Columbo's an Old Raver
When Vanessa's (Jennifer Sky) ex, mobster Tony Galper (Carmine Giovinazzo), shows up at her home he loses his temper but accidentally trips, dying when he bangs his head against a table. Scared, Vanessa calls her boyfriend Justin (Matthew Rhys) a night club owner who is waiting on some money from Tony. When Justin disposes of Tony's body he ends up being spotted by freelance journalist Linwood Coben (Douglas Roberts) who blackmails both Vanessa and Justin. It leads to Justin murdering Coben then making it seem like he committed suicide. Whilst the attending cops think it is just a case of suicide Columbo (Peter Falk) notices Coben's dead body has minty breath and a pedicure, not fitting of someone planning to kill himself. It leads to Columbo trying to unravel what happened and in to the club scene where he also starts to investigate what happened to Galper.
There are many who didn't enjoy the humorous episodes of "Columbo" as much, for me I tended to enjoy those more and as such I have to say that "Columbo Likes the Nightlife" is not one of my favourites as this TV movie has the now aged Lieutenant serious from start to finish, well a lot more serious than he had been in a while. I actually wonder whether that was intentional as "Columbo Likes the Nightlife" ended up being the final outing of Columbo with Peter Falk playing the lieutenant, a role he first played back in 1968 in a TV movie. Interesting fact for those who don't know, Peter Falk was not the first Columbo, Bert Freed played Columbo in an episode of The Chevy Mystery Show and Thomas Mitchell played Columbo in a stage play.
Anyway as to "Columbo Likes the Nightlife", well to me they missed a trick by going serious as with Columbo investigating a murder with connections to the rave scene there was plenty of potential for fish out of water comedy. But when you have the general tone being serious but Columbo wearing a pink feather boa around his neck it doesn't work, it doesn't gel. In fact at times "Columbo Likes the Nightlife" almost feels like it has a bit of a split personality going on when it comes to the style.
But thankfully when it comes to "Columbo Likes the Nightlife" Peter Falk was still on fine form. Yes you could say that the character of Columbo moved slower but all the mannerisms were there and Falk brought that extra edge to Columbo when it came to the way the character interacted with younger cops who look bemused at the way the Lieutenant gets up close and personal with a corpse. Sadly whilst the rest of the cast deliver solid characters this lacks that sense of star power when it came to the guest appearances which adds to this actually feeling a little disappointing.
What this all boils down to is that whilst "Columbo Likes the Nightlife" is still entertaining it just doesn't gel like the best episodes did and as this ended up the final outing for Peter Falk as Columbo it is a shame even if he was still on fine form, acting rings around many of the younger stars placed alongside him.