A Deadly State of Mind

Episode 29 – A Deadly State of Mind

The twenty-ninth episode of Columbo was titled A Deadly State of Mind and was the final episode of the show’s fourth season. A psychologist gets close to a patient and kills first to protect her and next to protect himself. In this podcast Gerry and Iain look at the important evidence and Columbo’s unorthodox investigation.

 

 

There was a familiar face in the killer’s role for this episode as George Hamilton slipped effortlessly into the role of a charming professional with a personal interest in his patient. Dr. Mark Collier is an experimental psychologist using hypnosis and narcotics to help his patients (and provide the narrative for his latest book). When his affair with Nadia Donner (Lesley Ann Warren) is challenged by her husband, Carl (Stephen Elliott), he does stand up for her (after all, he has his book to think of) and when Carl attacks Nadia, Collier intervenes with a poker and inadvertently kills his rival.

 

Hamilton won a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer in 1960 and has become almost ubiquitous since in a film career spanning 57 years and counting. This was the first of his two Columbo appearances which sandwich higher-profile appearances on Dynasty and in The Godfather: Part III. Some listeners may also remember Hamilton from his run on the ninth series of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! reality show alongside Samantha Fox, Katie Price and snooker legend Jimmy White.

 

There were not many substantial supporting roles, but Karen Machon was entertaining as Collier’s colleague Dr. Anita Borden and Bruce Kirby returned as Sergeant George Kramer. Jack Manning and Fred Draper played brothers Daniel and David Morris who proved critical in catching the killer.

 

Harvey Hart‘s second of four directorial stints followed By Dawn’s Early Light from earlier in Season Four, while Peter S. Fischer was back as the writer in the fifth of his nine Columbo episodes. There is little to be said about this talented pair that we have not already covered in previous episodes.

 

If you have thoughts on any aspect of A Deadly State of Mind please share them below, or find us on Twitter at @columbopodcast.

 

The Columbo Podcast is widely available – on iTunes, Stitcher, tunein, Pocket Casts or pretty much wherever you choose to receive and manage your podcasts. If you enjoy the show it would be greatly appreciated if you consider leaving ratings and reviews on these sites – particularly iTunes – as that can make a big difference to growing the podcast’s audience.

 

A Deadly State of Mind was released in 1975. It is 70 minutes long and originally aired on the NBC network. It can be viewed on Netflix in the United States and is available on DVD in other countries, including a comprehensive box set of all eleven seasons released by Universal.

 

The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast team develops, produces and promotes The Columbo Podcast.

  • Largo

    The Columbo Mystery Movie, “A Deadly State Of Mind,” is a dark and disturbing tale of a Svengali-like psychiatrist taking advantage of his rather psychologically fragile female patient. Dr. Mark Collier (George Hamilton) portrays a cold-blooded reptilian killer who has his very vulnerable patient, Nadia Donner (Lesley Ann Warren), under his complete control. Not only is this particular situation sick and wrong on the face of it, it is entirely unethical within the bounds of doctor and patient relationships. So the ‘creep out’ factor in this Columbo episode is very high.

    Unfortunately, this mystery movie rates rather low overall due to it being very weak in the evidence department and with an ending that is totally ludicrous. What judge would issue an arrest warrant based on the very tenuous circumstantial evidence Columbo has put together: a cigarette lighter flint shard, common foreign-made tire tread marks, an inconsistent witness statement, some folded clothes alongside valuables wrapped in a stocking and tucked inside a shoe, barbiturates in the apparent suicide victim’s bloodstream, and a phone receiver left off the hook in said victim’s securely locked apartment that also contains the stolen valuables from the so-called robbery. Absolutely none of this can be directly linked to Dr. Mark Collier, so how exactly was this warrant for his arrest even issued by a judge? I know California judges are extremely liberal, but they’re not so stupidly ignorant of the law and of judicial procedures!

