I watched this last night, it has been so long ago and so lttle watched by me that I couldn't remember anything about it, except that Columbo's niece is kidnapped, so it was almost like seeing a new episode.
I thought it was good, the format made a nice change. I did wish the kidnapper had been doing it for the money instead of being sexually insane though.
I think that you're in the minority around here on that episode because nobody really cares for it including me. The kidnapper was 100% psychotic. No doubt about that. To that end, I really would not go out of my way to watch this episode again.
The problem with “No Time To Die” and “Undercover” is that, because they are based on Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels, they change Columbo’s character. Perhaps as standalone TV movies they would be fine. But as Columbo episodes they don’t even remotely follow the established formula. The cat and mouse battle of wits is gone and instead, Columbo is kicking in doors and smacking goons around. It doesn’t fit.
I agree with Stephen. I know a LOT of people hate this episode, but I quite enjoy it. Don't misunderstand me, I like the established formula and Columbo's usual methods, but I also liked seeing him out of his element, with time pressure and no prep to sweat... Just the lingering abject terror of a relative (in-law, but anyways) meeting a foul end. Yes, it's unusual: but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable!