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Recap / Columbo S 08 E 03

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Episode: Season 8, Episode 3
Title:"Sex and the Married Detective"
Directed by: James Frawley
Written by: Jerry Ludwig
Air Date: February 27, 1989
Previous: Murder, Smoke and Shadows
Next: Grand Deceptions
Guest Starring: Lindsay Crouse

Sex and the Married Detective is the third episode of the eighth season of Columbo.

Dr. Joan Allenby (Lindsay Crouse) is a well-known, nationally prominent sex therapist, author of best-selling books and host of a radio call-in show as well as the director of an institute on sexual research. Her partner and business manager is David Kincaid, who also happens to be her lover. One evening Joan's flight to Chicago is delayed. She goes back to the institute only to discover David in the institute's bed room (basically a sex room for clients of the institute), having sex with Cindy, Joan's hot secretary.

Joan decides to kill David. On little notice she whips up a scheme in which she tricks David into taking her to the sex room, disguising herself as a fancy hooker and pretending that it's kinky role play. Instead of kinky sex, she shoots him and then stages a scene meant to look like a call girl rendezvous gone wrong. Unfortunately for her the case falls to Lt. Columbo, who notices the usual odd details, like how David was found without his keys...



  • Absolute Cleavage: Lisa wears a jacket with cleavage down to her navel as part of her hooker outfit.
  • Becoming the Mask: Joan, who for all her talk about sex dresses in a rather staid manner, tarts herself up as a High-Class Call Girl with a slinky black outfit, stockings, and black hat. Later she gets way too much into the Lisa persona, putting on the outfit again after the murder, talking to herself in the mirror as Lisa, going out to clubs. At the end she admits to Columbo that while committing murder never frightened her, she did get frightened by how much she enjoyed the Lisa role.
  • Chalk Outline: A tape outline of where David's body fell on the plush carpet of the sex room.
  • Death by Sex: Joan shoots David in the institute's sex room and then stages the scene to make it look like this happened, via a date with a High-Class Call Girl gone wrong.
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  • Dramatic Thunder: Some mood-setting thunder claps during the climactic scene at the institute as Columbo lays out the solution to Joan.
  • Enemy Without: Subverted. Joan sees "Lisa" in the lobby of the institute during the summation, but says nothing to Columbo about it. Turns out Columbo had a policewoman wear a costume identical to Lisa to see if Joan would react.
  • Going by the Matchbook: Joan attempts to invoke this, planting a matchbook from the club where David met "Lisa" the hooker. This backfires when Columbo learns that "Lisa" the high-class hooker was spotted at the symphony.
  • High-Class Call Girl: Joan dresses up as one, a call girl named "Lisa", and actually makes David give her money at the club. He thinks it's role play but it's really to pin his murder on an imaginary prostitute.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Toplessness from the Back and Underboob from Cindy during the sex scene (there weren't many sex scenes at all in previous episodes of Columbo), Joan's hooker costume with the Absolute Cleavage, all the sex talk—this episode is much sexier than any prior edition.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: Simon, a researcher at the institute, dislikes Joan's radio call-in show. After he calls it "cheap, shoddy commercialization," David says "Actually, Simon, there's nothing cheap about it."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Joan Allenby is an obvious takeoff on Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Real Life sex therapist and media personality. (Although she's a lot taller and younger and doesn't have a German accent.)
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: When they're having sex Cindy asks "If I were a dessert, what kind of dessert would I be?" David describes a fancy ornate chocolate dessert. Cindy asks the same question about Joan and David says "Rice pudding." Later, when Joan pulls the gun on David, she says "If I were a dessert, what kind of dessert would I be?", right before she shoots him.
  • Sexy Secretary: Cindy, Joan's hot young secretary. Joan discovers that Cindy and David are having an affair.
  • Shout-Out: A nebbishy researcher at the sex institute with an interest in Joan is named "Walter Neff".
  • Stocking Filler: A close-up shot of Joan hooking stockings to a garter belt as she changes into "Lisa" the fancy hooker.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Cindy during her sex scene with David, as Joan silently weeps behind the blinds.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Joan and Columbo first meet in the elevator on the way up to the institute. He sees the store tag still hanging from her stylish coat, and she is irritated by him lighting up a cigar in a non-smoking elevator. The ride passes in awkward silence. (The tag eventually becomes a vital clue.)
  • Verbal Irony:
    • Joan says to David, "Boy, have I got plans for you." He thinks she's talking about weird sex when she's really talking about murder.
    • Joan's friend at the symphony asks what she thought of the concert, and Joan says "I think everything came off perfectly." She's really thinking about how she ducked out of the show, went off and murdered David, and made it back.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Joan kills David after discovering him in bed with Cindy.

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