Peter Falk in Columbo: Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo (1990)

A Funeral & Flashbacks

When her husband died from a heart attack in prison Vivian Dimitri (Helen Shaver) has always planned to make those she felt responsible pay for what they did. But whilst she sets out to murder her colleague who she knows snitched on her husband leading to his arrest she also plans to make the cop who put him away suffer. That cop happens to be Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) and she plans to murder Mrs. Columbo so that he can feel every day the loss she has felt for the last decade. But when Columbo is called in to investigate the murder of her colleague his suspicions are promptly aroused as he notices her interest is Mrs. Columbo.

Well you have to give the guys who wrote for "Columbo" credit because "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo" is certainly a bit different to the norm with Columbo himself and his wife the subject of an unhinged woman's revenge. It isn't just the idea of someone targeting Mr. & Mrs. Columbo as the whole set up has a bit of a different feel to it with scenes at a funeral leading to flashbacks. The thing is that whilst I like the idea of someone seeking revenge on Columbo the whole funeral and flashback set up didn't appeal to me especially as during the funeral we hear the inner thoughts of Vivian.

Helen Shaver in Columbo: Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo (1990)

But truth be told if you look past the whole funeral & flashback set up then "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo" has all the usual ingredients starting with Vivian's careful murder of her colleague, giving herself an alibi which of course the ramshackle Lieutenant automatically questions. As such we see Columbo doing his usual which means getting on a few people's nerves with his mannerisms when it comes to asking questions whilst also being a charmer when it comes to women. But what we also see is his growing realisation that Vivian is taking a bit too much of an interest in to his life and that of his wife. Now of course we have her evil plans and of course the funeral but not for a minute do you think that she has out smarted the lieutenant and as such it is more a case of wondering when he is going to spring his trap.

In truth the whole funeral and flashback thing is not the only thing in "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo" which didn't quite work for me and sadly Helen Shaver's accent just didn't sit comfortably with me as it felt like it was forced. Despite that she plays her part well as does Ian McShane who gets to play up the exasperation of having to deal with the bumbling lieutenant shuffling all over a putting green.

What this all boils down to is that "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo" has some plus points but also sadly some negative points which means whilst it is likely to entertain in the usual playful manner some elements might end up grating on you a little.