• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Feb 1, 1968
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
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8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 17 Ratings

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  • Summary: Many criminals made the mistake of underestimating Lieutenant Columbo, a homicide investigator with a crumpled trench-coat and a beat-up car, who certainly acted as an incompetent bumbler.

    But he was so polite to every suspect, and he talked so much about his wife (who we never got to see
    Many criminals made the mistake of underestimating Lieutenant Columbo, a homicide investigator with a crumpled trench-coat and a beat-up car, who certainly acted as an incompetent bumbler.

    But he was so polite to every suspect, and he talked so much about his wife (who we never got to see on any episode, but who many believe later had her own show, starring Kate Mulgrew, later of Star Trek: Voyager fame) that he lulled even the shrewdest murderer into a false sense of security.

    And although the audience had witnessed the murder in the beginning of each episode, it was still a surprise to see what mistakes the killers had made during the seemingly perfect murder.

    Peter Falk carried the old trench-coat for 7 seasons of 90 and 120 minute movies on NBC, before the series ended. But over a decade later, Falk agreed to revive the character on ABC for an additional 2 seasons with a subsequent string of TV-movies with the loveable detective once again using his calling-card false good-byes: "Oh, thereĀ“s just one more thing..."

    (A note on the running time of the episode: During the first 7 seasons, 18 episodes were 120 minutes long, while the other 27 episodes were 90 minutes long. The episodes after that were all 120 minutes long. In the episode guide, I have only marked out the 90 minute-episodes.)
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  • Genre(s): Drama, Suspense
Score distribution:
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Nov 10, 2011
    10
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  2. Sep 2, 2018
    10
    This is probably one of the best detective shows I have ever watched. It allows you to try and solve the case before the main character,This is probably one of the best detective shows I have ever watched. It allows you to try and solve the case before the main character, Columbo can. It is also fun to see Columbo outsmart criminals by playing dumb and making the murderer feel as if they will never get caught thus letting there guard down. Sure there are a few episodes that were a bit ill-conceived but most of them have excellent guest actors and storylines and the stories are a good afternoon or evening watch. The best episodes, in my opinion, would probably be Prescription: Murder, Any Old Port in a Storm, Negative Reaction, By Dawn's Early Light, Rest in Peace Mrs Columbo, Undercover and Ashes to Ashes. The suspense and mystery are flipped on its head and that is why the show still endures 50 years on. The best guest star is Patrick McGoohan who plays characters in 4 episodes each of them as sinister as the last and these are some of the best stories, including Ashes to Ashes and By Dawn's Early Light along with Identity Crisis and Agenda for Murder. Overall, this is my favourite detective show and I will be both disappointed if they make a reboot as it will possibly ruin the memory of Peter Falk's take on the iconic coat wearing and cigar smoking detective but maybe I will be pleasantly surprised and happy that there will be more episodes. Therefore, this television show deserves 10/10 as each episode is fun to watch with its interesting twists and turns and eventual capture of the murderer and Peter Falk's ever amazing performance as Lieutenant Columbo. Expand
  3. 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. Expand
  4. 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...
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