Columbo episode list

From its pilot in 1968 to its curtain call in 2003, Columbo ran for 35 years and comprised 69 episodes.

The full list of Columbo episodes in chronological order can be viewed below. Click on the links to read my reviews of the episodes. I may not get round to reviewing them all until about 2022.

You can also vote your your very favourite episode here!


Columbo pilot episodes

Columbo pilot episodes

Columbo season 1 episodes (1971-72)

Columbo season 1 montage

Columbo season 2 episodes (1972-73)

Columbo season 2 episode list

Columbo season 3 episodes (1973-74)

Columbo season 3 episode list

Columbo season 4 episodes (1974-75)

Columbo season 4 episode list

Columbo season 5 episodes (1975-76)

Columbo season 5 episode list

Columbo season 6 episodes (1976-77)

Columbo season 6 episode list

Columbo season 7 episodes (1977-78)

Columbo season 7 episode list

Columbo season 8 episodes (1989)

Columbo season 8 episode list

Columbo season 9 episodes (1989-90)

Columbo season 9 episode list

Columbo season 10 episodes, plus TV specials (1990-2003)

Columbo season 10 episode list
  • Columbo Goes to College (1990)
  • Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health (1991)
  • Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star (1991)
  • Death Hits the Jackpot (1991)
  • No Time to Die (1992)
  • A Bird in the Hand… (1992)
  • It’s All in the Game (1993)
  • Butterfly in Shades of Grey (1994)
  • Undercover (1994)
  • Strange Bedfellows (1995)
  • A Trace of Murder (1997)
  • Ashes to Ashes (1998)
  • Murder With Too Many Notes (2000)
  • Columbo Likes the Nightlife (2003)
Great scenes Part 1

You can read about my all-time Columbo top 10 episodes here.


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76 thoughts on “Columbo episode list

  1. Not sure where to post this, and forgive me if that has been discussed on this site before. I’ve only been here for a few months.
    I’m sure there has been thoughts/discussions about a Columbo sequel or prequel.
    I think a sequel could work very well and would be much better than a prequel.

    Simple idea for a sequel: Columbo has a nephew (maybe in his 40s) with the same last name, and who idolized his late Uncle Lt. Columbo as a detective.
    The show could still be called “Columbo” and follow the beloved format we all enjoy.
    It’s been almost two decades since the final episode, and think how much technology has changed since then (for better or for worse). This could create many new interesting plots. Off the top of my head, an episode about online dating, an episode about ride-sharing, etc…
    Of course, nothing can replace the original, but I’m in the camp of “Heck, it’s worth a try.” This might be sac-religious, but the show doesn’t have to “die” with the loss of the great Peter Falk.
    Thoughts?
    I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of prequels. The idea of some other actor playing a young Peter Falk doesn’t do much for me. Plus, do we really want to go back to the 1950’s and 60s?
    I like the idea of moving forward with a Columbo nephew and modern-day guest villains.

     
    • Absolutely. Why not a reboot? As an example, Hawaii 5-0, both series were great. And Dog can make special appearances too.

       
    • If it’s not the same character (older, younger, or in between), then what’s the point? Columbo’s nephew will not have inherited (from Columbo’s brother, if his last name is also Columbo) Columbo’s manner, his (rather old fashioned) respectful way of dealing with people of prominence, and the same idiosyncratic “shopworn bag of tricks.” A different character means a different personality. So all you’re really rebooting is the name and the inverted mystery formula. If it’s going to be a new character, why not boot a new inverted-mystery show with a new name? Columbo wasn’t the first inverted mystery and needn’t be the last.

      As many know (https://columbophile.com/2020/05/31/playwright-pens-columbo-prequel/), I’m all for a prequel. Transporting Columbo into the past adds a lot of period charm for me, lets us see how our favorite TV detective came about, and eliminates Falk comparisons (as Falk never played Columbo in the 1950’s).

