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
Hayden Danziger is on a cruise with his wife Sylvia, who is older than he and much, much richer. Rosanna Wells is on the same ship as a singer. Rosanna and Hayden are lovers and Rosanna blackmails Hayden, but he has decided to kill her and has planned the perfect crime. Or so it seems since Lt. Columbo is cruising on that same very ship and the Captain asks for his help. Written by
Baldinotto da Pistoia
This time around has Columbo on a cruise, as this was filmed on a real one, and he ends up having to investigate a murder anyway, as the lounge singer was murdered by the slick Hayden Danzinger, played smugly and effectively by Robert Vaughn. There's some familiar faces you may recognize, such as a bushy haired Dean Stockwell(monster eyebrows), Patrick Macnee, and Bernard Fox, and this makes for a very entertaining episode. A funny gag running throughout is whether Columbo mixes up a boat with a ship, and at the end he says, "the hell with it!", as Peter Falk is clearly on top of his Columbo game here, and the rest of the cast seems to be having a good time. We never get to see Columbo's wife, who's on board with him, and when he gets a knock on his door awakening him, he tells the crew member that his wife likes to have a good time, as he's unaware the person is there informing him of a murder aboard the ship; another funny moments has the detective getting his pants wet when looking at a pool's filter for evidence. Columbo also shares his fingerprint technique he learned at the academy, although he says it's not widely used anymore, and he always made a mess of things. For several episodes that are otherwise very well done, the conclusion leaves me wanting more, and that's also the case here. Danzinger executes(no pun intended)a solid plan of murdering the singer, who's killed because she threatens to tell his wealthy wife of the affair, and considering that Lloyd(Stockwell)once dated this woman, and now she wants nothing to do with him, Lloyd makes for a logical suspect, and Danzinger does his best to frame the depressed man. I thought it was too convenient that Danzinger eventually confessed to the murder, considering how cool and calm he is through most of the cruise, and barely put up a fight to Columbo. This is still a highly entertaining episode, with solid actors and a neat location instead of the usual wealthy folks in their glamorous mansion, and I would easily recommend it to any fan Columbo fan or a fan of solid writing as well.
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