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,
Poirot investigates the murder of Florence Carrington while traveling on the express train to Plymouth. Her father, mining entrepreneur Gordon Halliday, will spare no expense to have the crime solved. She had recently been approached by her estranged husband Rupert, asking for money and was seen having lunch with a one-time suitor, Armand de la Rochefort, of whom her father disapproves. However, the victim's jewelry was stolen and Poirot realizes that to find the murderer, they must first find the jewels. Written by
This episode's plot is quite slim. The main clues are just a meaningless jumble of train times and destinations, and the dull crime mystery doesn't have much to it anyway. Evidently there wasn't a lot of material to shoot so the proceedings have more padding than David Suchet's Poirot costume. Typical of this is the scene at the morgue. The coroner pulls the sheet back to expose the dressed corpse's head and shoulders for Poirot, Hastings and Japp to look at. After some straightforward dialogue, the camera just lingers on the men standing in silence. After this slowness, Poirot decides to pull the sheet further down. End scene. Inexplicable and silly.
More padding consists of extra wringing of hands and shaking of heads over the murder, plus portentous scenes of Poirot criticizing the criminals for the vicious stabbing alongside pointless flashbacks of the crooks staring at each other through the light of a match.
Which touches upon the episode's worst crime: Despite the lip service about the murder's horridness, the filmmakers exploit it for the crassest scene of violence I've yet seen in the series. Suffice to say it is a drawn-out stabbing where we must watch every moment of the excruciating death, including the scared-eyed victim's cheek smearing down the blood-stained window.
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