When Dick Van Dyke started on "Diagnosis Murder" in 1993, he had had plenty of practice in the genre. He was the first killer brought down by "Matlock," and in this all-time classic episode, he is brought to justice by "Columbo."
Van Dyke has a reputation of playing lovable characters ("Mary Poppins," "Bye Bye Birdy," even Mark Sloan on "DM") but one tends to forget what a strong actor he is, and the menace he can convey. Here we have a man who not only kills his wife, but dupes and kills an ex-con to take the fall for it. Fortunately, Columbo is on the case.
Highlights of this one: the driving lesson with Falk, DVD's stern warnings to Columbo to stay out (not unlike Richard Kiley in "A Friend in Need") and the denouement, which may be the best the series has ever done. "Were you a witness to what he just did?"
I find it much better when the murderer is a real SOB...it makes their fate so much more entertaining. Dick Van Dyke as Paul Galesco certainly qualifies as one of the meanest murderers ever taken down by Lt. Columbo.