Famous (and fraudulent) psychic Elliot Blake uses his old mentalist skills to live a lavish lifestyle at the expense of a psychic research institute and hopefully, the US Government. What seems at first like a threat, a test devised by a well-known magician and debunker of psychics, turns out to be his chance for revenge against his former mentor. What he can't foresee is a police lieutenant who knows all the tricks. Written by
Mark Cabot Robinson
While the first episode of the new series that aired on ABC, this is the second episode in the Columbo series to feature the world of magicians, mentalists, and magic guillotines; the first being Columbo: Now You See Him (1976) TV. There is even a similar scene with Columbo in a magic shop being given a demonstration of a guillotine trick where his finger (in the original episode, the trick was large enough to include his whole hand) appears to be in danger of being cut off. See more »
When the magician demonstrates the guillotine to Columbo for the first time, he has Columbo lay down on the bench and he puts the wooden collar over his neck. He then lowers the inside track from horizontal ("safe" position) to perpendicular so the blade can come down. After the blade drops he removes the collar, but the track is back in the horizontal position without him putting it back to "safe". See more »
Always remember it's a trick. Keep that in mind and you can figure out how it's done.
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Without being absolutely outstanding, Columbo Goes to the Guillotine is a solid and nice return for the great detective. The second half does drag though, and some scenes go on for too long, but other than that it is a very good episode, helped primarily by a good script and a clever plot with some interesting magic tricks. The locations and photography as per usual are striking, and the music is good as well. The acting isn't outstanding but it is still good. Peter Falk I have no problem with, while Anthony Andrews gives a good turn as well, while the supporting cast while not as good are solid. Overall, it is a nice return for Columbo, with an 8/10. Bethany Cox
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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