Columbo: An analysis of “Make Me a Perfect Murder” part 10

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By 57:14,
it is a new morning and Lt. Columbo and Sgt. Burke walk down the hallway of CNC.  It’s a more quiet morning, other than one police officer in the background the investigation is already coming to an end.  Columbo tells a lengthy story to Sgt. Burke about windows, drafts, and extreme procedures to kill pain.  One can listen to this conversation again and again without gathering any meaning.  Let’s pay attention to the narrative. Under duress, Columbo listens to Mrs. Columbo taking the easiest approach getting over his pain.  It was as simple as closing the window preventing a draft coming in.  We can’t help but to remember a scene from The Professional where the lead sees a window shutting him out in the ally.  If we image ourselves on the other side of the window, we’re better served if we keep distance from the poorer choices in life.  Columbo continues describing a story out of desperation he almost followed his brother-in-law to a clinic sticking a needle through his nose.  This is an allegory of what Kay is going through.  Taking desperate steps, she can’t see much further than her nose.  Short-sighted, had she waited she may have very well have taken Mark’s position.  This is Columbo’s lesson.  Don’t  take your own advice while suffering pain.   The cure is worse than the ailment.

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Columbo makes another visit to Walter Mearhead’s projection room.  It’s a visit of deception.  Columbo is poking his thumbs in pies seeing who squawks.  He first thanks Walter for the glove he ended giving to his nephew.  (It went to police lab searching for power burns).  He then asks to play with the projectors.  Its not just that he’s a button freak, he wants to know the level of concentration it takes to execute a change over.  It a subtle way, he’s judging Walter.  He’s not just a man who can do a change over and work on his model ship, he’s a man who can do both and make no flaws.  This scene also contributes Walter disapproval of the violence as seen on The Professional.

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Panicked Sgt. Burke waves down Columbo as soon as he sees him exit the projectionist booth.  Passing Jonathan and an unnamed associate, Burke exchanges paranoid stares with them.  We can only assume there’s much rumor mongering at the network and Jonathan shows signs he might think himself as a suspect.  If we take a closer look, Jonathan has his back against the wall.  Burke raises his hand as if trying to describe somebody “this tall”.   This sends Columbo away investigating Mark’s beach house.   Looking back … this may have been the moment they found the pistol above the elevator.  A person had to be so tall to reach the ceiling panels. Columbo is looking for evidence of a second person who had been at the house.  He finds a woman’s hair pin just as a deliveryman rings the doorbell dropping off dry cleaning.    It is a fortuitous break for Columbo.   The dry cleaners have dropped off a woman’s sport coat!  Looking back … with the handgun as evidence he’s looking for proof Kay had been here before.

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Meanwhile, Kay is in crisis mode.   As she is berating the production of a 90-minute melodrama behind schedule, Luther calls in that Valerie is missing shortly before they go on the air.  After Wendy finds Valerie at Kay’s place, Kay goes home after her.  What is striking is there are no windows to the outside world to be seen other than the obscurely opaque near the front door.  If it weren’t for the shot of Kay opening doors, we would have believed she lived underground.  Where ever we look we see images of iron bars.   It is not only a testimony to Kay’s cold personality but where bad ideas needed locked inside. Valerie is in a stupor, physically and mentally unprepared.  Slipping away from Kay, she rushes down the spiral staircase until she trips and falls from the step Kay had made her decision to murder Mark.  Valerie’s Kirk’s night is over as well as her career.  We can hear Columbo singing his third and final song.

Oh my darling, oh my darling, Oh my darling, Clementine! Thou art lost and gone forever Dreadful story, Clementine

We conclude part 10 at 1:04:59.  Revisit part one by clicking here. This is the 10th part of the series, an analysis of “Make Me a Perfect Murder” directed by James Frawley.

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