very good in their minor roles. There's nothing to dislike about AN EXERCISE IN FATALITY - apart from perhaps the murderer himself!

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