An IRA terrorist executes an arms dealer he considers traitorous; Lt. Columbo is on the case.An IRA terrorist executes an arms dealer he considers traitorous; Lt. Columbo is on the case.An IRA terrorist executes an arms dealer he considers traitorous; Lt. Columbo is on the case.
If you've seen an episode you've seen all the episodes to an extent and it features a rigid formula . What happens is someone commits the perfect murder and they've got all the bases covered . Or so they think and if there's something they haven't planned on it's detective Columbo solving the case via superhuman powers of observation and deduction and get the opportunity to lament their flawed plan as they spend the rest of their life in prison . This one follows the formula of IRA veteran and minor celebrity poet Joe Devlin bumping off an arms dealer and transporting firearms to Ireland . What is really interesting is that Devlin paints himself as a man of peace while at the same time being involved in active terrorism which is exactly the same strategy Gerry Adams proposed to IRA / Sinn Fein members at the exact same time this was broadcast via his "Armalite in one hand and a ballot box in the other" way of thinking .This aspect is of course entirely coincidental but it is very interesting in hindsight . Also to be commended is a reference to a former IRA man who was hanged for five murders including a murder of a woman and child . It doesn't sugar coat the IRA of any era as being cheeky rascals - they're murderers and terrorists which probably wasn't a mainstream view amongst Irish Americans in the 1970s . Somethings don't work entirely successfully and Clive Revill's Irish accent seems off but I suppose that's down to his character being based in America for many years . One does wonder why Patrick McGoohan wasn't cast as Devlin and Devlin's plan is a little too easily solved , but apart from this it's an unusual , interesting and brave piece of American television featuring a fictional context to real and tragic real life events
- Theo Robertson
- May 12, 2015