Andrew Stevens as Wayne Jennings in "Murder in Malibu" - not sure if it's the complete joke of his character (when he says "Wanna bet?" to his ex-girlfriend and then wipes her kiss off his lips after she drops him off at the book signing or Stevens' terrible acting (a consistent quality of his), but this episode pains me so much I no longer watch it. It's become the modern version of "Last Salute to the Commodore".
Anthony Andrews as Elliot Blake in "Columbo Goes to the Guillotine" - I guess the smarminess of Blake, combined with Andrews accent makes for an especially irksome character. I don't find Andrews acting poor (in fact, it must be good to make his character so annoying), but there are times while I'm watching this where I think: what an incredible douche canoe is this guy.
George Wendt as Graham McVeigh in "Strange Bedfellows" - Wendt is fully incapable of pulling off scenes with Peter Falk and Rod Steiger.
Susan Clark as Beth Chadwick in "Lady in Waiting" - the "transformation" scene at the hairdresser and then picking clothes with Peter (Leslie Neilson) are cringeworthy. Columbo's line of "you're too classy of a lady for that" at the end just doesn't ring true to me. I didn't find her character to be classy at all.
The whole of Murder In Malibu was ridiculous to me, but I particularly hated the Brenda Vaccaro character, Jess:
Jess is shown to be quite intelligent and successful.
She believes (correctly) that a worthless gigolo/playboy (Wayne) is using her “baby” sister, Theresa.
Wayne is incredibly handsome and irresistible to women, except smart ones like Jess who see right through him.
Jess has a very close and protective relationship with Theresa and is also her business manager.
Theresa is found murdered and the prime suspect is Wayne.
Jess is convinced that Wayne is in fact her sisters killer.
Wayne, who can get any woman he wants, breaks down and confesses to the below-average looking Jess that he’s infatuated with her.
Despite the suspicion of murder on Wayne, and with Theresa’s body still warm, funeral arrangements to be made, etc., Jess hops into the sack and starts a serious romance with Wayne.
Does anybody else find this scenario ridiculous? Ugh! Overall I love the “new” episodes, but Malibu is close to No Time To Die In badness.
Yes, Pete, yet another thing wrong with this horrid episode.
I find the murderers in the newer episodes to be more annoying. I think they were puposely written that way. It's hard to beat the two frat boys in "Columbo Goes to College".
As far as the older episodes, I think the writing focused more on making the murderers arrogant and boorish rather than just plain irritating. But I agree, Beth Chadwick was pretty annoying. Roddy McDowall was a bit irritating too.
In some ways, Alvin Deschler. Don Gordon (who was always great a "hard luck" characters) really makes you believe in him as the "ex-con trying to go straight." And that makes him so grateful to Paul Galesco that he's naive about him, and look where that gets him.
Also Gene Stafford, for one of the same reasons. Philip Bruns was great at playing a "put-upon" character on the show MARY HARTMAN, MARY HARTMAN, and Gene is a really put-upon character. Ruth admits it about herself by saying "Between Milo and me, he didn't have anything BUT trouble." And of course trying to do something about it gets him murdered. So I don't have to dislike Milo Janus as much as some people do to be bothered about that one.
William Shatner irritated me the most. In both episodes, "Butterfly in Shades of Grey" and "Fade into Murder." He is so arrogant and self-centered, I don't even watch those episodes.
Just thought of another total creep. Dr. Collier. Murdering the very mentally ill Nadia Donner was very bad. Especially the way he did it.
Jarvis Goodland in the Greenhouse Jungle! His whole attitude to everyone, his nephew, his wife, Columbo!