       
  2. I am Italian and I am always wondering about Columbo Italian roots. In some episodes he speaks perfectly his heritage language but in other episodes he seems not understand a word. It would be great if you can dedicate a post to Columbo and his Italian background. An Italian rock band, Baustelle, had even dedicated a song to Columbo/Colombo!

     
    • Columbo is like a chameleon… he understands and can speak Italian perfectly fine, when it suits the case, and vice versa!

       
  3. Does anyone know which episode ended with a woman asking “You’re not stupid, are you, lieutenant?” and Columbo answered “No Ma’am, I’m not”

     
  4. Watching the Ruth Gordon episode Try and Catch Me which is good, this is the first time its been on here because for the past few months in England they’ve been showing Columbo from 09.30 to 19.00 every Sunday but they keep repeating the same episodes. By Dawn’s Early Light and Swan Song plus Troubled Waters have been shown several times since March 2020. Good as they are they should vary them don’t you thinks. There’s plenty to choose from!

     
  5. Does anybody else re-watch these episodes and try to pinpoint the EXACT moment when Columbo FIRST suspects the murderer as the “murderer?”
    I do!

     
  6. it’s all in the game – at the starting of this episode the water in the fountain goes backwards i wonder why

     
    • Lol, not that great but entertaining! I think I liked Patrick in the funeral director where he incinerates the woman, who really needed incinerating lol!

       
  7. I am trying to figure out if there was a Columbo episode where the executive has an office behind a security door with guards, but (I think) his wife kills him or her lover and Columbo has to figure out how the guy got killed when supposedly nobody was with him. Is this a Columbo or am I confusing it with something else?

     
    • That was from the ” Make me a perfect murder” episode in season 7. That was the last season of the first run of Columbo episodes.

       
      • Thanks. I didn’t explain it well. The executive is in an office with a security guard outside his door at all times, yet someone is able to get inside and shoot him. I think it’s his wife or someone who works for him but that’s all I remember. I know the Make Me a Perfect Murder episode. That was a good one but not the episode I’m thinking of. I’ve looked at the full list and nothing seems to fit so I must be thinking of a different series.

         
        • Perhaps you mean the episode called “ Candidate for Crime” but it doesn’t quite fit the bill of the episode you described

           
  8. I sure hope you’re thinking of collecting all your reviews and putting it out as a book. OK, so you can’t call it the Columbo Phile, but that doesn’t matter. Just get it out there. I’d buy that book, even if every word was available online for free. I love this site.

     
  9. I didn’t find the feather bit that much of a problem. There has to be some clue which turns him toward Danziger out of a shipload of suspects. He is not an obvious candidate like a spouse or an heir or someone who profits in a business way. The feather might have been on the bottom of a shoe and fallen off.

    I agree with the general criticism of Danziger having too much knowledge of the ship. This could have been made more credible easily with a line or two, possibly in the conversation with the wife, that Danziger having been sailor on this or a similar ship. The wife might have mentioned in passing that she met him when he was a sailor on a cruise years ago.

    No one, I think, has mentioned what I would consider the big problem with Danziger’s plot. How would he know the protocol for a heart attack patient? Perhaps the physician would request the nurse look in every 15 minutes just to see he was resting comfortably. What if his blood pressure was taken at 10:45 and 11:15 rather than at 11 and 11:30? Would blow the whole plan wouldn’t it? What if another patient showed up and delayed the nurse taking his blood pressure for 15 minutes? And how would he know she would sit with her back to the door of his room? Way too many things could go wrong, not to mention he might be seen once he was out of the hospital. His scheme was actually hilariously improbable in my judgment.

    Also, how could he be certain the singer and piano player would be fighting rather than openly billing and cooing? No reason for her not to renew their affair, after all.

    I think a better way would be to just slip his wife a mickey, commit the murder, and throw the gloves and gun overboard. Why would anyone necessarily connect the murder to Danziger?

    Your review was fun all the way, but I don’t see the singer as a wronged lover. She was just a love him and then blackmail him rotter. Danziger was really the wronged lover of the two, even if a creepy unfaithful hubby.

