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What were Peter Falk’s favourite Columbo episodes?

Peter Falk's favourite Columbo episodes

Debating the merits of favourite Columbo episodes with a fellow fan is one of the most enjoyable pastimes ever. But have you ever wondered which episodes Peter Falk liked most?

If so, your sleepless nights are at an end! Because Falk did outline his four favourite NBC-era episodes (1971-78) for the A&E television network sometime in the early 1990s. In a series of special presentations entitled ‘Columbo’s favourite Columbos’, Falk delivered a personal introduction to each episode, outlining his recollections about each one. These segments were filmed in Falk’s own art studio.

Alas I have never seen these intros, which I believe aired once and once only. I can’t find any evidence of them on YouTube either, so if you happen to know where they can be viewed online please let me know. You’ll bring delight to thousands of fans.

Without further ado, here are Peter Falk’s favourite Columbo episodes, and a precis of his opinions on each. These come from a variety of sources, including ‘The Ultimate Lieutenant Columbo Site‘ and Mark Dawidziak’s The Columbo Phile.

“If you happen to know where these intros can be viewed online please let me know. You’ll bring delight to thousands of fans.”

4. Identity Crisis (Season 5, 1975)

Columbo Identity Crisis

Patrick McGoohan’s second appearance as a guest killer in this bonkers spy romp was poles apart from his Columbo debut in Season 4’s By Dawn’s Early Light. There, his restrained turn as Colonel Rumford is so far removed from the eccentric turn delivered here that it could almost be two different actors at work.

McGoohan’s Nelson Brenner appears to be much closer to the heart of the man himself, and that sense of fun and quirkiness seemed to infect the Columbo character, too. As well as being the headline guest star, McGoohan also had directorial duties on this episode, and Falk seems to have absolutely reveled in the immersive experience.

Speaking about Identity Crisis, Falk said: “The scenes between Columbo and the murderer are, in my judgment, among the best we ever did. They have that perfect balance between being both compelling and amusing. And that’s what we always strive for – that’s the trick in those scenes, keep ’em tense and keep ’em funny. And a great deal of credit for that goes to Patrick McGoohan.

“I’ll always remember how much fun I had playing ’em, and to this day I get a kick out of watching ’em.”

For his part, McGoohan was just as enamoured with the process. Falk and series producer Everett Chambers had essentially given him a carte blanche to put his stamp on the episode – and it shows.

In an interview with Mark Dawidziak for The Columbo Phile McGoohan recalled: “I was wary about directing an American television show, but I was given total control by Peter and Everett Chambers. They had a classy story. It needed some work, but Peter was a wonderful actor for a director.

“Peter is a meticulous man. He is a very careful actor. My association with Columbo continued because Peter liked me and I liked him.”

Indeed the association would last a further 25 years, with McGoohan repeating his double act as murderer/director in two further epsiodes (Agenda For Murder in 1989 and Ashes to Ashes in 1998), as well as additional stints as a director in Last Salute to the Commodore (1976) and Murder With Too Many Notes (2000).

3. Now You See Him (Season 5, 1976)

Columbo Now You See Him

Airing three months after Identity Crisis, the magic-fuelled Now You See Him represented Jack Cassidy’s third and final appearance as a Columbo killer. It was also one of his very last screen roles as he died tragically in a house fire just 10 months later.

“The new raincoat made him very uncomfortable and self-conscious. It was a brilliant idea.”

During his intro to the episode, Falk fondly recalled ‘the terrific running gag’ about Columbo’s hatred of the new coat his wife had bought him and his efforts to rid himself of it – including instructing Dog to look away if someone tried to steal it from his parked car.

Falk had earlier praised the same plot point in an interview for The Columbo Phile, saying: “The new raincoat made him very uncomfortable and self-conscious. It was a brilliant idea.”

Falk’s other episode highlights included him volunteering to assist The Great Santini on stage during his live stage show – a scene similarly cherished by fans – and he spoke warmly about what a fun time he had playing alongside Cassidy.

2. Forgotten Lady (Season 5, 1975)

Columbo Forgotten Lady

Another from Season 5 – this time the season opener – Falk recounted how much he enjoyed working with Janet Leigh and enthused about how the writers Bill Driskill and Peter S. Fischer ‘really outdid themselves.’

