Columbo: Lady In Waiting

Created on December 17th, 2006

Columbo Episode 7
Original Air Date: December 15, 1971

Peter Falk as Columbo
Susan Clark as Beth Chadwick (Murderer)
Richard Anderson as Bryce Chadwick (Victim)
Leslie Nielson as Peter Hamilton

Murder Weapon: Pistol
Murder Location: Beth Chadwick’s Bedroom
Alibi: Accidental shooting brother whom thought was a burglar
Foulups: Newspaper, Spare Key, Clean Light Bulb, Witness

Synopsis of Lady in Waiting

Wealthy Beth Chadwick (Played by Susan Clark) is the sister of Bryce Chadwick (Played by Richard Anderson), an advertising firm executive. All of her life her brother and mother have pushed her around. When her brother writes her boyfriend Peter Hamilton (Played by Leslie Nielson) telling him to back off the relationship or be fired Beth decides to kill her brother. She takes the house key from her brother’s keyring and places a burned out light bulb in the front porch light. She plans to shoot her bother as a burglar when he knocks on her garden door to let him in. Things go afoul when Bryce uses the spare house key under the plant at the front door to get into the house. Beth still shoots her brother, then breaks the glass to the garden door herself, and sets off the alarm. At the same moment, Peter Hamilton arrives, and hears the shots. Beth doesn’t have much time and even though she tried to move her brother’s belongs from the hallway and bring them to the bedroom, she leaves the newspaper. Columbo finds the paper is the late edition, and there is only one way it could have got there, and that was Bryce bringing it in. When he finds the clean burnt out light bulb, and impression of the spare key under to pot, he knows who did it. Everything comes together with Peter Hamilton remembers that he heard the shots first, and then the alarm.

Lady In Waiting is one of only a few Columbo Episodes where the murderer threatens Lt. Columbo’s life right before being arrested. Two other episodes where Columbo’s life is threatened by the killer are: Murder Under Glass, and How to Dial a Murder. Both of those Columbo Episodes are in Columbo Season 7

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