"Columbo" A Stitch in Crime (TV Episode 1973) Poster

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Inventive plot, cool adversary, smart comedy, great twist ending: this "Columbo" has it all
J. Spurlin29 March 2005
What a great "Columbo" episode. For fans, this has everything. A brilliant adversary. A tricky plot. Deftly chosen jokes. And a twist ending that comes like a thunderclap.

Dr. Mayfield (Leonard Nimoy) is a surgeon with an ingenious scheme for murdering the kindly Dr. Hidemann, his infuriatingly cautious partner in a research project. But Hidemann's devoted nurse (Anne Francis) catches on to the scheme, and Mayfield murders her to prevent discovery. It's up to our Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) not only to find out who killed the nurse but prevent another murder from taking place.

Two things often trip up even the best writers of this series. One is the ending. Too often an episode ends with Columbo revealing a damning piece of evidence that doesn't seem all that damning. Or he tricks the killer into giving himself away, which never quite feels satisfactory. I won't give away this ending, of course. Let's just say it'll please the most demanding fan.

The other thing is the comedy scenes. Columbo affects dimwittedness and bad manners to trick his quarry into underestimating him. But too often the writers seem to think that he is genuinely a buffoon. For instance, there's a terrible scene in "Dagger of the Mind" where he inadvertently creates havoc at an airport. It's not funny, and it's not our Columbo. "A Stitch in Crime," by contrast, has some splendidly comic moments where he is not a clown, just a bit inattentive to manners. What he does with a hardboiled egg is priceless.

He also has the standard scene where something makes him queasy. In "Ransom for a Dead Man" it's the airplane ride. In "Dead Weight" it's the boat ride. Here it's hospitals, especially the operating room. But I like how he's able to steel himself when it really counts. I also love a novel moment. We actually see our faux-obsequious detective drop the pretense and lose his temper. I don't think he's done that since "Prescription: Murder."

Leonard Nimoy is essentially Mr. Spock in a white coat. His Dr. Mayfield is better able to keep his emotions at bay than just about any other murderer in the series. He makes brilliant move after brilliant move, but Columbo checks him every time. And then in the very last frame: checkmate.
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Well enough stitched together Columbo adventure
The Welsh Raging Bull3 January 2003
This is a largely potent, cleverly-titled and unpredictably effective Season 2 episode from the Columbo series which sees an impulsive and scheming surgeon (played by Leonary Nimoy) murder a nurse who realises that he is going to botch a heart valve operation on his more circumspect and cautious colleague, who are both involved in a revolutionary medical project.

Leonary Nimoy "warms up" in his role as the villain: he is initially a little wooden but ultimately his character provides a stern test for Columbo's powers of deduction and, in turn, Nimoy is very effective in portraying the villain's tenacity and calculating nature.

The script-writer allows the plot to drift a little in mid-section, primarily because of the pursuance of the drug-related theme which is the made-to-look motive used by the killer.

Will Geer's portrayal of his slightly irritating and fussy characterisation is almost too good; since it borders too much towards comedy and this dilutes the tension a little.

The last twenty minutes or so are very well-portrayed: the remarkable thing in this episode is that it is very difficult to anticipate how Columbo will nail the killer. In separate sequences, we see Columbo uncharacteristically lose his temper infront of the murderer and then shake his hand and admit defeat.....

Despite some lesser moments in the middle, the brisk opening and the relentlessly surprising end make this a highly recommended, if not totally faultless Columbo story.
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How did it take me so long to see this episode?
TheLittleSongbird13 March 2011
No really, as a fan of Columbo I still find it a mystery as how I didn't see this episode until fairly recently. It is a wonderful episode and up there with Ashes to Ashes, Any Old Port in a Storm, By Dawn's Early Light, Etude in Black, Blueprint for Murder and How to Dial a Murder as one of the best episodes of the show.

As is always the case with Columbo, visually A Stitch in Crime is very striking, with skillful photography, lighting and I liked the use of locations too. The music score is good too, not the best, most memorable or most atmospheric of all the Columbo episodes, but it is suitably haunting and there are some memorable parts that don't feel obtrusive.

