It’s just having fun with stereotypes, not just the British stereotype, but also the stereotypical and classical world of Theatre. In the UK most of us go to our maker in the classic 6 sided coffin with the lid screwed firmly shut, embalming is hardly ever done here, and the coffin makes it’s brief appearance at the church and then off to the cemetery or crem, its also rare in the UK for mourners to attend the burial. Frankly I was bored well before the denouement. Though I did like the part where Baseheart loses it. I liked Durk’s mention of Sherlock Holmes, because at his best, Columbo is the most Sherlockian of TV detectives, and he most definitely proved that in this one, even if the episode itself was lacking. Too long, not enough sparring, and boring. Far more sensible would be the butler simply confirming to a dogged Columbo that the visiting acting couple had inquired about Sir Roger’s hat and umbrella. Basehart and blackman were not at their best , but as I said , it’s Columbo that’s good enough for me . I’m English and nearly always find that Hollywood doesn’t do ‘English and England’ well. As a Brit I know this kind of thing would never have happened here, especially in the 70’s. Columbo has made a lot of assumptions in this episode, not all of which seem entirely justifiable – particularly his hunch that Nick and Lilly might have broken into the wax museum to tamper with the umbrellas. I’ve often thought that some British viewers must have got a shock when they saw themselves (or a friend or relative) on Columbo! It’s just the way that London/England/Britain were typically depicted in American TV shows from the 1950’s to the 1970’s.
Meanwhile, Joe’s umbrella has been at Sir Roger’s home and then at the London Wax Museum. Sergeant O’Keefe: John Fraser That’s one for the Columbo family album alright! It’s just TV shorthand. And as a Brit myself, much of what I see here grates terribly. (As I’ve said elsewhere on this thread, “Lilly” is very good as Lady Macbeth). I think it’s ironic that one of the worst episodes of “Columbo” shares the same title as one of the better episodes of “Star Trek.” I couldn’t get past that aside from a few set pieces actually filmed in England, it was painfully obvious most of the episode was filmed in California. I just didn’t think it was in any way funny. The captain, the purser and the doctor on the cruise ship are British, but I don’t think there is any criticism of them being caricatures (although Durk and the purser are both played by Edward Fox). It leads to a magic moment as Columbo and Durk stop to admire the Houses of Parliament. Columbo indulges way too often in the corrupt cop trick of planting false evidence — we’re supposed to believe he’ll admit to that off screen. Well all I can say is: come back Roddy and your tight trousers – all’s forgiven! And just as the heavens open, they’re off in the car to Haversham Manor (a-ruddy-gain) to return the umbrella to its rightful place. “Who taught you how to drive, Evel Knievel?”.
I got the gag.