Matti, as always I enjoy your reviews. Ah, this is one of my favorite episodes, but I completely understand your consternation over the points your raised. I happen to find Joe Devlin as about the most engaging of all the criminals in the Columbo series. He IS extremely careless (rookie mistakes, indeed) and makes the case for Columbo awfully easy. Despite all that, I just enjoy Clive Revill's performance so much. Again, to me, he was easily the most talented of all the criminals on the show. Acting - jovial, sinister, cold-hearted, vengeful, caring, huckster, 'raconteur' - such a range displayed, singing, playing instruments. Nobody else comes close to showing this kind of range of talents during the series.
One point you raised which really got to me was your last point - about how the last scene in the first Columbo and the last scene in the last Columbo are similar. I'd never thought of that. Both take place in a "bar". Ok, one was at an airport, the other in a restaurant, but the point being both Columbo and the killer share a drink (sort of - Columbo gets a root beer at the airport in Ransom for A Dead Man).
I agree with the first sentence of the opening post. This and Last Salute to the Commodore are my least favorite of the 1970s episodes. Joining them are Fade into Murder and Dagger of the Mind. These are the ones I have no interest in watching again.
Thank you John, it is very nice to hear :)
Honestly I didn't think that much about the variety of Clive Revill's emotions and possibilities, I think it is mostly because the whole atmosphere of episode overshadows it a little for me. And the character of Devlin (not Revill) always annoys me with his behavior :)