Columbo (1971–2003)
23 user 6 critic

Grand Deceptions 

After the head of a private paramilitary think tank who is embezzling funds murders a blackmailer, he has to match wits with the persistent Lieutenant Columbo.



(created by), (created by) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

at Amazon


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?



Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Columbo
... Frank Brailie
... Sergeant Major Lester Keegan
Janet Eilber ... Jenny Padget
Stephen Elliott ... General Padget
... Tanzer
... Sidney Winnik
... Marcia
Bennett Liss ... Corporal
... Paramilitary Man #3
John William Gibson ... Paramilitary Man #2
... Paramilitary Man #4
... Medical Examiner
... Paramilitary Man #1
Rick Marzan ... Police Officer


A Colonel works for a highly revered and well respected General. Among the things that he has been doing is having an affair with the invalid General's wife and been diverting funds from the General's foundation to fund arms sales. The General discovers some peculiarities going on at the foundation, so he instructs Sergeant Keegan to investigate, he learns of the Colonel's activities, then instead of reporting it to the General, he tries to blackmail the Colonel. The Colonel in turn kills the Sergeant. But it's not long until Lt. Columbo is on the case and on the Colonel's trail. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 May 1989 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Last directorial credit of Sam Wanamaker, circa 1988 production filmed in USA. Simultaneous to early plans regarding The Rose and The Globe Theatre projects. Several cast e.g. Peter Falk participated in attending supportive events The London Programme: Saving the Rose Theatre (1989) spanning up to 1998. Scenes were screened on overhead projector on street based stage, for introduction and as memorial tribute to many international performers present. See more »


Multiple errors with Tanzer's military uniform. He is a master sergeant as indicated by the rank on his sleeves, but his name tag says "SGT TANZER", it should say MSG TANZER. It wouldn't though, since name tags do not have rank inscribed on them, only the last name. Tanzer also mentions he is in military intelligence, but the medallion on his lapel appears in have two crossed swords, which means he would be infantry. See more »


General Padget: Someone promises once and doesn't deliver, well, that's a busy man. Promises twice, he's not very efficient. Promises three times, I know when I'm being diddled. But here we are, after all. I take it all back.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the program ends and the credits roll, the camera pans across the Civil War miniature figurines on their battlefield. It ends its motion on a tight closeup of a miniature figurine of Columbo himself, complete with trademark rumpled tan raincoat and arms up in his classic pose when interrupting to make a point. Clearly, his figuring is intended not as a Civil War relic, but instead as a little joke for the viewers. See more »


I've Got A Crush On You
Written by George Gershwin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Just one of those 1989 Columbo movies.
29 November 2008 | by See all my reviews

Man, what is it with 1989 Columbo movies? Perhaps it was because of the fact that the 1989 Columbo movies were the first ones to be made after an 11 year 'break' and they were still searching for the right out formula with some new 'modern' additions to it. But fact is that 1989 aren't really among the best Columbo movies, with some exceptions here and there though.

This one really isn't the most exciting or interesting Columbo movie to watch. Despite that the movie is set at a private civilian military think tank base, rarely ever something exciting is happening. The movie is progressing very slowly and some of the sequences are needlessly long and progressing in a lacking pace, without making enough contribution to the movie and its story. Columbo is hardly investigating anything and all he does is walking around, bugging all kinds of people. Everything he discovers and hears happened by chance and not necessarily always because of his investigation skills and tactics. Even though the movie features all of the usual Columbo movie ingredients it doesn't feel like an average Columbo movie because it just doesn't all get handled too well. This was Sam Wanamaker's last movie he directed during his career. He also directed the previous Columbo movie "Columbo: The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case", from 1977.

It's a sort of an unwritten rule for a Columbo movie that whenever Lt. Columbo himself shows up rather late into the story, the movie normally isn't going to be among the best the series has to offer. This is also the case with "Columbo: Grand Deceptions", in which Lt. Columbo shows up after about 20 minutes.

The movie also isn't helped much by its characters. Military characters are though ones to play as an actor, since they are all so very stereotypical. Only some really fine and talented actors can pull it off to make their characters still work out. This movie just doesn't feature any of these kind of actors unfortunately. Most later Columbo movies made the mistake not to cast some big well known and already established names in it. The movie is filled with some big unknowns who never really had a flourishing career, before or after this movie and for a good reason. Most actors play their roles well enough but it just isn't helping the movie to still make something special out of it all. There isn't really a good strong character opposite Lt. Columbo for this movie and some of the characters also makes a totally redundant impression, as do some of the plot-lines.

Besides, normally it's obvious from the beginning what the reasons and motivations for the killer were to come to his actions. In this movie however new things are getting revealed as the movie progresses. At times the movie even seems to forget that its a murder-mystery.

No, all in all the movie is not that horrible and it certainly also isn't the worst Columbo movie ever made but it however also is one of the least interesting Columbo movie entries to watch.


8 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 23 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial