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List of Columbo episodes

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The following is an episode list for the crime fiction television series Columbo. After two pilot episodes, the show originally aired on NBC from 1971 to 1978 as one of the rotating programs of The NBC Mystery Movie. Columbo then aired less frequently on ABC beginning in 1989. The last installment was broadcast in 2003.

Because the Columbo episodes from 1989 to 2003 aired infrequently, different DVD sets have been released around the world. In Region 2 and 4, all episodes have now been released as 10 seasons, with the 10th season covering the last 14 shows from "Columbo Goes to College" (1990) to the most recent, "Columbo Likes the Nightlife" (2003).[1][2] However, in France, and The Netherlands (also Region 2) the DVDs were released as 12 seasons.[3] And in Region 1, all episodes from season 8 are grouped differently; all the episodes that are originally aired on ABC were released as the COLUMBO: The Mystery Movie Collections.[4] For the sake of clarity, all episodes in this article are arranged as they appear in the UK release.

Contents

Series overviewEdit

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired Network
Pilots 2 February 20, 1968 (1968-02-20) March 1, 1971 (1971-03-01) NBC
1 7 September 15, 1971 (1971-09-15) February 9, 1972 (1972-02-09)
2 8 September 17, 1972 (1972-09-17) March 25, 1973 (1973-03-25)
3 8 September 23, 1973 (1973-09-23) May 5, 1974 (1974-05-05)
4 6 September 15, 1974 (1974-09-15) April 27, 1975 (1975-04-27)
5 6 September 14, 1975 (1975-09-14) May 2, 1976 (1976-05-02)
6 3 October 10, 1976 (1976-10-10) May 22, 1977 (1977-05-22)
7 5 November 21, 1977 (1977-11-21) May 13, 1978 (1978-05-13)
8 4 February 6, 1989 (1989-02-06) May 1, 1989 (1989-05-01) ABC
9 6 November 25, 1989 (1989-11-25) May 14, 1990 (1990-05-14)
10 + specials 14 December 9, 1990 (1990-12-09) January 30, 2003 (2003-01-30)

EpisodesEdit

Pilot episodesEdit

Before Peter Falk was cast in the role of Columbo, Bert Freed played the character in "Enough Rope", a 1960 episode of The Chevy Mystery Show, a TV anthology series. In 1962, that episode became a stage play titled "Prescription: Murder" (starring Thomas Mitchell as Columbo).

The play was adapted as a made-for-TV movie in 1968, with Falk debuting in the role. In this pilot episode, Columbo—rather than making the rumpled presentation that would later become the character's trademark—is less shabbily dressed, wearing suits, shorter hair, and heavier stage makeup. He carries a raincoat, which would become a staple, during some scenes. He also appears somewhat more aggressive when confronting suspects.

No. in
series
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Length Original air date
1 "Prescription: Murder" Richard Irving Richard Levinson, William Link
based on their play
Gene Barry 98 minutes February 20, 1968 (1968-02-20)

Dr. Ray Fleming (Gene Barry), a psychiatrist, murders his wife (Nina Foch) and persuades his mistress Joan Hudson (Katherine Justice), who is an actress and one of his patients, to support his alibi by impersonating her.

Final clue/twist: Knowing, that he has no hard evidence against Fleming, Columbo stages the suicide of his desperate mistress. Fleming shows no sign of emotion and even suggests that, if he was the murderer, he would have get rid of Joan anyway. Hearing this, the alive Joan testifies against Fleming.
2 "Ransom for a Dead Man" Richard Irving Story by : Richard Levinson, William Link
Teleplay by : Dean Hargrove
Lee Grant 92 minutes March 1, 1971 (1971-03-01)

Leslie Williams (Lee Grant), a brilliant lawyer and pilot, murders her husband Paul (Harlan Warde) to get his money, arranging the act to look as if he had been kidnapped and killed by his captors.

Final clue/twist: Columbo and Leslie's stepdaughter Margaret (Patricia Mattick) who hates her, successfully work together to get Leslie to implicate herself by revealing where she is keeping the cash ransom with which she absconded.

