As we reach the end of the podcast’s run, we come upon “Uneasy Lies the Crown,” a rarely-mentioned late entry in the series. Steven Bochco recycles a 1970s script, in which a dentist/gambling addict tries to frame his wife for the murder of her famous actor lover. It’s actually not a bad murder scheme, and some of the performances are good, but hey, 90s Columbo, you know? Returning guest Tilt Araiza (The Sitcom Club) is here to discuss the episode, why on earth people do fanfiction and how a potential Columbo revival could possibly go wrong.
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I agree with you RJ. This episode has always been one of the my favorites of the newer episodes.
Some random things that always struck me about this one:
– I would love having a waiter (at Beanery) who has a horrible cold and is coughing and sneezing all over my food.
– Not only did the villain want to frame his wife, but he must have really helped out his father-in-law’s practice. Can you picture it in YELP – “Heard one of the dentists killed a patient.”
– At the scene where the car crashed – I like how the cop nonchalantly offers Columbo a match that he happened to steal from the crime scene corpse.
– I know he was already a 70’s villain, but I think George Hamilton would have made a wonderfully slimy (but well tanned) dentist for this script.
Last things – I can’t believe there are only two podcasts left and I got happy about the thought of a Columbo action figure (as long as comes with dog and car).
I enjoyed this episode of the podcast more than I was expecting. With so few episodes left to go, could there have been a better time to fly off on such a tangent?
I have a corollary to an earlier observation I had about the early seasons of the Columbo revival having several well-established TV writers who hadn’t written for Columbo before: For at least the first two seasons, the staff was actually putting an effort into producing a good show, as opposed to “Hey, look! It’s Columbo.” When the former MacMillan & Wife producer (Jon something) died and Peter Falk became the sole executive producer (with no Philip Saltzman or Stanley Kallis), the show became more of a trip down Memory Lane.
Five wildly divergent choices for the James Read role if “Uneasy Lies the Crown” had been produced in ’73:
Peter Brown (Laredo, Foxy Brown)
Gary Collins (The Sixth Sense)
Robert Foxworth (The Storefront Lawyers)
Bradford Dillman (“The Greenhouse Jungle”)
Chris Robinson (General Hospital)
Robert Wagner (It Takes a Thief, Switch)
Bonus: Barry Nelson (The Shining) in the Paul Burke role.
One more possibility for the James Read role if this had been produced during the original run of the series: James Drury.
You could start your own Tumblr purely on pop culture things that are fictional in the Columbo universe. Jaws comes to mind from “Fade into Murder.” So something’s that fictional in a fiction piece is actually real, right? It’s a matter/anti-matter thing.
I’m already having an anxiety attack.
“Uneasy Lies the Crown” was surprisingly not-awful, and the podcast episode was a lot of fun. I was worried that the last few episodes would be a death march of bad television, but not so.
Coincidentally, I just had a crown put on one of my molars the same week this was the subject. I know, it’s fascinating.
Just for completeness’ sake, I checked Archive of Our Own for Columbo, and here’s what I came up with:
7 casefics (essentially a fan-written episode of the show).
4 mega-crossovers where the author just put a bunch of their favourite characters and settings together and Columbo is one of them (with a special mention to “trans grand-aunt Rose Columbo”).
7 crossovers between Columbo and one or two other properties. In no particular order: Dragnet, Life on Mars (UK), Due South, Narnia, Vampire: the Masquerade, and BBC Sherlock except with two guys from Supernatural as Sherlock and Watson. Some of these are incredibly short (the Narnia crossover is one chapter of work titled “Crossovers in three sentences”). Special mention to the Princess Bride crossover that just establishes that Columbo is the grandpa, and muses on his ability to tell “stories”. That’s it, that’s the fic.
Aaand a Lt. Columbo/Sgt. Wilson slashfic. Set specifically in the aftermath of Season 2 Episode 2 episode, “The Greenhouse Jungle.” (JOMT episode 56!)