Definitely one of the low points in the series. The fact it's a kidnapping story - albeit with a prevented murder - and that they tried to do something different isn't necessarily a bad thing but they decided to throw to the wayside the key points that made the Columbo series so great. The antagonist was a lazily written loopy with no real tie to the rest of the cast of characters; part of what made (certainly the initial run of episodes) so great was the game of cat-and-mouse that Columbo would play with the murderer. It would have made for a serviceable kidnapping movie - certainly the cast isn't the problem - but it definitely fails as an entry in the Columbo outings.
Interestingly, here in the UK where Columbo is on heavy rotation every Sunday on 5USA, this particular episode seems to be the only one that they never air; indeed I've only managed to watch it because it's currently available on NowTV. I wondered if it was something to do with adult content but it almost seems like it's down to the fact it's a weak entry.