Columbo (1971–2003)
21 user 4 critic

Murder in Malibu 

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


Romance author Theresa 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 Lt. 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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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Utility workers on the lift wore Assan caps, the same ones worn in Michael Keaton's "Gung Ho". See more »


At the end Wayne Jennings and Jess McCurdy are at a dress shop and Jess is trying on dresses. Columbo arrives to expose Wayne as the murderer. After the killer is exposed Columbo provides an officer to take Jess home and she leaves wearing the dress she was trying on. See more »


Lieutenant Columbo: Let 'im go. No law against shooting a dead body.
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User Reviews

The winning formula is in place but the delivery is poor across most aspects of the film
13 February 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Famous authoress Teresa Goren finally wakes up to the truth that her young lover Wayne Jennings is not so much in love with her as he is in love with her money. She tells him the wedding is off and that he'll never get a penny of her assets; this doesn't exactly please Jennings so, before Goren can tell anyone of her decision, he kills her and covers his trail, making it look like a robbery gone wrong in her house. Columbo joins the investigation and notes that the robber was able to cleanly break into the safe but still smashed glass to get through a very basic wooden door. Naturally he suspects Jennings but, with the evidence seemingly clearing him, he turns to him for help.

It may say more about me than anything else but there must be something wrong with a film where the main thing that gets my heart going is the sight of a cherry picker being used without any harnesses being worn and sadly that is the most memorable moment in this film. The plot is pretty much to formula so in theory it should have been OK, which as a fan I suppose it is but the problem is with the delivery of the story. The case is reasonably interesting but it doesn't develop that well and it does involve Columbo knowing an uncomfortable amount about woman's underwear. However the plots have never been the strongest in Columbo and it is usually the formula that carries the film – a formula that we all know but one that involves strong performances from the leads, something that is lacking here.

It isn't Falk's fault because he does his usual stuff pretty well and will please fans with a character that has given him the career that he has. No, the problem is with pretty much everybody else. Stevens is hardly of the standard of suspect that we have come to expect and he doesn't work with Falk at all well. He is bland and dull in a formula that calls for presence, chemistry or at least energy; true to script gave him a soft character but he still has to carry some of the blame. Likewise Vaccaro, Levine, Walters and others all barely do the minimum required of them and nobody really helped Falk do a job that, on this occasion, he couldn't do by himself.

Overall this is an OK Columbo because in essence the formula is in place but really it is done without any great skill or effort. The story is poorly developed and didn't engage me and, with such roundly uninspiring performances, this problem was laid bare and was not one that the film could recover from. Fans might just get something from it but there are many, many better Columbo films out there.

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