We Ain’t Winnin’

Murder is no game. Well, except for “The Most Dangerous Match,” wherein chess genius Laurence Harvey is terrified at the prospect of losing to someone even more genius-er than he is. Instead of just playing harder, he tries to kill his opponent by shoving him into what passes for early-70s green technology (a massive garbage crushing machine). When that doesn’t quite work, Columbo investigates the not-quite-yet-a-murder, trying to stay one move ahead of this Bobby Fisher analogue, putting his dreams of getting away with it in check. Appropriately, game designer Nathan Paoletta is the guest, helping Jon and RJ put the pieces in place. Games.

Ohhh, the Mizzen Boom

“Last Salute to the Commodore” is an odd episode of Columbo to be sure. The titular Commodore, owner of a luxury shipbuilding firm and head of a dysfunctional family, is found dead, presumably of an accident at sea. The prime suspect is conniving son-in-law Robert Vaughn. But wait! He gets killed, too? What? This episode is a whodunnit, complete with drawing room scene? Columbo seems drunk? He has a teen sidekick? He can’t stop touching Vaughn to the point of discomfort? There are shades of Groundhog DayThe Prisoner and Arrested Development? Sure! It’s all strange and actually kind of fun. Writer Christy Blanch is onboard to try and figure out how and why.

Next on Just One More Thing: “Last Salute to the Commodore”

Vaughning it up again with Season Five’s “Last Salute to the Commodore,” a perennial favorite of all Columbo fans! Sure, why not? An exclusive LA island community turns out to be a hotbed of murder and betrayal as the patriarch of a shipbuilding (boatbuilding?) company is found dead upon the ocean he loved so much. First-time guest Christy Blanch joins to discuss.

That’s the Biggest Garbage Dump in the World

What was supposed to be a pleasure cruise to Mexico becomes a working vacation for Lt. Columbo in “Troubled Waters.” Also on board is used car kingpin Robert Vaughn, who kills the lounge singer who’s blackmailing him, while pinning the murder on her piano-playing ex. Though the crew is more than willing to buy the frame-up, Columbo can’t let it go, even on his vacation. Poor Mrs. Columbo. Back to travel the high seas of crime with Jon and RJ is comedian Richard Massara.

Next on Just One More Thing: “Troubled Waters”

Season Four’s “Troubled Waters” welcomes Robert Vaughn aboard as a scheming used car dealer who murders a past fling on a pleasure cruise. However, he didn’t figure on Lt. Columbo happening to be on the exact same boat. Ship. Boat. No, ship. Richard Massara returns to the podcast to swab the decks. The episode’s available on DVD and (briefly) Netflix Instant.

Still a Lot of Wear in This Fella

Politics. No one’s tired of that yet, right? Ha. Ha. Ha. Yeah. So, in “Candidate for Crime,” Jackie Cooper is Nelson Hayward, a US Senate candidate who’s sick and tired of his campaign manager telling him what to do. Does he fire him? Nope, it’s a literal Saturday Night Massacre, as the pol kills him in cold blood, then tries to pin it on a mob assassination attempt. Of course, Columbo doesn’t buy this angle for a minute and engages in a one-man filibuster against…. murder. JD Ryznar (Beyond Yacht Rock) returns to the program to talk about the (rather uneven) episode, Dixieland jazz, the arcane world of writing credits, and oh so much more.

Next on Just One More Thing: “Candidate for Crime”

Next up is Season Three’s “Candidate for Crime,” in which a politician figures he can get away with literal murder and still get elected. That could never happen in a million years, right? Right? ANYWAY, JD Ryznar (Beyond Yacht Rock, Hot Streets) joins us to discuss this wildly implausible scenario. The episode is available on DVD and Netflix Instant (for now).

That’s Very Good. The Magician Did It.

episode-card_now-you-see-him-v2

Yes, we talked about “Now You See Him” way back on our seventh show, but we felt it was worth revisiting with a more, shall we say, open-minded guest. The episode features Jack Cassidy creeping it up as a creep magician/ex-Nazi SS officer who kills the creep magic club owner who’s blackmailing him over his evil past. Also- Columbo has a new coat! Robert Loggia’s in charge of the kitchen! There’s a hidden Hollywood legend! Lots of other stuff we never got to when we tried talking about the episode with that first guy! Since it’s the world of magic illusion, we brought back our resident expert, Leigh Beadon (techdirt.com), to discuss.