Hayden Danziger is on a cruise with his older but much, much richer wife Sylvia. Rosanna Wells is on the same ship, as its singer. Rosanna and Hayden were recently lovers, after which Rosanna began blackmailing Hayden; so, having decided to kill her, he has planned the perfect crime - or so it seems, since Lt. Columbo is cruising on that very same ship and the captain has asked for his help. Written by
Baldinotto da Pistoia
I am a complete Columbo nut and this is one of my favourite episodes. The murder is very elaborately planned and executed, however, the murderer, Mr Danziger, does make a couple of big mistakes. The first is planting the receipt for the gun in the receipt box of Lloyd Harrington (the pianist and recently dumped boyfriend of the victim Rosanna Wells). The second mistake is to draw the letter L in lipstick on Rosanna Well's mirror, trying to implicate Lloyd H. I think Danziger must have watched too many Agatha Cristie movies! Rosanna Wells died instantly and so could not have written anything.
Having made these mistakes, this makes Columbo suspect that something is afoot. It then becomes clear that whoever is trying to setup Lloyd Harrington, must have had a master key to various parts of the ship. This immediately suggests Danziger himself...
Unsually for a Columbo episode, the murderer's downfall is sheer bad luck. A feather from the pillow he used to muffle the shot sticks to his body, stays on his body even when changing from the steward uniform to his pyjamas and then falls to the ground in the sick-bay. And Columbo is only there to see this feather because he suffers from seasickness.
A lot of people refer to Columbo as "bumbling". I think this is totally wrong. He is really VERY shrewd. Watch Columbo study the pianist's face when they tell the pianist that Rosanna Wells is dead. He is studying the guys reaction. Dean Stockwell does a great job as Lloyd H and his reaction is completely natural as an innocent guy. Columbo likes to give the impression of being absent-minded and bumbling, but this is just a ruse to catch the murderer off-guard. Columbo is a very perceptive man.
The British crew on the ship are excellent. I particularly love the Captain's frustration in Columbo not being able to see that "obviously the pianist committed the crime".
One of the best Columbos. I give it 10/10.
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