Columbo: Season 9, Episode 6

Murder in Malibu (14 May 1990)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 639 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 3 critic

A successful writer of romance novels who is involved with a young, ambitious womanizer, is found shot to death in her Malibu home.



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Title: Murder in Malibu (14 May 1990)

Murder in Malibu (14 May 1990) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Floyd Levine ...
Laurie Walters ...
TV Host
Charles Walker ...
Truck Driver
Ben Slack ...
Yolanda Lloyd ...
Mary Margaret Lewis ...
Robin Gordon ...
Bill Zuckert ...


Romance author Teresa Goren has finally been convinced of the truth: her lover, gigolo Wayne Jennings, loves her money, not her. That means their planned wedding is off, not to mention any hope Jennings has of getting his hands on her money. When Goren turns up dead, Jennings is suspected, but is apparently cleared by later evidence. But Lieutenant Columbo watches as Jennings turns his eye to Goren's sister, and begins wondering if he's really so innocent after all... Written by Leaper

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Release Date:

14 May 1990 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Lieutenant Columbo: When a snowball starts rolling... push.
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Ties with No Time to Die as the worst of the series...
28 March 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I actually feel sad saying this. As I said in my review of Grand Deceptions, it is not as if Columbo is a bad series. We're talking about about one of the best shows of its kind here. I also acknowledged that while none of the newer episodes are as good as the pre- 1989 episodes, there are a few that are worthy of them. Murder in Malibu is not one of them. As underwhelmed as I was by Grand Deceptions and Dead Weight, I actually can only think of three Columbo episodes presently that are close to unwatchable, Last Salute to the Commodore, No Time to Die and this. The only redeeming qualities are the locations and Peter Falk's performance, now there's an actor who gives everything he can no matter how badly written the script is(and I agree that Columbo is to creepy at times here). The editing is good, if a little too slick and lacking in the atmosphere that I have seen conveyed so brilliantly in other episodes. The music also feels twee with nothing really standing out. Three things really made Murder in Malibu such a disappointment. The script is very pedestrian, with any attempts at humour feeling as though the writers were trying too hard to make it convince, and in the end it doesn't. The story didn't engage me at all, by all means the idea was interesting but at the end of the day it constantly felt underdeveloped and padded. Andrew Stevens gives an awful performance, by all means the character is bland but I don't think that is excusing Stevens giving (in my view) the single worst guest villain performance of the series, managing to do the impossible, making a bland character even duller. Brenda Vacarro fares better and tries hard, but it feels that she overdoes it with mannerisms and an acting style that is more at home in a soap opera than a murder mystery series. All in all, one of the worst of the series, if it wasn't for Falk Murder in Malibu would've fared worse. 3/10 Bethany Cox

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