When you first saw him, Lt. Columbo, looked like a bum that just came off the street. He had a bumbling demeanor, was overly polite and seemed to chomp on the same short cigar on a daily basis. However, beneath all that comical exterior was probably the most dogged investigator on the Los Angeles Police Department. Columbo was often called on to investigate high profile murders that involved the rich and famous. The culprits were often amused by him and just as they thought they were going to get away with murder, Columbo would find a way trap them or find enough evidence to make them confess. Written by
Brian Washington <Sargebri@att.net>
The very first episode, (aside from the two pilots) "Murder by the Book", was directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Steven Bochco. Spielberg was never again involved with the series, through Bochco wrote several other episodes. See more »
In this 1968 two hour Pilot, (about 1hr-34min in), Columbo is waiting for the suspect's lover to approach him at the movie studio. The long shot, from behind and above Columbo, shows him standing next to the ice cream truck, and placing his briefcase on the ground, to the left and front of him. A tight-shot from Columbo's front, now shows the briefcase tight and to his left leg, while Columbo rips the wrapper from his Popsicle, and he THROWS the wrapper to the ground behind him. The next shot is again the long shot from behind and above Columbo. His briefcase is now, again, to his left and in front of him, and there is no sign of the Popsicle wrapper which he just threw on the ground behind him. See more »
I am a huge fan of detective series- Inspector Morse(my favourite), Agatha Christie:Poirot, Murder She Wrote, New Tricks, Monk, Ellery Queen, A Touch of Frost and Taggart are all wonderful, but I can't not mention Columbo.
Columbo is sophisticated, funny and clever, and is quite simply one of the best detective series ever. It does show who does it a vast majority of the time, so the viewer knows who's the murderer before Columbo does, like on Monk and sometimes on Diagnosis Murder as well. But the real fun is Columbo investigating why the crime was committed, how it was committed and of course the exchanges between him and the suspects.
Columbo is well filmed, with nice photography and interesting locations. The stories are involving and well paced, the murders and motives are calculating, the scripts are intelligent with some humour in them(the quintessential "just one more thing" and anything to do with Mrs. Columbo), the music is cleverly composed and the direction is strong. I can't fault the acting either- Peter Falk is simply brilliant as the dishevelled, cigar-smoking, dog-eared Columbo, a detective who has a brilliant mind and is endearing in his own way. Morse, Miss Marple, Jessica Fletcher and Poirot are very like that as well. And there have been many memorable guest stars, Dick Van Dyke, Nicol Williamson, Gene Barry, Jack Cassidy, Robert Culp, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick McGoohan, Ray Milland, Rip Torn and George Hamilton are just a few of these memorable guests.
Overall, one brilliant detective series, clever with a great central performance. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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