Who can resist watching the clever, understated and discreet charms of one of TV’s most famous detectives, Columbo? This savvy Italian American detective with the Los Angeles Police Department first appeared in a 1960 episode of The Chevy Mister Show before the title show Columbo aired from 1971 onwards.
While actors Bert Freed and Thomas Mitchell both tried their hand at the character it was Peter Falk’s interpretation that led to the series being broadcast in 37 countries throughout the world. In fact, Falk was so heavily involved in the character that he even used his own clothes in the show, including the detective’s famous brown trench coat.
Columbo’s methods of criminal investigations are subtle and seemingly naïve. The private investigator uses his shambolic appearance, rambling stories, and long-winded interviews with witnesses to reassure the suspect that they are beyond suspicion. By lulling perpetrators into a false sense of security, Columbo gathers enough evidence to secure a conviction.
The 69 episodes have led to numerous parodies, spin offs and mentions on TV shows around the world including Sesame Street, The Simpsons, Red Dwarf, Peep Show, and Benny Hill. It’s no wonder: Columbo is one of the finest investigators in fictional history whose interview processes are second to none.