Monday, June 27, 2011

Columbo: It's All in the Game

Columbo: It's All in the Game; Crime, USA, 1993; D: Vincent McEveety, S: Peter Falk, Faye Dunaway, Claudia Christian

Rich lady Lauren Staton and her daughter Lisa discover that they have the same lover - playboy Nick. Humiliated, they decide to eliminate him together. They shoot him, but cover him with an electric blanket to keep his corpse warm. Then, when Lauren stops by at his place and wakes up the janitor in the middle of the night, Lisa shoots and runs away so that it seems as if he was freshly killed by robbers in his home. When Inspector Columbo is brought on the case, he again figures something is not right. Lauren tries to seduce him to sabotage his investigation, but he still figures out what happened. However, he allows Lisa to get away with it since she was just aiding and abetting murder.

Sympathetic Inspector Columbo is basically just an extension and continuation to Agatha Christie's Hercule Poriot, but at the same time an independent and solid creation on his own, just like "Monk" was a continuation of Columbo and some future detective series will be a continuation of him: the puzzle "whodunit" concept is simply so good, viewers never get tired of it. The 62nd episode of "Columbo", "It's All in the Game", was written by Peter Falk himself and offered quite a fresh departure from the standard rules of the crime series since this time a killer is a woman who decides to seduce the Inspector in order to "sabotage" his investigation: clever and original. The wage: 3 Golden Globe nominations, for best Miniseries, best actor (Falk) and actress (Dunaway). As with most of "Columbo" episodes, the conclusion is somehow too neat, yet some clever details (water in the freezer of the victim's home, suggesting that electricity has been shut down for a certain time period) and elegant narration again manage to intrigue the viewers and keep them hooked until the end.


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