Columbo Gives Chase
Fielding Chase (William Shatner) is a radio talk show host who has his opinions and doesn't suffer those with different opinions. As such when one of his colleagues, Gerry Winters (Winters), tries to help Chase's daughter Victoria (Molly Hagan) escape her father's controlling ways by helping to get her book published Chase murders him but does so in such a way to provide himself with what he believes is an airtight alibi. But murder brings the dishevelled presence of Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) to the crime scene and once again his instincts make him think not all is as it seems.
He has a pencil moustache, a booming voice and threatens to kill you in front of a crowded room, William Shatner's performance as Fielding Chase is text book bad guy, some might say a little too text book as it is cheesy in places but definitely and intentionally text book. But do you know what, the entertainment factor of William Shatner playing the bad guy in "Columbo: Butterfly in Shades of Grey" is a joy for those who enjoy the more humorous Columbo movies. And do you know what rarely do you watch a TV show these days where you can hear and make out every word an actor says something you notice about William Shatner's performance in this as every word is crystal clear.
In truth it is William Shatner and the general over the top nature which makes "Columbo: Butterfly in Shades of Grey", you just have to look at his almost castle like residence to know this is not going to be a serious movie. But it works and whilst Peter Falk had greater chemistry with other actors the comedy of Falk giving us that humorous knowing element to Columbo whilst Shatner gives us a theatrical almost lyrical delivery it makes for plenty of fun moments.
But as "Columbo: Butterfly in Shades of Grey" is a guest orientated, humorous episode when it comes to Columbo solving the crime it is one which instead of coming together kinds of falls in to place. It doesn't make it bad but again for those who enjoyed the Columbo episodes of the early 70s where it was all about the crime solving this one may feel a little week.
What this all boils down to is that "Columbo: Butterfly in Shades of Grey" is a typical 90s episode of Columbo with focus on the humour. And it is entertaining but despite an enjoyable performance from William Shatner it isn't a great episode.