Season 1 (1971–72)Edit

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Runtime Original air date
3 1 "Murder by the Book" Steven Spielberg Steven Bochco Jack Cassidy 73 minutes September 15, 1971 (1971-09-15)
4 2 "Death Lends a Hand" Bernard L. Kowalski Richard Levinson, William Link Robert Culp 73 minutes October 6, 1971 (1971-10-06)
5 3 "Dead Weight" Jack Smight John T. Dugan Eddie Albert 73 minutes October 27, 1971 (1971-10-27)
6 4 "Suitable for Framing" Hy Averback Jackson Gillis Ross Martin 73 minutes November 17, 1971 (1971-11-17)
7 5 "Lady in Waiting" Norman Lloyd Teleplay: Steven Bochco
Story: Barney Slater
Susan Clark 73 minutes December 15, 1971 (1971-12-15)
8 6 "Short Fuse" Edward M. Abrams Teleplay: Jackson Gillis
Story: Lester Pine, Tina Pine, Jackson Gillis
Roddy McDowall 73 minutes January 19, 1972 (1972-01-19)
9 7 "Blueprint for Murder" Peter Falk Teleplay: Steven Bochco
Story: William Kelley
Patrick O'Neal 73 minutes February 9, 1972 (1972-02-09)


Season 2 (1972–73)Edit

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Runtime Original air date
10 1 "Étude in Black" Nicholas Colasanto Teleplay: Steven Bochco
Story: Richard Levinson & William Link
John Cassavetes 98 minutes September 17, 1972 (1972-09-17)
11 2 "The Greenhouse Jungle" Boris Sagal Jonathan Latimer Ray Milland 73 minutes October 15, 1972 (1972-10-15)
12 3 "The Most Crucial Game" Jeremy Kagan John T. Dugan Robert Culp 73 minutes November 5, 1972 (1972-11-05)
13 4 "Dagger of the Mind" Richard Quine Teleplay: Jackson Gillis
Story: Richard Levinson & William Link
Richard Basehart and Honor Blackman 93 minutes November 26, 1972 (1972-11-26)
14 5 "Requiem for a Falling Star" Richard Quine Jackson Gillis Anne Baxter 73 minutes January 21, 1973 (1973-01-21)
15 6 "A Stitch in Crime" Hy Averback Shirl Hendryx Leonard Nimoy 73 minutes February 11, 1973 (1973-02-11)
16 7 "The Most Dangerous Match" Edward M. Abroms Teleplay: Jackson Gillis
Story: Jackson Gillis and Richard Levinson & William Link
Laurence Harvey 73 minutes March 4, 1973 (1973-03-04)
17 8 "Double Shock" Robert Butler Teleplay: Steven Bochco
Story: Jackson Gillis and Richard Levinson & William Link
Martin Landau 73 minutes March 25, 1973 (1973-03-25)


Season 3 (1973–74)Edit

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Runtime Original air date
18 1 "Lovely But Lethal" Jeannot Szwarc Teleplay: Jackson Gillis
Story: Myrna Bercovici
Vera Miles 73 minutes September 23, 1973 (1973-09-23)
19 2 "Any Old Port in a Storm" Leo Penn Teleplay: Stanley Ralph Ross
Story: Larry Cohen
Donald Pleasence 98 minutes October 7, 1973 (1973-10-07)
20 3 "Candidate for Crime" Boris Sagal Teleplay: Irving Pearlberg & Alvin R. Friedman and Roland Kibbee & Dean Hargrove
Story: Larry Cohen
Jackie Cooper 98 minutes November 4, 1973 (1973-11-04)
21 4 "Double Exposure" Richard Quine Stephen J. Cannell Robert Culp 73 minutes December 16, 1973 (1973-12-16)
22 5 "Publish or Perish" Robert Butler Peter S. Fischer Jack Cassidy 73 minutes January 13, 1974 (1974-01-13)
23 6 "Mind Over Mayhem" Alf Kjellin Teleplay: Steven Bochco and Dean Hargrove & Roland Kibbee
Story: Robert Specht
José Ferrer 73 minutes February 10, 1974 (1974-02-10)
24 7 "Swan Song" Nicholas Colasanto Teleplay: David Rayfiel
Story: Stanley Ralph Ross
Johnny Cash 94 minutes March 3, 1974 (1974-03-03)
25 8 "A Friend in Deed" Ben Gazzara Peter S. Fischer Richard Kiley and Michael McGuire 94 minutes May 5, 1974 (1974-05-05)


