With his rumpled raincoat, ever-present cigar, bumbling demeanour and Sherlock Holmesian powers of deduction, disarmingly polite homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo took on some of the most cunning murderers in Los Angeles, most of whom made one fatal, irrevocable mistake: underestimating his investigative genius.
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Season 1 Ep.05: Lady in Waiting
Beth Chadwick is tired of her brother Bryce running her life. The last straw is when he threatens to break up her romance with Peter Hamilton, a company lawyer. Beth lays a trap for Bryce and shoots him, claiming that she thought he was a prowler. By stealing his house key, she plans for him to try to enter through her bedroom French doors. But when Bryce shows up after using a spare key, she is forced to improvise. The coroner’s inquest backs up her story, but for Columbo, too many little things do not add up. If Bryce had to walk around the house to get to the doors, why are there no grass stains on his shoes? If Beth never went out the day of the murder, how did a late edition of the newspaper end up in the front hall? But when a witness remembers hearing gunshots before an alarm, Columbo figures it all out.
Many criminals made the mistake of underestimating Lieutenant Columbo, a homicide investigator with a crumpled trench-coat and a beat-up car, who certainly acted as an incompetent bumbler.
But he was so polite to every suspect, and he talked so much about his wife (who we never
got to see on any episode, but who many believe later had her own show, starring Kate Mulgrew, later of Star Trek: Voyager fame) that he lulled even the shrewdest murderer into a false sense of security.
And although the audience had witnessed the murder in the beginning of each episode, it was still a surprise to see what mistakes the killers had made during the seemingly perfect murder.
Peter Falk carried the old trench-coat for 7 seasons of 90 and 120 minute movies on NBC, before the series ended. But over a decade later, Falk agreed to revive the character on ABC for an additional 2 seasons with a subsequent string of TV-movies with the loveable detective once again using his calling-card false good-byes: “Oh, there´s just one more thing…”
Cast and Crew:
Creators: Richard Levinson, William Link
Peter Falk, John Finnegan and Mike Lally
Date Release: 1971
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