Susan Clark, Leslie Nielsen and Peter Falk in Columbo: Lady in Waiting (1971)

From the Files of Columbo

All her life Beth Chadwick (Susan Clark - Coogan's Bluff) has had to deal with the men of her family trying to control her, first her father and then her brother Bryce (Richard Anderson - Ride to Hangman's Tree) who took over the family business. When Bryce threatens to sack Peter Hamilton (Leslie Nielsen - Gunfight in Abilene) because he has been dating Beth she has enough and stages it so she can murder her brother and make it appear like it was an accident even if things don't go exactly how she imagined they would. But the sniffer dog in a raincoat, Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk - Columbo: Suitable for Framing) is assigned the case and immediately finds things all a bit too curious and starts digging deeper.

Another episode of "Columbo" and like with many "Columbo: Lady in Waiting" is now often shown as a TV movie here in the UK. Now I have already mentioned that "Columbo" like many a TV detective franchise had a formula and "Columbo: Lady in Waiting" is for the most no different as we have a murder and then watch Lt. Columbo slowly picking away at the evidence and Beth's story until he finally finds the crack and the evidence to support his suspicions that the murder was intentional rather than accidental.

Richard Anderson in Columbo: Lady in Waiting (1971)

But where "Columbo: Lady in Waiting" differs in the set up is we have Beth being a woman controlled by the men of her family all her life until she has enough and snaps. But she snaps in a calculated manner as she plots the murder and then when it doesn't go as she planned still manipulates the situation to fit to her plan. But more importantly what we get is a character that evolves, that goes from being put upon to becoming controlling and nasty, making us turn from feeling sympathy for her to disliking her. It is this on top of the usual Lt. Columbo antics and solid performance from Peter Falk which makes "Columbo: Lady in Waiting" another enjoyable episode.

What this all boils down to is that "Columbo: Lady in Waiting" is another engaging episode/ TV movie and one which manages to deliver the typical aspects you expect but then still add a new layer with a character evolving from being sympathetic to unlikeable.