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COLUMBO CRIES WOLF

title: COLUMBO CRIES WOLF
year: 1990
cast: Peter Falk, Ian Buchanan, Rebecca Staab
rating: ***1/2

If every COLUMBO episode can be judged upon how conceited and prosperous the villain is, you can chalk this up as one of the best... at least of the latter episodes made during the 1990s revamp. Peter Falk is an older, scruffier Columbo, feigning naivete with his ruffled trench coat and even wearier eyes: yet he's always thinking. Here he deals with a playboy photographer and co-owner of a million dollar mansion that would make Hugh Hefner jealous... or at least concerned about the competition (or copyright!). Ian Buchanan is the haughty, sophisticated Sean Brantly, more suave and egotistical than most of the seedy rich jerks Columbo deals with. His trophy model girlfriend Tina, played by the gorgeous Rebecca Staab, is constantly at his side, and oh does he flaunt her but good. But Columbo doesn't balk... in his usual "One More Thing" fashion he sticks to the duo: yet this particular case isn't a homicide. Brantly's partner, a beautiful but slightly older blond woman, goes missing... after having threatened to sell the company from under him... and her body can't be found. Lots of beautiful women and best of all, Columbo meandering around a setting that doesn't become him: Leading to a good twist that occurs before the conclusion, which eventually provides a very clever "Gotcha" at the very end.
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