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Columbo full episode: Murder by the Book

Courtesy of the official Columbo YouTube channel, full episodes of the greatest TV show of all time are now available in the public domain. HUZZAH and HURRAH!

The first episode made available on the channel was the seminal Murder by the Book, which opened Columbo‘s first season in September 1971. Starring the irrepressible Jack Cassidy as Ken Franklin, and directed by Steven Spielberg, it remains one of the best pieces of episodic television ever made and you can view in HD glory below.

Happy viewing!

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42 thoughts on “Columbo full episode: Murder by the Book

  1. Steven Spielberg was in his early 20’s when he started directing commercial productions like this. He worked as director on a few TV shows during the early 70’s. His first “movie” was the classic made-for-TV “Duel,” with Dennis Weaver, made the same year as this Columbo episode. It’s been pretty much all theatrical movies since then. Now, in his mid-70’s, he’s still directing but his good material stopped about twenty years ago. My god, his latest will be a remake of “West Side Story.” Egads.

    • And working for me in Ireland too – have watched all of columbo at least 30 times – just love him – thankyou for uploading these – must buy the set at some stage, but all the episodes are shown every sunday on channel 5 – never miss.

  2. Works in Egypt (lucky me, a lot these tend to be region locked). Thanks for making this available, love this series.

  3. I dont get it, Columbo just pointed out that the dead guy had written down a hypothetical situation that could have potentially have taken place, did he have any proof of anything?

      • I find it astonishing that you do not see why that was damning evidence. You and the other guy seem to think that the only thing on the paper was what Columbo read out. You’re forgetting that it went on in greater detail. Franklin just told him not to read any more. He knew he was toast, and he would have gone down regardless of whether he caved in or not. How could he explain the fact that everything that happened, including the destruction of Jim’s office, Jim’s later calling of his wife and his body in front of Franklin’s house, was written down on a paper by Jim years earlier? How does he explain that? A coincidence??

        You guys are also forgetting the strong circumstantial evidence against him as well as the powerful motive he has for killing Jim.

    • But it wasn’t just a ‘hypothetical situation’. It ACTUALLY HAPPENED!! How on earth could Frankiln have explained away the fact that everything that happened and everything he did from the point Jim was last seen, including his body being dumped in front of his house, was ALREADY written on a sheet of paper by his writing partner years before he died?? That paper was as solid a proof of murder as any, especially with all the other circumstantial evidence AND the strong motive.

  4. great work, lovely website. There is so much to learn here

    A little insight from a Mercedes enthusiast:
    Ken’s car is a Mercedes W111 280 SE Cabrio, nearly the most expensive Merc money could buy at the time
    At 1:02 you can see the glove compartment has a light that turns on as Ken opens it.
    That light has the double purpose of illuminating the glove compartment and the passenger’s knees.
    This way a passenger can read a map in the dark without disturbing the driver.
    This very fancy accessory was soon dropped and never seen again on other cars.

    best wishes from Italy

  5. Really strange thing about Jack Cassidy who was my favorite Columbo bad guy. Most of you probably know he died in an apartment fire in December 1976. I grew up near King’s Road which is where his apartment building is located. I was driving past the building the next day and could see the smoke stains on the stucco. What was strange was that the actor Sal Mineo had been stabbed to death in the same area in February and Art Linkletter’s daughter had fallen to her death in the same area in 1969. I know Jack had a German mother and believe he was fluent in German like I heard Brad Pitt is. He spoke German in a Columbo show.

  6. From IMDb website: (Lily LaSanka)
    Actress Barbara Colby, at age 36, was on the brink of TV character stardom when the native New Yorker was senselessly shot and killed one evening on the streets of Los Angeles. The tall, toothy, husky-voiced, frizzy-haired actress equipped with a keen, Brooklyn-tough sensibility and dead-on comedy instincts had just started to make a name for herself on the West coast when tragedy occurred. Hollywood lost a wonderful personality and promising talent that summer evening, someone who was proving to the TV masses that she was a bona fide contender.

  7. It doesn’t play in Poland, either. Thank you for discovering the channel, though – at least some of us can watch.

  8. It seems to play in Ireland! Yay!! I only watched the first minute or so to check; I’ll watch it all as soon as I get a chance! 😀

  9. You didn’t hear it from me.. but if you change the ‘you’ in youtube to ‘hook’ i.e. hooktube.com, you can get around international blocks. Just tested here with this video in the UK and it works. It’s a site which just mirrors the raw YouTube video.

  10. The video works on Canada, but only via a US-based VPN. In the meantime, I shall enjoy my Blu-ray collection of Columbo by Universal Japan on my 133″ front projection screen. Yay!

  11. Nope. No joy in Canada, even with a “Private Browsing” window opened. Scumbags. But good on you to get it for the masses.


  12. Crap! What do I do with my full set of Columbo DVDs now? Some museum? I’m keeping them because (1)I’m old, (2) I want them around, and (3) my internet sucks sometimes. Order your own, Canadians and Britons!


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