He was particularly pleased with the quality of the clues Columbo picks up on during the course of his investigations that indicate to him murder, not suicide, was the cause of Dr Henry Willis’s death. The initial investigation scene was used as a model for future episode writers on how such scenes should be put together.

The episode also stood out in Falk’s memory as a ‘real rarity’ in that Columbo allows the killer to go free given her inoperable brain aneurism means she has only a month or two to live.

Although he described it for the TV cameras as ‘one of our better efforts’, Falk was slightly less effusive in 1989’s The Columbo Phile, telling Mark Dawidziak: “We had all kinds of problems getting that one to two hours [running time].”

1. Any Old Port In A Storm (Season 3, 1973)

Port 6
The shared respect between Carsini and Columbo helped Any Old Port stand out as Peter Falk’s number one Columbo outing

Here is one example where Falk and the viewer appear to see entirely eye-to-eye, with Any Old Port perennially topping polls of fans’ favourite episodes, including from a poll on this very site.

The mutual and genuine admiration that grows between the two leads is what helped Any Old Port stand out for Falk, who recalled this as the first episode in which Columbo developed such an emotional attachment to the murderer.

“I’m very fond of that episode,” Falk recounted in The Columbo Phile. “Columbo liked the Donald Pleasence character a lot. That character had the same obsession with excellence that Columbo had.

“Columbo might have been a slob with clothes, but he had respect and admiration for excellence. The job had to be done properly. Columbo was delighted by that guy. He admired him.”

The presence of Vito Scotti – a six-time guest star in his first appearance on the show – was another plus point for Falk. “Vito Scotti is a good friend and a terrific actor,” Falk said. “We were glad to use him whenever we could. He was terrific as the waiter, the old bum, the funeral parlour director.”

“The mutual and genuine respect that grows between the two leads is what helped Any Old Port stand out for Falk.”


It might come as a surprise to fans that pivotal episodes Etude in Black and Murder by the Book don’t feature here – particularly Etude, which starred Falk’s BFF John Cassavetes.

Etude car
Sorry Maestro, no room at the inn for you…

Instead, all of Falk’s personal favourites come from Seasons 3 or 5, when the show was more firmly established. Notably, three of the four are from Season 5 alone. What does this tell us? Well for one thing it suggests that Falk was at his happiest in the crumpled raincoat once he had a couple of full seasons under his belt.

We must remember that Season 1 was marked by Falk’s continual run-ins with the studio about his desire to direct an episode. It was a stressful time for star, studio, cast and crew, which perhaps explains why he doesn’t include any Season 1 episodes amongst his favourites – despite most fans naming at least one of Murder by the Book, Suitable for Framing or Death Lends a Hand amongst their top picks.

“We must remember that Season 1 was marked by Falk’s continual run-ins with the studio about his desire to direct an episode.”

Not only had he completely mastered every nuance of the character, but by Season 5 Falk was an absolute Hollywood power player, increasingly calling the shots on who he was happy to work with and the amount of time dedicated to getting each episode signed off to his exacting standards.

Falk was also earning a King’s Ransom by that time, which doubtless contributed to him considering these years as a Golden Age in his career. He earned $100,000 per episode in Season 3 – and this leaped to $132,000 for Season 4 (the equivalent of $660,000 today!). Figures for Season 5 are not available, but undoubtedly kept on the upwards trajectory. It was certainly a great time to be Peter Falk…

How do Peter’s favourite episodes compare to your own? Any surprises there? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Gee whizz, I had to think hard to whittle down my favourites to just four…
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83 thoughts on “What were Peter Falk’s favourite Columbo episodes?

  1. I liked and enjoyed most all of the Columbo episodes. No one could have convincingly pulled the Columbo character off as Peter Falk did. He was in my opinion made for this role. His acting, the directing, the writers, and the guest stars, made this a true Classic show that I don’t believe could ever be topped. Another great episode in my opinion, was Swann Song, starring Johnny Cash as the gospel singer that kills his wife and young girl in the plane crash after bailing out with a DIY parachute rig. Great episode. One of my favorites.

  2. Requiem for a Failing Star is currently at the top of my
    best list. In terms of scripting, casting, performances,
    and other goodies. Its plot sources being The Big Sleep
    and Sunset Boulevard mainly. Hard to top both Chandler
    and Wilder.

