These Girls Have Their Health

In “Columbo Cries Wolf,” Ian Buchanan is one half of the inexplicably popular skin mag, Bachelor’s World. When the other half, Diedre Hall, decides she’s had enough of his philandering with the magazine’s models and wants to sell out, he kills her. Or does he? Well, yes, eventually. But before that, the two of them spend almost the whole running time of this episode making Columbo look like a chump, as he chases after dead ends and clues that lead nowhere. Jon and guest Tim Turner (Bitter Bastard Nerdcast) disliked this one waaaaay less than RJ. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

Shop-Worn Bag of Tricks

In “Ransom for a Dead Man,” Lee Grant is a high-powered attorney who shoots her husband, then constructs an elaborate kidnapping plot in order to point the feds in the wrong direction. Unfortunately for her, the local cop assigned to the case is none other than Lt. Columbo. Once the kidnapping crosses over into murder and it’s under Columbo’s jurisdiction- her chances? Not so good. Interestingly, this is the second of two pilots made for the show and you can definitely see the nice details that we all come to know as Columbo-esque.  Really fun added feature to the podcast- attorney and writer Bob Ingersoll (The Law Is a Ass) is here to analyze the legal details in this one, as well as shed some light on other episodes and how well they’d stand up in court. Also guesting is the mysterious “Jim from Detroit.”

Next on Just One More Thing: “Ransom for a Dead Man”

Going way, way back for Columbo‘s second pilot, “Ransom for a Dead Man.” Lee Grant murders her husband (pretty much just for being a boring, okay guy), then tries to cover it up with an elaborate fake kidnapping. Attorney and writer Bob Ingersoll (The Law Is a Ass) and the mysterious “Jim” will be the guests.

Daddy’s Here!

So, this pilot for Mrs. Columbo,  this “Word Games.” It has Kate Mulgrew. It has Robert Culp. It has Edie Adams. It has Bob Dishy. It has a host of other good people. It has the car. It has Dog. It does not have Columbo. But, it also has a great deal of unpleasantness. A great deal of missed opportunity. The whole thing is just odd and confounding, so much so that Jon and RJ actually go through an episode in chronological order FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. Historian and author Amanda Reyes (Are You In The House Alone?: A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999) is back on the program, to help sort through the whole mess. If you’d like to see for yourself, it’s on YouTube.

Next on Just One More Thing: “Word Games”

Well, that whole Mrs. Columbo/Kate Columbo/Kate Loves a Mystery thing had to come from somewhere, didn’t it? In our next one, we discuss the pilot, “Word Games.” Author Amanda Reyes (Are You In The House Alone?: A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999) returns to take it all in. If you really want to see it beforehand, it’s on YouTube and nowhere else. But that’s entirely up to you.

How Did We Get from “Murder” to “Word”?

In “How to Dial a Murder,” Nicol Williamson plays Dr. Eric Mason, a behavioral psychologist looking to exact revenge on his business partner, who may have had an affair with the doctor’s late wife. This revenge takes the form of having trained dogs viciously tear the partner apart after hearing the phrase, “Rosebud,” all while Dr. Mason listens with pleasure over the phone. Quite a guy. Columbo sees right away that these dogs couldn’t be the sole culprits and sets out right away to ensure that they aren’t the only ones going to the pound. Author Glen Erik Hamilton (Every Day Above Ground) returns to analyze the episode, as well as posit the idea of a “Sinister Six” for Columbo villains. Who’d be in that? Let us know!

 

Carnegie Hall and Nashville, They Don’t Mix

The Season One finale, “Blueprint for Murder,” stars Patrick O’Neal as an architect whose big upcoming project is placed in jeopardy due to a minor funding issue. What issue? Well, a Texas tycoon’s (Forrest Tucker) young second wife has agreed to devote a huge chunk of the galoot’s fortune to the project and he’ll have nothing of it. So, the architect’s only way to keep the development alive is to kill the tycoon by… uh… well… we never find out exactly. Which is weird, right? It’s just one of many off parts of a solidly okay episode that prevent it from possibly becoming one of the good ones. Peter Falk directs for the only time and he’s good! Really! There are just some odd things here and there that don’t quite gel. Mallory Ortberg (Dear Prudence) returns to the show to sort it all out and talk about how much we all loved the Texan’s ex-wife, Goldie.