Get out your salt and pepper, it’s time to chew some scenery! In Season Two’s, “The Greenhouse Jungle,” Ray Milland happily munches every bit of the set as an evil uncle who has no problem killing off his favorite nephew in order to get at the guy’s trust fund. Joining to discuss will be Kevin Mellon (Archer).
Wayne Jennings is a tennis layabout and wannabe actor who’s romancing several women at once, including a famous romance novelist. When she (apparently) threatens to break off their relationship over the phone, he drives across the great state of California to shoot her in cold blood. Well, except maybe he didn’t? Because she might have already been dead? Or maybe not? Or maybe she didn’t call him in the first place? Because there’s this sister of hers you see and… oh, whatever. It’s all very soap-opera-ish. Jon loved, loved, loved it. RJ and guests Donna Bowman (AV Club) and Noel Murray (Rolling Stone, New York Times), not so much. WHO WILL BE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY? Also discussed: expectations of genre, Detroiters and Swamp Thing.
Seemingly ripped from the pages of a romance novel, it’s Season Nine’s “Murder in Malibu.” Columbo has to unravel the twists and turns surrounding a writer and her two-(Or is it three? Maybe four?) timing tennis pro/actor fiancee. Joining to discuss will be critics Donna Bowman (AV Club) and Noel Murray (New York Times).
Get your scratch-offs, it’s “Death Hits the Jackpot”! Wielding a southern accent slightly less broad than Foghorn Leghorn’s, Rip Torn is the owner of a fancy Beverly Hills jewelry store who’s just gone dead broke. Thankfully, at the moment he gets the news, his nephew (Gary Kroeger) shows up with a winning lottery ticket. The problem? The nephew is in the middle of a divorce and would have to give up $15 mil or so to his ex. The solution? Rip Torn drowns the nephew, claims the prize and makes out with the ex-wife. What a helpful, helpful uncle. Alex Knapp (Forbes) returns to the show to discuss the episode, his theory on how Columbo met Mrs. Columbo, a building full of refugees from other sitcoms, and things chimpanzee-related.
Season Eleven’s “Death Hits the Jackpot” contains:
- Rip Torn doing a huge Southern accent
- Gary Kroeger
- Columbo pulling his badge on a car salesman
- Someone dressed as Col. Sanders accompanied by a lady dressed as a chicken
- A chimp
So, you’ll want to see it, if you can. It’s on DVD. Alex Knapp (Forbes) will be our guest.
“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.
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?)!
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.
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.
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.