    In short, “A Deadly State Of Mind” just asks too much from the viewer by way of suspension of disbelief. That ‘Gotcha!’ ending is also weak sauce: all Collier has to say to his attorney is that Columbo’s first “witness” was rehearsed by the Lieutenant to act like a blind man (in this case, the real blind man’s very own brother) and Collier just made an inaccurate diagnosis based solely on said theatrics. As much as I hate to admit it, this lying sack of sour owl poop and a total rat-bastard of a psychiatrist would get off scot-free and remain at large as an unethical doctor. I truly want Columbo to nail this guy and to lock him up for life, but not based upon such ridiculously flimsy circumstantial evidence that a good attorney would have a field day with, eh!

    George Hamilton comes across as a rather smug and arrogant celebrity type in most of of his performances that I’ve seen. To me he appears to be the stereotypical narcissistic and egotistical Hollywood trash actor. So in other words, his portrayal of Dr. Mark Collier is completely convincing to me. The very lovely Lesley Ann Warren is also totally believable as the very delicate and heavily dependent psychiatric patient, Nadia Donner. Despite the fact that Lesley’s character is presented here as a habitual adulteress, I’ll always remember her as the very sweet and lovable Cinderella character in Roger and Hammerstein’s made for television musical production, Cinderella (1965). Likewise, the very first movie I saw that starred George Hamilton was the George Pal film production entitled The Power (1968): where Hamilton portrayed the telekinetic-telepathic Professor James Tanner, who could kill with just a thought!** A deadly state of mind, indeed. Be seeing you!

    ** Which is why my alternate title for this Columbo episode is “Professor Tanner Kills Cinderella.”

    • I can recommend to you the show notes links for George Hamilton and Fred Draper this week. They’re my pick of the bunch.

      • Largo

        Yeah, I’d heard about George and his step-mother: extremely creepy. So that’s another reason I didn’t hesitate to call him a reptilian monster in that fictional piece that riffed on the film The Power (1968). And thanks for linking to the feature film trailer for A Woman Under The Influence (1974). I remember seeing this preview a few times in the theaters back in the day. Don’t tell Kieran Wright this, but I’m definitely going to have to finally check this “master piece” out very soon, eh!

    • Milia Dick Ziegler

      I will have to check that out! I remember first seeing George Hamilton when he was in Zorro, the Gay Blade. I’m sure it’s not a critically acclaimed movie, but my family (especially my dad) and I really enjoyed it. We thought it was hilarious (we’re easily pleased (-; ). And when I see Lesley Ann Warren, I think of her great performance in Victor/Victoria, one of my favorite movies. She’s a gangster’s moll, and she plays the part to the hilt. The last actor in this movie who I was already familiar with is Stephen Elliot. When I saw this Columbo episode, I said, “Hey, that’s the police chief from Beverly Hills Cop!” That’s ironic, huh (-; ? I love placing actors in the different shows in which they have acted.

  • Largo

    George Hamilton is an aberration and a blight upon mankind: a mutant or “enhanced human” that can kill with just a mere thought through the power of telekinesis and telepathic illusion. George Hamilton is a sociopathic killer that preys upon unsuspecting women with the use of his natural good looks and his sexual magnetism. Many women can’t resist him and a small percentage of these women actually get obsessive about him. Woe to these same women who succumb to George’s charming charisma and get addicted to this ghastly Hamilton narcotic and then become a problem to him. For George Hamilton will simply strike out and kill with his mental power by stopping their hearts and, thus, making all of these “problems” disappear by causing sudden and mysterious death. George Hamilton is an extremely dangerous creature and he must be destroyed!

    You might think me insane — and I would heartily agree with you had I not witnessed this cold-blooded murderer committing his dastardly telekinetic deed myself. I’ll never forget this for as long as I live: it was at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport where I saw a young woman drop dead from an apparent “heart attack.” Just moments before this terrible event had occurred, I was helping this same young woman recover her belongings from a dropped handbag. As we were finishing gathering her possessions back into her purse, this woman suddenly looked up and past my shoulder and exclaimed, “It’s him” in a hushed and awe-filled whisper.

    She quickly got back to her feet and began running toward someone amongst the throng of people. “George, George — don’t leave me behind again!” she shouted desperately as she ran toward a mysterious man clad in a black cloak. It was here that I noticed that this darkly dressed man was George Hamilton and he stared back at this young lady coming at him with an eerily wet and sickly green-hued gaze. Behind this suntanned visage was something sinister and reptilian as this creature’s eyes bore into the young lady rushing toward him. It was here that this poor young woman suddenly froze up and dropped to the floor of the airport concourse. During the subsequent burst of activity surrounding the emergency personnel, George Hamilton vanished somewhere within the midst of the crowd.

