Columbo is an American detective series starring Peter Falk, which ran between 1971 and 2003. On 20 February 1968 broadcast, however, was a movie; Prescription: Murder. In each episode is a murder committed, and seedy and seemingly scattered Lieutenant Columbo of the Los Angeles Police Department tries to clear up by itself then to focus on details. In the us, the series was broadcast by NBC, and in Netherlands and Flanders in the seventies by AVRO and the BRTrespectively. The series was repeated several times by the television channels RTL 4RTL 8SBS 6VTM and VT4.


[hide]*Origin 1


Over the years there have been three actors who have played the role of Inspector Columbo:

  • Bert Freed in 1960Enough Rope in the episode from the series The Chevy Mystery Show
  • Thomas Mitchell in the play Prescription: Murder
  • Peter Falk from 1968, first performance in the film Prescription: Murder

Given the success of this film became three years later decided to create a pilot for a new series with Peter Falk, entitled Ransom for a Dead Man. This was followed by the successful television series.

Structure of the episodes[Edit]Edit

Virtually every episode has three clearly distinguishable parts:

  1. Leading up to the murder, and the murder itself. This part is part of the characters, and will take between 10 and 30 minutes. In this part is not already present (usually) Columbo, and most of the action happens. The striking thing about Columbo is that at the start of the episode the Viewer already knows who the killer is (this is the so-called open book format). This was very unusual at the time. The last episode of season 5, Last Salute to the Commodore, deviates here exceptionally of af.
  2. The cat and mouse game between Columbo and the murderer. This part consists mainly of dialogues between the two people. Since there is relatively little action is present, and one already knows who committed the murder, the interest aroused by strong scripts here and how will unmask the murderer Columbo (at a classicmurder film tension there exists mainly of that viewers ask themselves who did it).
  3. The end scene. In this lock calls Columbo the killer (often by means of a trap where the killer controller) with him, usually in the company of some witnesses and tells him exactly how the murder was committed. In some episodes, the pressure built up that Columbo has the killer into a hopeless effort one final action whereby Columbo clear proof that he is the culprit.

An episode that this structure is different is the episode No Time To Die.

Most murderers have an unsuspected reputation. Not infrequently they commit the murder because they are cornered. The murder is then almost always disguised as an accident, illness, suicide or murder, or be otherwise deliberately misled the investigators. Only Columbo discovers the "small details" that show that something is not right.

Characteristics of the character Columbo[Edit]Edit

Columbo has some very recognizable characteristics, making him the suspect he gets messy on the eye has. However, this is to his advantage, because one will underestimate him quickly this way. This contrast is further enhanced in that the killers come mostly from a better class.

Its features are:

  • He wears an old raincoat, old shoes, and his hair is confused. In the first episode, Prescription: Murder, he has his raincoat usually in his hands and is his hair slightly shorter than in the rest of the series. His wife once for him in one episode (""Now You See Him"" from 1976) bought a new raincoat, but he kept his old prefer. Under this raincoat he wears a Brown suit, white shirt and a tie (usually black).
  • His cigar is always present, even in hospitals. The series also starred in a time where in many public places still stayed. The cigar Burns, however, not always, especially not in the later episodes.
  • Columbo claims not to drink if he/she is employed. In the episode "Murder by the Book" (1971), however, he drinks bourbon, in "Any Old Port in a Storm" (1971 wine and in "Grand Deceptions" (1989) sherry.
  • Outdoors DEP. Columbo regularly eating on out of his jacket pocket. Often this is a hard-boiled egg or fruit. Further, he would have been languishing in the same dinner where he invariably order Chile .
  • When leaving a scene he usually comes back inside with the words: Oh, just one more thing, and then he makes a statement that the murderer makes clear that he him close on the heels is.
  • Columbo concentrates very contradictions on details and in the story of the killer. He himself has often talk about stocking stuffers ("little things"), loose ends ("loose ends") or something bothers him ("it bothers me").
  • His car: an old Peugeot 403 cabriolet from 1959.
  • His dog: a Basset Hound that does nothing and also does not listen, with the name "Dog". Mostly under treatment in veterinarian Benson (played by Michael Fox).
  • The music: often whistled or hummed by Columbo himself, sometimes audible in the background; an old children's song called "This old man came rolling home". Other music was composed by Gill MelléDick DeBenedictisOliver Nelson and Billy Goldenberg. All films were originally preceded by The NBC Mystery Movie Theme by Henry Mancini. This tune included a collection of television films of Columbo, McCloudwith Dennis Weaver and McMillan and Wife with Rock Hudson.
  • Columbo is also getting very friendly, polite and even shows respect compared to the killer. He will rarely lose his composure. In his youth he was a mischievous kid and he is to make up for all its zones become Inspector. This he says in the episode "Death Lends A Hand".
  • Columbo operates mostly in the better areas of Los Angeles. The defendants he takes are usually rich and/or influential figures, often from the filmbussiness of Hollywood, living in luxury villas. Columbo is always very respectful, even humble opposite such important people, and sometimes asks them a favor. Thereby he wins their trust, or are they going to underestimate him. If they come to understand that Columbo suspects them sometimes, they try to use their influence to force it to let them alone, but that has never had the desired effect.
  • Humor is also becoming available, in subtle form.
  • Columbo is of Italian descent and speaks itself pretty Italian. That is the only foreign language that he seems to know it. The few times that he understands he is in Mexico, no word of Spanish.
  • His pay is poor, and at times he sits so what in need of money, or is there humor from this fact been met (for example, if he wants to buy new shoes, which turn out to be too expensive for him).

