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Columbo: Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star
High-powered criminal lawyer Hugh Creighton has been living with fading rock star Marcy Edwards for several years, but discovers that Marcy is having an affair with the drummer from her band of some years back, Neddy Malcolm. Creighton attempts to break up with Marcy, but Marcy is aware of the dubious methods that Creighton uses to win his legal cases, and threatens to expose him unless he takes her back.
When Creighton discovers that Malcolm has a criminal record involving assaults on women, he devises a plan to murder Marcy and frame Malcolm. Knowing that Malcolm pays regular visits to Marcy when Creighton is at work, he doctors a bottle of champagne with chloral hydrate. He then slips Marcy a drug which inhibits her desire to drink. Later that day, when Malcolm comes over to visit Marcy, he opens the doctored champagne and falls unconscious when he drinks some. Marcy refuses the drink and remains awake. At this point, Creighton enters and strangles Marcy while Malcolm is unconscious. Later, Malcolm wakes up beside Marcy's corpse, and as the investigation proceeds, Creighton makes sure that Columbo is aware of Malcolm's unsavoury past.
Columbo suspects Creighton, but can he prove him guilty when Creighton has never lost a legal battle in his career?
Sam Marlowe, the private investigator hired by Hugh Creighton to spy on Marcy, is no doubt intended as a cross between Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, both immortalized by Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon (1941) and The Big Sleep (1946) respectively. Marlowe's office in the Columbo episode is almost a clone of Sam Spade's office in The Maltese Falcon.