Cash is the Pay Off
Tommy Brown (Johnny Cash) has never hid the fact that he was inside when he performs his songs for audiences all around the country but he still finds himself being controlled by his religious wife Edna Basket (Ida Lupino) who controls him with blackmail over his dalliances with young girls in motel rooms. Having had enough Tommy kills his wife by parachuting out of the small aircraft he flies and letting her crash to his death. But whilst the flight investigator reckons it is just another case of pilot error Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) immediately spots some inconsistencies and finds himself dealing with the quite brash Tommy as he sets out to prove it was no accident.
This episode of "Columbo" goes out to all those watchers who are a fan of Johnny Cash as not only does he act but he sings as well. That my friends is the selling point when it comes to "Columbo: Swan Song" as this is one of those episodes which is all about the guests and in particular Johnny Cash playing a murderer. Oh there are typically some other familiar faces in supporting roles such as Ida Lupino but it is really Johnny Cash who is the star of this episode. And this is most certainly the case when it comes to how this episode plays out with Tommy Brown saying he would probably have turned himself in as he couldn't handle the guilt.
Now beyond the casting of Johnny Cash "Columbo: Swan Song" is one of those episodes which is on the lighter side as Columbo acts the fool a bit to play Tommy Brown in to making a slip up rather than actually finding the evidence to prove someone's guilt. As such it is all pretty familiar and pretty routine but with Peter Falk in an extremely relaxed mood with his performance with plenty of emphasis on Columbo's quirky manners.
What this all boils down to is that for me "Columbo: Swan Song" is just a routine Columbo to me due to the routine nature of Columbo going about his business. But for fans of Johnny Cash this one will be a whole lot more entertaining just because it stars him.