    George Hamilton had stopped this woman’s heart with just his mind. You might believe that this is all ludicrous and simply dismiss it by exclaiming that George Hamilton is only your typical mediocre Hollywood actor that starred in such pieces of sophomoric entertainment as Love At First Bite (1979) and Zorro: The Gay Blade (1981). But you see — this is just to throw all of us off the scent: George Hamilton wants you to think that he’s just a typically smug and egotistical actor in show business. Hamilton wants everyone to dismiss him in this manner by appearing in these fourth-rate theatrical films, thereby insuring that he is never even suspected of any crimes at all. By merely appearing to be superfluous and completely harmless, Hamilton is actually totally free to commit wonton murder and destruction at will.

    However, there are a few times when the scaly George Hamilton reptilian peeks out from behind that mask of deeply suntanned flesh. This has happened exactly two times: with Hamilton’s appearance in George Pal’s film production of The Power (Feb. – 1968) and in the Columbo Mystery Movie episode “A Deadly State Of Mind” (April – 1975). In the film The Power, George Hamilton portrays the character of Professor James Tanner. Throughout the course of the film, Tanner slowly discovers that he has very powerful telekinetic-telepathic powers and mental abilities to create illusions within a person’s mind. In “A Deadly State Of Mind,” Hamilton plays Dr. Mark Collier, a Svengali-type psychiatrist who manipulates not only his current patient, but also a professional colleague — both with his strong sexual appeal and natural charisma. Both of these films are not merely pieces of fictional entertainment, but biographical glimpses into the cold, dark reality of this monstrous abomination known to the world as simply “George Hamilton – Actor.”

    You must realize that while George Hamilton has kept his secret abilities to himself, he has let his mask slip just so he could toy with the unsuspecting public and play these little mind games on all of us. You see, Hamilton truly believes that his is the superior intellect and he actually looks down upon everyone else and labels each of us as just the “inferior rabble.” So he manipulated science-fiction author, Frank M. Robinson, into writing the novel The Power in 1956 and later, he used his mental abilities to force George Pal and MGM to produce a motion-picture adaptation of this same SF novel. A mere science-fiction novel made into a mere science-fiction film — or rather a real glimpse into Hamilton’s own person via his unique mental powers? Similarly, he manipulated the producers of Columbo into giving him the part of the nefarious sexual predator and murderer, Dr. Mark Collier, in “A Deadly Sate Of Mind.” Think about it: both of these film productions reveal Hamilton’s true demonic self just within their respective titles — The Power and “A Deadly State Of Mind” — or put more simply, “The Power [of George Hamilton’s] Deadly State Of Mind.”

    I can still feel that you’re not entirely convinced by what I have told you so far. However, at first, I too had scoffed at all of this. But more importantly, I didn’t eventually put all of this together on my own. It was one of my closest friends that actually gathered up all of the pertinent facts. To protect his identity, I’ll just call him ‘Jack.’ My friend, Jack, used to be a private detective and it was he who first showed me the files on all of the victims. Jack had been hired by the family of the young lady who had mysteriously died of an apparent heart attack in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. This woman was only one of thirteen other victims of this Hamilton creature. Jack had found that all of these female victims had four things in common: 1) these women were obsessive fans of George Hamilton; 2) all of the women had built little ‘shrines’ to George Hamilton in their respective homes; 3) all of these women had slept with George Hamilton and had bragged about it to various relatives and friends; 4) and finally, all of these obsessive female fans had actively pursued George Hamilton across the globe.

    To put it more succinctly: all of these young women had become a major issue for George Hamilton at different times throughout his career and he had gotten rid of them all. Absolutely none of these young women nor their respective family members had any heart condition or a history of heart disease. Yet each and every one of these women had died of an apparent “heart attack” by causes unknown to forensic science. Something had simply stopped their hearts from beating any further. How does George Hamilton’s Jim Tanner character finally defeat his arch nemesis, Adam Hart, in the film, The Power? By stopping Adam Hart’s heart through his own newly discovered power of telekinesis! How can this all just be merely coincidence? It is not, my friends — it is most definitely not!

