Leslie Nielson is looking about in the cupboards of a hotel. Patrick McGoohan is talking on a phone elsewhere. Leslie Nielson’s shirt is unbuttoned to the navel. Patrick and Leslie talk on the phone in code (or ‘nonsense’). They arrange a clandestine meeting in an amusement park. At this point I begin to suspect they are spies. McGoohan walks around with a giant stuffed panda whilst Nielson fails to button up his shirt. Later, after receiving a broken poker chip, Nielson meets McGoohan on the beach and McGoohan hits him with a crowbar.
Columbo shows up at 12 minutes and 37 seconds and is confused yet somehow manages to follow the trail to the amusement park. He examines photographs there. He also has his photo taken and made into a badge which he then wears. In case you didn’t catch that Columbo wears a giant badge of his own face. No words can capture my delight. Columbo knows he has to find a shifty spy called Melville Steinmetz, who is clearly just Patrick McGoohan is a luxuriant wig. Columbo discovers this when he finds a bald picture of McGoohan and draws a magnificent head of hair on it, top detective work. The columboid: China didn’t pull out of the Olympics until the day after the murder!
Things we learn about Columbo: his wife would like a giant stuffed panda but if he was standing on the dock he couldn’t hit the water, his dog is called Dog, he met a fellow in the park with a pool so his dog goes swimming there every morning, his wife likes Beethoven and Mozart but listens to ‘rock’ when their nieces come over, sometimes Columbo forgets his own telephone number.
During this episode I loved Columbo with all my heart.