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PETER FALK IN 'COLUMBO CRIES WOLF' WITH REBECCA STAAB

year: 1990 cast: Peter Falk, Ian Buchanan, Rebecca Staab rating: ****
If every COLUMBO episode can be judged upon how conceited and prosperous, and downright horrendously in-your-face lucky the villain is, you can chalk this up as one of the best...

That is, of the latter episodes made during the 1990's wherein Peter Falk is an older, scruffier Columbo, still feigning naivete with his ruffled trench coat and even wearier eyes, not even having to act the way he seems and looks being older: yet he's still always thinking...
Rebecca Staab as Tina in COLUMBO CRIES WOLF
Herein 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!).

Enter Billy Zane lookalike (with a touch of Peter Gallagher) Ian Buchanan is the haughty, sophisticated Sean Brantly, more suave and egotistical than most of the seedy rich jerks Columbo deals with...
Rebecca Staab as Tina in COLUMBO CRIES WOLF
His trophy model girlfriend Tina is played by the outrageously gorgeous Rebecca Staab, who is constantly at his side, and oh does he flaunt her but good... And as any Columbo fan knows, the prettier the moll, the more audiences want the baddie to be busted... It just works that way, somehow... Class envy, in spades...

But here, Columbo doesn't balk... in his usual "One More Thing" fashion as he sticks to the duo. Although, this particular case isn't a homicide. Brantly's partner, a beautiful but slightly older blond-haired woman, goes missing... after having threatened to sell the company from under him... and her body can't be found.
Ian Buchanan with Rebecca Staab in COLUMBO CRIES WOLF
Set in the a bogus Playboy Mansion there are obviously lots of beautiful women (though none equally Staab's Tina, which is why she's the main girl) and best of all, Columbo meandering around a setting that doesn't become him, and where he sticks out like a broken thumb: Leading to a good twist that occurs before the conclusion, which eventually provides a very clever "Gotcha" at the very end.

What makes Rebecca Staab the best of the beautiful villain's molls, other than her great looks, is the fact she's somewhat aware of her man's... dishonesty, but not enough for Columbo to nab her too. She's way too lovely to be put away, after all.
Peter Falk with Rebecca Staab in COLUMBO CRIES WOLF
Ian Buchanan with Rebecca Staab in COLUMBO CRIES WOLF
Peter Falk with Rebecca Staab in COLUMBO CRIES WOLF
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