Columbo (1971–2003)
31 user 5 critic

Swan Song 

A gospel singer wants to be rid of his zealous wife. But a murder made to look like an airplane accident does not fool the wily Lt. Columbo.


Nicholas Colasanto


David Rayfiel (teleplay by), Stanley Ralph Ross (story by) | 2 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Johnny Cash ... Tommy Brown
Ida Lupino ... Edna Basket Brown
John Dehner ... Roland Pangborn
Sorrell Booke ... J.J. Stringer
Bill McKinney ... Luke Basket
Vito Scotti ... Mr. Grindell
Janit Baldwin ... Tina
John Randolph ... Colonel Mayehoff
Lucille Meredith ... Jean the seamstress
Richard Caine ... Bennett
Don Mantooth Don Mantooth ... Phil (as Donald Mantooth)
Jefferson Kibbee Jefferson Kibbee ... Frank
Bonnie Van Dyke Bonnie Van Dyke ... Maryann Cobb
Douglas Dirkson ... Jeff the airport mechanic (as Doug Dirkson)


A popular folk singer's plane has crashed. Two passengers have died, and one has escaped with minor injuries. Was it really an accident? How could it not have been? Or, was it really a nearly perfect murder? Columbo is called in to find out. Written by Cindy

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

3 March 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Il canto del cigno See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Tommy Brown refers to his unseen music arranger as Nick Solacanto. The director of this episode is Nicholas Colasanto. See more »


The cabin heater control on the plane is actually the alternator switch. It was just relabeled with a Dymo label. See more »


Mr. Grindell: I'm a great admire of the police department, you know...
Lt. Columbo: I didn't know but I'm always glad to hear that
Mr. Grindell: Why shouldn't you hear of it? After all you men are so willing to give your life to save ours!
Lt. Columbo: Well... Let's hope it doesn't come up too often.
Mr. Grindell: Yes, yes, yes... But it does, doesn't it? Especially in these violent times, its um... Just this morning at the breakfast with my dear wife Martha, I glanced at the paper and I uh, I noted the rate of police mortality is just shocking, I mean, it just...
See more »


I Saw the Light
Written by Hank Williams
Performed by Johnny Cash
See more »

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User Reviews

Columbo vs. Johnny Cash
24 March 2012 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

While not one of my favourite episodes, it is one of the more interesting ones for me. It is strikingly filmed, with a score that is atmospheric, clever dialogue and a compelling story that benefits from one of the most ingenious murder scenes of any Columbo episode. It has some great songs, footage of Cash's in concert and Cash himself in tremendous voice. I liked the comic scenes, the undertaker scene was priceless, and the ending was overall satisfying. Peter Falk once again embodies the character of Columbo, and I think Johnny Cash deserves credit for trying his best in a large and complex role. He may be inexperienced, but there are a number of scenes especially in the fantastic rapport between him and Columbo where he is at ease. John Randolph's small part is as juicy as the juiciest orange. The episode is a little slow moving at times with a couple of scenes that felt padded and although the murder was ingenious the scene was almost cheapened by special effects that are pretty lame even for the 70s. Overall though, it is a very good episode and an interesting one too. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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