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
What happened to businesswoman Diane Hunter? Everyone thinks she went on a trip to England to sell her majority share of men's magazine Bachelor's World, but she never showed up to her meeting. Lieutenant Columbo is sure that her business partner and ex-lover, photographer Sean Brantley, killed her to keep her from selling. But proving it is another thing entirely, and Sean has a few surprises for everyone's favorite homicide cop... Written by
In "Columbo Cries Wolf", Columbo suspects the murder of a Los Angeles woman who failed to arrive at an important meeting in London. Columbo says he is investigating the disappearance as a favor to his old friend, Detective Chief Superintendent Durk of Scotland Yard, a character from Columbo: Dagger of the Mind. See more »
The postcard that Diane sent from Milan has an English postage stamp on it. See more »
Might just please fans but not good enough to do more than
Sean Brantley is a famous bachelor because he runs the biggest selling men's magazine from the comfort of his mansion filled with Playmates, err, I mean Pin-Ups. However his amorous ways have finally hit the end of the road for his business partner Diana Hunter, who decides to leave him, fly to London and sell her controlling stocks to business magnate Harry Matthews. However when she doesn't get in touch with him, Matthews reports her missing to Scotland Yard's very own Superintendent Durk. Unable to make progress, Durk turns to his old friend Columbo to follow up things on the other side of the pond.
As with many TV film series (such as Perry Mason), if you like one or two of them then you'll pretty much like them all. This entry in the Columbo series pretty much follows the usual formula we know the killer and the "perfect" plan but then watch Columbo follow his hunch and gradually starts to pick holes in the story he is told before eventually finding enough to prove his suspicions. Knowing this ahead of time won't ruin anything for you; it is simply what happens in all the films. With this strict adherence to formula it is usually down to several factors whether or not the Columbo film stands out or if it is just average. With this film the writers tried to freshen it all up by writing the murder as potentially a hoax or a murder we're not sure. For the most part this plays pretty well because it looks like the murder was real and that the formula is all in place even if the body is not. So the majority works to formula even if it isn't great. The revelation that it was all a hoax is a bit of a b*gger because it knocks the wind out of the film and made me feel cheated and put back to square one.
The film does try to gather itself up from here for a strong conclusion and, although it gets something back, the idea that Brantley would be able to so simply f**k up the real murder having staged the hoax one so well is just too much to swallow. The script does have some nice moments in it though; the thinly veiled portrayal of the Playboy world adds some comic value if not any real value while an early reference to another Columbo film was a nice touch (Durk was in Dagger of the Mind, although it is sad to hear that he hasn't been promoted in almost 20 years). Falk enjoys himself around the girls and also gets to show off his Sherlock skills in the first two-thirds. However I though he (and the film) could have done a better job with showing us how he deals with defeat as it is it just brushes over it too quickly. Buchanan is not a great actor but he has the presence of an average Sean Connery and does well enough hardly a match for Columbo but he does just about enough. Hall is OK but it is the support cast that is amusing, with showings from recognisable faces such as Scarfe, Margolis and, of course, David Huddleston.
Overall this is an OK Columbo pretty much up to the standard of the modern Columbo movies, although that isn't much praise. The writers try something new and it does work reasonably well, perhaps to the point that fans are happy but the final twists are just not that well delivered.
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