The season continues on strong after the second one. The cases are very varied in terms of perpetrators and themes.
During this season, Columbo takes a more active role in convicting the culprit, laying out a trap in multiple episodes (he did trick the perpetrators in one episode of the previous season – “Dagger of the Mind” – already, but here it’s even more elaborate). The traps are based on knowledge only the perpetrator could have or (like in episode 2) something only he/she can do.
In one episode, Columbo’s dog makes another appearance (it got kicked out of “dog school” for demoralizing behavior). During the episode, Columbo often has the dog with him on a leash. This is in contrast to earlier episodes, where the dog was either kept in the car or running free. Columbo also has car troubles in this season, in 2 episodes. The third episode shows Columbo at the dentist, not exactly having a good time.
The cases were quite interesting all throughout the season, the fifth even features a sort of “repeat offender”: The actor playing the main bad guy is Jack Cassidy, who played the bad guy in the first episode of Season 1 (”Murder by the Book”). What is a neat touch in my opinion is that the episode plays in the same general theme, with Cassidy playing a book publisher this time, his first victim (who he has killed by another guy he plans to frame for everything) is an author again. The episode also features 2 nice stylistic choices: 1) The opening credits are highlighted by explosions and while the first murder happens, we see multiple pictures besides pictures of the victim, the hired killer and the main bad guy.
Episode 6 seemed a little out of place in terms of the setting, with the robotic A.I. and all, which was rather unrealistic as well. Though besides that, the case itself was still solidly written.
My personal favorite of the cases this season is the last one (with episode 4 being a close second), due to one of the bad guys (the main one, honestly, as his case is not accidental) being from inside the police department and the way Columbo sets him up in the end.