A Criminal Change for Columbo

Peter Falk in Columbo: No Time to Die (1992)

Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) is off duty as it is the wedding of his nephew, Detective Andy Parma (Thomas Calabro) to the beautiful Melissa (Joanna Going) and whilst Mrs. Columbo is away in Chicago he won't miss the wedding. But before he leaves the wedding reception Andy calls him up to the honeymoon suite where he and his new wife had gone a short while earlier. It seems that whilst Andy was taking a shower Melissa disappeared, presumed kidnapped and now Columbo is going to have to try and solve the mystery whilst trying to keep his upset nephew calm.

I am sure if you are a chef and you have an incredibly popular dish which you have made the same way for years you would once in a while try to change things just to see if it is an improvement. It is why I can kind of understand why when it came to "Columbo: No Time to Die" we ended up with something which was different to the usual formula of "Columbo" as I am sure those involved fancied trying something different. Although it has to be said that the older I get the more familiar I like things and as such "Columbo: No Time to Die" did not entertain me as much as the usual formula driven episodes did and still do.

Now "Columbo: No Time to Die" is not difficult to follow as we open with the wedding where we meet various people who become suspects. Then after Melissa is kidnapped we mainly follow Columbo as he talks to various people who know Melissa and who are at the hotel, trying to piece together what happened, who could have done it and why. Unfortunately whilst it serves up more mystery than your usual "Columbo" it doesn't offer up as much of the usual fun with Peter Falk not delivering the usual semi-absent minded performance. Frankly it just doesn't feel right for a Columbo and it almost makes me wonder whether they were short of a script so tried to use one destined for another crime show.

What this all boils down to is that "Columbo: No Time to Die" isn't actually that bad and it certainly allowed Peter Falk chance to try and do something a little different with the character. But sadly it isn't as good as one of the usual formula driven episodes/TV movies because it doesn't deliver many of the trademark elements you expect to get from an episode of Columbo.

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