columbophile

Columbo episode review: No Time to Die

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Often referenced by fans as the single worst Columbo ever made, No Time to Die is certainly an adventure like no other for the Lieutenant. Is it as truly terrible as its reputation suggests, or could it be considered a brave and underrated departure for a series struggling for relevance? Let’s take the plunge and find out…

Columbo’s biggest mystery

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In this guest essay, Michael Zuzel asks why a character as memorable as Lieutenant Columbo was trapped in so many forgettable stories. Controversial? Let’s see…

Site maintenance update (Zzzzzzz)

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Forgive the sheer mundanity of the post, but I thought I’d best alert readers to some imminent changes to the website, which may otherwise catch you unawares…

The 10 coolest Columbo cars of the 70s

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From Jags and Rollers to Corvettes, Cadillacs and Ferraris, 70s Columbo was awash with enough four-wheeled beauties to satisfy the cravings of any enthusiast. Classic car expert Marco DuBose shares his thoughts on the best of the best…

In memoriam: the Columbo stars we lost in 2020

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Despite the impressive longevity of a high proportion of its guest stars, sadly no year elapses without a number of Columbo contributors passing on. Let’s raise a glass to the Columbo stars we lost in 2020, and thank them for the indelible mark they left on our favourite show.

The Columbo kill count: who died, how?

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Over the course of its 69 outings, Columbo dished up an impressive 92 fatalities – that’s an average of 1.33 corpses per episode. But who died via which grisly methods? Read on and find out…

Episode review: Columbo Grand Deceptions

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Grown men were playing with toy soldiers – repeatedly – when Columbo plodded back onto screens for his season finale on May 1, 1989. Can Grand Deceptions deliver a new Columbo adventure that proudly sits shoulder-to-shoulder with the best efforts from the 70s? Let’s see…

A hypothetical Columbo reboot: how might it work?

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We must assume – whether we like it or not – that a Columbo reboot will happen at some point. The show’s too enshrined in popular culture for it to be left untouched forever. Here’s what I consider the most palatable options for a reboot to be.

Columbo book review: The Dean’s Death

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Although few fans realise it, beyond the boundaries of the television screen exist canonical Columbo adventures in printed form – some of which are really rather good. Here I review ‘The Dean’s Death’, written by Alfred Lawrence and first published in 1975.

Eve Babcock Columbo Most Crucial Game

The Columbo stars we lost in 2019

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From writers and directors to the talented actors who brought Columbo alive on the screen, here is a brief tribute to the Columbo stars we said a permanent farewell to 2019. May they continue to bring us delight in the years ahead every time we catch an episode.

2019: the Columbo year in review

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Given that there hasn’t been a new Columbo episode in more than 15 years, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the show was old news. You’d be wrong! This review of the Columbo year aims to succinctly fill you in on anything you might have missed…

Episode review: Columbo Murder Under Glass

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Starring Louis Jourdan as murderous food critic Paul Gerard, and notable for featuring more aspic per square yard of film than any other television production ever, Murder Under Glass is certain to expand waistlines merely by watching. But is Michelin Star-worthy? Let’s find out…

Does Mrs Columbo really exist?

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Every once in a while I’m stunned to encounter a Columbo fan who doubts the existence of the Lieutenant’s wife. Here I lay out the evidence for Mrs Columbo and pinpoint the moments that prove she’s the real deal.

Episode review: Columbo Fade in to Murder

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In-jokes abound greeted viewers for the opening episode of Columbo’s sixth season, as the world’s leading TV detective investigated a murder carried out by… the world’s leading TV detective in the meta-tastic Fade in to Murder. Let’s see if it’s any cop…

Columbo Etude in Black

Columbo full episode: Etude in Black

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BFFs John Cassavetes and Peter Falk teamed up to devastating effect in fan favourite episode Etude in Black in 1972. And the wonderful news is that Etude is the latest episode to be made available in full to keen viewers via the official Columbo YouTube channel.