I was also taken with the story. What I loved most about the other episodes I mentioned in this review was that they all had great premises especially How to Dial a Murder. A Stitch in Crime is no exception. As for the story construction it is very interestingly done, is well paced and the ending wraps things up nicely never being too obvious or confusing. The writing once again is very strong, it is thoughtful sometimes yet the exchanges between Columbo and Mayfield also never fail to amuse and delight.

The acting is very good. Will Geer is quite good, not my initial idea for his character, but he plays him well, and as good as the support playing is without completely standing out particularly from Anne Francis, it is the two leads who really impress. Peter Falk is exceptional as Columbo, which came of no surprise really seeing as he always is even in the odd episode when Columbo isn't quite as well written as he can be. Mayfield for me is one of the most intriguing, smartest and calculating villains/suspects in the Columbo canon, and Leonard Nimoy played him to perfection.

Overall, wonderful and I am cross with myself that it took me so long to see it. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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Good overall with one gripe,for me....
stevelarner7 January 2013
I liked this episode,Nimoy is excellent and believable as a non-alien, Columbo getting the raving hump when Dr Mayfield laughed right in his face was classic,but the only thing I thought was off was Will Geer's portrayal as Dr Heidemann. He wasn't really the right choice for a doctor,he looks too much like a country bumpkin,not a professional person at all. The weirdest part was right after getting the news about Nurse Sharon Martin, he displays a little shock at first, then in the next sentence he's chuckling away asking Mayfield when he thinks there'll be an improvement in his own heart condition! That didn't ring true to me at all,but a very good entry in the Columbo Canon nonetheless.
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Quintissential Columbo!
CoastalCruiser12 July 2012
It is clear from perusing the reviews how special this series was to people. For those who don't know, Columbo aired only every 3rd week as part of the NBC Mystery Movie, along with McMillan and Wife (Rock Hudson and Susan St. James), and McCloud (Dennis Weaver from Gunsmoke).

This episode, with our old pal Leonard Nimoy from Star Trek is one of my favorites. Nimoy is quite up to playing out a battle of wits with Peter Falk. The only bummer in this episode was the loss of the beautiful Anne Francis (Forbidden Planet / Honey West) so early in the show.

The key moment in this episode is when Columbo slams the vase (or whatever it was) onto the desk and accuses Nimoy's character of murder. He so rarely loses his cool it's fun to be there when he does.
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A movie that handles its usual formula really well.
Boba_Fett113826 April 2008
Of course every Columbo movie is a cat and mouse play between the Lieutenant and the killer but in this movie this is perhaps more the case than in any other Columbo movie. This is mostly due to Leonard Nimoy and Lt. Columbo gets on his back pretty early on during their first meeting already. There is some great interaction between those two. It's great also to see Columbo get angry for once.

Leonard Nimoy is actually one scary looking dude and he has a great villainous look over him. Too bad he never really made a career as playing villains, I'm sure he would had been just perfect for it. He shows some great acting skills in this movie. Also Peter Falk is great once more as the scruffy Lieutenant, that also suffers from insomnia and is ill (again) this time. There is always something unusual going on with him.

The movie features all of the usual Columbo ingredients and it handles them well, so therefor this movie can be regarded as a simply good and also definitely above average Columbo entry. Also the amount of relieving comedy is just enough to also regard this movie as an entertaining one, without loosing any of its credibility as a murder-mystery.

The movie its story is using a fine setting of an hospital, that seems to really suit murder mysteries. It's like the story is really much special but its strong enough to keep you interested throughout. The killer himself is also definitely clever enough to provide the movie with some good clever moments. It's also all being told in a good quick pace, which makes the movie perfectly good to watch. It's one fine put together movie. It's definitely a step up from Hy Averback's previously directed Columbo movie "Columbo: Suitable for Framing". Also makes it sort of too bad that Shirl Hendryx never delivered any more Columbo screenplays. As a matter of fact he hardly wrote anything again after this and it seems to me that it was more of a writer who wrote stage-plays instead.

A great Columbo entry that follows the usual formula and does very little wrong doing so.


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wonderful entry in the series
blanche-226 September 2004
I have loved most of the Columbos. This one is a favorite because of the cast: Leonard Nimoy, Anne Francis, Nita Talbot and Will Geer. There's a wonderful relationship between Geer and Francis, which makes the murders all the sadder.

Nimoy plays a doctor, Dr. Barry Martin, working on a promising research project with an older doctor, Heideman (Geer) who is more conservative. Martin wants to get the work out there; Heideman wants to do more tests and is conversing with another doctor. Since Martin has only attached himself to this project and not done a lot of real work, he's unhappy at the idea of someone else coming in.

When Heideman needs a valve replacement, Martin operates. After the surgery, a nurse (Anne Francis) realizes that he used a different kind of suture. It's actually dissolving suture, so in a few days, it will kill the doctor. Martin kills her before she can investigate.

Of course, leave it to Nita Talbot to provide one of the funniest Columbo scenes, where she describes the differences between herself and her roommate, Francis. Paraphrasing: "She is kind and devoted to helping people, so she works in a hospital...I am only interested in shallow things like money, so I work for a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon." She's fabulous as always.

Great episode, and as someone else said, it's great because you're just not sure how Columbo will get this guy. Also, Martin's arrogance causes Columbo to lose his temper in a great scene.

One of the best.
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Good cat and mouse stuff and some nice additions to the usual formula
bob the moo20 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Dr Barry Mayfield is a great surgeon but he knows that he will always play second fiddle to the imminent Dr Hidemann. When Hidemann requires a heart operation, Mayfield performs it but Nurse Martin is very suspicious and believes that Mayfield will let him die during it. Nothing happens during the operation but when Martin discovers a suture on the floor that cannot be accounted for she confronts Mayfield with it. Knowing the game is up if she tells anyone Mayfield kills her and makes it look like a drug killing. It doesn't sit with Columbo and soon Mayfield is trying to help the case along by setting up possible motives for others.

As with many TV film series (such as Perry Mason), if you like one or two of them then you'll pretty much like them all. This entry in the Columbo series pretty much follows the usual formula – we know the killer and the "perfect" plan but then watch Columbo follow his hunch and gradually starts to pick holes in the story he is told before eventually finding enough to prove his suspicions. Saying this is not a spoiler – it is simply what happens in all the films. With this film we have things going a little differently, Mayfield's intended victim is actually Hidemann and the murder will take a few days to kick in – however he is forced to do another murder to cover his tracks. It is this second murder that is the crime of the film and also the one that sees the perfect plan fall down. In some regards the lengths that Mayfield goes to to suggest other people for the crime is a bit hard to believe and would surely have made him look guilty, but then I suppose this is what is meant to happen and explains why Columbo is so sure despite the lack of evidence. The cat and mouse stuff is enjoyable and the ending is sudden and enjoyable because the murderer is so close to fooling Columbo.

Falk is as good as always but the additions to his character aren't so well handled; specifically the sudden burst of temper is out of nowhere and would have been better if we had been allowed to see Columbo have a slow burn first. It took me a minute or two till I got into Nimoy in the main role but he was actually pretty good. Nicely assured of himself, Nimoy convinces as Columbo's equal and the fact that they both know what the other is up to makes for some nice tension. Francis, Geer, Talbot and others provide reasonable support but as with all these things it is the lead two that make the film work.

Overall an enjoyable entry in the series that is not a real standout but is easily up to the usual high standard of this generally strong series of television movies.
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A surprising ending
clodax200231 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A very good episode, from the points of view of plot and of acting. Falk and Nimoy are great actors, they play a very good and convincing cat-and-mouse game. Dr. Mayfield never openly shows his fear of Columbo, but he's really frightened, and we see it because his moves are always a consequence of his conversations with Columbo: his suggesting the name of (poor!) Harry Alexander, the following killing of the nurse's friend, and the final operation where he tries to cancel evidence of his first attempt at murdering his colleague. The ending is really surprising, as we (and, at first, even Columbo!) would never expect such a cold but - after all - simple move on the part of Dr. Mayfield. This episode gets 9/10. I don't give 10/10 only because I'm still wondering why Columbo didn't interview the other doctor and nurses who took part in the first operation: is it believable that none of them noticed something strange in that thread? Is it possible that nurse Martin was the only one to notice it? That's the only unconvincing point.
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Someone in the ER has a sick sense of humor.
mwartoad7 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Years ago, I had some tingling in my arm and chest pains. So I went to the ER. I knew that things were not good when I had no time in the waiting room and was admitted immediately. I knew it was not good when, I was kept overnight for observations in the ER attached monitors and machines. (Thankful, they checked and I did not have a heart attack.) They did not have any TV access in that room but, they did have some videos in there. And yes you guessed it, this was the episode they had available. Just what I need to see when, I was concerned about a potential heart attack, a story about a evil, corrupt heart surgeon who deliberately screws up operations. Someone there has a strange sense of humor. Fortunately, I was able to laugh it off at the time.

