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I just purchased the complete series DVDs and have begun watching. I
had forgotten what a great show this is. It's quite interesting to
watch as Falk develops the character over time into the iconic Columbo
we all remember. In the earliest shows he not as much the sly and
subtle adversary lulling the suspect into feeling he can evade justice
by outsmarting him.
The "how's he going to nail him" rather whodunit approach also makes the show more watchable multiple times than many mysteries where if you remember the culprit it spoils things. It's a lot more difficult to remember how he figure it out and confronted the killer than it is with other shows to remember who did it.
Someone told me that they found it interesting how my present demeanor was at that given moment. She said "Your total confusion, which manifests itself by way of your befuddled verbosity, all we have to do now is to put a beige trench coat on you and you're just like Columbo" Such a description does indeed describe Columbo to a tee!! Peter Falk did a remarkable job at portraying this seemingly inept detective who engages in a very unorthodox approach to unraveling burden of proof is a needle in a haystack murder cases! Most every episode was set up the same way. Cold, calculated, murders were executed by sophisticated Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Malibu Beach moguls. These money mad misfits could utterly destroy someone very effectively just because they're a little bored!! The initial scenario was such whereby all of these wealthy and subtle socialites could devour a disoriented detective like Columbo in record time. Everything starts off with the plutocratic murder suspect (who is the special guest starring on the episode for the week) delving into the recreational hobby of spoon feeding Leutenant Columbo a largess of condescension! To them, they have already considered the issue of murdering a family member, for a macabre motive, as an accomplishment which was water under the bridge, hence, they have successfully gotten away with this heinous act! Later on in the episode, Columbo's innocuous questions begin to resemble diatribes, and these elusive sophisticates begin to sense it. While all of these wealthy Southern California monsters are labeled as "Cool as a Cucumber", Columbo's actions make them lose their professional composure just a tad!! As Columbo persists with his line of questioning later on in the episode, the audience gets a feel for what is going on. Here is where the show, "Columbo" becomes extremely intriguing!! These social register suspects do not become victims of their own vanity!! As Columbo moves in for the ultimate goal of a conviction, the emotionally detached socialites, otherwise known as the suspects, begin to understand that Columbo is really not all that obtuse and simple minded! They have discovered that Columbo actually has a little moxie, they're surprised, however, they realize that they simply have to go one on one with Columbo! It now becomes a proverbial battle of wits!! Every time, of course, there is a happy ending, so to speak, and the affluent and prominent, upper crust, Los Angeles Area elitist is convicted of murder. Ultimately it is a circumstance of may the best man win!! A bevy of pecuniary powerhouses have become out-witted by a precocious, archaically inquisitive, and rough around the edges detective!! The television show "Columbo" has got to be one of the most innovative shows ever to hit the small screen. Peter Falk does a remarkable job in this series, and the array of famous guest stars procure an articulated finesse to this show!! Critics have rated "Columbo" as one of the best shows to ever be produced, I totally concur!! I give "Columbo" five out of five stars!!
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
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
Sure, I love modern crime dramas like CSI, but in my opinion, Columbo is on a whole other level. Most crime dramas airing currently are all about complicated chemical tests, DNA, and high-octane car chases and shootouts. Columbo is subtler than that. His common sense, shrewd observation, and disarming demeanor solve the cases. And, more than that, you really get into the psychology of the killers, who are often at least somewhat sympathetic characters driven to the edge by circumstance. In every episode, the scene where Columbo finally confronts them with the solution and hard evidence is always fantastic. This is a gem of a TV show, and I think anybody who likes CSI, Law & Order or any other crime dramas, will seriously enjoy this series.
Throughout the entire run of the series which went over 30 years with
revivals and such the LAPD never assigned Peter Falk some gang-banger
slaying or a domestic dispute where a drunk and jealous husband might
have carved up an unfaithful wife. No, Lt. Columbo always got the high
profile stuff with prominent people as victims and perpetrators. Before
there was Brenda Lee Johnson there was another disarming detective who
got the job done every time.
Peter Falk created one of the most indelible characters ever on the small screen with Columbo. The rumpled raincoat in an area where rain is a rarity, the bumbling manner, the general obsequiousness all played into an image he deliberately wanted to create for the perpetrator he was trying to trap. We all knew who did it every week and we all knew that there was an elaborate plan involved that the perpetrator put into operation. Often it called for an attempt to frame someone else.
It would all unravel bit by bit. Even if the murderer didn't confess outright you knew it was all over. The best criminal lawyers didn't let anyone wriggle out of a Columbo trap.
Columbo was a great working class hero, an Archie Bunker, or a Ralph Kramden who took the police civil service exam and worked his way up to the top of his profession. It was why he was so popular.
