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Prescription: Murder

richard william levinson link

(NBC, 2/20/1968, 120 mins). In the first of two telefeature pilots for the “Columbo” series (1971-78), the wily, rumpled Los Angeles police lieutenant one of TV’s most original fictional personalities plays an engaging cat-and-mouse game with a prominent psychiatrist who thinks he has created the perfect crime in the murder of his wife. Originally staged several years earlier in a coast-to-coast tour (but never reaching Broadway), the play costarred Joseph Cotten and his wife, Patricia Medina, with Columbo being portrayed by Thomas Mitchell in his last stage appearance. When creators Richard Levinson and William Link subsequently planned to bring their detective to television, their original choice for the part was Bing Crosby. Only when he turned them down did they select Peter Falk.

Production Company Universal Television. Director Richard Irving. Producer Richard Irving. Teleplay Richard Levinson, William Link. Based on the Play by Richard Levinson, William Link. Photography Ray Rennahan. Music Dave Grusin. Editor Richard G. Wray. Art Director Russell Kimball. Associate Producer Jerrold Freedman. Costumes Burton Miller.

Cast Peter Falk (Lieutenant Columbo), Gene Barry (Dr. Ray Flemming), Katherine Justice (Joan Hudson), William Windom (Burt Gordon), Nina Foch (Carol Flemming), Anthony James (Tommy), Virginia Gregg (Miss Petrie), Andrea King (Cynthia Gordon), Susanne Benton (The Blonde), Ena Hartman (Nurse), Sherry Boucher, Tom Williams, Tom Creech, Don Stewart.

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