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.
Title card for earliest episodes
|Also known as||Kate Columbo|
Kate the Detective
Kate Loves a Mystery
|Created by||Richard Alan Simmons|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||13|
Richard Alan Simmons
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Universal Television|
NBCUniversal Television Distribution
|Original release||February 26, 1979 –|
March 19, 1980
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. Neither Peter Falk nor the character of Lieutenant Columbo ever appeared on or endorsed the show.
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. 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
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"Word Games"||Boris Sagal||Richard Alan Simmons||February 26, 1979|
|2||2||"Murder Is a Parlor Game"||Don Medford||Teleplay by: Sheldon Willens & Al Reynolds & Howard Berk|
Story by: Sheldon Willens
|March 1, 1979|
|3||3||"A Riddle for Puppets"||Edward Abroms||Gregory S. Dinallo||March 15, 1979|
|4||4||"Caviar with Everything"||Don Medford||Al Reynolds & Howard Berk||March 22, 1979|
|5||5||"A Puzzle for Prophets"||Sam Wanamaker||Al Reynolds||March 29, 1979|
Season 2: 1979–80Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|6||1||"Ladies of the Afternoon"||Don Medford||Teleplay by: Lawrence Hertzog|
Story by: Larry Alexander
|October 18, 1979|
|7||2||"It Goes with the Territory"||Leo Penn||Merwin Gerard||October 25, 1979|
|8||3||"Off the Record"||Reza Badiyi||Teleplay by: Simon Muntner|
Story by: Chris Bunch & Alan Cole
|November 1, 1979|
|9||4||"The Valley Strangler"||Sigmund Neufeld Jr.||Teleplay by: Lawrence Hertzog|
Story by: Will Lorin
|November 8, 1979|
|10||5||"A Chilling Surprise"||Philip Leacock||E. Arthur Kean||November 22, 1979|
|11||6||"Falling Star"||Sam Wanamaker||Teleplay by: Lawrence Hertzog & Merwin Gerard and Robert McKee & Robert Misiorowski|
Story by: Robert McKee & Robert Misiorowski
|November 29, 1979|
|12||7||"Feelings Can Be Murder"||Seymour Robbie||Mary Anne Kasica & Michael Scheff||December 6, 1979|
|13||8||"Love, on Instant Replay"||Alan Smithee|
(E. Arthur Kean)
|Joe Gores||March 19, 1980|
Peter Falk expressed his disapproval of the spin-off, calling it a "bad idea" and "disgraceful". 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.
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.