A Shot in the Dark follows the The Pink Panther, a movie where Peter Sellers was an unexpected hit as Inspector Clouseau. Technically, A Shot in the Dark is part of the original Inspector Clouseau series of films, but has nothing to do with the Pink Panther.
Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) and Cato (Bruce Kwouk) make their debut in this movie. Dreyfus already hates Clouseau and has started down the path to insanity. He seeks numerous times to kill Clouseau, but Clouseau bumbles his way out of every murder attempt. Instead, innocent bystanders take the bullet, the knife, or the drink of poison.
In this film, rather than solving the mystery of the Pink Panther being stolen, Inspector Clouseau is sent to investigate a murder at a rich man’s estate. One of the maids is implicated. But Clouseau believes in her innocence. In the end he is right. She wasn’t the murderer—to the original murder or the subsequent ones that took place.
In turns out that everyone in the household, master and servant, were cheating on one another. And killing others of out jealousy.
A Shot in the Dark doesn’t quite work. The timing is off or the gags don’t quite hit the mark. It is not a movie that I remember seeing or ever hearing about. The later Pink Panther movies are better to watch, but A Shot in the Dark is where Inspector Clouseau started to develop his character more. And where Cato and Chief Inspector Dreyfus (and his sidekick François) make their debut.