    Did you notice that the color combinations of Danziger’s wardrobe grew progressively more mundane. In his last scene he was blue on blue.

    Despite all these caveats about the writing, this is one of my favorite episodes due to the great villain and cast, Columbo’s old school detective work, the ship setting, and the humor.

    A last thought. What happens to Danziger? He is obviously guilty, but I think gets a suspended sentence due to the intervention of the International Society of Music Critics on his behalf. He did, after all, finish off Volare once and for all.

     
  10. “At Home with the Carsinis”, a short-lived spinoff series. Very funny, but don’t make fun of Julie Harris or make graven images of her likeness, LOL. The series was filmed in jail, I guess, although, as in various other episodes, it doesn’t seem like Columbo has any real evidence against the killer. Ho-hum.

     
  11. Just found your site today regarding ‘Friend in Deed’.

    Question on the first seven seasons: The show took to having Columbo shout questions and answers, notably in the ‘Commodore’ and the one where Jack Cassidy plays the magician/nazi.

    What was the purpose or intent when Columbo shouts through his interview with the boatyard worker in ‘Commodore’ and in regard to leaving behind his wife’s new gift raincoat in magician/nazi?

    Just wondering as this choice to have a shouting Columbo makes strained viewing. How many times did we have a ‘shouting Columbo’ scene in the series?

    Also, love the use of food, restaurants and chefs in so many ways on Columbo. Was there a back story on those choices? Was Peter Falk a foodie?

    Thanks for your comments if possible.

     
    • Having watched all Columbo episodes more than once I can assure you they are full of annoying inconsistencies that in my opinion are wrong and unexplainable.
      The consistent part of the formula is arriving at the crime scene always winning about something, I didn’t sleep last night I haven’t had my first coffee yet, my wife wanted to see Bette Davis at 3 in the morning, I’ve got a cold, my car broke down, those clams are killing me, I can’t find my wife is a big boat…………..and the list goes on and on. That’s on top of all the countless mentions of the wife, the nephews, dog, his car braking down and the hard boiled eggs just to mention a few.
      The show is entertaining and with some exceptions most episodes a very enjoyable.
      In conclusion try not to find rationale because you won’t find it in my opinion.

       
    • Columbo shouted in “Commodore” because there was a lot of noise going on in the boatyard with repairs and what not. I think he shouted way too loudly at times to give the appearance of not being that skilled in his work so as to make the culprit over confident.

       
    • Yea not quite sure what the point of having columbo shout on screen is about, with my only guess being a bit of a comedic scene for the show. Everyones been in a situation where alot of noise is present and ppl have to shout to one another to have a conversation. I assume the director intended this scene to be funny instead of the annoying scene we all remember it for. The comadore is a very VERY odd columbo episode, not at all in touch with the feeling of the rest of the entire series….

      That being said….
      Would columbo have been the same without it?

      As brutally terrible it is from the rest of the series, i still loved watching it the first time, i love how it brings columbo fans together, and i love how abnormally offbeat it is from the rest of em.
      You cant think about columbo without thinking about last salute, good or bad

      Fun fact: This episode can be seen in the Adam Sandler movie Big Daddy, where columbo is hanging off the back of the boat asking about the self steering mechinism. The little boy asks whos on the tv when the delivery guy responds “His name is columbo, he pretends to be stupid; but hes really sharp as a tac,”

      This was my introduction to columbo and possibly would never have taken interest in the series at all if not for Sandlers Big Daddy movie!

       
  12. Sir, your reviews and critiques of each episode are a delight.

    And the next best thing to watching Columbo itself.

    Such dedication. Makes me enjoy them even more so. And in a different light. Keep up the good work. I can’t wait to read the forthcoming reviews.

    You’re a legend.

