Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a TV Show review.
Prescription: Murder is the first of the Pilot episodes of the American Television police-drama series Columbo that starred Peter Falk in the title role and first aired on February 20th 1968.
Columbo is a homicide detective with Los Angeles Police Department. Each episode is movie-length in this series. The show had aired on NBC during 1971 thru 1978 as one of the rotating programs of The NBC Mystery Movie and later on ABC from 1989 thru 2003 less frequently. The beauty of the series was that the viewer already knows who is the murderer, how the murder happened and why. But it's how Columbo unravels the crime and traps the killer is the charm that attracts the viewer. This is by far my favorite detective series as I personally feel that Columbo had set a new bar for police detection and for the law to curb the crime.
Although a myriad of actors had portrayed Columbo prior to Peter Falk, he has immortalized the character - with the famous rumpled beige raincoat, his cigar, his knack to forget things, his persistent nature annoying the killers, his immense ability to trap the killer cleverly and above all the famous saying "just one more thing". You know you are seeing the killer if Columbo ends the conversation with that person in that phrase. Typically Columbo appears on the screen almost after 30 to 40 minutes into the episode and then he goes on to solve the crime and shows the viewer how to catch thekillers.
In this particular episode, Columbo is pitted against a psychiatrist Dr. Ray Flemming (portrayed by Gene Barry) who murders his wife Carol Flemming (portrayed by Nina Foch) with help of his mistress Joan Hudson (portrayed by Katherin Justice) - who also happens to be his patient and an actress. Columbo doesn’t appear in the episode until 30 minutes into the plot.
As perfect as Ray plans his wife's murder, Columbo finds subtle idiosyncrasies that perhaps another detective would have overlooked. And these minor ones in the end become the noose around Ray's neck.
William Windom portrays the role of Burt Gordon, a prosecutor as well as friends with the Flemmings. I remember him as Dr. Seth Hazlitt on the CBS series Murder, She Wrote.
A typical cat and mouse chase, and here with a psychiatrist involved, the chase becomes as intense. With that Columbo set a bar so high that the modern crime series on TV still look back to his methods when needed. A series and an episode that always charms you.