Columbo: Season 13, Episode 5

Columbo Likes the Nightlife (30 Jan. 2003)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Columbo gets a taste of the Los Angeles rave scene as he investigates the apparent suicide of a tabloid reporter.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Linwood Coben
Tony Galper
Freddie (as Steven R. Schirripa)
Sean Jarvis
Officer Rogers
Eve Kagan ...
Pink Feather Boa
Print Guy


After her ex-boyfriend, mobster Tony Galper, dies in an accident in her home, Vanessa turns to club owner Justin Prince to help her out. He disposes of the body for her but unknown to him, tabloid photographer Linwood Coben secretly photographed him getting rid of the body. He tells Prince he can have the negatives and prints for $250,000 and Prince agrees to pay him. They meet that evening but Prince has every intention of killing him, making it look like Coben committed suicide. Reviewing the crime scene, Colombo immediately has his doubts about the suicide. To solve Coben's murder however, he will also have to solve what happened to Galper. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

30 January 2003 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Columbo hasn't been promoted by the Los Angeles Police Department in several decades. He has been a lieutenant for at least 35 years. See more »


Lt. Columbo: What are these fish called again?
Justin Price: Koi.
Lt. Columbo: Koi! Magnificent creatures.
See more »


Follows Columbo: Butterfly in Shades of Grey (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

A Great End For The Classic TV Detective
10 November 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

If you've heard any negative reviews of 'Columbo Likes The Nightlife', ignore them! This is a refreshingly contemporary and magnificently dignified end to one of the greatest crime series ever made.

'Columbo Likes The Nightlife' fittingly goes back to more of the great detective's keen eye for detail, collection of the facts, and assertive dominance over the villain(s), whilst still not losing the series' sense of dry humour, which had been an essential part of the 70's episodes, but sadly lost somewhat in some of the later 90's entries in favour of more of the character's pratfalls and bumbling antics. The fact here that the main villain, *spoiler alert* Matthew Rhys, is so coyly manipulative and not prone to the clumsy stupidity and slip- ups that befell some villains in more later entries, makes him all the more threatening to us, and also makes it all the more worthwhile and satisfying to then see Columbo pick away at that dangerous and arrogant persona.

The whole rave scene, all bright vivid colours and pumped-up beats, that forms the basis of the film, stands this episode out amongst the rest. With me, as I'm sure it did with many others, it took me aback to start, but not in a bad way whatsoever. This is a revamped and hip look for the franchise, and unlike such other later episodes like 'A Trace Of Murder', this felt like it was real and naturally flowing; the fashion of that time coinciding perfectly with the firmly established formula of Columbo and this tightly woven story to create a different, new, but respectfully structured and trustworthy, solid entry in the series.

There's little to criticise here. I for one though thought that *spoiler alert* there could've been one last send-off line, either about the detective's wife, or his possible hanging up the towel, as he leaves the club, but this is a very minor quibble, and on the other hand, I think that *spoiler alert* Columbo's final walk out of the club, immediately after proving the villain's guilt, accompanied to the appropriately reflective but quietly groovy beat that compliments it, is a terrifically subtle send-off in itself, and the presence of The Sopranos' Steve Schirripa, to which Columbo humbly expresses his appreciation for his offering any help in the future if he needs any, doesn't hurt it.

Nor does the *spoiler alert* poignant appearance of John Finnegan, a recurring actor in Columbo since 1972, who adds some warm nostalgia and wit with his knowing and touchingly handled cameo; no doubt a treat for die-hard Columbo fans.

Other supporting turns to watch out for here is *spoiler alert* Lost's Jorge Garcia as the doorman to the club, Julius Carry, and Patrick Cupo, as the cops helping out the lieutenant, and Douglas Roberts as the ill-fated tabloid photographer.

The villains here, *spoiler alert* Rhys, and Jennifer Sky, are brilliant. Rhys the reservedly calculating and charming murderer who becomes increasingly unhinged as the plot develops, and Sky the nervous girlfriend who tries to remain calm and dignified in the face of impending doom.

The end revelation *spoiler alert* about the fish tanks is a knock- out, and is up there with the very best deductions the Holmesian detective has proved right. It may be a little far-fetched granted, but it's a joy to watch.

Peter Falk was an amazing actor who made Columbo his own, and here he looks as if he's relishing the chance to be on top-form again. He doesn't disgrace himself here; his world weary demeanour contrasting beautifully against the rave techno culture of that time.

You find by the end, you'll actually be wanting more, but sadly, that wasn't to be. Indeed, the end scene I found struck an emotionally significant cord in me as I came to realise this was the final time we'd see the great detective and his iconic shabby raincoat, and THAT car, ever again. You miss him, but that's how you're meant to be feeling after all, and in some way you're glad you miss him, as opposed to wishing it's all over in some of the later instalments ('A Trace Of Murder' again).

Be thankful then, that 'Columbo Likes The Nightlife' was made, to give Falk, and the greatest role he ever played, the graceful and memorable ending they deserved. In style.

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