Prescription: Murder

Prescription: MurderOriginal Airdate: February 20, 1968

An emminent psychiatrist (Gene Barry as Dr. Ray Flemming) and his wife (Nina Foch as Carol Flemming) are having a dinner party at their penthouse. The doctor receives a call from his patient Joan Hudson (Katherine Justice) with an urgent request to see her. Little does his wife know that the good doctor is having an affair with this woman.

Upon returing home, Flemming is confronted by his wife, as she suspects his infidelity. He promises her a second honeymoon in Alcapulco and upon reconciliation, the two prepare for their trip. While packing, Flemming strangles his wife and smashes a window to make it look like a break-in. He and his lover plan an elaborate ruse to make it look like both he and his wife boarded the plane, but due to an argument on board she de-planed in anger. Flemming continues on to Alcapulco to dispose of the evidence in the ocean on a fishing trip.

When he returns from Acapulco, Flemming discovers that his wife’s body is gone, and discovers Lieutenant Columbo searching his penthouse. Columbo informs him that his wife actually survived, and is currently in intensive care. Columbo suspects something is amiss when questioning Dr. Flemming’s collegue Dr. Gordon (William Windom) at the hospital. Flemming’s wife dies shortly thereafter, her last word being her husband’s name. Columbo attempts to break Flemming down in his office, but to no avail. The two men agree to meet at Flemming’s penthouse later that day.

Hudson runs into Columbo when he is leaving the office and Flemming and Hudson decide to go back to his penthouse before Columbo arrives. Columbo arrives early, nearly catching the two, and receives a call about someone confessing to the murder. Columbo interrogates the man at police headquarters while Flemming watches. Flemming states that the man is a flat out liar and both agree he couldn’t have committed the crime. Flemming grows irritated with Columbo, pulls some strings, and has the lieutenant taken off the case.

Back at his office, Columbo and Flemming share a drink, and Columbo once again tries to trip the doctor up. Being unsuccessful once again, Columbo goes after Hudson, thinking she’s the weak link in this scheme and forcibly confronts her at her movie studio. Having failed again, Columbo has her put under surveillance, and the next morning Flemming is informed that a coroner is at her house. Upon arrival, Flemming sees her body being carried out on a stretcher, and is informed by Columbo that she died from a drug overdose. Columbo again attempts to break Flemming down, and is successful this time, as Flemming believes he has won and Columbo can’t touch him. Upon confessing that Hudson would be killed at a later date, Flemming is shocked to hear her voice and discovers that the suicide was merely a ruse to draw him out. The episode ends with Columbo taking a statement from Hudson, and Flemming looking off into the distance in disbelief.

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