    Jack had put all of this together and showed his files to a homicide detective in the LAPD, who then began pursuing the case. But this same LAPD homicide detective got scared off when he found out that Jack had suddenly died while vacationing in Hawaii. The official cause of death was listed as “suicide,” but this detective and I knew far better what had really happened. According to the official investigation, Jack had left his car within Volcanoes National Park and had walked from the parking area and while on one of the trails, Jack had leapt into an active volcano without any warning. But this homicide detective and I knew what had suddenly compelled Jack to kill himself: George Hamilton’s powerful and deadly mental abilities were utilized when Jack became a threat to him.

    George Hamilton appears to be able to read certain thoughts or he has some kind of mental early warning system or a hostility field that alerts him of danger. Jack must have been closing in on Hamilton and had triggered George to lash out with his terrible mental arsenal that ultimately destroyed my friend. This LAPD homicide detective may have dropped this case due to being horrified at George Hamilton’s treacherous telekinetic-telepathic abilities, but now I’ve got all of Jack’s files and I am going to continue the good fight. George Hamilton must be stopped! So I’ve been in training: preparing my mind to block certain kinds of thoughts and discipling it to focus on the benign and thus, creating a protective mental shield for myself. I’ve been working alongside several neurological experts and researchers to further develop and hone my mental abilities.

    George Hamilton will not know when I shall strike. George Hamilton will never see me coming. For George Hamilton doesn’t even know one thing about me at all — but he does know that he has a deadly enemy somewhere amongst the populace. There are times that I send him ominous postcards from various locales across the country and I sign them “Adam Hart.” I’ll keep him on edge and continually agitated. I’ll keep him slightly paranoid and living in constant fear. I’ll wear him down to a whimpering shell of his former self before his total obliteration occurs. Justice will finally be served and the sentence shall be carried out by me very soon. George Hamilton must die!

    ************************************************************************************************************************************

    Well, that was a bit of fun and I hope that you all had a jolly good laugh. All of the above writing was just a jest, a lark, a fanciful flight of whimsey. Yeah — it was all just a pack of lies. For this little tale was concocted deep within one of the darker regions of my imagination — known henceforth as The Largo Zone. All of this is just me riffing on the George Pal motion-picture production entitled The Power (1968). This is the one and only theatrical film that I’ve seen that has starred George Hamilton. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s kind of on the prosaic side in its treatment of a high-end science-fiction concept. It postulates a future world where a few enhanced humans have very powerful telepathic and telekinetic abilities, but the film simply places this fascinating idea inside of a traditional Hollywood melodramatic thriller.

    Within the film, there are some interesting flourishes, but overall the execution of this imaginative SF concept of a potential race of telepaths borders on the mundane. To be totally honest, this film is one of my guilty pleasures and I fully admit that my enjoyment of it is wrapped in nostalgia. I was rather young when I first saw this on network television. It sure seemed that whenever this was on network television throughout the years, I was always there to watch it. Just a few years ago, Warner Archives made this available on DVD and I quickly snatched up a copy for myself. Hmmm — I guess I really like this one, eh! Feel free to check out the theatrical film trailer below and maybe sometime you can sit down and enjoy The Power on a rainy evening. Be seeing you!

    P.S. — The identity of the mysterious Adam Hart character isn’t fully revealed until the last five minutes of The Power, so just mentioning him is not exactly a spoiler.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvCz9FmiIA4

    • I have to say, Largo, this might be the best piece of George Hamilton fan fiction I’ve read today.

      • Largo

        Why, thank you! Thank you very much! But can you detect in this fictional piece of mine that I’m not really that much of a fan of George Hamilton? 😉

        • Peter

          My earliest memory of him growing up besides this Columbo episode was the Evel Knieval TV movie.

          • Largo

            The Evel Knievel movie starring George Hamilton was a theatrical feature released in September of 1971 (and rated GP) by Fanfare Films. There was a made for TV movie entitled Evel Knievel that starred Sam Elliot that aired on American television almost three years later in March of 1974.

