Picks and Pans Review: Columbo: It's All in the Game

updated 11/01/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/01/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

ABC (Oct. 31, 9 p.m. ET)


Having just had her first sitcom (It Had to Be You) shot out from under her after four episodes, Faye Dunaway turns up in this Columbo mystery. She plays a Los Angeles socialite who bumps off her gambler boyfriend. When Columbo comes a-snooping, she tries to seduce him and is pleasantly surprised to find herself being seduced back. Dunaway provides lots of emotional shades—one minute she's the coquette, the next the steel-nerved killer. But Dunaway remains a big-screen personality; she's cramped by the constraints of the TV set. And her chemistry with Falk is odd, though that would be true of Falk's chemistry with anyone other than Brenda Vaccaro.

Falk wrote the script, concocting a couple of satisfying twists. It's All in the Game plays like a friendly spoof of one of Dunaway's star turns, in Chinatown.

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