Columbo Courts a Criminal
Lauren Staton (Faye Dunaway) and Lisa Martin (Claudia Christian) have various things in common, one of which is that they have been dating the same man, two-timing lothario Nick Franco. Another thing they have in common is that working together they lure him to his apartment and murder him with Lauren shooting him dead. Of course murder brings Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) to the scene and is immediately taken with the beautiful Lauren who spotting that Columbo likes her plays on it by flirting with him. But of course Columbo ever professional smells a rat when it comes the evidence at the crime scene and why someone as beautiful as Lauren would be flirting with him.
"Columbo: It's All in the Game" is one of those episodes which seems pretty normal as on one hand we have a murder and of course Columbo doing his usual of investigating in his own manner much to the frustration of everyone from those he questions to the detectives he works with. And as such there is a certain amount of Columbo comedy going on with Peter Falk turning it on when it comes to his facial expressions and reactions to others with an almost sarcastic pleasantness.
But what we have in "Columbo: It's All in the Game" is an extra two things. Firstly Columbo, who has always had an eye for an attractive lady, finds an attractive lady flirting with him, buying him gifts and even kissing him. And this is so much fun because whilst Columbo is flattered and plays along with things he is made suspicious as to why such an attractive woman would flirt with him. But we then wonder what the relationship is between Lauren and Lisa as they are extremely close, but in what way? And between the mystery of their relationship and the flirting it is enough to keep this Columbo TV movie entertaining.
Now a big part of that comes down to the casting of Faye Dunaway as she works brilliantly with Peter Falk, at times almost devouring him with her attention. But the playful nature which Peter Falk gives Columbo around Lauren is such a joy and you get a sense that Falk and Dunaway genuinely had a lot of fun with all the flirting scenes.
What this all boils down to is that "Columbo: It's All in the Game" is undoubtedly an entertaining episode of Columbo and much of that comes down to the job of watching Columbo getting flirted with. But it also comes down to the brilliant chemistry which Peter Falk and Faye Dunaway have.