The Columbo Wiki
"Prescription: Murder"
First aired February 20, 1968
Directed by Richard Irving
Written by Richard Levinson
William Link
Guest Appearances
Gene Barry as Ray Flemming
Katherine Justice as Joan Hudson
William Windom as Burt Gordon
Nina Foch as Carol Flemming
Episode chronology
1st of 2
1st of 69
"Ransom for a Dead Man"

Prescription: Murder is the first ever episode of Columbo. It first aired on February 20, 1968 and was directed by Richard Irving. The episode stars Peter Falk in his first appearance as Lieutenant Columbo and Gene Barry as the series' first murderer, Dr. Ray Fleming. Adapted from a stage play of the same name by Richard Levinson and William Link, the 94-minute-long thriller was originally only intended to be a once-off TV-movie-of-the-week. However, due to its popularity, NBC ordered an additional pilot, 1971's Ransom for a Dead Man, which also proved popular enough to warrant the creation of a Columbo TV series. This series began officially with Murder by the Book later that same year.

In Prescription: Murder, Dr. Ray Fleming, a psychiatrist, murders his wife and persuades his mistress, an actress who is one of his patients, to support his alibi by impersonating her.

Columbo Pilots
1.Prescription: Murder 2.Ransom for a Dead Man