Written in a Rush

Peter Falk in Columbo: Murder in Malibu (1990)

Whilst she's always said that her characters are not based on anyone she knows, romance novelist Teresa Goren (Janet Margolin) admits in a TV interview that maybe one of her characters is based on the handsome man she has been dating, Wayne Jennings (Andrew Stevens). What Teresa doesn't know is that Wayne is a no good womaniser who had been dating her just to get his hands on her fortune. When Teresa is found murdered Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) suspects Wayne even when some evidence shows up to supposedly clear him of any involvement. Choosing to tail Wayne he soon spots him getting friendly with Teresa's sister.

It has to be said that whilst Peter Falk showed up for "Columbo: Murder in Malibu" I do wonder whether the rest of the cast and crew realised that they were making a "Columbo" TV movie. I say this because out of the 69 episodes and TV movies which made up Peter Falk's time as Columbo this has to be one of the most disappointing, but disappointing for being so uninteresting.

Now I must admit I enjoy the familiarity of watching either an episode of Columbo or a later TV Movie and part of that familiarity comes from the strong cast and characters around Peter Falk for him to bounce off of. Unfortunately in "Columbo: Murder in Malibu" the supporting cast struggle to make their characters work and at the same time seem incapable of providing what Peter Falk needed for Columbo to have great interactions with those he suspects and questions. Sadly the worst of these is Andrew Stevens as Wayne Jennings who seemed out of his depth playing a bad guy in this, although if you put his performance in an 80s soap opera it would have been acceptable.

Now there are some twists to "Columbo: Murder in Malibu" but I am not going to reveal them as to be honest they were pretty under whelming. In fact the most entertaining that this Columbo TV movie gets is watching Peter Falk bring out Columbo's sharp eyed nature when seeing the inconsistencies that other cops and detectives don't such as why would a robber who can break into a safe with ease smash a window to get in when the lock was a standard one.

What this all boils down to is that as I always say, even a poor Columbo is entertaining and "Columbo: Murder in Malibu" despite not being great is still entertaining. But this is one of the weakest episodes/TV movies in the series and the weakness comes mainly from the poor supporting cast's performances.

Movie Recommendations

Columbo: Murder Under Glass

Columbo: Murder Under Glass (1978)

Famous food critic Paul Gerard (Louis Jourdan) is not all he appears to be ...

Columbo: Lovely But Lethal

Columbo: Lovely But Lethal (1973)

Viveca Scott's (Vera Miles) cosmetics empire is starting to flag and her lo ...

Columbo: Lady in Waiting

Columbo: Lady in Waiting (1971)

All her life Beth Chadwick (Susan Clark - Coogan's Bluff) has had to deal w ...

Columbo Cries Wolf

Columbo Cries Wolf (1990)

Business woman Dian Hunter (Deidre Hall) has decided to sell her shares in ...

Columbo: Fade in to Murder

Columbo: Fade in to Murder (1976)

Ward Fowler (William Shatner) plays Detective Lucerne on a popular TV show ...

Columbo: The Most Crucial Game

Columbo: The Most Crucial Game (1972)

Paul Hanlon (Robert Culp) has worked hard for Eric Wagner (Dean Stockwell) ...

Columbo: The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case

Columbo: The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case (1977)

Oliver Brandt (Theodore Bikel) and Bertie Hastings (Sorrell Booke) have bee ...

Columbo: Swan Song

Columbo: Swan Song (1974)

Tommy Brown (Johnny Cash) has never hid the fact that he was inside when he ...

Columbo: Suitable for Framing

Columbo: Suitable for Framing (1971)

When renowned art collector Rudy Matthews (Robert Shayne) is murdered the m ...

Columbo: Strange Bedfellows

Columbo: Strange Bedfellows (1995)

Race horse owner Graham McVeigh (George Wendt) has had enough of his younge ...

Prescription: Murder

Prescription: Murder (1968)

Psychiatrist, Dr. Ray Flemming (Gene Barry) may be married to Carol (Nina F ...

Columbo Goes to College

Columbo Goes to College (1990)

Cooper Redman (Gary Hershberger) is already in enough trouble with his fath ...

Columbo: A Friend in Deed

Columbo: A Friend in Deed (1974)

When Hugh Caldwell (Michael McGuire) kills his cheating wife he goes to his ...

Columbo: A Matter of Honor

Columbo: A Matter of Honor (1976)

When Curro Rangel (A Martinez) is almost killed by a bull his father Hector ...

Columbo: A Stitch in Crime

Columbo: A Stitch in Crime (1973)

Having worked on a way to prevent transplant rejection Dr. Barry Mayfield ( ...

Follow The Movie Scene

Follow The Movie Scene on Twitter Like The Movie Scene on facebook Join The Movie Scene on Gplus Subscribe to The Movie Scene's RSS