Thirty-five years after audiences got their first glimpse of Columbo, the rumpled LAPD lieutenant has just one more thing to prove: Can he compete on a TV schedule seemingly bound together by crime-scene tape?
ABC is hoping so, as it airs a new installment of the mystery tonight at 8: "Columbo Likes the Nightlife." (No, Peter Falk doesn't got to boogie on the disco 'round.)
Compared with series such as CBS' "CSI" duo and NBC's "Crossing Jordan" and ubiquitous "Law & Order" permutations, the Columbo franchise seems downright quaint. Yet it still entertains.
Tonight's two-hour movie, though set amid the L.A. rave scene, isn't much different from its predecessors: We see the crime occur and therefore know who's guilty. We see Lt. Columbo arrive on the case, flummoxing the uniformed police with his eccentric powers of observation. And we know that, in the end, he will collar the killer in an Agatha Christie-like moment of deduction.