    • Ian Baxter

      A lost Columbo script finally unearthed… Not only does Columbo solve “The Mysterious Murder of the Hamilton 13”, he then unmasks the victims avenger who had struck down Hamilton before he could face the justice of the courtroom. Poisoned with a Zinger whilst behind bars!

      It does not matter that you leave no clues, or that your motive is noble. Columbo will be on to you Largo, it will be a hunch based on the testimony of a blind man who heard the rustle of a Zingers packet as you passed him, nothing he can prove, but he will be on to you.

      How could you have foreseen that Columbo would spot the very same packet in your bin whilst disposing of eggshells, after his car broke down outside your house, and his dog ran into your security guards cabin… I mean, what are the chances!

      Don’t be surprised when the shabby detective comes knocking at your door. it will all seem innocent enough… he’ll reveal himself to be a big Star Trek fan, and his wife will have read all your latest time travel books. He may ask some odd questions about your pay, or even compliment you on your classic car and mansion… but you’ll know he’s on to you.

      After an undisclosed period of time passes… he has become a regular visitor. He’ll turn up at the place you work and his calls will be redirected to your house. He will flatter you, and you will be asked to help him with the case, being invited to visit crime scenes and sit in on interviews… after all, who else knew Mr Hamilton so well and is able to help Columbo with those loose ends?

      However, you’ll be glad to know that you are a very sympathetic killer, defending the honour of those women Hamilton struck down. As such Columbo is fair with you. It all comes to an end when he tricks you into identifying the confectionary used to poison the evil Mr Hamilton, although you do admit to being of the verge of confessing anyway (to get the now annoying policeman off your back!).

      A touching moment at the last as he allows you one last moment with a glass of milk and health cookie!

      ****************************

      oops, got a bit carried away, but hope you enjoy the ramblings 😉

      • Largo

        Well, if all else fails my attorney can always go with the “Chewbacca Defense.”

  • luciaphile

    Cream soda (good cream soda) is wonderful. It has no cream, which may be what’s turning you off, but usually has a vanilla flavor. Another great episode. You two make my Thursdays go so much faster.

    • Thanks luciaphile, glad you enjoyed it. There may be a cream soda update in next week’s show!

    • Peter

      Cream soda is also called vanilla coca-cola. Don’t knock it until you try it!

    • Arabian Knights

      No dairy products went into the making of cream soda. And you may want to inquire into the popular drink of egg cream in New York City. No cream in it either,

      Cream is expensive unlike sugar. I think the reference is that it was creamed, i.e. emulsed in a blender or suchlike. At least in Canada. our milk marketing board makes such drinks very pricey, to say nothing of health and safety concerns

    • CarlosMu

      Dr. Collier was kind of snotty about Columbo’s cream soda request. But I would ask him, if cream soda is so bad why did he have it? Ha! Got him!

      • Milia Dick Ziegler

        You’re so right, CarlosMu! I thought the same thing myself (-; !

  • Peter

    What is interesting, and I think a weakness, is that the murder was accidental, like in Dagger of the Mind, yet later on both murderers go on to commit another murder, showing that despite the accidental nature of the initial crimes, are true killers. Find this hard to believe. They turn what would be murder 2 crimes into murder 1 crimes as well. I guess the script writers want you to think of the killers as eviil

  • Largo

    Time tripping back to 1965 on February 22, when Rogers and Hammerstein’s retooled version of Cinderella first aired on the CBS television network, the very lovely Lesley Ann Warren made her national debut as the definitive (in my humble opinion) Cinderella. Here is Lesley performing her first song in this production: “In My Own Little Corner.” Enjoy!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xdn7nEhEZo

    • Ian Baxter

      Well that certainly helps vilify Mr Hamilton, he killed Cinderella! 😉

      • Largo

        First, that meano Stephen Elliot corrupted her, and then she was further degraded by Hamilton and then he killed poor Cinderella! And just where was the Prince during all of this!??! The Prince was out killing dragons and rescuing damsels and stuff! :.(

  • Peter

    I thought the ending a bit unstatisfying myself. My favorite scene in this is Columbo’s beat down of Anita Borden. Columbo has only lost it three times all in all the 70’s episodes if I can recall. It is always jarring and effective given how patient and good-natured he is. He also clearly does not like a wise-ass!

