Columbo S09E04 Rest In Peace, Mrs. Columbo (1990) – 8/10 crime detective TV review

Cast / crew
Peter Falk: Columbo
Helen Shaver: Vivian Dimitri
Ian McShane: Leland St. John
Edward Winter: Charlton Chambers
Tom Isbell: Sgt. Brady
Teresa Ganzel: Dede Perkins
Michael Alldredge: Connolly
Hugh Gillin: Priest at Funeral
Rosanna Huffman: Mrs. Thornwood
Roscoe Lee Browne: Dr. Steadman
Creator: Richard Levinson
Creator: William Link
Writer: Peter S. Fischer
Director: Vincent McEveety
Supervising Executive Producer: William Link
Co-Executive Producer: Peter Falk
Executive Producer: Peter S. Fischer

Columbo S09E04 Rest In Peace, Mrs. Columbo (1990)

Vivian Dimtri kills an informant that exposed her husband’s embezzling of his client’s money. When confronted by a client, the husband ends up killing him and going to prison for manslaughter. He dies in there of a heart attack and the informant that started it all is merely the first to pay. The second murder will be the cop who put the husband away: Lieutenant Columbo.

8/10

Arguably the best of the feature-length 1989-series Columbo’s, this is also notable for being a bit of a behind-the-curtain episode. Early on, Columbo explains why he believes Helen Shaver did it then we see him present a completely different story to her face, helping her believe she is in control, giving her a false sense of security and confidence. Fascinating, and his SPOILER "this isn’t my house" reveal is a classic. Falk deals with the exposure of Columbo’s technique brilliantly here. He’s great, as always, and sells a nice mac gag (a dude leaving a brothel is wearing the same one) and delivers his world-class embarrassed throat-clear when learning of Shaver’s illicit assignation. Helping with the quality of this episode is Shaver who is frequently mesmerising as a badly wounded widow seeking retribution on Columbo and never more so than in the final scenes and in response to Columbo’s above reveal. She also gets an, er, intriguing scene with the arm of a teddy bear that I suspect everyone’s pretty smug about getting past the censors.

This Columbo episode contains adult dialogue and brief graphic violence and sensuality.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Columbo: A Bird in the Hand… (1992) – 4/10 Columbo crime detective TV review

Cast / crew
Peter Falk: Columbo
Tyne Daly: Dolores
Greg Evigan: Harold McCain
Frank McRae: Lt. Robertson
Don S. Davis: Bertie
Leon Singer: Fernando
Michael Gregory: Mr. Hacker
Steve Forrest: Big Fred
Producer: Christopher Seiter
Writer (Series’ Creator): Richard Levinson
Writer (Series’ Creator): William Link
Writer: Jackson Gillis
Director: Vincent McEveety
Executive Producer: Peter Falk

Columbo A Bird In The Hand… (1992)

When Big Fred – the wealthy owner of a football team – is killed in a hit-and-run accident, Columbo is called in because of his notoriety just to make sure there was no foul play and suspects nothing but then the gardener is blown to smithereens when he attempts to move Big Fred’s Rolls Royce.

4/10

This a classic case of wasted potential. The setup is highly intriguing as a murder victim gets accidentally killed before the murderer’s bomb plot can be completed and the story goes on to be agreeably tidy. However, Vincent McEveety’s trademark listless direction, a total lack of Columbo characterisations, unconvincingly wobbly Tyne Daly’s distracting eye-bulging and a broken clue or two (bomber being left-handed due to bizarre boxes on underside of car, sweaty damp socks, what!) undo Jackson Gillis’ entertaining plot.

This Columbo episode contains mild swear words and unpleasant scenes and references.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Columbo S04E06 A Deadly State of Mind (1975) – 6/10 Columbo crime detective TV review

Cast / crew
Peter Falk: Columbo
George Hamilton: Dr. Marcus Collier
Lesley Ann Warren: Nadia Donner
Stephen Elliott: Carl Donner
Bruce Kirby: Sergeant Kramer
Director: Harvey Hart
Writer: Peter S. Fischer
Writer (Series’ Creator): Richard Levinson
Writer (Series’ Creator): William Link
Producer: Everett Chambers

Columbo S04E06 A Deadly State of Mind (1975)

When a wealthy husband is unpremeditatingly killed by Marcus Collier, the wife’s lover and psychiatrist, Columbo is called in to investigate. Collier sets up the wife as the only witness, tells her to tell the police that her husband was killed by intruders as he sets about establishing an alibi on top of a coworker. Columbo, as always, is troubled by tiny inconsistencies involving headlights, tyre tracks, a gun and a piece of flint.

