November 27, 2011

Columbo: Try And Catch Me - A Masterpiece of Mystery

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I first heard of TV series Columbo was almost 15 years ago, when I was a student watching the movie "Wings of Desire" in graduate writing class. Professor mentioned that one of actors in the movie - Peter Falk also played Lieutenant Columbo in TV series of Columbo. I did not pay much attention untill 15 years later, when I finally started watching this show, and found it incredible. I actually have to rand this show as my #1 personal favorite mystery TV show (I like it even slightly better than Hitcock Presents. )

The episode I just watched is Try and Catch Me, with Ruth Gordon as killer - a well known wealthy mystery writer. I must say, while Peter Falk was just as good as usual (maybe even a little better), Gordon's performance is absolutely brilliant. She made the character so alive and pleasant, even though with a unthinkable murder she committed. Every conversation between murderer and lieutenant was witty and amusing, and how Columbo solve the puzzle at the end pushes the whole show to a breathtaking climax. It is truly an intelligent thriller! Without any bloody gruesome "special effects".

I have to agree with one of reviews of this show (from online), that the best part of Columbo is that from beginning of all episodes you "witnessed" the murders and know who are the killers, so the rest of show all your attention is channelled onto Columbo and the killers, watching how Columbo plays with them, and feeling tremendous satisfaction when Columbo - the seemingly slow-witted one - eventually outplays the bad ones - usually the arrogant hypocrites - and brings them to justice.

I enjoyed most of Columbo episodes I've watched, but this one - Try and Catch Me - renewed my passion to this TV show. I watched this episode twice with equal joy! Highly recommend for mystery fans!

P.S. just got the "news" that Peter Falk died in June of this year. R.I.P the best detective in history!
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  1. Yunyi, I assume these are reruns. I remember watching a few Colombo episodes when the show first aired and was charmed by Falk's performance. Ruth Gordon, by the way, is (was)a very distinguished theatrical actress who also appeared in a couple of notable movie roles. If you ever get a chance, see "Harold And Maude", a great cult favorite of mine.

  2. np, i watched it from internet, not tv. thanks for recommendation. i will certainly watch it.

  3. Did columbo let her off at the end of this episode?

  4. how strange a "Anonymous" post a comment that makes perfect sense?

    i don't think so, though i wondered too. after re-watched i think columbo did what he had to do.

  5. Thanks, I remember in a past episode where a dancer (Rose) was terminally ill and was suffering a neurological problem where she wasn't aware of murdering her husband, I think Colombo was going to waste two months investigating her friend, by which time she would have died, even though he knew that Rose had murdered him.

  6. I did not watch previous episode but it sounds so interesting! This show is indeed one of classics.

  7. true but i only discovered it a couple of months ago, the early ones are the best

  8. best episode and series - I agree (Ruth Gordon is such a sweetheart)