Columbo's Turning Over a New Greenleaf

Peter Falk and Jack Cassidy in Columbo: Publish or Perish (1974)

Publisher Riley Greenleaf (Jack Cassidy) knows how much writer Alan Mallory (Mickey Spillane) means to his company and when the successful writer decides he is going with another publisher Greenleaf refuses to let him go, threatening to kill him if he leaves. It is then that Greenleaf hires Vietnam Vet Eddie Kane (John Davis Chandler) to murder Alan but leave evidence which makes it seem that Greenleaf had done it but of course has an airtight alibi. But Greenleaf doesn't bank on the persistent nature of Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) who when he spots something which doesn't add up can't let it go.

It is strange watching "Columbo: Publish or Perish" when the previous Columbo I watched was one from 2001 where the focus was on being light entertainment rather than a tightly plotted crime story. The two are like chalk n cheese and to be honest whilst rarely did a "Columbo" episode disappoint I tend to prefer the lighter entertainment of those later TV movies than the tightly plotted drama of those earlier episodes.

Mariette Hartley in Columbo: Publish or Perish (1974)

Now it has to be said that "Columbo: Publish or Perish" is certainly tightly plotted with a crime which has various significant details, a double cross and an alibi just as detailed with Greenleaf not only making sure people saw him at the time of the murder but ending up in a police drunk tank for the night. The thing though about "Columbo: Publish or Perish" comes down to actor Jack Cassidy because his acting style could be described as Marmite, you either like it or loathe it and to be honest whilst Cassidy was a very good actor I never warmed to him especially when he played bad guys. It is because of this "Columbo: Publish or Perish" doesn't entertain me as much as it does others as every time Cassidy delivers a line he does so with too many mannerisms it is as if he couldn't just deliver a line, he had to give it a visual flourish.

What this all boils down to is that "Columbo: Publish or Perish" is a typical 70's style episode of "Columbo" with the attention firmly on the detail and the plot. But for me I just didn't enjoy the performance of Jack Cassidy as much as others seem to have.

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