Title:"Murder Under Glass"
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Written by: Robert Van Scoyk
Air Date: January 30, 1978
Previous: Try and Catch Me
Next: Make Me a Perfect Murder
Guest Starring: Louis Jourdan, Michael V. Gazzo, Shera Danese, Mako
"Murder Under Glass" was the second episode of the seventh season of Columbo.
Louis Jourdan (Gigi) is Paul Gerard, snooty, highbrow restaurant critic. His opinion is important, important enough that certain restaurant owners have been paying him sizeable kickbacks in return for good reviews and to prevent bad reviews. One restaurateur, Vittorio Rossi (Michael V. Gazzo, who played Frankie Pentangeli in The Godfather Part II), has had enough of Gerard's extortion scheme. He says that not only will he no longer give payoffs to Gerard, he will expose Gerard and ruin him.
Since this is an episode of Columbo Gerard decides on murder. Gerard meets Rossi for dinner and poisons the wine (just how is not revealed until the end) with poison extracted from a Japanese fugu fish. Lt. Columbo of the LAPD is naturally suspicious of Gerard, the man that Rossi had dinner with and had an argument with. He discovers that Gerard knows how to prepare fugu and that Gerard was using his secretary Eve (Shera Danese, in her second Columbo appearance and one month after she married Peter Falk) in a money-laundering scheme involving the payoffs from the restaurateurs...but can he prove murder?
Mako appears in one scene as Mr. Ozu, a visiting Japanese businessman who enjoys fugu with Gerard. Jonathan Demme, who directed, would go on to a hugely successful movie career. Fugu poisoning was also the plot of an episode of The Simpsons.
- Affably Evil: Paul Gerard is quite a charming person to be around. Too bad he was extorting from restaurants and killed Vittorio Rossi to keep this quiet, and was more than willing to kill Columbo.
- Artistic License Medicine: Blowfish poison used as the murder weapon, which kills the victim in about a minute. In reality, it'd have taken the man hours, possibly even a full day to die, and that's IF he died considering that proper medical treatment would probably have saved his life. He wouldn't have collapsed and died that fast.
- Deadpan SnarkerGerard: What makes you think that Vittorio was in trouble?
Columbo: Mainly because he was murdered, sir. The two, trouble and murder, they seem to go together.
- Food Porn: The whole episode, starting with the Italian meal Rossi and Gerard have right before Rossi dies, the fugu that Ozu and Gerard have, the procession of fancy foods at the banquet, and the veal scallopini that Columbo prepares for Gerard as he explains how Gerard pulled off the murder. Columbo even gets offered delicious cake at the bank.
- Geisha: Old school geisha, namely "professional entertainers" who play the shamisen and provide eye candy for Gerard's dinner with Ozu.
- I Know You Know I Know: Ozu asks "Do you have a hot suspect?" Columbo answers "Well, I've got my eyes on one," and then looks straight at Gerard.
- Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: Although really an unnecessary one. Columbo switches out the wine glasses and then drinks his wine. As Gerard is reaching for his glass Columbo warns him not to drink, and then explains that the poisoned wine will send him to jail.
- Sexy Secretary: The gorgeous Eve, who is eager to be Gerard's lover as well as his secretary but is actually only a pawn in his money laundering. When she finds this out from Columbo, she quits.
- Sore Loser: Gerard tries to poison Columbo, which is not particularly smart, especially since he's trying to poison someone else in the same way at the same place. It proves to be the gotcha.
- Take This Job and Shove It: Eve has found out how Gerard is manipulating her. After Columbo gives his speech about Rossi at the writer's dinner, she says "That was a lovely speech. Would you like to hear mine? I quit."
- Time Passes Montage: Another example of Food Porn as the Restaurant Writers' Dinner sees dish after dish after succulent dish brought to Columbo's table.
- You Just Told Me: Columbo suspects that Eve is "Irene DeMilo", the person with access to the slush fund from the payoff checks. After a little casual chatting Columbo does his And Another Thing... thing, calling out "Oh Mrs. DeMilo?" Eve says "Yes Lieut—" and then stops, realizing she has been caught.