    • Largo

      Columbo always goes for that weak link! I totally agree, Peter: it’s very effective stuff, indeed. Columbo also gets really tough with Joan Hudson (Katherine Justice) in “Prescription: Murder.” Speaking of which — I don’t understand why Gerry and Iain aren’t covering this one for next week’s bonus podcast instead of that “Queen Bitch Of The Universe And Her Ransom For A Dead Man Scheme” Columbo pilot film from 1971. I say, ‘Bollocks!’ But I’m feeling rather cranky after a very tough week at work and so I really shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth and all, eh. I think a nap (or a long vacation) will do me a world of good! Sorry about that everybody ….. be seeing you!

      • Peter

        Is there anything better than an afternoon nap? You can tell we are getting old. When my wife said she was making me dinner for our anniversary and was going to wear something sexy,I excitedly asked her what she was making for dinner!

        • Largo

          So your wife is going to wear some lingerie while she makes the anniversary dinner? Very interesting, Peter! 😉

  • Ian Baxter

    Another strong episode and, whilst a bit more intense with the killing of Nadia, very entertaining. I agree with Gerry about the gotcha being so memorable. I particularly enjoyed Dr Collier’s responses to Columbo in the final scene, we finally seem to have someone able resist the urge to hang himself…

    *Enters the room* “well what have we got here, the famous Ritz brothers?… get on with it… is that it, that piece of paper?… well yes or no?… so?… *raises eyebrow*… lieutenant, Nadia Donner didn’t did of barbiturates, her death was a little bit more dramatic, a leap from a 5th floor balcony… have you got anything or not?… what phone call?… I deny it… congratulations! That it?… you tell me… lieutenant forgive me for for interrupting, we could speculate all day on how Nadia donner died, it wouldn’t mean a dam thing, the problem with your theory is you have no proof do you, yes or no?” *walks to the door*

    He was doing so well and if he’d got out that door then surely he walks free. Alas, he’s stopped from leaving (outrageous!) and it all goes wrong as he starts saying far too much. Ah well, it was good while it lasted.

    Another good podcast; one day, when I’m older and greyer, someone will do a columbopodcastpodcast… revisiting all your shows… there will be much discussion on the forum of week 29 and Gerry’s aborted introduction 🙂

    • Largo

      “Whilst a bit more intense with the killing of Nadia …” ???
      It was DEVASTATING! :.(
      And then those stinking Ritz Brothers showed up and it all went to hell! But I liked the German Shepherd.

  • Largo

    MIA: RICHARD HINTON AND DIGGER01

    That does it, man! I’m organizing a search and rescue party. Wish me luck, folks!

    • Peter

      Yeah! Where are they?

    • digger01

      I’m here! Call off the dogs! Guess I have been somewhat MIA lately. But I’m still checking in and following the podcast and your awesome commentary, Largo!

      I agree with most here that this episode doesn’t rise to the level of greatness in the Columbo canon, but I still find it enjoyable. Spotting the flint on the carpet and assigning some importance to it was stretch that requires an awfully forgiving viewer.

      While the evidence against Collier is certainly flimsy, I kinda like the ending. Columbo tripping up Collier with the fake-blind man who isn’t really faking is a lot of fun to watch.

      Gerry and Iain, thanks for the continued excellence of the podcast!

      • Largo

        Hey there, Digger! It’s so great to see you! Thank you so much for stopping by, eh! Please chime in more often — I’ve missed you, dude! 🙂

        • digger01

          Thanks, Largo. Right back at ya!

      • Glad you’re still enjoying it digger. Don’t forget to keep in touch!

  • Emrys

    Wow, it’s gonna take me some time to plough through these (Largo) comments! Ha ha!

    I agree with most of the opinions here. I like the ending, but I wish it would have been played differently. As is, the ‘seeing brother’ is ‘acting’ soooo blind it’s missing the point a bit. It would have been more effective (and incriminating) if the ‘seeing brother’ had dropped the amateur-dramatics-I’m-a-blind-man routine.

