Columbo

Watch Columbo

  • TV-PG
  • 1968
  • 10 Seasons
  • 8.3  (30,083)

Columbo was an American detective series that starred the late Peter Falk as the star character Lt. Columbo. Columbo had several unique qualities that distinguished it from the other mystery/crime series at the time, starting with the main character. One of the most interesting things about Columbo was that you never, new his first name. Whoever asked was simply told it was Lieutenant. You would never think that Columbo was a detective for the Los Angeles police department by looking at. Most detectives are neatly dressed, with their clothes pressed looking very professional. Columbo is the first to admit that he is untidy, which is one of the only things that he has not been able to solve. Columbo often shows up at a crime scene, rain or shine in a rumpled raincoat and looking exactly how he feels. Columbo works alone and doesn't carry a gun; in fact, he hates them and thinks that he is a bad shot. Columbo is very meticulous and pays close attention to even the smallest details. He is also very observant, making a silent mental note to his surrounding and listening to every detail that is being said about the case. He is also very attentive to the actions and reactions of the people that surround him, constantly asking them questions about things that are sometimes not related to the case. Columbo also writes down or records his notes and questions to ensure that he has all of the facts, quickly asking an additional question when needed. He can also be very forgetful at times. Colombo's mannerism and appearance makes most people believe that his is not as smart as most detectives, however Lt. Columbo has yet to encounter a case he could not solve. What makes a Columbo mystery fascinating and different than most mysteries or crime stories is that you know who the killer is and how the crime was committed at the beginning of the show rather at the end. The enjoyment of the show was to see how Lt. Columbo matches wits with the killer and solves what the killer always thinks is the perfect crime.

