Back to the latter-day Columbo, with 1989’s “Murder, a Self Portrait.” When a famous artist kills one of the three women in his life, the “Leftenant” has to a lot of sitting in black-and-white dream sequences to nab him. Returning as guest is podcaster (Hold My Order Terrible Dresser) and writer (We Are the Mutants), Michael Grasso.
Well, what can one say, except that this is certainly an episode of Mrs. Columbo? In “A Riddle for Puppets,” our heroine stumbles upon a mystery involving a ventriloquist (Jay Johnson) who begins to hear voices from his dummy. When those voices lead him to stab his mentor to death, it’s up to Kate Columbo to sort of stumble across some clues and make some leaps the audience doesn’t see to bring the killer to justice, with the help of a clown dummy. Or, maybe he isn’t brought to justice? We don’t get to see that, either. The guest for this one is Abed Gheith, so we talk about a whooole lot of other things aside from this. What else? Oh, a Mrs. Columbo reboot for the CW; the Columbo-as-Antibody theory; the concept of television spinoffs; basic sitcom structure; Mama’s Family (???); the films of Jacques Tati; etc. Come on, we deserve some slack, as we’ve been here twice before. It’s about the journey.
Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Yup, it’s another Mrs. Columbo. This time, with a possibly homicidal ventriloquist dummy. Writer, podcaster and roustabout Abed Gheith will return to talk about it.
In “A Trace of Murder,” Shera Danese and David Rasche are having an affair and try to get her husband out of the way by framing him for the murder of a business rival. Here’s the thing, though- Rasche is the CSI lead on the case! A perfect way to make sure all of the evidence points the wrong way. But whoops- here comes Lt. Columbo with a bag of bananas and a sneaking suspicion that the clues are lining up a little too perfectly. The AV Club‘s Gwen Ihnat is here to talk about the weird recap at the end of the episode, Dennis Franz nudity, the possibility of a Columbo reboot and oh, so much more.
What happens when the person who’s investigating the murder is the one who committed it? You’ll find out in our next show, covering season thirteen’s “A Trace of Murder,” which finds forensic expert David Rasche teaming up with Shera Danese to frame her wealthy husband for murder. The AV Club‘s Gwen Ihnat returns to the podcast to discuss.
The podcast has finally come around to its final Robert Culp episode, “Double Exposure.” In it, Culp plays Dr. Bart Kepple, an expert in psychological manipulation who uses subliminal filmmaking (with salty expensive snacks and a gun) to murder with his first victim. The second one? He just shoots the guy in a projection booth, nothing too fancy. Joining in is author Jeannie Vanasco (The Glass Eye), who also speaks about her personal experience with the series through her relationship with her father. And hey! Viewer Mail!
As things begin to wind down, the ol’ podcast starts running up against a few lasts. This time, it’s our last Robert Culp episode, “Double Exposure”! In this one, Culp uses a lethal combination of caviar, subliminal film editing and bullets to get rid of a troublesome client. The special guest will be Jeannie Vanasco, author of The Glass Eye.
Do you like surprises? Of course you do, and “A Bird in the Hand…” is full of them! Not one, but three murders? Greg Evigan doing an outstanding job as the killer? A 90s episode that is actually very good? Yes! All of these things and more, in a greasy little noir-ish story full of twists and turns and double-crosses. One thing that’s not a surprise? The wonderful insights of returning guest, Dr. Christy Blanch.
Three murders for the price of one! That’s what you get in season eleven’s “A Bird in the Hand…,” which has Greg Evian as an inveterate gambler who plans to murder his wealthy uncle, but someone beats him to it. Who? Find it, watch it, and listen to us in a week or so! The guest will be the returning Dr. Christy Blanch.
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.