I don't know why people give season 5 of Columbo such a hard time. Ok, so there are no "classic" Columbo stories but there is plenty to enjoy.
The first story Forgotton Lady has a very mooving performance by Janet Leigh (Psycho)as an ageing broadway actress.
Next up is A Case Of Immunity which isnt one of the better Columbo stories. There is no real motive for the murder and the resolution of the case is abit of a cop out (no pun intended).
Identity Crisis is the best story in this season. Patrick McGoohan is superb as an ex spy. Watch out for his "be seeing you" straight out of The Prisoner. In real life he is a great friend of Peter Falk and they have alot of screen chemisty together. Leslie Neilson also appears. He was also in the Columbo episode Lady In Waiting.
A Matter Of Honor is not a great episode. Dispite a great performance by Ricardo Montalban the story is quite dull.
Now You See Him sees the rumpled detective pitted against a sinister magician with a dark secret played by Jack Cassidy who also appeared in the Columbo stories Murder By The Book and Publish Or Perish. Not a bad story.
The final story of the season is Last Salute Of The Commadore features Robert Vaughn who starred in Columbo Troubled Waters. In this story the person you think is the murderer gets bumped off half way through the episode. It's nice that the producers decided to try something different ie we now don't know who the killer is. This episode was directed by Patrick McGoohan.
So as I said dont be put off be negative reviews this is a great season and seasons 6 and 7 are still as good, if not better.