  3. Pingback: Columbo top 10 episodes as voted by the fans: 2019 edition | THE COLUMBOPHILE

  4. Pingback: What’s YOUR ultimate favourite Columbo episode? Vote now! | THE COLUMBOPHILE

  5. I agree with Peter. I love ‘Identity Crisis.’ One of my favorites. And it’s because of the interplay between he and Patrick McGoohan. Also love ‘Now You See Him.’ For the same reason. But I think, in general, that ‘Murder by the Book’ is vastly underrated. Mainly due to Steven’s storyboarding of the episode before he shot it. And I really think All the Jack Cassidy episodes benefit from simply having Jack Cassidy in them. And I still think that Dick Van Dyke episode is underrated. That one was really good.

  6. Pingback: Episode review: Columbo Now You See Him | The Columbophile

  7. Pingback: Episode review: Columbo Identity Crisis | The Columbophile

  8. I remember an article in TV-Guide in 1976 that said that Peter Falk was having the time of his life as Columbo, with the studio agreeing to allow him to limit the number of episodes and increased his pay to $250,000 per episode, the highest salary per episode at that time. NBC was willing to agree to anything because on the highest-rated night (Sunday), when Columbo came on they owned their timeslot, with Neilson ratings in the 30’s. In turn the prices they charged advertisers for that timeslot were confiscatory. Peter Falk exercised real power at that time;

    • It’s interesting to me that no-one (in my recent perusal) mentions ‘The Rockford Files’ when discussing ‘Columbo’ – I was more of a ‘Rockford’ aficionado as a kid, but the series IMO have a lot in common (although Mr. Garner probably came out worse for wear than Mr. Falk, having to sue for dodgy accounting practices etc) I’d be interested to hear whether other folks agree/disagree 🙂

      • @Amelia Zedlar I have never seen the full Rockford series, but I can tell for sure, that both Columbo and Rockford have one thing in common: Claus Biederstaedt, the dubbing voice in Germany. Biederstaedt (nowadays aged 91) was Rockford’s voice in all episodes and Columbo’s voice in 19 episodes.

      • Rockford files was a great show too. He didn’t like guns either. Also a another connection to Columbo was Columbo’s car sitting on the wharf on the very first Rockford Files.

  9. Pingback: Episode review: Columbo Forgotten Lady | The Columbophile

  10. Identity crisis is a great columbo, it is such a romp filled with spy’s twists and turn and a few funny moments thrown in for good measure. my favorite scenes being pulled aside by the CIA at the outdoor railway center , plus the fun they have at Brenner’s apartment and the scene at the gas/petrol station.
    I always enjoy identity crisis, it should be noted Leslie Nielsen was also quite good in this as the victim AJ Henderson and gets into my top 10 on the other hand i am not a big fan of forgotten lady or any old port in a storm , i like now you see him but not love it .

  11. Pingback: Episode review: Columbo A Deadly State of Mind | The Columbophile

  12. In “Identity Crisis” there’s a house that features in other episodes. Moreso it’s the front entrance – a large courtyard type, entirely tiled where the cars drive up. I’ve seen it in “Double Shock” and maybe “Fade In To Murder”. A nice-looking Mediterranean type home. Clearly this was a favourite home of the producers. 🙂

  13. I actually read all the posts. To some I agree: “Try and Catch Me” tells us as much about Columbo as “Forgotten Lady” about Peter Falk. And stunning, marvellous giant Ruth Gordon… One of my absolute favorites.
    “By Dawn’s Early Light” shows the best work of Patrick McGoohan in his whole career.

    • Between the great acting between Falk and Gordon, and a great musical score, you have one of the best episodes ever. The question that will always remain is did Edmund kill Abigail’s Phillis on the boat that night? Considering that she locked Edmund in the safe for a hideous murder, one of the worst in Series history. What do you think? Was Edmund guilty of killing Phillis, as Abbey was so sure about?

      • How likely is it that both mystery geniuses, Columbo and Abigail Mitchell, were wrong? Even Columbo could read the motive for the murder and could figure out the bad marriage Edmund must have had. It wouldn’t fit within the context if Edmund was innocent. So he definitely killed his wife.