6/10

Columbo’s reasons for believing foul play are thin, even by his standards, a lot of the first part of the episode is slow-going and Falk isn’t given much fun stuff to do but it does get better. The unusual nature of the second murder is intriguing and the writer has clearly thought about it by adding drugs and a normal scenario to create an abnormal result (though humans have a self-preservation instinct which still works under hypnotic suggestion). This is also one of those episodes where Columbo pleasantly tells the murderer that he knows well before he has any proof, which is always fun. The highlight of the episode is the delightfully wonderful, if almost certainly illegal, climax. George Hamilton and the audience think they’re one step ahead of Columbo and it is cause for special joy when he reveals that we’re not. For Brits, special mention for the unintentionally hilarious line from Collier’s publisher: "Sorry, I don’t have a Willie."

This Columbo episode contains violence, unpleasant scene.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Columbo S04E04 Troubled Waters (1975) – 7/10 Columbo crime detective TV review

Cast / crew
Peter Falk: Lieutenant Columbo
Robert Vaughn: Haydn Dansiger
Jane Greer: Sylvia Dansiger
Dean Stockwell: Lloyd Harrington
Bernard Fox: Preston Watkins
Robert Douglas: Dr. Pierce
Patrick MacNee: Captain Gibbon
Poupée Bocar: Rosanna Welles
Director: Ben Gazzara
Writer (Screenplay): Bill Driskill
Writer (Story): Jackson Gillis
Writer (Story): Bill Driskill
Writer (Series’ Creator): Richard Levinson
Writer (Series’ Creator): William Link
Producer: Everett Chambers

Columbo S04E04 Troubled Waters (1975)

Mrs. Columbo has won a cruise aboard a luxury boat, er, ship, but her husband’s detecting skills are quickly called upon… to find her. Then early one morning a cabaret singer is found shot to death and Columbo starts doing what he does best.

7/10

Classic Columbo, well-paced and directed with a more solid story than usual (even though it doesn’t always look like it) and history’s longest rendition of Volare. Columbo’s detecting abilities seem to be less miraculous here than in other weaker episodes, we get the same clues as he does (the feather, specifically) and you can see why and how he pieces things together. Falk’s brilliance as Columbo can never be overstated and we get some classics in this episode. Columbo unexpectedly freezing mid-detection (due to seasickness), a queasy Columbo suddenly snapping into steely-eyed alert upon spotting an incongruous detail (a feather outside Robert Vaughn’s door), sneaking to Vaughn’s room when the body is brought into sick bay (the timing is genius) but even he… cannot use a magnifying glass the right way around. This is tremendous fun and baddie Robert Vaughn plays his part to perfection. His slow realisation that Columbo has got him is an absolute delight.

This Columbo episode contains violence, unpleasant scene.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Columbo S01E05 Lady in Waiting (1971) – 7/10 detective drama TV review

Cast / crew
Peter Falk: Columbo
Susan Clark: Beth Chadwick
Jessie Royce Landis: Mother Chadwick
Richard Anderson: Bryce Chadwick
Leslie Nielsen: Peter Hamilton
Director: Norman Lloyd
Writer (Screenplay): Steven Bochco
Writer (Story): Barney Slater
Writer (Series’ Creator): Richard Levinson
Writer (Series’ Creator): William Link
Producer: Everett Chambers

Columbo S01E05 Lady In Waiting (1971)

When a woman murders her restrictive brother, she claims it was self-defense and the Coroner and Coroner’s Jury believes her. However, Columbo’s suspicions were raised by one little thing – the presence of an evening newspaper – and when he gets hold of something like that, he never lets go.

6/10

Well-paced Columbo with a good murder sequence and a satisfying opponent. She stops Columbo asking her one more question (though he claims he wasn’t going to anyway) and SPOILER even thinks about shooting him in the end. An unruffled Columbo gets out of that in his typically pleasant manner and it’s a nice end to a good episode. Especially in this last scene but as he would always be, Falk is outstanding. Nobody gets hassled by a small dog like Columbo.

This Columbo episode contains violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links