Columbo
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Seasons
Columbo Likes the Nightlife
14. Columbo Likes the Nightlife
January 30, 2003
The final Columbo story starring Peter Falk, Los Angeles rave promoter Justin Price (Matthew Rhys) helps his girlfriend Vanessa (Jennifer Sky) get rid of the corpse of her ex-husband, who was backing Price's new club, after he drops dead in Vanessa's apartment. When an investigative reporter pieces the crime together and threatens to blackmail Justin, Justin kills him.
Murder with Too Many Notes
13. Murder with Too Many Notes
March 12, 2001
Hollywood film composer and conductor Findlay Crawford (Billy Connolly) has been mentor to a talented young composer who has been ghostwriting most of Crawford's work for the last few years, and penned Crawford's entire last movie score, which won an Oscar. When the protege wants to venture out on his own, Crawford, whose own talent seems to have run dry, concocts the perfect murder, made to look like a suicide.
Ashes to Ashes
12. Ashes to Ashes
October 8, 1998
Hollywood gossip reporter Verity Chandler has a deal with mortician Eric Prince, who handles many of the funerals of the rich and famous. Prince gives her the inside scoop on funeral arrangements and in return she keeps the door closed on the closet containing Prince's many skeletons. However, Chandler and Prince were also having an affair, and after Prince dumps her, Chandler is out for revenge. She threatens to announce on her forthcoming TV show that Prince stole a $1 million necklace from the corpse of silent film star Dorothea Page when Prince was handling Page's funeral. When Chandler confronts Prince with this news in the preparation room of Prince's funeral parlour, Prince murders her by clubbing her on the head. Later that day, Prince manages to dispose of Chandler's body in the funeral parlour's crematorium, thus eliminating, or so he hopes, all the evidence that could incriminate him. Columbo is called in when Chandler's secretary, Roger Gambles, reports her as missing, and is soon led to Prince as a prime suspect. But how can Columbo prove Prince's guilt when there is no body?
A Trace of Murder
11. A Trace of Murder
May 15, 1997
Cathleen Calvert (Shera Danese) and her lover, crime scene investigator Patrick Kinsley (David Rasche), plot to get rid of Calvert's husband, Clifford (Barry Corbin), a powerful businessman, by killing an investment broker with whom he is currently feuding, and pinning the murder on Clifford. As long as he is alive and in prison, Cathleen has access to all his money. Columbo must uncover a criminal who is part of the team handling the investigation.
Strange Bedfellows
10. Strange Bedfellows
May 8, 1995
Wealthy horse breeder and trainer Graham McVeigh is exasperated by his younger brother Teddy's compulsive gambling, and is tired of bailing him out of debt and scrapes with the mob, so he decides to rid himself of the problem. He convinces Teddy to bet heavily on one of his (Graham's) horses, then drugs the horse so that it loses the race, costing Teddy thousands and sinking his chances of winning enough money to pay off mob bookie Bruno Romano. Graham tells Teddy that he has arranged a meeting with Romano in a secluded spot, where they can work out their differences. However it is a trick to lure Teddy out into the woods, where Graham shoots him once in the back of the head to make it look like a mob execution. Later, he phones Romano to tell him that he wants to pay off Teddy's debts, and lures Romano over to his ranch, where he shoots him too, claiming self-defence when Romano pulled a gun on him. However, Graham did not reckon on Romano's boss, Vincenzo Fortelli, taking exception to Romano's death (and the loss of Teddy's gambling debts), and soon finds himself threatened by both Columbo and Fortelli. Columbo forges an unlikely partnership with Fortelli (hence the episode's title) in an attempt to trap McVeigh into confessing the murders.
Undercover
9. Undercover
May 2, 1994
When two men kill each other in a run-down tenement, Columbo is ready to close the case until a fragment of a photograph is found clutched in one of the dead men's hands. The plot thickens when an insurance investigator, Irving Krutch, turns up at police headquarters claiming that the piece of the photograph is part of a treasure map leading to $4 million that was stolen from a bank several years earlier. Krutch produces a list of names of people which he claims have other pieces of the photograph, and tries to enlist Columbo's aid in tracking them down. When the people on the list start to turn up dead, Columbo has a full-blown murder case on his hands.
Butterfly in Shades of Grey
8. Butterfly in Shades of Grey
January 10, 1994
Irascible talk-show host Fielding Chase's adopted daughter Victoria wants to break away from her father's protective clutches. At 25, she is locked into a job as Chase's assistant, but she has written a novel which a literary agent, Lou Cates, thinks is brilliant and wants to publish. Gerry Winters, a researcher for Chase's show, is close friends with Victoria and tries to convince her to dump her father and come with him to New York. Chase becomes furious when he finds out that Winters is trying to steal his daughter, and plans to murder him. Chase tells Winters to phone him at a given time the next day to arrange a meeting. At that time, Chase goes to Winters's house and when Winters phones Chase, the call is picked up by Chase's answering machine. Chase then picks up the extension phone in Winters's house and pretends he is talking to him from his own home. He then shoots Winters, so the shots are recorded on Chase's answering machine, making it look like Chase was talking to Winters from his own house when the murder occurred. Chase plants a few clues in Winters's house in an attempt to frame Winters's gay lover Ted Molloy who had recently had an argument with Winters, but Columbo isn't fooled.
It's All in the Game
7. It's All in the Game
October 31, 1993
Nick Franco is a suave Italian womanizer who is carrying on simultaneous affairs with wealthy socialite Lauren Stanton and another mysterious woman named Lisa Martin. Stanton and Martin are shown to be very close on some emotional level, and they both share a hatred of Franco and his unscrupulous, violent ways with women. Together, they plot Franco's murder. They are waiting in Franco's apartment when he returns home late one night, and Stanton shoots him with a silenced gun. Wrapping his body in an electric blanket, they leave the scene and return separately two hours later. Stanton pretends she has lost her key to Franco's apartment and awakens the building supervisor to let her in. As the two are walking towards Franco's apartment, Martin fires a gun inside the apartment, then flees through the French windows. Stanton and the supervisor rush into the apartment to discover Franco's body, still warm, lying on the floor. When Columbo begins his investigation, Stanton pretends to be falling in love with him in an attempt to distract him from the case. Columbo in turn pretends to respond to Stanton's advances, but of course is ruthlessly pursuing the killer.