        • I don’t think he definitely did it. We’re meant to side with Abi, so can assume he probably did but the great success of the episode is the ambiguity surrounding Edmund. I prefer to think that he didn’t kill Phyllis and that Abi is seeing murder mystery when there is none. Columbo’s observation that Edmund and Phyllis has a poor marriage based on a lack of photos is a bit weak. Edmund could’ve taken them down because the reminder of her caused him great grief.

          • Interesting view. But I think the great success of the episode is that a charming, sympathetic and successful old lady is put against a charming and sympathetic middle-class everyman, meeting his opponent on eye level. But how charming would Abigail be, if we were to assume that she totally failed to judge the character of her only living relative and that she murdered an innocent man in such a cruel way due to her paranoia? Edmund would then be the most tragical victim in the series and the wonderful chemistry, the humorous cat and mouse game between Columbo and the old lady would be beside the point, and we wouldn’t deserve to enjoy the heart-warming ending, because we would have to despise Abigail instead of feeling pity for her.

            • Good points!!! I agree that a degree of ambiguity is inserted into the story but I feel that Edmund killed his wife.

              As Columbophile says, the taking down of the photos doesn’t in itself prove it, but I do think that Edmund is dangerous. His facial expressions on occasion – for instance when he was in Abigail’s office looking at a photo of his wife (7:39 in the movie). He begins with a pleasant expression, then it starts to change to what could be disdain then changes quickly again when Abigail enters the room. There’s something him that is definitely not to be trusted.

          • I’d disagree – I say Edmund did it. When he’s alone in the room, he smirks at his wife’s photo and toasts it. For a man who took down photos because of pain, he sure was able to look at her with no problem at her aunt’s house.

  14. Ok. I actually found this now and it makes me really happy. “Forgotten Lady” is my favorite and Peter Falk ranked it second; coooool! Why? Janet Leigh and John Payne are excellent, the supporting cast is perfect. The clue is the moment, when Columbo leaves the villa after his first visit and talks to Diamond about gangster movies: “Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmie Cagney — Edward G. Robinson” and later that this maybe was the reason for becoming a cop. Peter Falk told us that Eddie Robinson maybe was the reason for becoming an actor. A tribute for his great idol, that died some years befor. For my opinion THE HIGHLIGHT MOMENT of the whole series. With wonderful John Payne, my favorite support. No more, no less.

  15. I just watched “Forgotten Lady”, working my way through a DVD set. I think it is undercut by almost definitely the weakest “gotcha” moment in the series to date. The big gotcha is that the 1 hour and 45 minute movie that Grace was watching ran for over 2 hours, which leaves at least 10 minutes unaccounted for even after Grace spliced the reel, which means that she must have killed her husband. Only problem is that Grace could have done, well, anything else…she could have gone to use the toilet, she could have gone to get a cup of tea. She could have dozed off on the couch and not noticed that the reel failed. Very weak solution.

    That of course has to be weighed against that incredibly moving ending and a brilliant, powerful Janet Leigh performance. The show definitely had that going for it.

    • This character never would go to the toilet or would pee very fast. cup of tea? Unbelievable! Doze off watching herself? She’s a crazy narziss!

  16. It seems like these are not necessarily his favorite episodes, but rather the ones he most enjoyed acting in. Thus, it is quite expected that he would pick one each with his two greatest guest performers, McGoohan and Cassidy, and the one in which he got to work with an old movie superstar actress. The fourth choice is the only one he truly seems to have picked because of the show’s quality, and not unexpectedly it is indeed one of the top classics.

  17. I enjoy it also for the quirks and funny scenes, but it is far from one of the greats. First of all, the mere fact he cannot touch the murderer takes away from the satisfaction. Second of all, so much of the show is taken up by the CIA connection, leaving far less time for the actual Columbo aspects. Finally, the murder plot is mediocre, and solving it is only so-so. McGooohan’s superb acting is part of what saves it, but his others are far better.