Season 4 (1974–75)Edit

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Runtime Original air date
26 1 "An Exercise in Fatality" Bernard L. Kowalski Teleplay: Peter S. Fischer
Story: Larry Cohen
Robert Conrad 94 minutes September 15, 1974 (1974-09-15)
27 2 "Negative Reaction" Alf Kjellin Peter S. Fischer Dick Van Dyke 92 minutes October 6, 1974 (1974-10-06)
28 3 "By Dawn's Early Light" Harvey Hart Howard Berk Patrick McGoohan 94 minutes October 27, 1974 (1974-10-27)
29 4 "Troubled Waters" Ben Gazzara Teleplay: William Driskill
Story: Jackson Gillis and William Driskill
Robert Vaughn 94 minutes February 9, 1975 (1975-02-09)
30 5 "Playback" Bernard L. Kowalski David P. Lewis & Booker T. Bradshaw Oskar Werner 73 minutes March 2, 1975 (1975-03-02)
31 6 "A Deadly State of Mind" Harvey Hart Peter S. Fischer George Hamilton 73 minutes April 27, 1975 (1975-04-27)


Season 5 (1975–76)Edit

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Runtime Original air date
32 1 "Forgotten Lady" Harvey Hart William Driskill Janet Leigh 92 minutes September 14, 1975 (1975-09-14)
33 2 "A Case of Immunity" Ted Post Teleplay: Lou Shaw
Story: James Menzies
Hector Elizondo 73 minutes October 12, 1975 (1975-10-12)
34 3 "Identity Crisis" Patrick McGoohan William Driskill Patrick McGoohan 94 minutes November 2, 1975 (1975-11-02)
35 4 "A Matter of Honor" Ted Post Brad Radnitz Ricardo Montalban 73 minutes February 1, 1976 (1976-02-01)
36 5 "Now You See Him..." Harvey Hart Michael Sloan Jack Cassidy 85 minutes February 29, 1976 (1976-02-29)
37 6 "Last Salute to the Commodore" Patrick McGoohan Jackson Gillis Fred Draper 98 minutes May 2, 1976 (1976-05-02)


Season 6 (1976–77)Edit

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Runtime Original air date
38 1 "Fade in to Murder" Bernard L. Kowalski Teleplay: Lou Shaw and Peter S. Feibleman
Story: Henry Garson
William Shatner 73 minutes October 10, 1976 (1976-10-10)
39 2 "Old Fashioned Murder" Robert Douglas Teleplay: Peter S. Feibleman
Story: Lawrence Vail
Joyce Van Patten 73 minutes November 28, 1976 (1976-11-28)
40 3 "The Bye-Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case" Sam Wanamaker Robert Malcolm Young Theodore Bikel 73 minutes May 22, 1977 (1977-05-22)


Season 7 (1977–78)Edit

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Runtime Original air date
41 1 "Try and Catch Me" James Frawley Teleplay: Gene Thompson & Paul Tuckahoe
Story: Gene Thompson
Ruth Gordon 70 minutes November 21, 1977 (1977-11-21)
42 2 "Murder Under Glass" Jonathan Demme Robert van Scoyk Louis Jourdan 73 minutes January 30, 1978 (1978-01-30)
43 3 "Make Me a Perfect Murder" James Frawley Robert Blees Trish Van Devere 94 minutes February 25, 1978 (1978-02-25)
44 4 "How to Dial a Murder" James Frawley Teleplay: Tom Lazarus
Story: Anthony Lawrence
Nicol Williamson 70 minutes April 15, 1978 (1978-04-15)
45 5 "The Conspirators" Leo Penn Howard Berk
Based on an Idea by: Pat Robison
Clive Revill 98 minutes May 13, 1978 (1978-05-13)


Season 8 (1989)Edit

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Runtime Original air date
46 1 "Columbo Goes to the Guillotine" Leo Penn William Read Woodfield Anthony Andrews 89 minutes February 6, 1989 (1989-02-06)
47 2 "Murder, Smoke and Shadows" James Frawley Richard Alan Simmons Fisher Stevens 91 minutes February 27, 1989 (1989-02-27)
48 3 "Sex and the Married Detective" James Frawley Jerry Ludwig Lindsay Crouse 90 minutes April 3, 1989 (1989-04-03)
49 4 "Grand Deceptions" Sam Wanamaker Sy Salkowitz Robert Foxworth 89 minutes May 1, 1989 (1989-05-01)


