Columbo Lands a Landau

Martin Landau and Jeanette Nolan in Columbo: Double Shock (1973)

On the eve of his wedding to Lisa (Julie Newmar), Clifford Paris (Paul Stewart) gets a visit from his nephew Dexter (Martin Landau) a Chef who as he tells his uncle is not on speaking terms with his twin brother Norman (Martin Landau), a banker. But when Dexter returns he does so and drops a kitchen blender into the bath his uncle is bathing in, killing him by electric shock before taking his body to the gym room where he slumps his body on an exercise bike. When Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) shows up he is not convinced that Clifford's death was natural causes especially as Dexter and Norman would be in line to inherit everything as long as when he died he wasn't married.

"Columbo: Double Shock" is the second episode of Columbo I have watched and reviewed today, not something I usually do but the previous episode had surprisingly disappointed me due to a guest actors constant over acting. Fortunately that is not the case in "Columbo: Double Shock" as not only does this episode feature Julie Newmar, Paul Stewart and Dabney Coleman but also Martin Landau pulling double duty as twins and filling both characters with energy and humour. It is exactly what an episode of Columbo needs and Landau makes this episode thanks to the performances.

Peter Falk and Dabney Coleman in Columbo: Double Shock (1973)

Of course there is no small matter of who the killer is because whilst we appear to see Dexter return to drop a blender in the bath the question is could it have been Norman. But wait with the brothers not getting on and making a big thing of their dislike for each other could it be that in truth they were in cahoots especially as they both would benefit from the death of their uncle before he married. As such "Columbo: Double Shock" keeps you guessing as to which twin done it and Peter Falk has fun playing up to the situation as he finds himself with double trouble on his hands. Not only that but Columbo finds himself confronted by Mrs. Peck, played by Jeanette Nolan, a fiery housekeeper who takes a dislike to Columbo, calling him a bum for dropping ash on the floor.

What this all boils down to is that after enduring a poor episode of "Columbo", "Columbo: Double Shock" was the pick me up I needed with it delivering the energy, humour, mystery and performances which you expect from an episode with Martin Landau making this episode with his double role.

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