Columbo (1971–2003)
26 user 4 critic

Agenda for Murder 

This time Columbo is put on a murder that was made to look like a suicide. However, he notices some loose ends, and asks a lawyer and a governor to clear these problems up.


Patrick McGoohan


Richard Levinson (created by), William Link (created by) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Patrick McGoohan ... Oscar Finch
Denis Arndt ... Paul Mackey
Louis Zorich ... Frank Staplin
Penny Fuller ... Mrs. Finch
Bruce Kirby ... Sergeant George Kramer
Anne Haney ... Louise
Stanley Kamel ... Tim Haines
Steven Ford ... Toby Ritt
Arthur Hill ... The Governor
Michael Goldfinger Michael Goldfinger ... Laundry Truck Driver
Shaun Toub ... Amir
Annie Stewart Annie Stewart ... Rebecca Christy
Carol Barbee ... Diane
Peter Allas ... Security Man #1


Oscar Finch is a professional lawyer, who uses illegal and underhanded methods to get his clients off, like coercing young men into destroying evidence, like Paul Mackey who worked for the D.A.'s office twenty years ago and whom he bribed into destroying some evidence against a client of his. Today they are joined at the hip and Mackey is a congressman and who has been asked by the Governor who is running for president to be his vice president. Finch hopes that this will mean a cabinet position for him. Finch is then contacted by Frank Staplin, the client that Mackey helped get off twenty years ago. Now unless Finch helps Frank again, he will tell everyone that Finch and Mackey were the ones who helped him avoid prosecution twenty years ago. Finch then kills him and makes it look like a suicide. But a few inconsistencies lead Lt. Columbo to believe that it was not and the fact that Staplin made a few phone calls to Finch before he died leads Columbo to see him. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

10 February 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Agenda per omicidi See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Last film of Arthur Hill. See more »


When Finch shoots Staplin, he is standing around 1.5m to the left of him. However, he then proceeds to place the gun in Staplin's right hand, and he is never seen moving the spent cartridge case. The entry wound on Franklin's left temple and the cartridge case laying somewhere to his left would have made clear at the first glance that it could not have been suicide. See more »


Lt. Columbo: [Standing beside Oscar Finch's car; Finch is sitting in the driver's seat] That's very good. We cleared that one up very easily. And I'm happy about it, because that was one of the few loose ends I was still having trouble with. You know what, sir? We did it in 72 seconds. How's that for problem-solving?
Oscar Finch: Any more questions?
Lt. Columbo: I can't think of one at the moment. Except, why aren't you on your way to court?
Oscar Finch: That's a good one!
[Drives off, abruptly]
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References Singin' in the Rain (1952) See more »


Mystery Movie Theme
by Mike Post
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User Reviews

For me this is among the best of the later episodes
8 March 2012 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Columbo I have always loved, and Agenda for Murder is a perfect showcase as to why. Although it is one of the later episodes, it is an episode that while not quite one of my favourites is just as good as the episodes of the 70s. Columbo has always been well made, and with the striking photography and slick editing, Agenda for Murder is no exception. The dialogue is very crisp and clever, adding so much to the playful and tense tone of the episode, oh and the flasher gag and bird puns are a hoot, and the story never has a dull moment and advantaged further by a totally unexpected ending that even shocks Finch as well as the audience. Peter Falk is wonderful as he consistently is, and Patrick McGoohan deservedly won an Emmy for his very pompous, stern yet very intelligent performance here. The scenes between him and Falk are a joy to behold, some of the most inspired rapport of any Columbo episode in my opinion. All in all, a fine entry to the series and just as good as the episodes of the 70s. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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