Season 9 (1989–90)Edit

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Runtime Original air date
50 1 "Murder: A Self Portrait" James Frawley Robert Sherman Patrick Bauchau 88 minutes November 25, 1989 (1989-11-25)
51 2 "Columbo Cries Wolf" Daryl Duke William Read Woodfield
Story by: Richard Levinson & William Link (uncredited)
Ian Buchanan 90 minutes January 20, 1990 (1990-01-20)
52 3 "Agenda for Murder" Patrick McGoohan Jeffrey Bloom Patrick McGoohan 88 minutes February 10, 1990 (1990-02-10)
53 4 "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo" Vincent McEveety Peter S. Fischer Helen Shaver 88 minutes March 31, 1990 (1990-03-31)
54 5 "Uneasy Lies the Crown" Alan J. Levi Steven Bochco James Read 90 minutes April 28, 1990 (1990-04-28)
55 6 "Murder in Malibu" Walter Grauman Jackson Gillis Andrew Stevens 92 minutes May 14, 1990 (1990-05-14)


Season 10 and specials (1990–2003)Edit

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Original air date
56 1 "Columbo Goes to College" E.W. Swackhamer Teleplay: Jeffrey Bloom
Story: Jeffrey Bloom and Frederick King Keller
Stephen Caffrey/Gary Hershberger December 9, 1990 (1990-12-09)
57 2 "Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health" Daryl Duke Sonia Wolf, Patricia Ford and April Raynell George Hamilton February 20, 1991 (1991-02-20)
58 3 "Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star" Alan J. Levi William Read Woodfield Dabney Coleman April 29, 1991 (1991-04-29)
59 4 "Death Hits the Jackpot" Vincent McEveety Jeffrey Bloom Rip Torn December 15, 1991 (1991-12-15)
60 5 "No Time to Die" Alan J. Levi Teleplay: Robert van Scoyk
Story: Ed McBain
(No murder.  Daniel McDonald plays the would-be murderer.) February 15, 1992 (1992-02-15)
61 6 "A Bird in the Hand..." Vincent McEveety Jackson Gillis Tyne Daly and Greg Evigan June 19, 1992 (1992-06-19)
62 7 "It's All in the Game" Vincent McEveety Peter Falk Faye Dunaway and Claudia Christian October 31, 1993 (1993-10-31)
63 8 "Butterfly in Shades of Grey" Dennis Dugan Peter S. Fischer William Shatner January 10, 1994 (1994-01-10)
64 9 "Undercover" Vincent McEveety Teleplay: Gerry Day
Story: Ed McBain
Ed Begley Jr. May 2, 1994 (1994-05-02)
65 10 "Strange Bedfellows" Vincent McEveety Lawrence Vail George Wendt April 23, 1996 (1996-04-23)
66 11 "A Trace of Murder" Vincent McEveety Charles Kipps David Rasche November 4, 1997 (1997-11-04)
67 12 "Ashes to Ashes" Patrick McGoohan Jeffrey Hatcher Patrick McGoohan October 8, 1998 (1998-10-08)
68 13 "Murder With Too Many Notes" Patrick McGoohan Teleplay: Jeffrey Cava and Patrick McGoohan
Story: Jeffrey Cava
Billy Connolly March 12, 2001 (2001-03-12)
69 14 "Columbo Likes the Nightlife" Jeffrey Reiner Michael Alaimo Jennifer Sky and Matthew Rhys January 30, 2003 (2003-01-30)


Repeat offendersEdit

Here is a list of the actors who starred as murderers in more than one episode:

  • Patrick McGoohan starred in four episodes as the murderer: By Dawn's Early Light (Emmy Award) (1974), Identity Crisis (1975), Agenda for Murder (Emmy Award) (1990), and Ashes to Ashes (1998).
  • Jack Cassidy starred in three episodes as the murderer: Murder by the Book (1971), Publish or Perish (1974), and Now You See Him... (1976).
  • Robert Culp starred in three episodes as the murderer: Death Lends a Hand (1971), The Most Crucial Game (1972), and Double Exposure (1973). Also appeared in one episode as the father of the murderer: Columbo Goes to College (1990).
  • George Hamilton starred in two episodes as the murderer: A Deadly State of Mind (1975) and Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health (1991).
  • William Shatner starred in two episodes as the murderer: Fade in to Murder (1976) and Butterfly in Shades of Grey (1994).

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Dawidziak, Mark (1989). The Columbo Phile : A Casebook. New York: Mysterious Press. ISBN 978-0-89296-984-5.