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Mrs. Columbo, later known as Kate Columbo, followed by Kate the Detective and then ultimately Kate Loves a Mystery is an American crime drama television series initially based on the wife of Lieutenant Columbo, the title character from the television series Columbo. It was created and produced by Richard Alan Simmons and Universal Television for NBC, and stars Kate Mulgrew as a news reporter helping to solve crimes while raising her daughter.[1][2]

Mrs. Columbo
Title card for earliest episodes
Also known asKate Columbo
Kate the Detective
Kate Loves a Mystery
GenreCrime drama
Created byRichard Alan Simmons
StarringKate Mulgrew
Lili Haydn
Henry Jones
Don Stroud
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes13
Producer(s)Fred Silverman
Richard Alan Simmons
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Universal Television
Gambit Productions
NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original networkNBC
Original releaseFebruary 26, 1979 (1979-02-26) –
March 19, 1980 (1980-03-19)
Related showsColumbo

The series debuted in February 1979 as a spin-off to the mystery crime drama series Columbo, focusing on Lieutenant Columbo's wife, who is never given a first name in the original Columbo series but was named Kate in this series. After poor ratings and reception from both audiences and the original producers of Columbo, both the series and the eponymous character herself were renamed in an attempt to change direction, but this did not help ratings and the series was ultimately canceled in March 1980 after 13 episodes had aired.[3][4] Neither Peter Falk nor the character of Lieutenant Columbo ever appeared on or endorsed the show.


Series overviewEdit

Kate Columbo (later renamed Kate Callahan after an off-screen divorce) is the wife of Lieutenant Columbo, the title character from the television series Columbo. Kate is a news reporter who solves crimes while raising her daughter.




Shortly after the Columbo series ended its original run on NBC in 1978, despite objections from Columbo producers Richard Levinson and William Link, NBC executive Fred Silverman went forward in producing Mrs. Columbo as a spin-off to the original series. The information NBC released about the show was unambiguous about the fact that Mrs. Columbo in the new series was in fact the previously unseen wife frequently mentioned on Columbo, despite the fact that Columbo was already married to his wife when the character first appeared in 1968, when Mulgrew would have been 13 years old.


The show received poor ratings, however, and as part of efforts to revamp it, the linkage between this Kate Columbo and the Mrs. Columbo of the original television series was reduced. The name of the character was changed to Kate Callahan after an off-screen divorce, and the series was renamed Kate the Detective[when?], followed by Kate Loves a Mystery by November 1979 according to an opening posted on YouTube.[when?].

In this ultimate incarnation, the producers completed their retreat from the show's original premise, and Kate Callahan was then regarded as being a completely different character than Mrs. Columbo of Columbo, Kate's ex-husband now named Philip.[3] None of the changes aided the new show's ratings, however, and it was pulled from the air in 1980, after 13 episodes.


Season 1: 1979Edit

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
11"Word Games"Boris SagalRichard Alan SimmonsFebruary 26, 1979 (1979-02-26)
22"Murder Is a Parlor Game"Don MedfordTeleplay by: Sheldon Willens & Al Reynolds & Howard Berk
Story by: Sheldon Willens
March 1, 1979 (1979-03-01)
33"A Riddle for Puppets"Edward AbromsGregory S. DinalloMarch 15, 1979 (1979-03-15)
44"Caviar with Everything"Don MedfordAl Reynolds & Howard BerkMarch 22, 1979 (1979-03-22)
55"A Puzzle for Prophets"Sam WanamakerAl ReynoldsMarch 29, 1979 (1979-03-29)

Season 2: 1979–80Edit

No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
61"Ladies of the Afternoon"Don MedfordTeleplay by: Lawrence Hertzog
Story by: Larry Alexander
October 18, 1979 (1979-10-18)
72"It Goes with the Territory"Leo PennMerwin GerardOctober 25, 1979 (1979-10-25)
83"Off the Record"Reza BadiyiTeleplay by: Simon Muntner
Story by: Chris Bunch & Alan Cole
November 1, 1979 (1979-11-01)
94"The Valley Strangler"Sigmund Neufeld Jr.Teleplay by: Lawrence Hertzog
Story by: Will Lorin
November 8, 1979 (1979-11-08)
105"A Chilling Surprise"Philip LeacockE. Arthur KeanNovember 22, 1979 (1979-11-22)
116"Falling Star"Sam WanamakerTeleplay by: Lawrence Hertzog & Merwin Gerard and Robert McKee & Robert Misiorowski
Story by: Robert McKee & Robert Misiorowski
November 29, 1979 (1979-11-29)
127"Feelings Can Be Murder"Seymour RobbieMary Anne Kasica & Michael ScheffDecember 6, 1979 (1979-12-06)
138"Love, on Instant Replay"Alan Smithee
(E. Arthur Kean)
Joe GoresMarch 19, 1980 (1980-03-19)


Peter Falk expressed his disapproval of the spin-off, calling it a "bad idea" and "disgraceful".[4] When Columbo returned to the air in 1989 on ABC, it was further established that Lt. Columbo and his wife Mrs. Columbo were still happily married and the existence of the series Mrs. Columbo was effectively ignored.

Home mediaEdit

DVD releaseEdit

The Mrs. Columbo episode "A Riddle for Puppets" was included as a bonus feature in the Region 1 DVD release of the fourth season of Columbo, released in August 2005. The episode "Murder Is a Parlor Game" was included in the third season of Columbo. The episode "Caviar with Everything" was included in the fifth season of Columbo.


  1. ^ "Mrs. Columbo (TV Series) - Company credits". Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  2. ^ "Mrs. Columbo (TV Series)". Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Kate Loves a Mystery". Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Mrs. Columbo Revealed!". Retrieved May 14, 2016.

External linksEdit