A Bird in the Hand...
6. A Bird in the Hand...
November 22, 1992
Given a deadline to pay his debts or else, chronic gambler Harold (Greg Evigan) plants a bomb under the Rolls Royce of his uncle, sports magnate Big Fred (Steve Forrest). However, Big Fred is killed by a hit-and-run driver while jogging that very morning, and the Rolls Royce explodes when Fred's gardener tries to move it out of the way of the TV camera crews. Just when Columbo thinks he has the goods on Harold, it is Harold who turns up dead.
No Time to Die
5. No Time to Die
March 15, 1992
Columbo is attending the wedding reception for his nephew Andy Parma, also a detective on the LAPD, and his bride Melissa Hayes, a fashion model and daughter of wealthy Seattle businessman Sheldon Hayes. After the reception Parma and his new wife return to their bridal suite in the hotel, but while Parma is taking a shower, Melissa is kidnapped by an unknown assailant. Being on the scene, Columbo takes charge of the investigation. When Melissa's wealthy father fails to receive any ransom demands, Columbo begins to realize that the kidnapper is probably a psycho who is stalking Melissa and isn't interested in money.
Death Hits the Jackpot
4. Death Hits the Jackpot
December 15, 1991
Young photographer Freddy Brower is in the middle of divorce proceedings with his wife Nancy. One night, when Freddy is at Nancy's house trying to sort things out, he watches the lottery draw on TV while Nancy is out of the room and discovers that he has won $30 million. The problem is that, by law, any lottery win has to be split with one's spouse. To get some advice on how to solve this problem, Freddy visits the one person he trusts: his uncle Leon Lamarr, who runs a jewellery shop. What Freddy doesn't know is that Lamarr has just discovered that his investments have crashed and he is broke. Lamarr suggests that Freddy let him collect the lottery winnings, after which he would give the money to Freddy. Freddy's trust in Lamarr turns out to be misplaced, of course, since Lamarr decides to murder Freddy so he can keep the money. When Lamarr holds a Hallowe'en costume party, he slips away and drives to Freddy's studio apartment, where he murders him by hitting him on the head with a bottle. He then undresses him and puts him in the bathtub to make it look like Freddy was taking a bath and slipped, hitting his head. When Columbo investigates, he discovers that Freddy was planning on making some very expensive purchases so his suspicions are aroused when he discovers the link between Freddy and Lamarr.
Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star
3. Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star
April 29, 1991
High-powered criminal lawyer Hugh Creighton has been living with fading rock star Marcy Edwards for several years, but discovers that Marcy is having an affair with the drummer from her band of some years back, Neddy Malcolm. Creighton attempts to break up with Marcy, but Marcy is aware of the dubious methods that Creighton uses to win his legal cases, and threatens to expose him unless he takes her back. When Creighton discovers that Malcolm has a criminal record involving assaults on women, he devises a plan to murder Marcy and frame Malcolm. Knowing that Malcolm pays regular visits to Marcy when Creighton is at work, he doctors a bottle of champagne with chloral hydrate. He then slips Marcy a drug which inhibits her desire to drink. Later that day, when Malcolm comes over to visit Marcy, he opens the doctored champagne and falls unconscious when he drinks some. Marcy refuses the drink and remains awake. At this point, Creighton enters and strangles Marcy while Malcolm is unconscious. Later, Malcolm wakes up beside Marcy's corpse, and as the investigation proceeds, Creighton makes sure that Columbo is aware of Malcolm's unsavoury past. Columbo suspects Creighton, but can he prove him guilty when Creighton has never lost a legal battle in his career?
Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
2. Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
February 20, 1991
TV presenter Wade Anders has used underhanded tactics to steal the plum job of anchorman on Crime Alert (a programme that reconstructs unsolved crimes and invites the public to help solve them) from rival Budd Clarke. Clarke, who has been relegated to be the presenter of the 11:00 news, has obtained a copy of a pornographic video made by Anders some years ago. He threatens to announce Anders's seedy past on the 11:00 news unless Anders resigns as host of Crime Alert. Anders uses Clarke's chain smoking habit to devise a plan to murder him. Anders doctors a pack of cigarettes with a potent poison and, when he goes to Clarke's house to discuss the situation, replaces Clarke's cigarettes with the poisoned package. Clarke soon smokes one of the poisoned cigarettes and dies within minutes. Anders then removes all evidence of the pornographic video and sets the scene to make it look like Clarke died of a heart attack. Columbo soon uncovers inconsistencies at the crime scene, but needs to discover the crucial clue that places Anders at the scene of the murder.
Columbo Goes to College
1. Columbo Goes to College
December 9, 1990
College students and frat buddies Justin Rowe and Cooper Redman both come from rich, prestigious families and are under strong parental pressure to excel at everything they do. As a result, they steal an exam paper from Professor D. E. Rusk's office. Rusk discovers their theft and threatens to have them expelled from the college. Rowe and Redman realize that this would mean the ends of their careers since their parents would disown them so they decide to murder Rusk before he can expose them. Rowe tells Rusk that he has had a conversation with his father (who has been a generous donor to the college) and that Rowe's father would like to meet Rusk that evening at a restaurant in order to discuss the situation. As luck would have it, that evening Columbo is giving a guest lecture on criminology to the college, and Rowe, Redman and Rusk are all in the audience. Rusk leaves the lecture halfway through for his meeting with Rowe's father, and as he is getting in his car in the basement parking lot, he is shot and killed by an unknown assailant. After the lecture, Columbo and several students from the audience discover the body. Columbo naturally suspects Rowe and Redman of being involved, but has to work out how they could have arranged to shoot Rusk when they were both sitting right in front of him in the audience at the time of the murder.
Description

