Dead Weight – Columbo season 1, originally aired October 27, 1971, starring Peter Falk, Eddie Albert, Suzanne Pleshette
In Dead Weight, an unreliable witness, along with the absence of a body and murder weapon, complicate a case against an American war hero (guest star Eddie Albert).
Dead Weight is a very different Columbo episode. Like most of the episodes, the audience sees the murder committed, which Columbo has to piece together. What’s unusual is how the murderer tries to cover his tracks. Instead of an additional murder, Eddie Albert’s character instead romances the only witness. He’s trying to conince her that she only thought she saw a murder. And he frankly succeeds, making Collumbo’s task more difficult.
Col. Roger Dutton: I’m leaving for Geneva tonight. If I may make a suggestion, General, you might do the same.
Maj. Gen. Martin Hollister: I have a business to run. Besides, I never believed in a forced retreat.
Lt. Columbo: I’m terribly sorry to disturb you, sir, but we have this report, uh, about this shooting.
Maj. Gen. Martin Hollister: A shooting?
Lt. Columbo: Yes, sir. In this house.
Maj. Gen. Martin Hollister: That’s quite an opening line, Lieutenant.
Maj. Gen. Martin Hollister: Mistakes have no gender.
Mrs. Walters: Your pot’s overcooking.
Helen Stewart: That is not a pot! It’s a crock!
Maj. Gen. Martin Hollister: You don’t recognize me?
Helen Stewart: Well, no. Should I?
Maj. Gen. Martin Hollister: You said that you saw me… shoot somebody today. No, no, you have nothing to fear from me, Mrs. Stewart, but if you’ll watch the late news tonight, I’m sure you’ll agree that, uh, you’ve miscast me… as a murderer.
Maj. Gen. Martin Hollister: The defense rests. For today. Now, I think we ought to prosecute these martinis before their statutes of limitations expire.
Maj. Gen. Martin Hollister: Just a piece of advice. Find a different spot, or use a different bait, otherwise you’re not gonna catch anything, Lieutenant.
Maj. Gen. Martin Hollister: You know, Lieutenant, I don’t see how a man, with the name of Columbo … shouldn’t he be more at home on a boat?
Lt. Columbo: Must’ve been another branch of the family, sir. How soon before we land?
Lt. Columbo: Look, in order to understand a man, you have to understand his past.
Helen Stewart: Some men, Lieutenant, do not wanna look like an unmade bed!
- Books by Mrs. Melville (from Murder By The Book) are seen on General Hollister’s bookshelf.
- When Columbo flashes his badge in this episode, his first name, “Frank” can be seen alongside his photo.
- The white house on the water that is supposed to belong to Maj. Gen. Hollister was, in real life, actually owned by Peter Falk, and is located in Newport Beach, California.
- Kate Reid, who plays Mrs. Walters, Helen Stewart’s mother, was only 6 years older than Suzanne Pleshette (Helen Stewart).