And it's why he will ever remain so.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You know your gonna get entertained by a show when right from the start
you know who did the murder. The whole premise is to make the suspect
squirm and there's no better guy to perpetrate the squirm than Peter
Most TV show characters come and go and most of the characters are pretty much the same. One show goes away and another comes along that's similar and the characters aren't any different. Columbo is one of those shows that's nothing like that...it's unique all unto itself.
Peter Falk was a semi-popular actor before this series came along but he pretty much made this his legacy by playing the part of a poorly dressed, over worked, under-slept and wildly annoying police detective who just wouldn't let something go. There was a never a simple murder investigation in his eyes. It was always meticulously investigated but by the end, the suspect was just about to lose his mind from being annoyed and poked and prodded with questions. Welcome to Lt. Columbo's world.
If you happen on an opportunity to see this great show, do so. I can promise you the late Peter Falk will be smiling down on you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Those who came out with the idea for the series were really inspired. The actor who played the hero's role couldn't have done a better job. Columbo is just perfect. It sensibly balances the harshness of murder crimes with the righteousness, the cleverness and the humanity of police lieutenant who investigates them. You see humans rather than monsters, lifelike behavior instead of extremely abnormal mental patterns. It doesn't feed on the spectator's anguish, neither intends to terrorize the audience. It relates the exploits of Lt. Columbo, a modern detective as honorable, cunning and effective as Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. Columbo teaches and delights the viewer, without shocking him or her. It should be rerun frequently so as to allow for contemporary TV buffs to compare current, sadistic shows with a sample of the best tasted shows delivered.
Columbo is an acquired taste.
I never watched the shows when they originally aired and started watching it with a co-worker who would put it on TV in the mornings in a group home I worked at.
After 3 episodes, I was hooked.
Years later, when I finally figured out how to order stuff on Amazon I own all the seasons on DVD and watch them regularly.
Things I love about it.. The 70s are in full evidence here.
All the phones are rotary phones like the ones I grew up using, smoking is allowed almost everywhere, people drink early in the day from lavish home bars, mansions and houses with fantastic artful decorations and period furniture everywhere and of course a lovable main character who can appear aloof but is actually a thinking and murder solving machine.
Columbo threw the conventional murder mystery structure on its head, showing the murder and the murderer in the opening scenes then following the murderer and Columbo through the process of investigation and ultimately climaxing with the murderer getting arrested (usually to the surprise and dismay of the murderer who generally has underestimated Columbo to their pearl).
Of course some episodes are stronger than others, but even the weakest is better than most of the drivel that passes for a hit show these days.
"Columbo" is simply the best detective series ever! Peter Falk as
Columbo is wonderful and I absolutely love him. Although the formula is
pretty much the same for all the episodes, I never get enough of that
cat-and-mouse game that Columbo is playing with his "victims". There
are delightful elements of surprise in each episode, that also add up
to the puzzle that Columbo himself is. Falk's acting is splendid, his
mannerisms are unmistakable, he is so intelligent, natural and subtle.
Falk's talent for comedy is a treasure. There is great humor in
Columbo's antics, the script is smart and ingenious, and the guest
stars, especially the villains, are always a treat.
Besides, Columbo is a very intriguing character. We never really get to know who he is. Yes, there is mystery around Columbo, and catching a glimpse of the man behind the smoke screen is one of those things that have kept audiences watching for decades. He is indeed a fascinating character. "Columbo" will never get old, it's pure entertainment of the best kind. Splendid work!
Seasons 1-7 are the best and remain unmatched by anything else on television, including Columbo later seasons. It's not only the charm of the 70's and 80's that make it fascinating, but it's mainly the quality of the scripts in the early years of "Columbo".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There was a time around the 1970's when a new American detective
character seemed to pop-up on out TV screens every week. McLeod was
one, a cowboy transplanted into the big city. Cannon was another: a
fat, course toughie, almost a classic gumshoe. And of course there was
Kojak: tough as nails but with a sensitive touch. I seem to remember a
comic song in the charts eulogising them all. They're gone now, and
largely forgotten. But not Columbo.
Some 40 years on from his creation, the shabby and irrepressible detective is still being shown in repeats. Each plot is pretty much the same as every other. He and we know who-done-it in the first quarter of the program. After that, by a mixture of psychological warfare, dogged persistence and Holmesian deduction; we see the over-confident culprit brought down. The similarities of the plots don't make them any less fun to watch, because really, the entertainment is Peter Falk's wonderfully wacky character.
The unpromising motorcar, the crumpled ever-present mac, the constant now-politically-incorrect cigar all add up to a character who has only one ambition and fascination in life - solving crime. The frequently mentioned, but never seen wife is little more than a conversational foil, like Rumpole's 'she who must be obeyed'.
Although out of date in many ways, Falk's detective is still a great entertainment to watch. The much more recent and graphic CSI series have little more to offer.
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