    • Your right about the thin spots in the story. But it’s one of my favorites to watch. It’s not my favorite by any means, but it is very memorable for me due to the following : Patrick McGoohan uses his superb elocution skills to the highest degree. This makes for forever memorable , and quotable lines 40 years later.
      Also the wardrobe in this episode is fantastic. Brenner’s car is really wonderful as well as the modified 55 chevy. His house which has been used many times has never been used as well by showcasing it’s monolithic elegance.
      Also, the appearance of Leslie Neilson is always a plus. Also, the dude from Bewitched is excellent as the director. In addition, the on-location scene in Griffith Park had to be costly and time consuming, as to me, it was one of the best scenes in the episode. It showcased Griffith Park in one of its finest era’s and the clothes that the CIA dudes were wearing added boundless delight in showing the wonderful period when men dressed like men, not like 8 year olds.
      Its a true glimpse of LA in the 70’s that took work to photograph and is a treat to see today as well as a preserved treasure.
      Add to that Vito Scott and you have a firm 100% effort that dwarfs anything on T.V today.

      • yes, I guess we can give credit to McG as director for wringing the full value out of the house: we see the cool expanse of the interior and the fresco, and the beautiful grounds, and the rising helicopter gradually unveils the stunning location on the hilltop. Too bad that real estate went to waste in other episodes.

  18. I am watching “Agenda for Murder” and have to say that Patrick McGoohan’s performance is one for the ages in TV series. Elevates the episode.

    • I will be watching that episode again on ME-TV later tonight, and although I admire McGoohan as an actor, including on The Prisoner, I’d say that his two episodes in the later Columbo were vastly inferior to those from the original series.

      • I do not understand your affection for this episode, especially if you consider it better than McGoohan’s original two episodes, especially By Dawn’s Early Light.

        • Okay, I don’t necessarily prefer any of the new Columbos to the originals; I just enjoyed Patrick McGoohan’s character and the way he delivered it. Just finished “Identity Crisis” and love those long takes on McGoohan’s face while he appears to ponder his next words/move. Its magic. Unfortunately, I can’t rewatch “By Dawn’s Early Light” very often–I find the character too disturbing.

        • Just to correct my comment–I don’t find the military school character all that disturbing. The episode just doesn’t grab me. But McGoohan in “Identity Crisis” is very enjoyable.

      • yes identity crisis was my favourite MC ghooan episode and my personal 7th favourite my least is ashes to ashes

        • I don’t know where to place this comment; so I’m putting it amongst the “most popular” Columbos–even though I believe it’s the LEAST popular among the original episodes. I just finished “Last Salute to the Commodore” and hope that The Columbophile will review it. It was directed by Patrick McGoohan, and was the final entry in Season 5. It was a radical departure from the Columbo formula. I found it entertaining, if I release myself of all Columbo expectations (other than quality)..I was about to take issue with others’ complaints about Diane Baker’s performance (with whom I shared the bumpiest flight of my life from JFK to Heathrow in, about 1982. Yes I still hang on to that). I believe she may have been working on her production of “A Woman of Substance” at the time. In any event, she has a pivitol role in “Commodore”, so I tend watch her with a critical eye. At the beginning of that final, widely criticized group scene, she is foggy, if not beginning to lose her faculties from alcohol. Yet, when she hears her name, her eyes are as sharp as a lightening bolt, as they dart from side to side. Oh puhleeze.. She should have lifted her head slowly, and just as tentatively, risen to her feet. UNLESS McGoohan said we need to have her appear as[] though she is guilty, so we’re going to have her do this, even though she would be physically not up to such a perceptive response. Not good. Sorry if this is much about nothing. Just saying I liked the episode, and overall Ms. Baker’s performance was ok. I think it must be really hard to play a convincing drunk.

  19. Pingback: What’s YOUR ultimate favourite Columbo episode? Vote now! | The Columbophile

  20. For me ALL Columbo Episodes are
    timeless masterpieces. I have complete collection on DVD and every 2 or 3 months I watch them from first to last episode. There will be Only One Colombo!

    • I would differentiate between series like Perry Mason and the original Hawaii Five-0, which had episodes of consistently high quality, and series like Columbo, Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, which although they were of overall high quality, had episodes of wildly different quality, from excellent to average or below.

      • The old Columbos were pretty much high art across the board. The new Columbos were pretty much camp across the board. Death Lends a Hand and Murder by the Book are examples of sheer brilliance. The murder, the macabre, and the circumstantial evidence that eventually dooms the murderer. Columbo is a force of Nature that each murderer must confront…and lose. The new Columbos could have been Matlocks and not miss a beat…there’s nothing upbeat about a show dealing with murder.

        • If Columbo was restricted to the original series, I would largely agree with you, although I think that there are a few episodes which are average, at best.