Columbo Identity Crisis

Episode review: Columbo Identity Crisis

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Columbo colossus Patrick McGoohan was back to leave another indelible mark on the series on November 2, 1975, as the show’s fifth season reached its halfway stage in the shape of Identity Crisis. After a comparatively lacklustre season up to now, can the presence of McGoohan elevate this to Columbo’s top table? Let’s see…

Episode review: Columbo A Case of Immunity

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The shady world of Middle Eastern political skulduggery was front and centre for Columbo fans on October 12, 1975, as A Case of  Immunity first aired. Is it the televisual equivalent of a VIP invite to a Suari Legation garden party, or is it more of a night at home reading Arabian Nights? Let’s take a closer look…

5 best moments from Columbo Double Shock

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With the cast headlined by the late, great Martin Landau as duplicitous twins Dexter and Norman Paris, Double Shock had it all: pathos, great humour, fully developed secondary characters, plus an actual whodunnit element that kept viewers guessing until the final scene. What are its very, best moments? My thoughts right here…

2018: the Columbo year in review

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For a show that ceased producing new episodes more than 15 years ago, there’s still a heck of a lot of Columbo activity going on in the world. Here are some of the talking points you might have missed in 2018…

My top 10 favourite Columbo killers

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The line-up of Columbo killers makes for the very best sort of rogues’ gallery, with everyone from college kids to lovable grandmas represented. But have you ever stopped to think who your absolute favourite Columbo killers are? That’s the journey of discovery I’ve been on here.

Episode review: Columbo Playback

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Columbo was at the cutting edge on 2 March 1975, as the penultimate episode of Season 4 presented a strikingly modern vision of how LA’s rich and famous could live. But can Playback’s technical wizardry still be taken seriously by today’s audience? Let’s strap on our digital watches and set the CCTV cameras rolling as we find out…

Columbo Troubled Waters

Episode review: Columbo Troubled Waters

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When Columbo took to the high seas on 9 February 1975, you better have packed your sense of fun – because this is an adventure like no other for the dear Lieutenant. But is Troubled Waters plain sailing all the way, or a star-crossed journey destined for Davy Jones’s locker? I can’t wait to find out…

Columbo top 10 episodes as voted by the fans: 2018 edition

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In what has become a charming annual tradition, in the middle of each year I fling open the proverbial doors to fellow Columbo fans and invite them to cast their votes for their single favourite episode. So for your viewing pleasure, here are fans’ top 10 Columbo episodes, as of August 2018. Is your fave here?

Columbo full episode: A Stitch in Crime

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Hell hath no fury like a doctor scorned – and no medical man has a meaner spirit than Leonard Nimoy’s devilish Dr Barry Mayfield. Now you can enjoy watching Columbo A Stitch in Crime in full online thanks to the official Columbo YouTube channel.

A word on Steven Bochco, Columbo contributor par excellence

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April 1 2018 struck a sombre note for Columbo fans with news that Steven Bochco had died at the age of 74 after a long battle with leukemia. Although small compared to his main body of work, Bochco’s Columbo contribution remains one of the most celebrated of all.

Beth Chadwick Columbo Lady in Waiting

Six times Columbo diced with death

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Over a period of 23 years, six killers had the chance to extinguish Lieutenant Columbo’s life force – either in the heat of the moment or as a premeditated act. Can’t remember them all? Then here’s a short overview of the six times Columbo diced with death…

columbo blueprint for murder radio

5 best moments from Columbo Blueprint for Murder

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With a real-life construction environment as a filming backdrop and some big name co-stars to performance manage, Blueprint for Murder gave Peter Falk a baptism of fire in the director’s chair – a challenge he rose to admirably. But which scenes rise higher than the others, like a skyscraper at Williamson City?

Peter Falk Martin Landau

The Columbo stars we lost in 2017

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With every year that passes, the pool of Columbo supporting stars gradually diminishes, and 2017 was no different. Here I pay tribute to the Columbo guest stars we said ‘bon voyage’ to over the past 12 months.

Episode review: Columbo Double Exposure

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Robert Culp is back in his third and final appearance as a Columbo killer! But is Double Exposure a suitable send-off for one of Lieutenant Columbo’s most fearsome opponents? Let’s slip on our yellowest jackets, prepare some subliminal cuts and find out!

Columbo’s Halloween connections

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While there was never an actual Columbo Halloween episode, the show has enough spooky connections to warrant penning a seasonal special. Let’s check which of the show’s stars are horror icons in their own right.

10 great booze-fuelled Columbo moments

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When it comes to casual boozing, Columbo was in a world of its own. In the 70s especially, pretty much every character seemed to have a glass in hand. And with that in mind I give you 10 terrific booze-fuelled Columbo moments to raise a glass to.

columbo viveca scott

Episode review: Columbo Lovely but Lethal

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Boasting a brilliant cast and a unique beauty industry backdrop, hopes were high that Season 3’s opening episode Lovely but Lethal would match the curtain-raising efforts from the first two stellar seasons. So let’s dust off our fashion turbans and sharpen our eyebrow pencils in readiness to see if it lives up to the hype…

Double Shock cookery scene

Episode review: Columbo Double Shock

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In a series marked by twists and turns, Columbo Season 2 saved it’s biggest surprise till last, serving up an actual whodunnit with feuding identical twin brothers vying for contention as the Lieutenant’s number one suspect. But is Double Shock electrifying stuff, or just a shocker? Let’s find out…

