I Was in the Shower Enjoying Myself, Singing

“No Time to Die” is the first of two forays the series made into the world of Ed Mccain’s “87th Precinct” books, so the format’s a little different than your typical episode. There isn’t a murder, but a kidnapping! Columbo carries a gun! You meet one of Columbo’s oft-referenced nephews, who’s also an LAPD cop! And on and on. The nephew’s new bride, who also happens to be a model, is kidnapped from the honeymoon suite on the wedding night by a scalpel-wielding stalker. From there, it’s a race against time, as Columbo and the squad collect van brochures, talk to a dude named Tubby Comfort in a Turkish spa, follow Don Swayze dead ends and show off a gratuitous shirtless Thomas Calabro. It’s not a particularly good episode, but at least we get to talk about Frasier. Author Amanda Reyes (Are You In The House Alone?: A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999) joins to discuss.

Next on Just One More Thing: No Time to Die

When is a Columbo not a Columbo? When it’s Season Eleven’s “No Time to Die,” based on an Ed McBain 87th Precinct tale of a kidnapping, not a murder. What happens when a beloved program strays wildly from its patented format? We’ll find out on our next show, with author Amanda Reyes (Are You In the House Alone?)!

Liquid Filth!

Poor Adrian Carsini (Donald Pleasance). When we meet him in “Any Old Port In a Storm,” all he wants is to run the family winery, play the big shot with his wine nerd friends and decant the days away. When Carsini’s playboy half-brother threatens to sell the winery’s land to the Two Buck Chucks up the road, he flies into a rage, mostly killing him with a solid blow to the head, then finishing the job by suffocating him in the wine cellar while jetting off to NYC for the weekend. Columbo coincidences his way into the case when it turns from a missing person gig into a homicide. Steven Goss (Drunk Columbo) joins in to talk about a solid episode from a solid season.

Next on Just One More Thing: “Any Old Port In a Storm”

Grab a bottle! In Season Three’s “Any Old Port In a Storm,” Columbo comes up against Adrian Carsini (Donald Pleasance), the prestigious head of a winery who locks his brother in the cellar when the younger sibling threatens to sell out the family vineyard. Steven Goss (Columbo Interiors) will be the guest.

You’ve Done a Very Nice Job

In “By Dawn’s Early Light,” Patrick McGoohan is Colonel Lyle Rumford, overseeing a military academy whose enrollment has been steadily declining for years. When the scion of the academy’s founder announces plans to turn the institution into a co-ed prep school, the commandant sees fit to rig an antique cannon with C-4 and blow the guy to smithereens. Lt. Columbo is on the case, even bunking in with the young cadets (including a young Bruno Kirby!) and driving Rumford closer and closer to a confession. Michael Grasso (Hold My Order Terrible Dresser) is the guest.

Next on Just One More Thing: “By Dawn’s Early Light”

Staying with the military theme, as we visit Season Four’s “By Dawn’s Early Light.” Columbo mainstay Patrick McGoohan is the commandant of a military academy who’d rather commit murder than see the institution become a co-ed prep school. Michael Grasso (Hold My Order Terrible Dresser) joins to discuss.

A Private Place, for Romantic Meetings

It’s like the old saying: Sometimes, it’s not enough to stab a guy; you also have to blow him up. At least, that seems to be the thought in “Grand Deceptions,” a confusing late Columbo set at a military think tank which also trains mercenaries on the side. Oh, and illegally runs arms. When he’s not busy shaking yarrow sticks, Frank Brailey, the think tank’s head, diverts millions of dollars from the foundation in the off hours he’s not busy cheating with the wife of his boss, an esteemed retired general. When one of Brailey’s subordinates catches wind of his many, many irons in the fire, that’s when the stab/blowup twofer happens. Call in Lt. Columbo who observes the chain of evidence one moment, while straight-up stealing documents the next. All in all, its a weird mix that never quite gets there and the panel is left wondering exactly who the heck this was for and what it was trying to say. Guests Jennifer Wright (Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them) and Daniel Kibblesmith (Late Show with Stephen Colbert) return for this, the 50th show.

Next on Just One More Thing: “Grand Deceptions”

Rocketing back into the 90s for the season eight episode, “Grand Deceptions,” in which Columbo has to dig into the secrets of a military think tank that also runs a little paramilitary ripoff school on the side. Joining in the pain of combat are writers Jennifer Wright (Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them) and Daniel Kibblesmith (Late Show with Stephen Colbert).

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.