    Jason
    London

     
  13. Hey, was just watching Columbo Goes to College, and I just love the scene when Columbo is looking at the Indy Car racing picture on the wall and he stops a guy in the hallway and asks where & how the picture is taken from that particular angle. The guys says they make video cameras so small now, they can stick them up … “wait, wait, that’s enough, thank you very much”. Says Lieutenant Columbo, He takes a few steps walking away, turns back and says to him, “thank you VERY much sir”.
    BUSTED

     
    • Columbo Goes To College is in my opinion one of the best episodes of the late part of the series mostly because of the intense interaction he has with the murderers since the very beginning of the episode. Caution, murder can be hazardous to your health, Columbo likes the nightlife, Agenda for murder, A trace of murder and A bird in the hand are also magnificent.

       
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  15. Amazing how clean& dapper he was in 1968 pilot- he carried pressed raincoat over his arm& wore crisp suits – columbo is ours in syracuse!!! He went to SU with jim Brown & Frank Langella (Dracula)

     
  16. Hi, just watched an episode…the title was ‘Forgotten Lady’ but the film was about Arabs, one being a killer who sought diplomatic immunity etc…confused

     
    • It should have been called a case of immunity, it looks as if ITV4 have messed up the titles, must admit Forgotten Lady looks better, the Arab episode was a little flat.

       
      • How odd? Bungling schedulers… As coincidence would have it, Case of Immunity is the next episode chronologically to Forgotten Lady and the next episode I’ll be reviewing on the site. I haven’t watched Immunity for some time, but from memory Forgotten Lady is the superior outing.

         
        • I remember this blunder i buy a TV guide every week , it is rare but they do make the odd schedule blunder , however neither forgotten lady or a case of immunity are among my true favorites .

           
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  18. Hey fellow Columbo addicts ! Kind of a newbie question, but looking at the Season 10 kaleidoscope, from which episode is the first screenshot from ? (the lieutenant lighting up his cigar in the dark) Iconic !

     
      • Thanks ! Just re-watched it, indeed nice scene with the smoke and that 80’s blue style 🙂 By the way, you’re doing a great work Columbophile, thanks for keeping the legacy of one of the most important detective fiction ever created ! I watched my first one when I was 6, and will never forget its impact. Cheers from France !

         
  19. THE LAST SOLUTE TO THE COMMODORE IS THE COLUMBO EVER MADE AND MADE NO SENCE WITH POOR SOUND AND WOODEN ACTING JUST TERRIBLE

     
  20. Generally I don’t prefer the later Columbo episodes over the “originals” for any number of reasons; but I’m watching “Murder of a Rock Star” with the very respected actor Dabney Coleman, and am finding it very watchable.

     
    • I forgot to add that I eagerly await Columbophile’s opinions regarding this episode!!
      I have enjoyed this blog/site more times than any other in TV/movies.

       
      • remember watching as a kid With my parents the NBC mystery movie and was always hoping it was Colombo but since then I’ve been watching As an adult in the last few years IDV R or Colombo and of watched everything at least 2 or 3 times when I’ve gotten to watch them about 4 times since then I look for little hidden Treasures on the scenes like backwards waterfalls Colombo’s car parked in scenes that shouldn’t be

         
  21. I remember watching Colombo in Poland in late 70 and 80.Now I’m watching again Colombo in USA in NY.What a great feeling.

     
  22. Thanks for those interesting and very complete reviews ! I enjoy reading them after having watched each episode. It’s like enjoying the show a 2d time, discovering new details I didn’t ever notice. Specially appreciating your expertise while putting each episode in the overall perspective of the series.
    I hope you will be able to go on, as I’m starting season 5 right now and that’s where the reviews end so far.

     
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  24. I wish to purchase all the episodes DVDs of columbo .
    I am the big fan of his .
    I love every episode I have watched .

     
  25. I wonder if someone can help me find the name of an episode. Somewhere near the end of the episode, Columbo explains that the victim (who I think was locked in a room) scratched a “deathbed” message using the carbon from a light bulb or match (not sure). The main thing I remember is Columbo saying to the suspected killer that the message, which implicated the killer, was “deathbed testimony” and was very powerful evidence. Help! Thanks in any case!