    When tan-man says “it’s obvious that man is blind”… I have to agree with him. Even as a kid I thought the same thing. Someone walking in at the end of the episode would probably point at the screen and say “How’s that blind guy reading?”. Could have just been a little more … subtle… don’t you think?

    • Ian Baxter

      I wonder if they made it this way in order to trick the viewers as well? We also saw the crash on the drive way with the blind man… as a first time viewer did we think it’s the same guy? Or did we know it was fake? Did we really see what was coming or are we just overly familiar with the episode?

      Iain is watching these for the first time… did you assume this was the same blind man you’d seen earlier or immediately know he was not?

      • I assumed it was the same guy.

        • Emrys

          Yes, but that’s kinda my point. Tan-man says “he can’t have seen anything… he’s blind!”. Then Columbo shows him the guy’s not blind.

          But tan-man can just point out the fact that he was presented with a man ‘acting’ blind and he therefore assumed the man was indeed blind. I just think it would have been more incriminating if the non-blind brother hadn’t done the weird walk and the ‘sunglasses indoors’ thing. When Columbo says “There’s no way you could assume this gentleman is blind unless you were there at the house that night!” — I just think… hmmmm, well I would have thought he was blind from the way he was acting. The forced walk etc. Hmmmm. Do you get my point?

          And I liked the ending by the way! Ha ha!

          • Ian Baxter

            Yeah, your right, a good fun memorable ending, but the brother acts blind, so of course you’d assume he’s blind, it proves nothing.

          • Largo

            Now I’m hearing Auric Goldfinger’s voice saying to Columbo: “You know nothing, Lieutenant! And you’ve proved nothing!” 🙂

          • Largo

            You liked the original ending — but your own suggested ending is so much better, Emrys! I’m going to remember your revised ending to “A Deadly State Of Mind” whenever I re-watch this episode. Thanks! 🙂

  • Arabian Knights

    I too thought that George Hamilton was reptilian. And I thoroughly disliked his assistant for being a smarmy witch (not her fault, but they had no idea of how to portray successful women in those days,) Still better than the vicious”lady lawyer” you will showcase next week.

    I thought MS Warren did OK in her role, but I wanted to slap her for being so stupid!

    Not my favourite episode, but well done. As was the podcast.

    • Largo

      I totally agree and I’m glad that we concur on so many points here, Arabian Knights! Except after I’d slapped some sense into Nadia Donner, I would give her a hug — she needs a lot of hugs. But more importantly, we both can see George Hamilton’s true face:

      • A metaphorical slap of course.

        • Largo

          Si. I highly approve of the use of metaphor, eh.

        • Ian Baxter

          and a metaphorical hug

          • Largo

            Sorry – my approval of metaphor ends when it comes to hugs. You can’t beat a nice, warm American hug, eh! 😉

      • Arabian Knights

        But when I think about it, back in the day, the studios had no idea of how to present powerful women. Well. the answer should be the same as successful men. But it was an evolution. I had to jump ahead and play Ransom because it is coming up and I had no sympathy for Lee Grant, whom I have always found to be a cold actress. They made her into wonderwoman, who can still offer to make a meal for the guys. How 70s, but understandable. Myself, I’d say “Guys, I’m hungry too. Order out.” O tempore o mores.

        • Largo

          My apologies, Arabian Knights — but this is the first thing that came into my fevered brain when I read your “They made her into wonderwoman, who can still offer to make a meal for the guys” comment:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q0P94wyBYk

        • Largo

          Yes, those studio execs were totally clueless, even when the British had created Emma Peel in 1965 on The Avengers and the American ABC television network had imported this series in 1966!

        • I interpreted that offer to cook completely differently, but we can discuss that in a few days!

  • Ian Baxter

    The famous(ish) Ritz Brothers! Well I had to look them up…

    Wikipedia – “The Ritz Brothers were an American comedy team who appeared in films, and as live performers from 1925 to the late 1960s.

    Although there were four brothers, the sons of Austrian-born Jewish haberdasher Max Joachim and his Russian wife Pauline, only three of them performed together. There was also a sister, Gertrude. The fourth brother, George, acted as their manager. The performers were: Al Ritz (August 27, 1901 – December 22, 1965), Jimmy Ritz (October 4, 1904 – November 17, 1985), Harry Ritz (May 22, 1907 – March 29, 1986).

