If it's any consolation I did not like this episode either. Went to slow. Boring. Didn't understand the last final clue. So I'll pass on this one
The most annoying thing about this episode is that Dudek is a decent man who does not deserve to be killed and Columbo takes so long investing the attempted murder it gives Clayton the chance to finish the job.
There are some good bits in this story but it's not a classic by any measure.
Top ten episode!
I love "Dangerous Match" - classic example of how Season 2 played a lot with the "Columbo" formula. Clayton may SEEM like the typical arrogant, confident villain, but deep down he's tortured by his insecurities and fears. And the Lieutenant plays on that to bring him down - distracting him during the chess exhibition, flustering him, causing him to make mistakes.
On the subject of Dudek... he certainly SEEMS kind and friendly, but is he really? Sometimes I get the impression that he's doing exactly what Columbo does to Clayton - seemingly friendly and avuncular, but really trying to get under the guy's skin. Especially by having his ex-wife along and constantly bringing her up!
Yes, I agree DirQ. He brings up Linda Robinson as if it's so innocent, "I only mention her as the arranger of this match, not because she was your fiancé". I think it's right after this that Clayton says to him, "I'm well aware of your psychological ploys and I'm immune to them." (or something to that effect). To which Dudek replies slyly, "Immune???" It's a great moment as it reveals that Dudek is quite aware of exactly what he is doing. Later, Dudek mentions that perhaps there are "one too many beautiful ladies" (again referring to Linda Robinson. He tells Clayton that "it's obvious you have been distracted" after he demolishes him in the match at the French restaurant, but all along he is enjoying the idea that he has planted the seeds of doubt in Clayton's mind and he can see how quickly they are growing.
It's easy to say now that someone else has brought it up, but I've always wondered the same things about Dudek. I never really wanted to BECAUSE of that nice personality of his.
At least the final thing he says to Clayton (except for what he says when he sees his suitcase) is a genuine "chummy" one instead of just a trick - "So it IS about a lady!"
Is anyone on the forum a good chess player? If so, can you answer if the scene where Dudek plays the whole game himself practically before saying checkmate. Is this realistic? Does he really know the moves Clayton has to make based on Dudek's moves? or do you have any other comments?