     
        • it was a walk in safe where the murderer stored cash an valuables and manuscripts in which her latest novel was titled the night I was murdered , Edmund the victim used a burnt match out of six matches (as he was a smoker)he used the remaining 5 to see to and he then used his last burnt match to delete ; The night; leaving, I was murdered by Abigail Mitchell on the title page which he then fixed in to a blown light bulb socket with an arrow pointing upwards which he scratched onto some metal boxes, it is vintage columbo and my personal favourite .

           
  26. Can anyone give me the name of an episode where Columbo nails the evidence via an altered security video that shows the image of an untrimmed hedge outside a property, but which date stamp doesn’t quite fit, as the same hedge is shown as trimmed hours (or possibly a day) earlier?
    It was altered by the antagonist in order to provide a watertight alibi, but Columbo’s sharp eye spotted the oversight.
    It’s a ‘gotcha’ that I really liked so want to trace the episode for an overdue re-watch. Any help would be gratefully received!

     
    • P.S.: My favourite episode! 🙂 Clie Revills performance as Joe Devlin is awesome and also the quy with the camper van fit well in the episode.

       
  27. troubled waters and playback 2 top episodes I meant to say try and catch me and the bye bye are still a little bit in the distance 1976 and 1977.

     
  28. Thanks for website…much appreciated.
    Question: I just discovered a Columbo episode online that I don’t find mentioned in either your list or DVD collections. It’s described as a TV Movie that aired in 1979 with Hal Holbrook as the villain (I think…haven’t watched it yet). Title is “Murder by Natural Causes” and it aired on CBS. Were there other Columbo TV Movies between Season 7 and Season 8 that have never been put in DVD or in a collection? Why was this episode not included in the boxed DVD collections?
    Thanks for any light you can shed.

     
    • From what I can see from quick research, Murder by Natural Causes was created by Columbo creators Levinson and Link, but it is not a Columbo episode. Reading the synopsis it doesn’t appear to have a police element at all.

      There were two Columbo episodes I know of that were scripted but never made. I wrote about those here: http://bit.ly/2vPnm2F

       
      • Thanks so much for your quick response, explaining the status of Murder by Natural Causes. Also appreciated the link to the “lost” Columbo episodes. Well done!

         
      • Just got hoodwinked into watching Murder by Natural Causes a few days ago, thinking it was a Columbo episode. It has more plot twists than a challah bread, making it so unconvincing as to be laughable. No detectives are involved, and it seems to last forever.

         
  29. I am finally ready to declare my dislike for a particular Columbo episode. It is “Columbo Cries Wolf”. My first negative impression came early on when the suspect DESCRIBES how Columbo operates. It’s as though we have a new younger audience to whom everything has to be spoon fed. There is a lot more I can talk about later; things that don’t ruin a first watch, but definitely stand in the way of my ever seeing this again.

     
    • I agree it’s not the greatest of all episodes… however in Prescription Murder, the pilot episode from 1968, the suspect, dr. Ray Flemming, describes the way Columbo operates as well, and in greater detail. And he wouldn’t be the only one to do so. Other suspects have remarked on Columbo’s subtle ways of never coming to the point, though never as detailed as Flemming did (but then Flemming was a psychiatrist and he and Columbo were having an after working hours session).
      So my point is, the suspect describing the way Columbo operates is like being the voice of the viewer and personally I don’t mind that at all. And I don’t think it has anything to do with spoon feeding a younger audience, it’s the suspect telling Columbo that he’s on to him. And we, the viewers, can be thrilled to know that that may be so, but that it won’t be enough to save him.

       
      • I agree I don’t like columbo cries wolf that much either but there at least 5 or 6 new episodes worse than it mainly undercover , murder in Malibu , no time to die , I also cant stand murder with too many notes and murder a self portrait is drossy.

         
        • The problem I have with Columbo Cries Wolf is that what the main character did was totally illegal. He was essentially sending the police on a wild goose chase, having them waste all those resources, yet nothing happens to him until Columbo finds a body.

           

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