Columbo (1971–2003)
38 user 5 critic

Try and Catch Me 

A mystery writer suspects her niece's husband of murdering her, and she exacts revenge by asphyxiating him in her house safe.


James Frawley


Gene Thompson (teleplay by), Paul Tuckahoe (teleplay by) | 3 more credits »




Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Ruth Gordon ... Abigail Mitchell
Mariette Hartley ... Veronica
G.D. Spradlin ... Martin Hammond
Charles Frank ... Edmund Galvin
Mary Jackson ... Annie
Jerome Guardino ... Sergeant Burke
Marie Silva-Alexander Marie Silva-Alexander ... Dance Instructor


An aging but successful and wealthy crime fiction writer blames the death of her niece on the girl's husband. One night she invites him up to the house to sign their wills before getting him to leave and return within a few minutes so she can spring a trap (locking him in her soundproof safe). Detective Columbo arrives and suspects the writer of murder but clues are few and far between. Written by Scott Dawson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

21 November 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alter schützt vor Morden nicht See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The 747 shown is the same one used from Airport 75 See more »


When Columbo is stacking the safe deposit boxes in the safe, there are four boxes for him to stack. He stacks the first two, then, when the camera cuts to a close up of his hands for the next box, he's stacking the fourth box, not the third. See more »


Lt. Columbo: My car's right here. It's French. Very rare.
[Abigail looks at Columbo's car, dust-covered, front grill manged, and with license plate askew]
Abigail Mitchell: Uh, yes. Oh, I can see why.
See more »


References Gone with the Wind (1939) See more »


This Old Man
Traditional English children's marching song
[First two lines played by Peter Falk on piano. Later he whistles it.]
See more »

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User Reviews

One of Columbo's finest moments
20 January 2013 | by stamp-587-149747See all my reviews

As others have undoubtedly pointed out, the generic weaknesses in this series tend to be 1) the motivation for the murderer is often insufficient, and 2) the hints are sometime so obscure, it's implausible to think that even Columbo's well-hidden genius would suffice to solve the case. But, in this episode, neither of these issues are weak points. The motivation for the murder is strong and the hints are sufficient, but not too obvious (so that Columbo gets to do some very clever detective work).

Here, the writing, dialog, humor, music, and acting are all top-notch.

The writing couldn't be better. There's never a dull moment.

The dialog is excellent, especially during the interactions between Columbo and the murderer (Ruth Gordon). To take one small example, there is a subtle role reversal when the murderer asks Columbo "one more thing...". Watch closely, since there are a lot of little gems like this.

Television shows from this era that take themselves too seriously---think "Mannix"---have not aged well, so IMHO, reviewers should lighten up when it comes to humor. But, I do have to admit that the humor in Columbo doesn't always hit the mark. However, here there are some true laugh-out-loud moments (the footprint/shoe scene is hilarious and "dog" does some of his best "acting"). Best of all, the humor fits perfectly into the flow, adding to the sum total instead of being a mere distraction or time filler.

Usually, the music in Columbo doesn't make much of an impression on me. This episode is an exception. The music heightens the dramatic scenes and seems to move from background to foreground (and vice-versa) at just the right times.

Peter Falk is in top form and Ruth Gordon is dynamite---it's hard to believe she was 80 years old at the time.

This is television from a different time, when some thought and effort went into each episode (at the opposite extreme is the "reality" drivel that dominates TV today). Of course, it didn't always work. In truth, it failed far more often than it worked. But on those occasions when it did succeed, greatness was possible.

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