Columbo has died and it’s so hard to believe. For decades, well before I was born, he was the guy who would turn up when someone had passed away, always in his piece of junk car, messily dressed with his cigar a part of his physical person, looking and acting like he had spent the whole night boozing. He would be the only person unsure that foul play wasn’t involved, spend the following weeks almost befriending the murderer before just ‘one last thing’ and tiring and wearing them down until they would confess it all to him. His bumbling fool was an act, a false sense of security that would catch them off guard to let a damning clue slip, and his mind-games with the killer would always pay off – not even William Shatner, Dick Van Dyke, Ricardo Montalban, Leonard Nimoy, Donald Pleasence or even Johnny Cash and Billy Connolly could outwit him in 69 episodes.
Every episode of Columbo was exactly the same but I never found the show boring. Peter Falk made it what it is, it was his Lt. Columbo portrayal that became THE iconic t.v. detective of his generation and beyond. Look at Mark Ruffalo’s turn in Zodiac and tell me he wasn’t sending a huge nod the way of Peter Falk throughout his performance.
He passed away last night of Alzheimer’s, aged 83. You owe it to yourself to see every Columbo episode every made and his film work – A Woman Under the Influence, A Princess Bride, Murder by Death and Wings of Desire in particular.