A woman who blames Lt. Columbo for the loss of her husband sets out to get back at him. But before she goes after him, she first goes after the man who informed on her husband and by ... See full summary »
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 woman who blames Lt. Columbo for the loss of her husband sets out to get back at him. But before she goes after him, she first goes after the man who informed on her husband and by showing the Lt. how it feels to lose a love one; by going after his wife. Written by
Sticks to formula to produce an average film but doesn't realise the potential of the new ground at all
Vivian Dimitri is a successful estate agent whose personal life is tinged with sadness as her husband died in prison. Secretly she does not blame him for his crimes but blames the others for getting him caught including her boss Charlie Chambers (who she believes informed on him) and one Lt Columbo (who put him away). She plots revenge and enacts it by shooting Charlie and using an affair with the married Leland St John to help establish as good an alibi as possible. Her revenge on Columbo will also involve his death but first she decides to kill his wife and allow him to feel the loss of a loved one for a while before she kills him. As she watches Columbo at his wife's funeral, Vivian contemplates the genius of her plan that started with the murder of Charlie.
By opening with the funeral of Mrs Columbo and with Vivian's revenge half delivered this film offered a move away from the usual Columbo formula which as we have seen is rarely a good thing with this series. Flashing back to Vivian's first murder we actually follow pretty closely to the usual formula by having Columbo investigating this crime but the usual cat and mouse between him and Vivian had greater potential because we know her end-game involves Columbo, she is not just trying to evade him. In theory that should make this better but the hook doesn't really come through in reality and the story is rolled out in the normal way. In this regard it is still OK and will probably please those who like the formula but it is not as good as it could have been and, in terms of the formula this is only a so-so entry in the series.
The acting is part of the reason for this because nobody is really any good. In the flashbacks Falk is his usual self but in the later scenes he is a terrible grieving man; here was his chance to really push the character he wears like a second skin but he doesn't take it. His chemistry isn't there with Shaver either but that is more to do with her lacklustre performance. The plot has her character as scheming, disturbed and driven by hatred to the point of murderous revenge however none of these come through where really she should have kept it just under the surface but expose it here and there, but she doesn't do anything of the sort. Support is equally so-so with turns from Ian McShane, Edward Winter and a small role for Roscoe Lee Browne.
Overall this is an OK entry in the Columbo series that is a nice try at something new without moving too far from the formula however it doesn't use the new ground that well. The plot isn't that good but will do enough for formula fans but it is hard to ignore the fact that the potential of the new is mostly missed. Interesting enough for fans but not good enough to stand up with the classic films from the seventies.
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