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Peter Falk took home back-to-back Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the indefatigable Lt. Columbo during the show’s fifth season in 1975-76, and the series itself earned two Emmy nominations, which should give an indication of the quality of the episodes contained in this double-disc set. Although the fifth season only featured six episodes, the quality of writing and acting talent is impressive, to say the least: Janet Leigh, John Payne, Sam Jaffe, and Maurice Evans star in the season opener, "Forgotten Lady," about a faded movie queen who may have murdered her elderly husband to finance a comeback; Patrick McGoohan, who won an Emmy for his performance in the fourth-season episode "By Dawn’s Early Light," returns to direct "Identity Crisis", which pits Columbo against a deceptive secret agent (McGoohan, who makes slyly overt references to his Prisoner character throughout the episode), and "Last Salute to the Commodore," with John Dehner and Robert Vaughn as relatives whose disagreement over the fate of a shipping line turns deadly; and then-newcomers Steven Bocho and Steven Spielberg write and direct, respectively, "Murder by the Book," with Jack Cassidy returning for his fourth Columbo turn as a devious PR agent. As far as TV mysteries go, few have been as clever, well acted, and intricately plotted as Columbo, and home detectives should find plenty of sleuthing material to enjoy here. Unfortunately, as with all previous Columbo boxes, the supplemental material is limited; the "Caviar with Everything" episode of the Mrs. Columbo series with Kate Mulgrew is this set’s sole extra.

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MC26468 Columbo: The Complete Fifth Season DVD (1974/Peter Falk) $39.98 $35.99