Opinion / Poll

What’s YOUR ultimate favourite Columbo episode? Vote now!

Columbo poll

If you’re anything like me, debating the merits of your favourite Columbo episode with fellow fans is one of life’s great pleasures.

But have you ever wondered which episodes rate the highest with fans across the globe? Well now’s your chance to find out! Below is a simple list of all 69 Columbo episodes, from 1968’s Prescription: Murder to 2003’s final curtain Columbo Likes the Nightlife. Please have a look, and vote for your single favourite. It’ll only take you a moment!

The poll will remain open in perpetuity so visitors can continue to have their say, and help to shape a pretty clear picture of the favourite Columbo episodes of the majority. And at each year’s end I’ll write an article outlining the current fans’ top 10.

I have my own suspicions on which episodes will remain near the top of the standings, but  would be very happy to be surprised so have your say today!

You may have already read my own thoughts on the best Columbo episodes of them all. If not, I insist you have a look immediatelyYou can also view the 2019 fans’ top 10 list here and find out about Peter Falk’s own favourite episodes here.

As ever, thanks for visiting this site, and do have a great day wherever you are.

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147 thoughts on “What’s YOUR ultimate favourite Columbo episode? Vote now!

  1. Make a list of worst episodes….murder self portrait… Far fetched columbo…u can’t pick a favorite ….too many good ones
    I my wife hates old movies and shows and i got her hooked on columbo…quality of writing and acting appeals to many people of different tastes…my fav show for years

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  4. Pingback: Columbo full episode: Negative Reaction | The columbophile

  5. Negative Reaction: Dick Van Dyke, who excels at doing light comedy as a darned nice guy, has to sell being so fed up that he’s willing to shoot himself after killing the innocent man he frames just to get away with murdering his wife; and he also has to sell the neat trick of sounding like an innocuous employer to the guy who works for him, while *simultaneously* convincing an honest witness that he’s getting bullied by a ransom demand; and he also has to sell the bit where he suddenly thinks he’s in danger unless he can discredit a fake piece of evidence, only to realize too late that he’d pulled off the perfect crime and should’ve just kept his mouth shut.

    And he completely nails all of it.

    And Falk does everything right, as usual; but the one thing that could’ve dragged it down — the stuff that clearly would’ve been cut, if the episode hadn’t needed to be quite so long — is actually *entertaining*.

  6. Pingback: Columbo: a year in review | The columbophile

  7. I gotta go with Murder by the. Book. I first saw it in ’71 when I was 13. I’ll never forget watching the scene at the play where Lilly is telling Ken about her “mystery story”. The claustrophobic angles that Spielberg used the actor’s faces (especially Ms. Colby’s) were haunting to me. It was the first time I actually noticed a director’s impact to a story on episodic TV.

  8. “Murder by the Book,” although the three Jack Cassidy episodes and the three Robert Culp episodes make my top six. “Double Shock” is a close #7.

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  10. Pingback: Episode review: Columbo Greenhouse Jungle | The columbophile

  11. Pingback: Columbo top 10 episodes: as voted for by the fans | The columbophile

  12. Not the easiest thing to vote on for sure. By a whisker I’m going for An Exercise in Fatality. Robert Conrad is an arrogant villain who thinks he can talk his way out of anything. The final gotcha moment when Columbo says “…and it’s your own perfect alibi that’s gonna hang ya'” is sublime. Excellent construction and build up leading to that moment.

    • That is one of my least favorite episodes of the original series. The primary focus seemed to be on showing Robert Conrad without a shirt on. My favorite episode is Suitable For Framing.

  13. Episode 14 – The Most Dangerous Match (1973)
    Episode 34 – Now You See Him (1976)
    Episode 45 – Murder, Smoke and Shadows (1989)

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  15. Pingback: Episode review: Columbo Blueprint for Murder | The columbophile

  16. Bye Bye Sky High is my favorite. I love how he answered his own question regarding advice for his nephew on how to succeed as an accountant. I loved the technique used in the murder and the fun little puzzles that he also solved.
    I believe he looked in the chimney and therefore the other police did not need to look. Unclear on how he didn’t see the gun in the waste basket. Lots of subtle humor in this masterpiece.

