Peter Falk in Columbo: Grand Deceptions (1989)

Columbo's General Investigation

Having headed up a foundation General Paget (Stephen Elliott) employs Colonel Frank Brailie (Robert Foxworth) as his right hand man to run operations. The thing is that not only is Frank dipping his hand in the foundations money to fund illegal arms deals he is also having an affair with the General's wife, Jenny (Janet Eilber). When the general becomes suspicious and privately requests Sergeant Keegan (Andy Romano) to see what he can find on Frank the sergeant chooses to try and blackmail Frank over his diverting of money and the affair. The blackmail doesn't work and Keegan ends up murdered by Frank who thinks he has pulled off the perfect crime, that is until Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) is called in to investigate.

There were so many episodes of "Columbo" made over the years that you have to expect that some of those episodes and TV movies would end up being disappointing for being frankly ordinary. That is the problem with "Columbo: Grand Deceptions" as whilst this follows the classic "Columbo" formula of someone committing what they see is the perfect murder and then the lieutenant working on a hunch and picking away at things till he solves the case there is nothing to make it stand out from the crowd. In truth the whole storyline of blackmail and murder is quite ordinary with the whole military element ending up not that important.

In truth at times "Columbo: Grand Deceptions" feels a little weak as the humour of Columbo doing his thing doesn't always work whilst other gags feel forced. And then there is the case of the cast and whilst there are familiar faces such as Robert Foxworth and Andy Romano they don't have that same level of celebrity that you use to get in "Columbo" when you would have stars like Vera Miles appearing.

What this all boils down to is in truth "Columbo: Grand Deceptions" is a perfectly passable Columbo TV movie but you expect more from Columbo than perfect passable and as such this is actually a little disappointing.