The essential Columbo

Something lighter for the weekend.

One of the consequences of the rise of streaming that everyone should have seen coming (but almost no one did) was the rediscovery of classic shows. The pandemic accelerated the process, possibly because people sought out the familiar. 

One of the shows that has been finding a new audience is Columbo. Joe Dator of the New Yorker had a ten panel appreciation of the show and the phenomenon back in 2020.


The show was part of a wheel series where various shows shared the same time slot. As a result, there are very few episodes for such long running show -- less than fifty if you don't count the reboot -- we made it easier to keep the quality high and to line up A list talent for the guest murderer slot.

These things make Columbo relatively easy for new viewers to get into, but as with any TV show, there are high points and low points. Here, more or less in order, are the episodes I'd recommend starting with.

These are all available on Amazon's ad supported service, Freevee.

1. "Murder by the Book" The first episode of the series after the first two TV-movies. Set the mold (and the standard). A career making show for Stevens Spielberg and Bochco. All this and Jack Cassidy too.

2. "A Friend in Deed" Directed by Falk buddy Ben Gazzara   Richard Kiley is smug and despicable. Twisty, inventive murder. One of the best endings. Perhaps (Read more...)