Most Excellent (A)
1 Murder Under Glass (Louie Jordan)
2 Catch me if you can (Ruth Gordon)
Jordan is an excellent villain and the final scene with Falk cooking him dinner is one of the best in the series. Also, in a change of pace, Columbo makes it clear he really don't like this killer OTOH, Gordon is a delight and her interactions with Falk are a highlight of the series. She's the one killer I thought Columbo might let go.
3 Fade Into Murder (William Shatner)
4. Bye Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case (Thomas Bickel)
Both shows have good scripts and well planed murders but are let down by the guest star actors. Shatner is miscast as a William Powell/Nero Wolfe type TV detective - the role obviously called for a Jack Cassidy type. Bickel is simply too stoical and laid back as the bearded CPA.
5. The Conspirators (Clive Revill)
A little padded with an obvious solution to the murder - but still good.
Below Average (D)
6. How to Dial a Murder (Nicol Willamson)
Williamson is an excellent actor but the story & script are too perfunctory and paint by by the numbers. Columbo figures the whole thing out in the first 10 minutes & the killer is never a match for Columbo. Further, Williamson's character is rather dull. Too bad - with a better story Williamson could have been one of the best Columbo villains.
7. An Old Fashioned Murder (Jo Van Patten)
A rather slack episode with good 15 minute opening that meanders and then peters out. The episode seems padded even at 73 minutes & has two weak supporting roles. Celeste Holm is unfunny as the comic relief and Jeannie Berlin is hysterical and obnoxious as the niece.
8. Make Me a Perfect Murder (Trish Van Devere)
At 100 minutes this episode is 30 longer than the usual Columbo episode. But there's nothing in the story that justifies that length. Van Devere is adequate as the icy villainess but her character -and the supporting ones - are dull and unpleasant. Further, the murder itself is unremarkable and there's too much padding.