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.
Jesse L. Martin,
This time Columbo pits his wits against a movie director who murders an old friend on a set, because this friend is in possession of a damaging piece of film, on which the actress died and isn't helped by the movie director. Written by
Maarten Hofman <email@example.com>
Columbo spots a couple of ice-cream sodas left on the counter in Alex Brady's office, known as his "boys' club". One glass is almost full, the other about half-full. Not only can we see this, but Columbo comments on it at length, theorizing with uncanny accuracy how the full and the half-full glasses show what happened earlier, when the victim was visiting Brady's office. The moment Columbo leaves, Brady rushes to the soda glasses, to destroy the evidence. Inexplicably, he finds both glasses are now empty except for a milky residue. See more »
After a considerable hiatus, Columbo returned to TV in 1989, and all 5 episodes from that year are very uneven. It's mostly because of the writing, but it is also because of the casting. None of these episodes has any of the fun "big" names that the Columbo character was associated with before. No Shatner. No Mickey Spillane. No Ruth Gordon. This particular episode typifies that problem. Fisher Stevens, who is so obviously supposed to be Spielberg that it hurts to watch him, just is not in the league with the type of guests starts Columbo was known for previously. He seems like he's 12 years old and gives no depth to his character. He tries to be quirky but he just can't pull it off. Peter Falk attempts to save the episode but he is saddled with a script that puts him in embarrassing situations that are uncomfortable to watch. One example is when he tells Stevens his friend is dead then asks if he can make himself an ice cream soda. I know Columbo is supposed to be disingenuous but here he seems just rude and/or dumb. Falk does his best with the rest of the teleplay but Stevens is just not strong enough an actor to make the interplay between detective and murderer either intriguing or entertaining. After a while, it is all rather tiresome and fails to satisfy as the best of the old Columbo series did.
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