Double Shock tries to deliver twice the mystery, but it doesn't quite realize its full potential. Lt. Columbo's case against local culinary show host Dexter Paris for killing his rich uncle gets complicated when he learns that Dexter has an identical twin brother who could also be the killer. Martin Landau pulls double duty, playing identical twins; however he tries a bit too hard to distinguish the characters from each other. Julie Newmar also stars, and gives a strong supporting performance. Still, the directing is poor and unfocused, and weakens the film. Though overall it's a little underwhelming, Double Shock does have an intriguing mystery and some clever twists.
This episode is one of my favorites, even though the plot is actually a bit weak - it relies too much on the unlikelihood of the warring twins co-operating. But in Columbo, it's all about the dialog; those conversations where Columbo toys, catlike, with his suspect. In Double Shock the twin angle adds a twist to the usual dialog, as the twins are constantly pointing the finger at each other. Martin Landau is an excellent guest star, and he manages to differentiate the twin brothers quite well, especially in the scene where Dexter imitates Norman.
The supporting cast is rather strong: Tim O'Connor as the lawyer was a bit of a surprise, in his rather unethical conduct being prepared to cover up Clifford's will. Jeanette Nolan is quite fun, she unwittingly provides the crucial evidence in the case (due to the interruption of her TV program), and her animosity towards Columbo allows him to show a different side to his character, as he tries to patch up their relationship and shows a more sensitive side.
Just one more thing... How does Columbo ever get a conviction? Seriously, at the end of this episode, what evidence does he actually have against the brothers? Admittedly he proved they could have done it, but where is the evidence that they actually did? Of course, the mystery plot is not quite the point in Columbo, but still the weakness of the resolution detracts from this epsiode, when compared to other season 2 epsiodes like Requiem for a Falling Star and The Greenhouse Jungle.
Martin Landau plays feuding twin brothers who kill their uncle to gain access to his inheritance. Julie Newmar puts in a rather sexy performance as the dead-man's bride to be. Dabney Coleman plays the straight man detective to Columbo.
"You must belong in some pig stye," says Mrs. Peck, the housekeeper in the Paris home, when Columbo drops cigar ashes on her precious floor. Columbo's spats with Mrs. Peck (Jeanette Nolan) are hilarious and jarring. Her outbursts show more anger than you'll see out of any murderer or from Columbo himself in the whole series.
Columbo does some excellent sleuthing here, but the comedy in this show is what makes it special. Scenes with Julie Newmar are also very funny. The show is from the second season. The story was written by the Columbo master, Jackson Gillis. Comedy has always been central to Columbo and the older episodes did it so well.
Landau as the twins is sufficiently evil and confusing.
This is another good Columbo-episode.
Double Shock is one of the many good Columbo episodes which reaches the level of a good movie.
It has all the elements we like in the Columbo episodes. We get the laugh when Columbo makes something clumsy, and it happens more than once in Double Shock. I can almost guarantee that you will laugh several times if you decide to watch this episode.
We also get the riddle as usual with an almost perfect murder, but something about the murder troubles Columbo. The end is the usual, we get the story about how Columbo solved the mystery.
Please read the following before uploading
Do not upload anything which you do not own or are fully licensed to upload. The images should not contain any sexually explicit content, race hatred material or other offensive symbols or images. Remember: Abuse of the TV.com image system may result in you being banned from uploading images or from the entire site – so, play nice and respect the rules!