Great acting and well written.
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Did anybody notice "Helen Crump"??
Ripshin19 November 2006
Aneta Corsaut portrayed Andy Taylor's girlfriend/wife in the top-rated (Number 1!!) TV show, "Andy Griffith." Yet, three years later, she goes by barely noticed in a series of guest supporting TV appearances, as with her Nurse Morgan walk-on here. Interesting.

Overall, a great "Columbo" episode, minus the overacting of the previous two installments.

Perhaps the script goes a bit overboard in portraying Columbo's slovenly appearance and behavior, and I certainly do not want to watch him eat another meal, ever again.

Jared Martin is excellent in his brief appearance, and Geer plays the type of character he specialized in bringing to life. Nimoy is indeed a bit "wooden" at times, but I assume that's why he was cast in the role. Anne Francis's second "Columbo" outing is fine.

Director Averback specialized in TV movies, pilots and series episodes, so the production is professional, is not somewhat pedestrian.

Does anybody know what building is used for exteriors of the hospital?
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Good but not a convincing plot development
hermann-eric3 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
While I enjoy this series, I feel like it sometimes suffers from a fatal flaw: Columbo will immediately suspect the criminal--invariably someone of great reputation in the community--without having any good reason to suspect him. As in this episode, when the prestigious doctor becomes a suspect from the get go. Columbo is openly hostile to him in their first meeting, as if the star surgeon at the hospital would naturally be the chief murder suspect after a nurse is killed. Now how realistic is that? It's really a case of laziness by the writers. They've already told us the scheme, but they don't have the patience to let it unfold naturally for Columbo. The better plots move gradually towards suspicion.
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Solid Columbo
bensonmum220 April 2005
  • One of the better Columbo movies I've seen thus far. The mystery is intelligent and the killer's actions are what you would expect from a doctor. The mystery will keep you guessing up to the last scene. Often, these Columbo movies have a less than satisfactory ending. It's as if the writers too often had no idea how to end the thing and resort to having the killer confess when faced with the flimsiest of evidence. That's not the case here. The evidence, when finally presented, is damning and leaves no doubt about the doctor's guilt.

  • Leonard Nimoy makes an excellent advisory for Peter Falk's Columbo. He is essentially playing Mr. Spock - calm, rational, and intelligent. Even with faced with Columbo's erratic behavior, he never loses his cool. In fact, this is one of the few episodes where I remember Columbo losing it. In one scene, he slams a clock to the desk and let's the unflappable Nimoy have it. It's a very uncharacteristic moment for Columbo, but only proves he's human like the rest of us.

