If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably gathered I’m a big fan of mystery stories. One of my favourite detectives is Lieutenant Columbo played by Peter Falk. All of the made for TV movies are available on DVD from the original 1.5 hr. shows done for the rotation mysteries that included MacLeod, Name of the Game, MacMillan & Wife, and Columbo. Then there were the 2-hr movies also made for TV that finished in 2003. When Columbo debuted in 1968, it broke new ground; movie viewers had never before known who had committed the murder until the detective was able to solve the case. With Columbo, viewers saw the murder and exactly how it was done and then followed this unassuming homicide detective in the rumpled raincoat, dilapidated foreign car, and more often than not with his unlit cigar, as he shuffled his way through a field of suspects and clues. Appearing to be simple and clumsy, Columbo uses his dogged determination and obsession with details to prove his case. There’s always just ‘one more thing’. Generally, he admits that something at the very beginning of the case convinced him of the murderer and the little details (somewhat like the little gray cells of Poirot) niggle away at him until everything falls into place.
I’ve been watching the 1994-2003 set since getting home from my dad’s. Last night I watched Strange Bedfellows (disc 2, movie 1). This stars George Wendt as a corrupt horse breeder who decides to rid himself of his younger brother, a wastrel in great debt to the mafia. He comes up with a plan to stiff the mafia (who are planning to make back the boy’s debts in a fixed race) by making his horse lose, then blaming them for his brother’s death and claim self-defense when he shoots the restaurateur who holds the markers. Columbo teams up with the mafia boss to find the murder weapon and clinch the case. (I won’t tell how; it’s hilarious!) The best part, though, and I can’t believe I never noticed it when I’d seen it before, was when Wendt shoots his brother who is in the driver’s seat of his car, walks around to the trunk, opens it, and pulls out a folding bicycle exactly like mine!! Hah!! I laughed out loud!! How cool is that!! Now Wendt is a pretty large guy and this is a pretty small bike (as kids along my bike route occasionally point out) so the very idea of him riding it is really off the wall. Anyway, if you love great mysteries and haven’t watched Columbo (or haven’t watched him recently) you should really watch some of them. You can buy them in small sets over time or now you can get the complete set. You’ll be hooked!