With his rumpled raincoat, ever-present cigar, bumbling demeanour and Sherlock Holmesian powers of deduction, disarmingly polite homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo took on some of the most cunning murderers in Los Angeles, most of whom made one fatal, irrevocable mistake: underestimating his investigative genius.
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,
After traveling on the Blue Train from Calais to Nice, Hercule Poirot is pressed into service to help solve the murder of heiress Ruth Kettering who is found savagely beaten in her compartment. She was the daughter of wealthy industrialist Rufus Van Alden and very much wanted a divorce. Both her husband and her lover were on the train but she had changed rooms with another passenger, Katherine Grey, so the question naturally arises as to whether she was the intended victim. Grey may also have had enemies as she had recently inherited a very large sum of money and greedy relatives had suddenly taken a interest in her. When an attempt is subsequently made on Grey's life, this appears to the case but Poirot methodically sifts through all of the clues to determine the motive and identify the killer. Written by
I am sympathetic to the darker, new Poirot; but I retain my hostility towards unnecessarily bizarre and arbitrary plot developments. The motives of the characters are totally inscrutable and the evidence, as it unfolds for the viewer, does nothing to advance the solution, which remains abrupt, arbitrary, and absurdly implausible. The end does nothing to pull the story together so that it reaches any kind of satisfactory conclusion; and Poirot seems like an insane diviner rather than a brilliant analyst of facts.
That said, the actors' performances continue to bring the characters to life, which is amazing, given the absurd positions their screenwriters put them in. The three points I award this installment are for their sake.
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