  • The only real weakness I see in the movie is the decision to cast Will Geer as the head of an important research project. Maybe I saw the Waltons too many times while growing up, but Geer is too kindly and simple to be my ideal choice to play such an important doctor and researcher.
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Columbo TV Movies Were As Good As Guest Star
eibon0928 August 2001
Columbo is one of the mainstays of 1970s American television that is one of the longest TV movies in the history of television. These mini films were good or great depending on what name actor was guest starring and what interesting plot was involved. Columbo:A Stitch in Crime(1973) features a wonderful performance by Star Trek actor, Lennard Neimoy who butts heads with the title character. The story is fasciating to follow and the characters are just good enough to make this one of the best in the Columbo TV movies.
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excellent episode.
wkozak22121 June 2015
I really enjoy this episode. It is fun watching Dr. Mayfield match wits with Lt. Columbo. I enjoyed seeing some of my favorites: Anne Francis, Will Geer, in the episode. It would have been fun to have Nimoy guest star again. I think he would have done another excellent job. Too bad they couldn't have traded Shatner's appearances with one or two more of Nimoy. He could have played a variety of roles. I always enjoyed watching him when he acted. I will miss him very much. I do have one disagreement with the reviewer from Buffalo. There is only one murder, not three as he stated in his review. Also, why is he complaining but Columbo eating? I wish I knew.
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One of my favorites :)
zmartever18 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Leonard Nimoy is excellent as a sociopathic heart surgeon, emotionless as he's bumping off people trying to hide his murder on installment plan. His cold as ice demeanor makes Mr. Spock look like an extrovert. Wonderful performances, great plot and writing. Just one of the all time great vintage episodes. Columbo get's more and more frustrated trying to solve this one but we all know in the end he will.

Best moments: Columbo interviews the shallow roommate of the slain nurse. Amusing little exchange. - Columbo feels ill watching an operation. - Columbo loses his temper with the villain. A rare occurrence in any episode.
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Great addition to Columbo's characterization
CinefanR20 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Although to me Leonard Nimoy will always be Spock, this fact didn't diminish my enjoyment of this episode, where Columbo gets a difficult case. Even if he's dealing with unknown, difficult medical issues outside his area of expertise, Columbo is on to the killer.

What made this episode a special one is the fact that we get to see another side of Columbo. In a very surprising scene, he loses his temper, dropping his "mask" sooner than usual. That was so unexpected, it's always a treat to discover different aspects of his personality. The last scene is also great, although a bit abrupt. Still, great episode! Columbo never ceases to amaze.
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An adversary as cool as Spock
bkoganbing6 May 2012
In this episode of Columbo, Peter Falk takes down a doctor who is one cool customer as he plans what he thinks is a truly inventive homicide. As his adversary here is Leonard Nimoy who gave us the ultimate in cool under fire in Star Trek as Spock we know we are in for a good battle of wits.

The problem is that Nimoy intends to murder his colleague Dr. Will Geer so he can take over a research project. Certainly something hard to prove except to Anne Francis who catches on really early because of her medical training. That necessitates her murder, done a bit more crudely, but still with Nimoy throwing some real good red herrings in the mix for Peter Falk to field. And there's yet a third murder to cinch up the reason for the Anne Francis murder that has nothing whatever to do with the hospital or Will Geer.

Three murders and like his Spock character, Nimoy doesn't bat an eye. He really turns his Star Trek persona for evil in this Columbo episode. Although Falk notices something that Nimoy inadvertently does when they first meet to zero in on him, still Nimoy is one good adversary.

For fans of Columbo and of Mr. Spock.
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Mainstream Columbo
rmax30482316 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Better than average. This episode is from the second season and Columbo was hitting its stride.

The cast is excellent. Will Geer, in particular, is always outstanding. Anne Francis is beautiful and one wonders if she and Peter Falk reminisced about the old days in Ossining, New York, where both of them grew up. I especially liked Nita Talbot as Marcia. She's given the most amusing lines and the most romantically desperate of characters. Explaining to a sleep-deprived unshaven Columbo why she feels guilty: "I chose to work for a plastic surgeon in Beverley Hills, but I don't meet any single men until they're ready for face lifts." The motivation may be a little weak. One scientist invents a new surgical technique and tries to kill another because he wants all the credit. Well, maybe the motive isn't so weak at that. I spent 30 years in research settings and am filled with resentment at the credit I should have gotten for my work, credit which was taken by rivals out to make me look small and insignificant. May their souls rot in -- well. I believe in karma and they'll get theirs alright.

The plot is great though. Columbo gets to display his aversion to hospital sights, sounds, and odors, which is perfectly understandable. And we learn just enough about surgical procedures to follow the machinations of the heavy, Leonard Nimoy.

This is the one in which Columbo loses his temper and slams a water pitcher down on Nimoy's desk.