Columbo was an American detective series that starred the late Peter Falk as the star character Lt. Columbo. Columbo had several unique qualities that distinguished it from the other mystery/crime series at the time, starting with the main character. One of the most interesting things about Columbo was that you never, new his first name. Whoever asked was simply told it was Lieutenant. You would never think that Columbo was a detective for the Los Angeles police department by looking at. Most detectives are neatly dressed, with their clothes pressed looking very professional. Columbo is the first to admit that he is untidy, which is one of the only things that he has not been able to solve. Columbo often shows up at a crime scene, rain or shine in a rumpled raincoat and looking exactly how he feels. Columbo works alone and doesn't carry a gun; in fact, he hates them and thinks that he is a bad shot. Columbo is very meticulous and pays close attention to even the smallest details. He is also very observant, making a silent mental note to his surrounding and listening to every detail that is being said about the case. He is also very attentive to the actions and reactions of the people that surround him, constantly asking them questions about things that are sometimes not related to the case. Columbo also writes down or records his notes and questions to ensure that he has all of the facts, quickly asking an additional question when needed. He can also be very forgetful at times. Colombo's mannerism and appearance makes most people believe that his is not as smart as most detectives, however Lt. Columbo has yet to encounter a case he could not solve.

What makes a Columbo mystery fascinating and different than most mysteries or crime stories is that you know who the killer is and how the crime was committed at the beginning of the show rather at the end. The enjoyment of the show was to see how Lt. Columbo matches wits with the killer and solves what the killer always thinks is the perfect crime.

Columbo is a series that is currently running and has 10 seasons (69 episodes). The series first aired on February 20, 1968.

Where to Watch Columbo

Columbo is available for streaming on the ABC website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Columbo on demand at Philo, FuboTV, Sling, Tubi TV, IMDb TV and Peacock.

  • Premiere Date
    February 20, 1968
  • IMDB Rating
    8.3  (30,083)