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.
- If you’re keen to compare notes, you can read my full review of the episode here.
- You can also check out my personal top 5 scenes from Murder by the Book here.
- Visit the full episode listing page to view more!
- Visit and subscribe to the official Columbo YouTube channel here.
I really do like the short scene at approx 47 minutes, where Ken Franklin clearly offers more than only a new interview to the journalist, promising here a more detailed interview … EVEN IN MORE DEPTH … very subtle there, Ken 🙃😎
I think I’ll watch this episode again before I leave a comment, as my last comment on a Columbo episode that I left before watching the episode again, didn’t go down so well with the other people commenting on this forum, as I hadn’t remembered the episode so well and what I said was apparently way off the truth… Oh, and just one more thing… I love this website!
As a teacher of English I use some pieces of the episodes in my work. They are very helpful and productive for mastering the language. Thank you very much for this masterpiece.
Noooooooo!!! Don’t kill Pete Malloy .)-: I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I thought Mrs. La Sanka was rather hot in an ordinary sort of way. Kind of like that girl you weren’t going to ask out but were soooo glad you did afterwards. I mean, I can imagine women like Mrs. L are probably a veritable fireworks show in the boudoir.
I hope it works to post this here … the Sundance Channel started over with season 1, episode 1, last night. So they are at the beginning of the series. 🙂
I’m watching Murder by the Book right now (on DVR).
Personally, I think that it was brilliant to start the series with an episode directed by Spielberg and guest-starring Jack Cassidy.
To me, Cassidy ties with Culp for the best of the Columbo murderers.
And Cassidy is unsurpassed, as far as I’m concerned, in the slickety and smarmy categories. I think he’s great.
Anyway … the Sundance Channel is doing the series from the first season. 🙂
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.
Thanks for making these available! It’s working for me in usa
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.
Works in Egypt (lucky me, a lot these tend to be region locked). Thanks for making this available, love this series.
Works fine in Australia, thanks!
Works in Pakistan. Grew up watching this iconic series and glad to have found it here
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 also think it’s pretty flimsy and don’t see Ken Franklin caving in on such weak evidence.
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.
I wondered too. I guess if the outline of the plot was super detailed it would be incriminating (like if it included the part about making a list of mobsters and giving it to the police to send them off track), but only that detail and the body turning up again would be the two facts they know about that match the plot outline. And Franklin could say he didn’t know about the plot outline at all and suggest the murderer know about it and used it to set him up. He could explain a lot way. It was not hard evidence like DNA or finger prints. But it was a great great episode!
Collaborators are infinitely more likely to share story ideas with each other than with an outsider. And as written down by Ferris, the idea was for a “perfect alibi.” How to make it appear that the victim was elsewhere when murdered. That was the key. The rest was window dressing.
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.
He was trying to bribe him with that job offer wasn’t he? Only mentioned it after he told him he was onto him.
Probably, but I think he really did appreciate the acuity of Columbo’s mind and would have been happy if he had accepted the offer.
Okay in mind england
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
Works in Cyprus either
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.
very glad to report it works in India!
Hello! Do you know where I can buy all seasons of this TV series with Romanian subtitles?
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.
Works great. I am in USA.
It’s viewable in Belarus.
works in denmark
It’s viewable in Spain.
It doesn’t play in Poland, either. Thank you for discovering the channel, though – at least some of us can watch.
And there are loads of good clips aside from the full episodes that appear to be viewable wherever you are.
Same I’m from Poland and can’t view this which is a shame as I only discovered this show on TV and absolutely love it and I’m only 21
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! 😀
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.
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!
Nope. No joy in Canada, even with a “Private Browsing” window opened. Scumbags. But good on you to get it for the masses.
I’d be interested to know where it does work, as several folk are struggling. So far it’s OK in US and Australia. Anywhere else, folks?
Works fine in Finland. I take no joy in it however, knowing that certain countries don’t have the privilege of viewership, everyone should be able to enjoy a good Columbo every now and then.
I agree with you there, but I’m pleased to hear you’re able to view OK.
Works fine in Hong Kong!
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!
….and apparently Germans too
I see these YouTube episodes as a bonus option I can use if needed when I’m away from home or for those episodes I have on scratched DVDs.
Makes me sad to report the video won’t play in Germany 🙁
Oh dear, I’m sorry to hear that.