Excellent distraction.
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I think this doctor took the Hypocritical Oath, not the Hippocratic one!
MartinHafer18 August 2019
Dr. Mayfield (Leonard Nimoy) is a very good surgeon and researcher....though as a human being he leaves a lot to be desired. Following surgery on his boss at the hospital, he gets in an argument with his operating room nurse. Moments later, when she's in the garage, he bludgeons her to death! But this isn't just an isolated incident...and soon this doctor is out to kill again....and possibly again!

"A Stitch in Crime" is a very interesting story...one that took a bit of research and imagination to create. I appreciate this and how unique the plot is. Add to that some very nice performances and you've got a very watchable program!
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strong entry ... Leonard Nimoy shines
bcstoneb4442 March 2015
This is one of the more enjoyable Columbo episodes. Leonard Nimoy is a formidable, arrogant murderer who almost gets away with it. There's great, if edgy, chemistry between him and Peter Falk throughout. Nimoy is a great villain with a creepily evil look about him, and I wish he'd played this type of character more often. Also kudos to the brisk direction and spot-on supporting cast, especially Anne Francis. This was a largely improvised murder and cover-up so despite the neck-and-neck story dynamic this case was fairly easy pickings for the detective. As much as this is a fine entry I have a few issues. Mainly the credibility stretching mechanics of the two murders themselves. The Nimoy character may have been a brilliant fellow but he had a pinch of luck working for him. But with our favorite detective luck always runs out.
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Leonard Nimoy holds his ground
Vassago_F111 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Most of the Columbo villains were no slouch actors with stardom background and Leonard Nimoy's Mr. Spock was as good as it gets (see you later William Shatner) but their performance in the Columbo itself differs with quality.

For example Honor Blackman's appearance was a low bounce in "Dagger of the Mind" and on the other hand nobody gets close to Jack Cassidy, yet Leonard Nimoy stands tall along with Donald Pleasance and John Cassavetes.

Nimoy plays a truly cold-blooded Dr. Mayfield who uses a tire iron of all things to kill his first victim and doesn't hesitate to frame another completely innocent person which he also kills. And of course he still has another one in his sleeve only for Columbo to spoil the party. Nimoy's character is one of the least friendly and human-like villains in the entire series, you really don't have any sympathy for the guy. His attitude towards Columbo is also one of unique kind, he doesn't try help him in solving the crime, he doesn't act friendly and cheerfully, he just wants the cop to get out of his way.

That behaviour leads to one of the best scenes in the entire series where Mayfield laughs off Columbo's theory and Columbo slams a coffee urn on Mayfield's desk in response. You rarely see Columbo get really upset with the murderer and that one hits the jackpot instantly.

The eventual clue with the stitch is a bit half-hearted, but avoids mediocrity. Sometimes the cat & mouse games between Columbo and the murderer top the actual crime plot and this is another example. I mean Mayfield's overall behaviour doesn't leave much room for evidence, just pure speculations if anything, yet Columbo wanders his way into the all important stitch by second-guessing where it had been hidden. It's doubtful whether finding the clue would have happened in real life, admittedly all the motives and suspect would have been uncovered, but no evidence means no case and finding the evidence was actually the weakest part of the plot.

However it's not as bad as "Dagger of the Mind" for instance and as said before, Leonard Nimoy makes a really good showing in a role that gets way off the regular Columbo villains.
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An interesting twist in crime!
Sylviastel19 May 2006
A Stitch in Crime is a typical Columbo episode with it's usual twists. We know who did it from the every beginning. Leonard Nimoy is superb as the unlikable surgeon who is very vain and conceited in my opinion but I love Leonard Nimoy as an actor anyway. The story is better written than most. They don't spend that much time in the hospital which is nice. Of course, Columbo buts heads with Nimoy's surgeon character quite often enough to irritate him but you can't help but love Columbo. When he catches his man or woman in some cases, it's always the least likely way. He has a good supporting cast but forgettable since I can't remember any of their names.
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Dissolved Evidence
sol12188 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILERS** This one's a real lulu in Lt. Columbo's, Peter Falk, brainy and successful crime fighting adventures against the, above average IQ, criminal element in L.A. Wanting to get the credit and fame all for himself in this new anti-organ rejection drug Dr. Barry Mayfield, Leonard Nimoy, sees his opportunity when his partner in that research project Dr.Edmund Hideman, Will Geer,is scheduled to be operated on by him the next day.

