William Shatner makes his first appearance as a "Columbo" killer in a case that pits the lieutenant against a fictional counterpart. The killer's plan in this one is ingenious, really, and it's a good mark for the writers to incorporate recent and new technological innovations into their stories. Of course, Columbo doesn't need to figure out how Ward Fowler rigged up his primitive VCR to make an alibi. He can smell a rat before it even gets to that point. The interplay between Peter Falk and Shatner is great, and it's funny to see Columbo really get under Fowler's skin. Even Fowler calls him on it when he says, "why don't we stop pretending that I'm brilliant and you're stupid" or something to that effect. Though it gets a little hokey with Shatner referring to himself in the third person (though, Shatner and hokey kind of go hand-in-hand) it is a strong outing with a neat denouement and a "star struck" performance from Falk.
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