New this month Factual error: Unfortunately for the grieving widow, Columbo's advice to her at the end of the episode - that she will automatically inherit the $24,000,000 won by her late husband and appropriated by Leon Lamarr - is wrong. Columbo has proven (on his standards) that Lamarr murdered Freddy Brower, the rightful winner of the lottery funds, but he has not proven that Brower bought the ticket in the first place. In fact, he doesn't even know he did, he just suspects that he did and that is why he was murdered. He's right, but legally speaking that is irrelevant. The money belongs to Lamarr and will be there waiting for him if and when he gets out of prison, or will go into his estate if he dies while inside. Brower's widow may file a wrongful death suit against Lamarr, but that is a separate legal matter entirely.
New this month Character mistake: Columbo explains to Hayward (the killer) how the accepted version of events is impossible, because when he was shot Harry Stone was standing in a dark garage and the killer could not have angled the headlights of his car in such a way that he was made visible (in order to be shot). But neither he nor Hayward even consider the possibility that the killer could have been carrying a torch.
Factual error: In the middle of summer in southern California, water spread thinly on an outdoor ceramic surface would start evaporating immediately and would be gone in about fifteen minutes. The surrounds of the pool would be bone dry by the time Columbo arrived at the scene, nearly an hour after the murderer sprayed the water there.PEDAUNT
Factual error: At the crime scene, the landlady of the dead man is brought into the room in order to identify one of the dead men. This is never, ever done - she could contaminate the crime scene in a dozen different ways. She would be asked to identify the corpse at the morgue after the scene had been cleared by forensic examiners.
Factual error: An important plot point is that diamonds do not burn and can be recovered from the ashes of a cremated body. This is completely wrong - diamonds would combust freely at cremation temperatures, and since they are pure carbon they don't even leave any residue.PEDAUNT
Continuity mistake: While riding in a chauffeur-driven car, Mr. Buckner wants to smoke a cigar. He picks up a wooden cigar box. The lid is secured by two pieces of black tape. He peels up one piece of tape. After a close-up of his face is shown, he peels up the second piece of tape and the first piece is now back in its original position across the lid.
Factual error: In common with many other episodes neither Columbo, the attending police officers or forensic investigators wear gloves or other sterile gear while examining the murder victim's body or the crime scene. Columbo hands out bananas to other people on the scene which they happily eat. The senior crime scene forensics officer, Kingsley, hands out coffee and doughnuts! Eating and drinking are absolutely forbidden on a sterile crime scene, which has been hopelessly contaminated with fingerprints anyway.
Factual error: Despite the fact that other officers are doing so, Columbo does not wear gloves while examining the crime scene. He also eats and drinks in the room - both absolutely forbidden - leaving eggshells scattered about the place. The crime scene is now totally compromised and nothing found can be used as evidence.PEDAUNT
Factual error: When Columbo initially latches onto the radio dilemma (which ultimately solves the case) the dial is tuned all the way to the left. He later tells someone that the radio is set to 'Classical 52', but an AM radio starts at 54, meaning 540KHz. There is no 52.Joe Brown
Character mistake: Art expert Dale Kingston describes Goya as 'the penultimate artist'. "Penultimate" has nothing to do with greatness or artistry, it means second to last, and nowhere during his speech does he indicate that Goya is 'second to last' in anything to do with the discussion. In the context he uses it the word is completely meaningless.
Other mistake: In the home of a murder victim, Columbo presses the telephone's "redial" button to see who was called most recently. A seven-digit number is displayed but only six beeps are heard as the number is redialed. Later, attorney Oscar Finch places a call by dialing only five numbers.
Character mistake: Adrian Carsini, a wine connoisseur and winery manager, pours two glasses of wine, one for himself and one for Lieutenant Columbo. Each man puts his hand around the top of his glass and begins to drink. A true wine connoisseur never touches the top of the glass. He holds the glass by the stem so the warmth of his hand does not affect the taste of the wine.
Continuity mistake: Helen Stewart and her mother are boating in the harbor and are about to pass a small island. A Marine colonel goes to the nearby home of a retired general to inform him that he is under investigation for cost overruns on a government contract, Fearing that the colonel will implicate him, the general shoots and kills him near a window. Helen is looking toward the home and witnesses the shooting. She tells her mother, "We have to go back." The boat is in the same position it was in five minutes earlier.