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,
At a village fête, Poirot runs into an old friend, John Harrison and his fiancé Molly Deane, a fashion model. Harrison invites Poirot and Hastings to tea the following week where Poirot learns that Molly had once been engaged to a local artist, Claude Langton. Poirot is puzzled by a number of apparently unrelated incidents but concludes that someone is being untruthful and that a murder is being planned. Courtesy of Hastings' new hobby, photography, Poirot knows exactly what is going to occur. Insp. Japp is hospitalized with a case of appendicitis. Written by
Chief Inspector Japp:
Sorry about this, Poirot. I thought as she was here visiting with her sister it would be a simple matter for her to meet us at the station. Trouble with Mrs Japp is when she gets nattering over a cup of tea she loses all track of time. Perhaps you two better run along and we'll see you there.
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"This is the most difficult case in my career", says Poirot at one point. "I'm trying to solve a crime that does not exist".
When Poirot meets the son of an old friend of his, a writer who is engaged to a beautiful fashion model, he senses that something might be wrong. The model's previous boyfriend, a sculptor, still seems to be in love with her. A sinister-looking old man is constantly lurking about. And why does this nest of wasps at the writer's garden seem to be so difficult to exterminate?
Sometimes it's hard to explain why a film, or a TV episode in this case, works so well, you just have to experience it for yourself. The story itself is ingenious (this time, Poirot has to connect the pieces to prevent a future crime, not solve a past one), and the ending left me speechless. But what gives "Wasps' Nest" an extra layer is how unexpectedly moving and quiet its resolution is. Up to this point in the series (Season 3, Episode 5), this is a candidate for best episode. (***1/2)
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