Peter Falk in Columbo Goes to College (1990)

A College Admission

Cooper Redman (Gary Hershberger) is already in enough trouble with his father and certainly doesn't need anymore, neither does his friend Justin (Stephen Caffrey). So when Professor of criminology D.E. Rusk (James Sutorius) learns that they stole a test so they could cheat the duo decide to eliminate their problem before it gets to be a real problem. During a guest lecture by Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) Prof. Rusk goes in to the parking lot where he is shot dead only to be discovered later on. With Columbo already on the scene he starts investigating with members of the class coming up with their own ideas including Cooper and Justin who think they are smarter than Columbo who they think is an inept little man.

When you think about it, it is kind of amazing how popular the "Columbo" series was and how with out Peter Falk it really was nothing. What I mean is in all the episodes/ TV movies which I have watched we get told who the killer was right at the start; we even get hints at how the murder was pulled off. As such for the rest of each episode/ TV movie it ends up about Peter Falk being Columbo as he slowly works out who the killer was and how the murder happened when it wasn't always simple. How many movies would work on this formula and then manage to do a sequel with exactly the same formula. As I said it is very much down to Peter Falk for why "Columbo" worked.

Gary Hershberger and Stephen Caffrey in Columbo Goes to College (1990)

And it is very much the same when it comes to "Columbo Goes to College" as whilst there are some familiar faces in the cast such as Alan Fudge and Robert Culp this lacks something those old episodes from the 70s had. Yes there was some mystery surrounding how these two students pulled off the murder but it actually feels a little too familiar and as such it relies even more on Peter Falk giving up the full Columbo to keep us entertained from his quirks, mannerisms and general look which at times looks so world weary it borders on appearing hung-over.

What this all boils down to is that thanks to Peter Falk "Columbo Goes to College" is entertaining but it is an ordinary episode/ TV movie with it feeling a little like it was more of an opportunity to blood some young actors and see if they had star potential.