Columbo dagger of the mind poster

Episode review: Columbo Dagger of the Mind

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Columbo broke new ground on November 26 1972. For the first time ever the Lieutenant stepped outside his Los Angeles comfort zone and mixed it up with a bunch of stereoptype-tastic Brits on a work visit to Scotland Yard. Can ‘Leftenant’ Columbo cut the mustard in old London town? Let’s see…

The Columbo stars we lost in 2016

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Wow, 2016 was a shocker wasn’t it? Many of the world’s most popular stars of stage, screen, concert hall and sporting arena took their one-way trips to the Pearly Gates. Columbo fans weren’t immune to these losses and a number of much-loved guest stars bid us farewell.

Christmas stocking fillers for the Columbo fan in your life!

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As it’s already well into November, it’s high time you started making Christmas plans for the Columbo fan in your life – or filling out your own Columbo wishlist if you’re the fan in someone else’s life. Here are some great Columbo gift ideas guaranteed to make hearts sing!

Columbo Robert Vaughn montage

Bon voyage to Robert Vaughn: Columbo’s nautical nemesis

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November 11, 2016 was a sad day for Columbo fans the world over, with the news that one of the show’s suavest and most stylish guest stars, Robert Vaughn, had died at the age of 83. For what he brought to the show, Vaughn retains a place in the hearts of Columbo fans in perpetuity.

Episode review: Columbo Greenhouse Jungle

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Following hot on the heels of the uber-popular Etude in Black was always going to be a tough gig, but with Ray Milland leading the supporting cast, and Peter Falk now owning every inch of the crumpled mac, anything seemed possible. Is Greenhouse Jungle a pathetic African Violet, or a $1200 orchid? Let’s see…

Columbo and Elliot Markham

Episode review: Columbo Blueprint for Murder

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Columbo’s legendary first season rounded out with an episode directed by Peter Falk himself: no easy feat given the live construction site backdrop. So is Blueprint for Murder TV gold, or should it be condemned to burial in the foundation of a skyscraper? Read on to find out…

Columbo’s Oscars pedigree

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No silver screen accolade is more coveted than the Academy Award. And the stars of Columbo, both from in front of and behind the camera, have a shedload of Oscars between them – as well as nominations galore. Have a look here at Columbo’s Oscars pedigree. You might be surprised…

Episode review: Columbo Suitable for Framing

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Let’s don our velvet tuxedos, crank up the electric blankets and prepare to slay our most lovable uncles as we stride out with Dale Kingston and co to give eloquent critique to this most artful of episodes. Is Suitable for Framing a Degas or merely a De Groat? Read on and find out…

The Columbo legends we lost in 2015

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As is to be expected of a show that’s well over 40 years old, a number of much-loved Columbo characters have passed away over the past 12 months. For what it’s worth, here’s a very small tribute to the Columbo legends we lost in 2015.

Suitable for Framing model

Can anyone solve this real-life Columbo mystery?

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Every episode of Columbo features a mystery. But there’s a real-life Columbo mystery that remains unresolved more than 45 years on. Simply put: who is this beautiful actress who played a small but notable part in Suitable for Framing back in 1971?

Prescription: Murder opening titles

Episode review – Columbo Prescription: Murder

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Taking it back to where it all began on February 20, 1968, as Peter Falk dons the raincoat for the very first time in the seminal Prescription: Murder. We know how that panned out in the long run, but taken on its own merits, how well does Prescription: Murder still stack up? Let’s investigate…

Top 10 most sympathetic Columbo killers

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Many Columbo killers were vile toads who deserved their comeuppance, but not all. In some instances, we can understand why they were driven to murder. We might even like them and root for them. But which are the most worthy of our sympathy?

Ken Franklin

Columbo’s most high-profile cases

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Columbo has bested some of he greatest criminal minds of his generation. But beyond that, he’s also brought down some of America’s highest profile and most-loved personalities. Here I consider what would rank as his most sensational cases.

Columbo Negative Reaction

Top 10 best Columbo gotchas

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At their very best, the Columbo ‘gotcha’ can have the audience fist-pumping and whooping with glee as the killer realises they’re history. Here’s what I think are the 10 very best examples. Do you agree…?

Welcome to the Columbophile blog!

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“Gee whizz, I’d just like to tell you how excited I am to meet you. You see, my wife, Mrs Columbo, she’s a big fan of yours. I can’t wait to get home and let her know you’re reading my, errrr, my whatchamacallit… my blog…”