        • @DARRIN RYCHLAK After decades of watching “Murder By the Book”, I am still unable to detect any “sheer brilliance” in that script. There are some things that really bother me, but maybe you can help me. I can’t ignore the weakness of the so called clever first murder! Let’s face it: It’s a poor idea. “The only good one I ever had,” Franklin says. Well, sorry Ken, but even this one ain’t good. What if Jim had called out “Ken, what the hell…?!” on the phone? Joanna would have told Columbo and Ken would have been incriminated from the very first moment on. Why can’t Columbo check with the telephone company that there hasn’t been a call from the office at that time? And most of all: How can an expert on mystery plots be so stupid to believe, the police would fall for the pretence of a professional kidnapping? Which professional killer would shoot his victim during a phone call? The other person on the phone would naturally call the police immediately as Joanna did. Right away the police would rush to the office within minutes, and there would be no time at all for a killer to devastate the office and to remove the body. And even if there was enough time, it would still be a hard thing to do to remove the body out of that high office building in broad daylight without being seen by anyone. Why does Columbo hail such a weak murder plan as a clever crime?
          Sure, the young director turned the poor script into an enjoyable movie, and Jack Cassidy is a type of villain par excellence, but as the plan is far from perfect and the gotcha as well, I can’t understand why so many fans can ignore these flaws and choose to name “Murder by the Book” when it comes to pointing out the highlights of the best series of all time.

          • As previously stated, I wouldn’t consider Columbo to be close to being the best series, as its episodes are of wildly varying quality, unlike, for example, Perry Mason and the original Hawaii Five-0.

          • Your criticism of the first murder is extremely weak. The shock of the moment and dramatic pause simply do not lend themselves, in any practical manner, to Jim shouting out the identity of the killer over the phone. A bullet is much faster than a spoken word. ‘What if…’ is the foundation of your beef. That can be done to any crime story. Any story indeed. Watch the episode again…how Ken tells Jim, “It’s obvious you never cheated on Joanna….” re your call scenario.

            Ken’s a hack. He’s not an ‘expert in mystery plots’….that’s a top reason why Ken kills Jim–he wants the life insurance because he has zero talent to write mysteries to keep the money flowing–he tells the interviewer the truth, “When I buried Jim, I buried Mrs. Melville…” only the reason is not out of respect for Jim’s death but as a coverup for his own creative fraudulence. Your primary objection is grounded in a fundamental misunderstanding of the story and the motivations driving Ken’s murderous hand.

            The murder is clever when you look at it through these lenses. Most murders are solved with circumstantial evidence. You simply don’t have the killer running around with a bloody knife or smoking gun offering up a full confession. The circumstantial evidence in this episode was brilliant–the insurance policy, the second murder, the character evidence of Ken’s indifference to Jim’s death, etc. For the first episode of the series (not first episode of Columbo), I’d say it’s pretty damn brilliant…a well honed artistic edifice from dramatists at the height of their powers.

          • I have yet to watch Murder By The Book again. But if memory serves me, Jack Cassidy tests earlier how he his victim will react to him pointing a gun. Later his victim just thinks he is playing the same ‘joke’ over again.

          • EDIT: Jack Cassidy first tests that his victim will say nothing when a gun is pointed at him. So that when Cassidy later shoots him, his victim thinks it’s just another joke.

  21. I think It’s all in the game was the best and I don’t think one person mentions it. Faye Dunaway won an Emmy and I believe Peter Falk wrote it.

    • True on both accounts. But for me Its all in the game is not one of the best ones because it doesn’t really bring out the qualities that I like in the character of Columbo. Besides that, her character doesn’t do the the sensible thing: by romanticising Columbo she brings suspicion on her instead of away from her. She’s not a smart killer, no challenge for Columbo at all.
      Still, it’s not the worst episode with plenty to enjoy, especially Faye Dunaway. Winning the Emmy for her performance says it all.

    • I definitely do not like It’s All In The Game, as the ‘romance’ between Faye Dunaway and Columbo is ridiculous, especially when it causes him to let her daughter go free.

  22. i must say im not a fan of any old port in a storm and even if it was faklks favoriite i still ddont place it very highly dont get me wrong its a good episode but i just dont know why its liked so much , also forgotton lady could say the same for hoe it was one of his favourites i dont know.

