Murder Can Hurt You
Written byRon Friedman
Directed byRoger Duchowny
StarringTony Danza
Burt Young
Jamie Farr
John Byner
Gavin MacLeod
Victor Buono
Jimmie Walker
Buck Owens
Connie Stevens
Theme music composerArtie Kane
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producersDouglas S. Cramer
Aaron Spelling
ProducersShelley Hull
Robert L. Jacks
E. Duke Vincent
CinematographyArchie R. Dalzell
EditorJohn F. Schreyer
Running time100 min.
Production companyAaron Spelling Productions
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Original networkABC
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original releaseMay 21, 1980 (1980-05-21)

Murder Can Hurt You (stylized onscreen as Murder Can Hurt You!) is a 1980 American made-for-television comedy film that parodies detective and police TV shows of the 1960s and 1970s, much as Murder by Death spoofed literary detectives.[1] The film was directed by Roger Duchowny.[2]


A mysterious "Man in White" is out to kill famous detectives in bizarre ways, and the heroes are obvious parodies of Kojak, Baretta, Starsky and Hutch, Ironside, Police Woman, Columbo, Mrs. Columbo, and McCloud.[1]

The movie starts with the Man In White killing Lambretta, after which Lt. Nojack calls a meeting of all the best detectives in the city. During this meeting the man in white threatens to kill them all, locks them in their meeting room, and sets a bomb to kill them all while he makes his escape.

The Aaron Spelling Productions logo at the end pays homage to Mark VII Limited, using a hammer and stamp.


Actor Character Sends up:
Don Adams
(voice only)
Narrator --
Marty Allen Detective Starkos Detective Stavros
Mel Blanc
(voice only)[3]
Chickie Baby --
Victor Buono Ironbottom former Chief of Detectives
Robert Ironside
John Byner Hatch Kenneth "Hutch" Hutchinson
Tony Danza Pony Lambretta Tony Baretta
Jamie Farr Studsky David Starsky
Mitchell Kreindel The Man in White --
Gavin MacLeod Nojack Lieutenant Theo Kojak
Buck Owens MacSkye Marshal Samuel McCloud
Connie Stevens Salty Sanderson Sergeant Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson
Liz Torres Mrs. Palumbo Mrs. Columbo
Jimmie Walker Parks the Pusher Mark Sanger
Burt Young Lieutenant Palumbo Lieutenant Columbo


  1. ^ a b Hal Erickson (2014). "Murder Can Hurt You". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 2014-03-01.
  2. ^ "Murder Can Hurt You". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  3. ^ "Chickie Baby". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved 2022-01-13.