Columbo (1971–2003)
28 user 7 critic

Lady in Waiting 

A mousy heiress murders her brother, pretending she thought he was a burglar. Lt. Columbo unravels her alibi.


Norman Lloyd


Steven Bochco (teleplay by), Barney Slater (story by) | 2 more credits »




Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Susan Clark ... Beth Chadwick
Jessie Royce Landis ... Mrs. Chadwick
Richard Anderson ... Bryce Chadwick
Leslie Nielsen ... Peter Hamilton
Joel Fluellen Joel Fluellen ... Charles
Richard Bull ... 2nd Detective
Garry Walberg ... 1st Detective
Barbara Rhoades ... Hostess
Jon Lormer ... Hearing Officer
Frank Baxter Frank Baxter ... Fred
Susan Barrister Susan Barrister ... Waitress


Beth Chadwick has lived all her life controlled first by her father, then after his death, by her brother Bryce who manages the family business. Now she has fallen for Peter Hamilton, who works for Bryce. But, as usual, Bryce objects to her choice and threatens to fire Peter. So Beth decides to murder her brother and to do it in such a way to let it to appear like an accident. Lt. Columbo realizes at once the truth and starts looking for evidence. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This was Jessie Royce Landis' final acting role before her death on February 2, 1972 at the age of 75. See more »


When Lt. Columbo is talking to the mother, shortly after she tells him that her dog is a "pedigreed silky", she asks him, Where's Charles? As the camera cuts to Columbo, the ash on his cigar is extremely long, but as the conversation continues, the ash has disappeared although Columbo has not knocked his ash off either in an ash tray or on the carpet. See more »


Peter Hamilton: Now, Lieutenant, you don't really think that Beth killed her brother in cold blood, now do you?
Columbo: Well, as a matter of fact... I do.
See more »


Love Theme from 'Red Sky At Morning'
Composed by Billy Goldenberg
Heard during the bar scene
See more »

User Reviews

"Lady in Waiting" (1971)
22 January 2019 | by WuchakkSee all my reviews

PLOT: The repressed and overprotected sister (Susan Clark) of an ad agency executive murders her brother (Richard Anderson) and stages it as a mistaken burglary. This takes place right after he threatens to fire her fiancé who works for the company (Leslie Nielsen). She then morphs into a startlingly confident and ruthless power broker.

COMMENTARY: Clark is excellent as the stifled wallflower turned murderess with a semi-mad gleam in her eye while Nielsen is just as good in a convincing serious role. The intriguing plot is original (for Columbo, at least) and the way the rumpled gumshoe pesters the woman with details, even after an inquest declares the killing accidental, is gripping drama. So "Lady in Waiting" is on par with the stronger Columbo outings. But there are glaring plot holes that lower my grade...

Why is there no trace of blood on the floor where her brother falls on the floor? After all, she shot him three times. And why is there no line of blood leading to where the body is dragged, keeping in mind that she had zero time to clean anything up?

Furthermore, since when are American detectives allowed to freely march into a citizen's abode in the middle of the night and confront a suspect in her bedroom? Officers must knock before entering a home, declare their presence, and wait for the inhabitant to come to the door. This is called the "knock-and-announce" rule. The reason for this rule is to allow people a chance to respond so that violence can be avoided and privacy ensured, otherwise police can waltz right into any abode and watch individuals having sex, bathing or going to the bathroom.

Also, do detectives continue pursuing cases after the suspect has been declared innocent by a court of inquiry? Are they paid to keep harassing the individual or do they do this on their free time?

And doesn't Columbo take a great risk at the climax? After all, this woman has proven that she's a little sociopathic (to put it nicely) and more than willing to murder someone in cold blood. Yes, he takes a similar risk in "Columbo Goes to the Guillotine" (1989), but he was much older then and confident of his conclusions on the suspect's character based on decades of experience.

"Lady in Waiting" is an entertaining episode, but there are too many blatant plot issues.


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English | French

Release Date:

15 December 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Attente See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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