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 Colonel works for a highly revered and well respected General. Among the things that he has been doing is having an affair with the invalid General's wife and been diverting funds from the General's foundation to fund arms sales. The General discovers some peculiarities going on at the foundation, so he instructs Sergeant Keegan to investigate, he learns of the Colonel's activities, then instead of reporting it to the General, he tries to blackmail the Colonel. The Colonel in turn kills the Sergeant. But it's not long until Lt. Columbo is on the case and on the Colonel's trail. Written by
Not bad, but for me one of the lesser episodes of the Columbo series
I have always been a big lover of the Columbo series for the diverting stories, great villains(think Patrick McGoohan, Leonard Nimoy, Nicol Williamson, Jack Cassidy and Robert Culp), intelligent dialogue and of course Columbo himself embodied by the now regrettably late Peter Falk. Grand Deceptions is not a bad episode, but while not as dull as Last Salute to the Commodore or as lame as No Time to Die it is one of the lesser episodes of the series to me. I have heard a lot of people saying that the later episodes don't quite match the pre-1989 episodes. I kind of agree with this, however that is not to say they are bad.
With a small handful of exceptions, a lot of them are decent and some like Ashes to Ashes, Agenda for Murder, A Bird in the Hand and Death Hits the Jackpot are to a standard worthy of the pre-1989 episodes. I will give credit where it's due, like all Columbo episode it looks great with slick editing and striking locations, and it is solidly directed. The music is nothing extraordinary, but it still has a certain groove and atmosphere to it. Peter Falk tries his best and there are times where he does deliver but there is not him at his best, and it felt as though he was secondary to the rest of the characters. This wouldn't matter so much, if those characters were actually interesting, but on the whole I found them dull, and that is including Brailie.
Likewise with the story, which instead of bright, breezy and above all diverting, was too drab, too stiff and too serious, complete with an ending that was good in idea but underdeveloped and implausible in execution and build-up that quite frankly takes too long to set up. The scripts I often found intelligent and clever with some good tension and humour. Not here though, it felt stiff and humourless. The acting is not great, though Steven Elliot is quite good. Robert Foxworth has to work with one of the blander villains of the series, and while I have nothing against arrogant characters(Columbo has had its fair share of them and some of them, like Leonard Nimoy's character in A Stitch in Crime are some of the most memorable guest turns) the material is below the usual standards I get from watching Columbo, so I actually found his arrogance got on my nerves. His interaction with Columbo didn't spark much joy either.
All in all, somewhat watchable, but in my opinion a lesser entry while not the worst. It's not as if Columbo is a poor series, in fact it is one of the finest series of its kind, all the more reason for Grand Deceptions to have been so much better. If I were to say whether it was worth watching, I'd say any Columbo episode is worth watching once, but for me, I'd rather stick to the likes of A Stitch in Crime, By Dawn's Early Light, Any Old Port in a Storm, Etude in Black, Forgotten Lady, Death Lends a Hand, Blueprint for Murder and How to Dial a Murder.
5/10 Bethany Cox
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