• Network: NBC
  • Series Premiere Date: Feb 1, 1968
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Metascore
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No score yet - based on 0 Critics

Critic score distribution:
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User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. Jul 13, 2016
    5
    Some actors get indelibly linked to a particular character, and Peter Falk as Columbo is one of them.

    Columbo reinvented the crime drama,
    Some actors get indelibly linked to a particular character, and Peter Falk as Columbo is one of them.

    Columbo reinvented the crime drama, twisting the genre on its head. Changing the tradition 'whodunit' (where the cop arrives after the murder, and proceeds to solve it, with a 'reveal' at the end that ties it all up for the audience), to a 'howcatchem' (where the opening 'act' of the show has the killer commit their murder, revealing their motives and a level of smugness at what they think is a perfect crime) was something that was then copied many times over in different genres, in both television and cinema.

    The quality of the show wavers, some episodes being absolute classics, and others being quite slow and predictable. The trick therefore (because each episode is a 'bottle' show, there is no overarching storylines) is to just look up online which episodes from each of the (many) seasons are the best, watch them in order, and see the passage of time.... As Columbo goes from being in his mid-40's in the first season, to approaching 70(!!) by the time the last of the TV movies was released in 2003.

    That also opens up another fascinating element of the show (from a viewing perspective), in that is fantastic social history...
    From the pre-'73 oil crisis episodes (where everyone drives around in insanely large Cadillacs and the like), through to the late 70s (where the soundtrack is rich in contemporary disco music)... Before the show ended, and was recommissioned in 1989, where the excesses of the late 80s/early 90s are all on show ( the perp's are mainly self-centred **** rather than the more empathetic characters from earlier), before finally coming to an end with the aforementioned sporadic TV movie releases through the 90s and into the new millenium.

    OK, the show has lost a lot of its resonance over the years, and what would have been considered fairly shocking or even a little risque for network television in the 70s is very tame now. But there is a massive amount of charm, and it's worth looking for the 15 or so really excellent episodes. It's also interesting to see just how much 'Columbo' has seeped into modern television/cinema and even pop-culture...

    As for a rating... Well, if there are 15 really great episodes from a total run of 69.... You're looking at less than a quarter being really worth the time to watch... As such you can't offer a score on the whole, based on some being timeless. But, the modern digital world means you can find the best and discard the rest...
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 10, 2015
    10
    The somewhat unique thing about the Columbo series is that you see the murder first and the detective work of lieutenant Columbo afterwards.The somewhat unique thing about the Columbo series is that you see the murder first and the detective work of lieutenant Columbo afterwards. You would think that this takes away any suspense from the story, but in fact it's incredible interesting to see how Columbo keeps stalking the murderer untill he or she gets totally trapped in his or her own lies until they crack under the pressure. Full Review »
  3. Nov 10, 2011
    10
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