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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.


  1. Jason Brown Jason Brown

    A great 70’s episode to end the year on. Happy new year everyone!!

  2. Jim S Jim S

    Great episode guys. I really liked how Columbo wanted to get a warrant, but the captain played the law of the seas card. Apparently that is a real thing.

    This episode is also filled with Columbo repeat offenders. I can’t think of one where of the Columbo stock company partipated. Pity they couldn’t have shoehorned Vito Scotti.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Jason Brown Jason Brown

    Cracking episode, cracking podcast. Cracking guest, too. Totally agree with your collective summations.

    One thing you missed though: is this the definitive ‘there IS a Mrs Columbo’ episode? For my money, it is (the closing scene alone, as well as the reason that they’re on the cruise). Thing is…which actress – either now or then – do you imagine Mrs Columbo to look like?

    • Jim Jim

      Not sure who I would have cast as Mrs Columbo. But I always found Kate Mulgrew to be an odd choice. Seemed more like Columbo’s daughter than his wife.

      • Jason Brown Jason Brown

        Can’t speak for the 70’s – I was too young then, so not knowledgable enough – but now, for a reboot, I’d go for…Monica Belluci. Works on a whole bunch of levels – if it was done right.

    • Lee Lee

      My Mrs. Columbo is Margo Martindale.

      I heartily agree: this is the episode that conclusively establishes Mrs. Columbo’s existence (and is again codified in “Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo”). Despite all the dinner parties/Restaurant Writers’ Association awards ceremonies/vacations in which she failed to appear, I always believed she wasn’t merely Columbo’s imaginary spouse and I’m glad this episode validates my convictions.

      I just wish that Barbara Rhoades had played the cruise singer/murder victim Rosanna Wells. In my humble opinion, Ms. Rhoades was deserving of at least one more appearance besides “Identity Crisis.”

  4. Chana Masaledar Chana Masaledar

    Nice work, everyone. I predicted that there would be some commentary on the longest performance of “Volare” in the history of the world, and the nurse chain-smoking in sick bay, and you didn’t let me down.

    I really enjoyed the ’70s vibe of the episode, especially Vaughn’s wardrobe and Stockwell’s ridiculous hairstyle and gigantic bushy eyebrows, which even drew commentary from Columbo himself. Suave! Goddamn, he’s not one suave fucker in this episode.

    Like you, I wouldn’t have predicted at the outset that “Troubled Waters” would work, but boy did it ever. I would like, though, to nominate it as a contender for Worst Wound Makeup in the series. Our victim looked as if she had smeared that lipstick on her back and then decided to take a nap at her makeup table. (Another contender: Dick Van Dyke’s leg wound in “Negative Reaction.”)

    • Chana Masaledar Chana Masaledar

      Oh, and I also liked the brief mention of the name of the actress who played the victim: Poupée Bocar. “Poupée” is an unexceptional word in French; it just means “doll.” But English speakers can’t say it without giggling.

      The French company Rochas made a perfume called “Poupée” for a while. I commend any Anglophone who was willing to go up to a department store perfume counter and ask for something called “Poopy.”

  5. Charles Marshall Charles Marshall

    Hey guys, long time listener first time caller. Speaking of boats, still awaiting your expert opinions on Last Salute for the Commodore! Night and day difference between this episode and that one. Have survived four 10-hour solo car trips staying awake by binge listening to your podcasts.

  6. Rich Weill Rich Weill

    Kudos to Richard Massara for his astute observation about the golf gloves Danziger’s wife failed to pack. Clearly, these were the gloves Danziger planned to use when murdering Rosanna Wells. Two Columbo lines make this clear.

    First, he casually says to Danziger, “I’ll bet Mrs. Danziger didn’t pack any” gloves. Second, when driving the final nail into Danziger’s coffin, he adds this: “If the killer had worn leather gloves all we could hope for is powder marks. But surgical gloves, they’re different. The texture is different. The texture retains both fingerprints and palm prints.” The throw-in reference to “leather gloves” serves one purpose: to make Danziger want to kill his forgetful wife next.

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