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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 September 15, 1971.

Where do I stream Columbo online? Columbo is available for streaming on ABC, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Columbo on demand at Philo, FuboTV, Sling, IMDb TV, Peacock online.

10 Seasons, 69 Episodes
September 15, 1971
Drama Crime Mystery
Cast: Peter Falk
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Columbo Full Episode Guide

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Dr Wesley Corman is a mediocre dentist with a gambling addiction that has led to large debts. His senior partner in the dentists' office is his father-in-law Dr Horace Sherwin, who has been bailing him out of his debts for years. Sherwin tells Corman that he has had enough, but offers to forget the debts provided he moves out and also divorces Sherwin's daughter Lydia.Corman discovers that Lydia is having an affair with famous action movie star Adam Evans. Evans conveniently happens to be one of Corman's dental patients, so Corman devises a plan in which he murders Evans and frames Lydia for it. However, he does this in such a way that he appears to be covering up evidence in a bid to protect Lydia, who is mentally unstable and has a weak heart from having lost her first husband 7 years earlier. By doing so, he hopes to remove Lydia from the scene and gain the gratitude of Sherwin for attempting to help Lydia.When Evans comes to Corman for some dental work, Corman uses some of his wife's digitalis (heart medicine) and mixes it with some dental paste, then inserts this under a crown he installs on one of Evans's teeth. That evening, while Corman is at a poker session elsewhere, Evans and Lydia have one of their lovers' trysts. While Evans and Lydia are having sex, the digitalis leaks out of Evans's tooth and causes heart failure. Lydia, in a panic, attempts to call 911, but Corman has reprogrammed her phone so she calls his poker session instead. Corman and Lydia's brother David rush over to Lydia's house and discover Evans dead. To "protect" Lydia, Corman devises an intentionally clumsy coverup in which they put Evans in his car and make it look like he drove off a cliff.Columbo soon discovers the overdose of digitalis in Evans's body, but faces a seemingly insurmountable problem when he can't figure out how the poison was administered.

  • Renowned artist Max Barsini has three women in his life: his ex-wife Louise, his current wife Vanessa and his live-in model Julie. Barsini lives in an expansive shore-front house, and Louise lives right next door. Barsini's rise to success was given a healthy boost by his friend Vito, who runs a restaurant in old Los Angeles, above which Barsini lived with Louise when he was a struggling beginner in the art world.In addition to the friction that arises from having three love interests frequently under the same roof, it turns out that Louise also knows a dark secret concerning Barsini's stormy past relations with art dealer Harry Chudnow. Chudnow is a posh Englishman with a monocle known for cheating his clients and several years ago he mysteriously disappeared.Although Louise promises Barsini she will never reveal his secret, he doesn't trust her and arranges to murder her to keep his secret safe. One day he pays a visit to Vito and offers to paint a picture of his restaurant as thanks for Vito's help in the past. He sets up in his old, now vacant, room above the restaurant and forbids Vito from disturbing him while he is working on the painting. In reality, he climbs out the window of the studio and drives to a secluded beach where he knows Louise enjoys a daily swim. There he renders her unconscious by covering her face with a rag soaked in paint thinner, and carries her out into the ocean where she drowns. Barsini then drives back to Vito's restaurant just in time to meet Vito who has brought him a meal.Columbo's suspicions are aroused by several facts at the scene of the drowning and he soon meets Barsini, who offers to paint his portrait. During several sittings, Columbo and Barsini fence verbally, and Columbo also reveals that he has obtained taped descriptions of some of Louise's dreams, which disturbed her so much that she had discussed them with her psychologist (and current lover) Dr. Hammer.The episode is given a larger than life feel by Patrick Williams's stunning orchestral sound track and numerous paintings by (real life) artist Jaroslav Gebr.

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Doug aka. Columbo Clip (00:22) Henry Mancini - Mystery Movie Theme "Columbo" Clip (02:01)