An infamous 'psychic' abandons his public persona, outing himself as a fake, to focus on his work as a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation in order to find "Red John," the madman who killed his wife and daughter.
The show follows a crime, usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points. The first half of the show concentrates on the investigation of the crime by the police, the second half follows the prosecution of the crime in court.
S. Epatha Merkerson,
Jesse L. Martin
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
An enjoyable "Columbo" show for fans; but Johnny Cash doesn't quite pull it off
Tommy Brown (Johnny Cash) is a hugely successful gospel singer unable to enjoy the usual benefits of his fame and wealth. His zealous wife (Ida Lupino) can prove he had committed statutory rape with one of his backup singers, Tina (Janit Baldwin). With this weapon she blackmails him from enjoying the company of other women and even from spending his own money. She wants every penny to go towards building a tabernacle for the Lord. Brown, an experienced pilot, takes his wife and Tina up in a plane; but he's the only one who comes back down alive. It's up to our rumpled Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) to figure out how he did it.
This is a fairly entertaining episode, but it has serious flaws. The effectiveness of the murder sequence is undermined by some awful special effects showing the plane in bad weather and the equally phony-looking shots from inside the plane. The script is badly padded: the comic sequences with the funeral director, the colonel and the seamstress all could have been cut, and no one would have missed them. Johnny Cash is an okay actor: he's naturally talented but too inexperienced to pull off a role this large and complexeven though it was clearly tailored for him. Still, the plotting is good if you ignore the extraneous scenes; and the ending is satisfying. Cash sings two or three enjoyable songs; and his acting is best in the scenes that are always the heart of any "Columbo" episode: when the clever killer and the brilliant detective match wits. Fans will enjoy this one.
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