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.
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
Hercule Poirot is puzzled when Benedict Farley summons him to a late night meeting. Farley is known as the king of pies as his company manufactures a well-known brand of meat pies. At their meeting, he tells Poirot of a recurring dream where he takes a gun from his desk drawer, walks to his office window and commits suicide. His only question for Poirot is whether someone could be manipulating him psychologically. When Farley is found dead the next day - in circumstances that appear to match those in his dream - Poirot and Captain Hastings find themselves assisting Inspector Japp in a case that involves false identities and an affair. It is Miss Lemon, however, who provides Poirot with the vital information that allows him to solve the case Written by
British pies are famous the world over, and last year Farley's Foods produced five million of 'em. Everything from steak and kidney to Cornish pasty. But that's not enough for old man Farley; he wants to double the score. Work's been pushing ahead on the new extension to his factory, and this week the great day dawns.
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This episode has a fascinating setting at a meat pie plant (I could have done without the quick slaughterhouse scene even though it is only suggestive) which required the use of a lot of extras. The owner of the plant is very 19th century in his views (and his appearance - he sports bushy sideburns) and expects his employees to thank him for allowing them to work at his plant. Of course, he treats his daughter and everyone around him with the same mean spiritedness and arrogance. The owner lives at the plant and summons, via letter, Poirot to meet with him that evening (wow-postal service must have been amazing back then) and to bring the letter with him. At the meeting, he tells Poirot about a recurring dream he has of shooting himself. Sure enough the next day at the appointed time, the owner is found shot dead. SPOILER: That someone was impersonating the owner during the Poirot meeting was way too obvious. The dead giveaway was the unexplained fact of having a light shine in Poirot's face when he was meeting with the pseudo-owner. They might as well have had a title card saying: we don't want Poirot to get a good look at this man. To be fair though, this kind of impersonation is hard to pull off in a television show whereas it wouldn't have been as difficult in a written story because on television they had to show the real owner as well as the fake owner whereas in the written story Poirot would not have seen the real owner except when he was dead and probably didn't look too good. So, high marks for the opening scene and as ever high marks for the actors but the plot was just average.
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