Hideman needing a new heart-valve installed has Dr. Mayfield work on him in the operating room and successfully replaces it. The head nurse involved in the operation Nurse Sharon Martin, Ann Francis, notices that the suture, thread, that Dr. Mayfield used to sew up Hideman is of the dissolving not permanent kind. Nurse Martin feels that Dr. Mayfield who's insanely jealous of old man Hideman's success in the field of medicine, at his expense, is planning to murder him. Nurse Martin thinks that Dr. Mayfield is going make the murder look like the operation that he preformed on the old guy was just a tragic accident if it was even an accident at all! With the sutures dissolved and gone when Hideman kicks off there would be absolutely no evidence that Mayfield had anything to do with his unfortunate demise.

Finding out from Nurse Martin herself about what she's going to do in having him arrested for attempted murder Dr. Mayfield cuts her off at the pass, or hospital garage, and smashes her skull open with a tire iron killing her. Working hard to find a pasty in Nurse Martins murder Dr. Mayfield comes up with one of her patients at a local drug rehabilitation clinic, where she worked as a volunteer, reformed junkie Harry Alexander, Jared Martin. Dr. Mayfield then plants bottles of morphine in the deceased Nurse Martin's apartment. This was done to make it look like she was stealing drugs out of the hospital infirmary, and selling them on the streets. Dr. Mayfield then has the now drug free and cleaned up Alexander implicated as one of her customers and very possibly her murderer. The problem for Dr. Mayfield is that Alexander is drug free and doesn't have as much as a milligram of drugs, illegal or legal, in his system or apartment. Always ahead of the curve the resourceful Dr. Mayfield sneaks into Alexanders apartment and knocks him cold sticking him in his arm with a lethal dose of morphine killing him. Alexander's timely, for Dr. Mayfield, death makes it looked like he died of a drug overdose from junk that Nurse Martin supplied him with.

Lt. Columbo getting on the case seems to have met his match in the clever and slimy Dr. Mayfield. Mayfield is so cool and collective in side stepping and totally ignoring Lt. Columbo's usual needling and acting stupid in order to get Dr. Mayfield to drop his guard that it soon get's under Columbo's skin. Dr. Mayfield is so cagey and clever in avoiding any trap that Columbo sets for him that at one point in the movie he almost hit's him, in sheer frustration, over the head with a water pitcher.

With Lt. Columbo slowly getting on to what Nurse Martin found out about the dissolving sutures Dr. Mayfield soon realized that if Hideman who's clinging to life dies, like he planned him to, the autopsy will reveal that he was responsible not only for his death but murder. Reoperating on Hideman when he goes into cardiac arrest, after the sutures dissolves and the heart-valve dislocates, Dr. Mayfield secretly takes out the dissolving sutures and replaces them with permanent one. Only to have Lt. Columbo, like a crazed lunatic, crash into the operation room with a number of policemen wearing doctors surgical masks. To his surprise Columbo finds out that Mayfield somehow had hidden the evidence, the dissolving sutures, that would implicated him in Hideman's attempted murder.

It looked like for a time that the clever and witty Dr. Mayfield got away with it in being exposed as trying to murder old man Hideman It's also amazing to know that he would go as far as murdering two persons, Nurse Martin and Harry Alexander,in order to have the person whom he really wanted dead, Hideman, survive! As usual Lt. Columbo is saved by the bell by exposing Mayfield as Hidelman's attempted killer in that he recognized that the cool as a cucumber Mayfied lost his cool like Colmbo himself did earlier in the movie. It was during Columbo's wild exhibition in the operating room when Dr. Mayfield secretly and hastily hid the damning evidence, the missing and dissolving sutures, that Lt. Columbo eventually found.
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Top notch Columbo
bwaynef14 May 2003
One of the best episodes from Columbo's excellent second season. Leonard Nimoy is a surgeon with a fairly brilliant scheme to knock-off a colleague. Nimoy and star Peter Falk are well-matched adversaries, and the script and supporting cast are top notch.
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