Dates : 1968 - 2003 69 episodes of 90 min First broadcasting : 20 Décembre 1972 Creator(s) : William Link et Richard Levinson Producer(s) : William Link et Richard Levinson Music : Henry Mancini Web surfers's rate : 9/10 for 61 rates - Rate
Falk's Columbo (inspired by the Crime and Punishment character, Porfiry Petrovich) was a shabby, apparently slow-witted police detective, although, as the criminals eventually learned, appearances can be deceiving. Columbo solved his cases by close attention to tiny inconsistencies in a suspect's story and by hounding the suspect until they confessed. Columbo's signature technique was to exit the scene of an interview, invariably stopping in the doorway to ask "just one more thing" of a suspect. The "one more thing" always brought to light the key inconsistency. In the 1970s, the character became an icon on American television.
The series is noted by TV critics and historians for the way it reversed the cliches of the standard whodunit story (TV Guide has referred to the basic plot structure as a "howcatchem"). In a typical murder mystery, the identity of the murderer is not revealed until the climax of the story, and the hero uncovers clues pointing to the killer. In most episodes of Columbo, the audience sees the crime unfold at the beginning and knows exactly who did it. This allows the story to unfold more from the criminal's point of view, rather than that of Columbo himself. The real star of the story is the criminal, and the audience watches as he (and sometimes she) frantically tries to cover his tracks, being hounded by the persistent police lieutenant at every step, until the killer finally slips up and Columbo catches him. Columbo's manners are such that, at first, the killer feels safe and happily 'helps' Columbo with his investigation, giving alternative explanations for loose ends, but eventually the killer becomes irritated and finally nervous as he finds that Columbo isn't as stupid as he seems. This predictability and the quirky mannerisms of Columbo are part of the attraction of the series. As the killer is nearly always wealthy, the show can be seen as an expression of class conflict. The episodes are movie-length, between 70 and 100 minutes long.
Incidentally, Peter Falk, who played Columbo, had a glass eye and it remained a mystery whether this glass eye "played the part of a real eye" (ie. Did the Columbo character have one or two eyes) for 25 years until 1997's "Columbo: A Trace of Murder" where upon asking a character to revisit the crime scene with him, he jokes “You know, three eyes see more than one.”