Columbo appeared at a time when police officers becoming Machos were (for example, Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood) and his unkempt appearance, as well as his way of action, was a somewhat bold move byNBC.

Missing features[Edit]Edit

There are also issues that are typical in other police series, while those in Columbo just consistently lacking. Because they are missing, but casually called or displayed, is this correct again a feature of the series.

  • Columbo is never called by his first name and many fans guessing what these might be. Only in the episode "Dead Weight" from 1971 (with Eddie Albert as the murderer) left clear in its politics once Columbo aart picture. As this image is zoomed in, is very vague to see a first name that could be read as "Frank".
  • Columbo also has a wife. In each episode they do have one mention (never in name), but she's never been yet. Though calling Columbo often with her. In the episode "Double Exposure" (1974) showed her photos to Dr. Bart Kepple Columbo (Robert Culp), they see the outside picture. Also, Columbo in the episode "Troubled Waters" (1975) agree with her on a cruise ship have been on vacation. Also on the boat solved a murder, but Columbo although the crew both with Columbo as his wife spoke, she came also in this episode not in focus. Just like Columbo's first name is also the first name of his wife in the series not mentioned, but when Peter Falk (as Columbo) was a guest in the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast he called the name Rose. In the episode Death Hits The Jackpot from 1991 says Columbo he 25 years married to her is, it shows that he married her in the year 1966.
  • Columbo knows no fixed partnersor colleagues . In various episodes, with other brigadiers Columbo works inspectors and/or chief inspectors together. Sometimes an actor comes along that sometimes several times the same colleague plays, but other times the same actor can also play another colleague. A striking structure is brigadier Wilson, played by Bob Dishy, who in two episodes. Other than Columbo is the latest investigative techniques and obsessed with Wilson he is willing to put his own money in it, if necessary. However in The movie "The Greenhouse Jungle" (1972) is his first name Frederic, while those in the movie "Now you see him" from 1976 John j. reads. Also the ever for that Columbo to deal with colleagues who are corrupt, for example Commissioner Halperin that his comrade hand above the head as this his wife killed and in which Halperin then kills his own wife (episode "A Friend in Deed" from 1974).
  • Columbo's workplace is rarely shown and it also comes not so common that Columbo on the desk can be found. The movie "Any Old Port in a Storm" (1973) is one of the few movies in which we Columbo in the beginning behind the desk of his supposedly own see workspace. In the film "A Friend in Deed" from 1974 makes use of the workplace of his fellow Columbo Inspector Duffy (played by John Finnegan). In "Now you see him" from 1976 are Columbo and his assistant brigadier Wilson during a scene at a workplace are, but it is not clear whether this is or that of brigadier Wilson Columbo's workplace. Also in "No time to die" (1992) play some scenes at the police station, but it is not sure if it is Columbo's own workplace here.
  • Columbo does not carry firearm. In fact, he can't even handle it and has it on the desk are. In "Forgotten Lady" (1975), he is there by a colleague pointed out that not all five years he has been on the shooting range. A computer mistake according to Columbo and that is also true because in reality he has not shot for ten years. Later threatened with suspension by Internal Affairs if he get his proof of firearms skill not going. Columbo saves itself from this difficult situation by a colleague for $ 5 to buy the test for him to go. In the film "playback" (1975) we see Columbo exceptionally own shooting, but when firing this test shot he keeps his hand against his ear and he turns his face off. In the films "No time to die" (1992) and "undercover" (1994) carries Columbo a firearm, but he uses it not.


In total, there were 69 broadcasts of Columbo:

  • 1968: pilot Prescription: Murder (with Gene Barry as the murderer)
  • 1971: pilot Ransom for a Dead Man
  • 1971-1978: season 1 through 7 (43 episodes)
  • A period of eleven years silence
  • 1989-2003: 24 episodes, but not as a series because it sometimes but one per year was made

One of the episodes, it's All In The Game (1993), was written by Peter Falk..

See the list of episodes of Columbo for more details

Mrs. Columbo[Edit]Edit

In 1979, when there were no new episodes of Columbo made for the time being, there is a series named Mrs. Columbo (aka Kate loves a mystery), in which Kate Mulgrew played the title role. It was suggested that they clear the woman of Columbo (which in the original series is an invisible character) would be, although there are obvious discrepancies between the original series Mrs. Columbo and existed. Columbo himself did not appear in this series that few viewers pulled out and was poorly received by both audiences and critics: it was found that the wife of Columbo as depicted in this series did not correspond to the way that Columbo had described her in the original series. Although formally in the second season landed, was Mrs. Columbo tube again met at the end of 1979.


  • Initially, the German television series Derrick also based on the open book format.
  • In 2007 there were plans to make a new episode of Columbo, called Columbo: Hear No Evil or Columbo's Last Case. However, ABC had no interest in the project, and therefore sell the project producers tried to other companies in the hope that they be interested had. The diagnosis Alzheimer's at Peter Falk, however, threw a spanner in the works. Meanwhile, Peter Falk died, and this episode will most likely never come.
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