    All three brothers were born in Newark, New Jersey. The family name was Joachim (pronounced “joe-ACK-him”, as Harry himself explained on a Joe Franklin TV interview), but eldest brother Al, a vaudeville dancer, adopted a new professional nameafter he saw the name “Ritz” on the side of a laundry truck. Jimmy and Harry followed suit when the brothers formed a team. The Ritzes emphasized precision dancing in their act, and added comedy material as they went along. By the early 1930s they were stage headliners.”

    • Largo

      Basically these guys were a very poor man’s Marx Brothers-type “comedy” team, eh.

  • Roberto

    To quote Mickey Mantle following Casey Stengel’s long rambling congressional testimony, my views on this Columbo episode are the same as Largo’s first post in the thread!

    This episode truly is uncomfortable to watch. I did not enjoy the interactions between Columbo and George Hamilton. The plot is poor, the evidence and sleuthing are poor, and there really is nothing memorable about this episode except for the ending. And I see that several others have posted how unconvincing is the episode’s gotcha. They could have done the final scene so much better by not over-doing the “blind man” act. Just have the “blind man” come in and identify Hamilton as the driver and have Hamilton say that man did not see me drive away because he is blind!

    Anyway, love the Podcast (despite my incessant critiquing of the episodes)!

  • A superlative podcast. I particularly liked the beginning as I had half expected there to be a gag about you know what and so it proved to be. Once this podcast malarkey has finished, you guys may have a career in comedy.

    In terms of the episode, it’s always nice to see a Godfather connection, and this was the strongest one yet in the shape of George Hamilton.

    As a Certified hypnotist myself, I was obviously appalled by Dr. Collier’s tactics, but all in all this was a very enjoyable episode with Mr. Falk and the supporting cast in fine form.

    The second murder was a truly nasty affair, wasn’t it, proving what a cold and calculating psyche Collier possessed. Actually, I was pretty impressed with the performance that George Hamilton turned in, proving that he’s more than just a ‘pretty face’.

    Just to be awkward, I wasn’t really that enthralled with the ‘gotcha’, although I have to admit it was OK. It was, at least, interesting, to see Alan Whicker (sic) in an acting role.

    Just one more thing…it was refreshing that Columbo was very quick off the starting blocks in this episode. I’d like to see that a bit more often.

    • Milia Dick Ziegler

      I love that you said you like seeing a Godfather connection b/c I’m that way with Planet of the Apes. So many people were on that as well as Columbo – Rodney McDowell, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, Lou Wagner. Am I missing anyone? Oh, to have had Charlton Heston on Columbo!! Can you imagine? With his attitude in Planet of the Apes, I can easily see him portraying a cocky killer. Man, would that have been something to watch!

      • Largo

        Indeed, yes! It would’ve been really something if Heston had portrayed a Columbo villain with the name of Taylor. Yeah, the Planet of the Apes connection would have been rather obvious, but I can dream on about, eh? 🙂

      • No Half Measures

        Oops! I just remembered another one: James Gregory (“Short Fuse” and General Ursus in Planet of the Apes). As Ursus, he reminds me of Darth Vader!

  • Mike Goldthwaite

    I jumped on to ridicule this particular episode for the reason Mr. Largo (below) beat me to the punch to convey.

    “….all Collier has to say to his attorney is that Columbo’s first ‘witness’ was rehearsed by the Lieutenant to act like a blind man (in this case, the real blind man’s very own brother) and Collier just made an inaccurate diagnosis based solely on said theatrics.”

    I’ve always thought it would have been nice for the show’s writers to have presented just one episode in which the perpetrator got the best of Columbo and walked off scot-free at the end. He (or she) could have been developed as a nemesis appearing in subsequent episodes only to be at last caught by our esteemed detective in the Final Episode.

    Unfortunately, “A Deadly State of Mind”, close as it does to providing a platform from which it may have been possible to introduce a recurring nemesis, is sorely lacking throughout, and George Hamilton would hardly have been the actor to fill such large shoes.