  23. i am surprised he didn’t include try and catch me as its such a classic , he would would have enjoyed starring with the old lady (Ruth Gordon) given her age and the great relationship they build throughout the episode , could also say the same for negative reaction as for identity crisis its one of my favorites its a blockbuster and patrick mc goohan was my favorite Colombo killer.

  24. These four episodes are 4 of my fav. episodes besides Etude in black etc. My very favourite being the one episode everybody seems to hate, Last salute to Commodore which was so unusual and almost Orson Wellesian. It was so off the wall and laid back, and he got the wrong suspect for a change.


  26. Falk’s choices were undoubtedly limited by A&E’s programming requirements. They aired those Columbo episodes with his introductions as prime time movies and no channel was airing 90-minute programs in prime time when they did. So we can agree these four were Falk’s favorite 2-hour episodes, but we still don’t know his overall favorites.

    • First, your assertion is completely arbitrary, with no evidence to back it up, and then second, it is contradictory, you state that no channel was airing 90 minute programs and yet all four of Falk’s choices were two hour episodes.

    • You might well be right, interesting point. That would still have opened it up to inclusion of fan favourites Troubled Waters, Swan Song, Exercise in Fatality, A Friend in Deed and Etude in Black, so it’s interesting stuff regardless. But, yes, that would explain why none of the shorter ones were there. Shame.

    • When A&E was running Columbo in the early 1990s, along with Banacek, McCloud, and McMillan & Wife, they had slots for two-hour episodes, and slots for a pair of 90-minute episodes back to back. It was kind of confusing, so fans pretty much had to subscribe to the free A&E magazine to get the program guide and see which episodes would air.

      It was a great time to be a fan of ’70s detective series. They did not air any of the other NBC Mystery Movies in that slot (and I badly wanted to see Tony Curtis’s McCoy!), but they were also showing an anthology of entertaining one-season flops like City of Angels, Ellery Queen, and the controversial Mrs. Columbo.

  27. I’m always surprised when someone names Identity Crisis as one of their favorites. This is one of the episodes I watch with an eye for things to appreciate about it: Leslie Nielson, the amusement park, etc. because it ISN’T a personal favorite of mine.
    I like McGoohan’s By the Dawn’s Early Light much better; favorite McGoohan episode is Ashes to Ashes.

  28. The favorites that he has a mostly mine my favorite is favoritest is murder under glass I’ve been in love with Peter Falk since I was a kid and he was the greatest. I miss him very much and I miss all the Columbo but I do own most of them from the 70s to the 80s. But I really love most of them.

  29. That’s really a surprise! Not one of my Top Ten’s is among Peter’s Top 4. His favourites currently rank in my list on place 23, 18, 64 and 28.

  30. Peter Falk loved “Any Old Port in a Storm” before it aired. Falk appeared on The Tonight Show on October 5, 1973 (2 days before its debut) & implored viewers to watch the episode because of Donald Pleasence’s performance. He emphasized the challenge Columbo faced in having empathy for the killer.

  31. Thank-you for this post, and the opportunity to comment. I absolutely love Peter Falk! I recently discovered that he was married to one of his co-stars. I have a hard time picking my favorite. I love them all!

  32. I like the Columbo episode where the supposed villain lock the man in the safe because he killed her niece he got what he deserved and I felt sorry for the old woman in the end

    • That’s why we have government, so that people don’t take the law into their own hands. “A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws.” – Ayn Rand

      • I do agree with your statement but after all it is a television show fictional so more power to the old woman LOL

    • This is one of the best episodes, also Ashes to Ashes and Columbo Goes To College. I felt sorry for the lady in Try And Catch Me, I hope she got off. 🙂

      • Thank you TT-Tourist; am right now watching Ashes to Ashes enjoying Columbo’s believable concern with the victim’s dog being unfed and watered. It’s a pleasant diverting show with the always solid McGoohan, as well as Falk seeming to enjoy himself. Definitely one of the better of the later shows.

  33. I’d say Peter’s choices of Any Old Port, Forgotten Lady and Now You See Me were also very strong ones for me and are only my list of favorites along with Death Lends a Hand, Murder By The Book, Troubled Waters, Negative Reaction, A Stitch in Crime and number 1 of all time Try and Catch Me.


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