  17. Pingback: Episode review: Columbo Short Fuse | The columbophile

  18. Wow! What a windfall to stumble across this online; are you the gentleman behind the book “The ColumboPhile”? It has permanent residence on my bedside table…every time I re-watch a classic episode I read your insightful reviews. It’s like discussing a beloved TV show with someone who knows every nuance. There are SO many joyful episodes, but my favorite remains “Any Old Port in a Storm,” with honorable mention to “A Friend in Deed,” due to that sidesplitting & clever resolution at the end. Many thanks for all your fine writing & I can’t wait to dig into your blog!

    • Hi Ellen! No, I’m not Mr Dawidziak, author of the original, although as you can tell it was a big influence on me. I use the book as a constant source of reference, although my views on strengths of certain episodes are HUGELY different. He rates Bye-Bye Sky High as a weak episode! I say it’s the very best! I’m very pleased you’re enjoying the site. There’s a lot more to come!

      • Excellent! I love your wide-ranging opinions on all things Columbo, & share your fondness for the Bye-Bye et al episode. I DO share his tepid review of The Greenhouse Jungle, never a favorite. I also noticed the cloying, heavy-handed use of “This Old Man” in later episodes. All the best! 🙂

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  20. Pingback: Columbo episode review: Suitable for Framing | The columbophile

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  22. I just discovered your site, and as an unabashed Columbo fan (owning all the 1970s seasons on DVD) I’m enjoying your posts immensely! My favorite was hard to pin down. It’s probably not the BEST episode, but I had to go with Death Lends a Hand, because I enjoy rewatching Robert Culp’s Jekyll-and-Hyde performence and the adventurous directoral flourishes, like the montage reflected in his glasses. My second choice would have been Any Old Port, which is currently in the lead. 🙂

  23. Pingback: Columbo episode review: Death Lends a Hand | The columbophile

  24. Pingback: Columbo episode review: Murder by the Book | The columbophile

  25. Pingback: Columbo episode review: Ransom for a Dead Man | The columbophile

  26. Great site. 🙂
    My favorite is “Try and Catch Me”, followed by “Etude in Black” and then “Bye Bye Sky High IQ…” Falk is always amazing, and I think Gordon, Cassavetes and Bikel were very charismatic in their roles.

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  28. Pingback: Columbo episode review – Prescription: Murder | The columbophile

  29. Pingback: My top 10 favourite Columbo episodes | The columbophile

  30. I love Colombo. Swan Song is my favourite but I also love the Dick van Dyke photographer episode and Forgotten Lady. So many fabulous star turns as,the perpetrators and wonderful Peter Falk bringing it all together. Watching Jack Classidy (a great villain) as the Great Santini as I type this! Jill X

  31. I would have to go backwards and eliminate episodes that weren’t my favorite because to pick a favorite is hard.
    It wasn’t any particular episode, it was Columbo himself that made this show Awesome!
    Peter Falk was Awesome!

  32. I have a few favourites but swan song had to be the first choice as I’m a Johnny cash fan and can never get the song out of my head

    • My earliest memories of the show are watching with my granddad. He was a big fan! Strangely, my own dad thinks it’s rubbish, so good taste in TV must have skipped a generation.

  33. Ok, so you will not be surprised to find I voted for Prescription: Murder. For me it encompasses all that is true and great about Columbo and its winning formula. For me the sheer smug attitude of the villain, and the rarest of moments when we see an exasperated Columbo lose it, and shout and threaten, just adds the icing for me. A close second would have been Suitable for Framing. Thanks for creating this poll.

  34. I had to go with Troubled Waters because the first time I saw it, I really thought we were going to meet Mrs Columbo, but never did!

  35. Love this idea, but very hard to pick a “favorite” as that can change from time to time. I was actually debating about the final episode from 2003, Columbo Loves The Nightlife, which I found to be the truest to the old NBC formula. However, all in all, this is a fun exercise and thanks for starting it!

  36. That was not an easy task and as much as I love Any old Port in a Storm and it was the first episode I ever saw…..many moons ago I have to go for an episode with my all time favourite villain the dashing Jack Cassidy….publish or Perish ☺

  37. Difficult task. Flipped a coin between Dawn’s Early Light and Suitable for Framing. The gotcha moment in SFF win it for me in the end. A quality moment. That whole list is a golden library of sheer talent and entertainment. From Falk of course but also from the guest stars. Special mentions to McGoohan & Culp.


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