Columbo (season 10)

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Columbo (season 10)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 14
Original network ABC
Original release December 9, 1990 (1990-12-09) – January 30, 2003 (2003-01-30)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 9
List of Columbo episodes

The final 14 episodes of Columbo were produced sporadically as a series of specials, spanning 13 years from 1990 to 2003. These episodes have since been released on DVD in several regions as "season 10".[1][2]

Broadcast history[edit]

The "season" aired different nights of the week on ABC.

DVD release[edit]

The "season" was released on DVD by Universal Home Video.


No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Original air date
56 1 "Columbo Goes to College" E.W. Swackhamer Story by : Jeffrey Bloom and Frederick King Keller
Teleplay by : Jeffrey Bloom
Stephen Caffrey/Gary Hershberger December 9, 1990 (1990-12-09)

Criminology professor D.E. Rusk threatens to expel spoiled fraternity brothers Justin Rowe (Stephen Caffrey) and Cooper Redman (Gary Hershberger) [3] for cheating by stealing the final exam. The two students decide to kill Rusk instead. They use a note to lure him away from class and shoot him in the parking garage via a remote control gun installed in their pickup truck's engine while they are sitting in class listening to Columbo deliver a guest lecture, giving them an airtight alibi. The boys then plant evidence to make it look like the professor was killed because of a Mafia exposé on which he was working.

Final clue/twist: Columbo tricks the murderous duo into planting evidence for the murder into a suspects car - a car Columbo made up. Because only they could know the license plate of the car (Columbo slipped the info at them), they must be the murderers.

Robert Culp returns to the series, playing Justin's powerful lawyer father. (This is the only time, in his four appearances, that Culp is not the killer. See Repeat Offenders.)
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)

Wade Anders (George Hamilton) is a former security expert and host of the popular America's Most Wanted-esque crime show CrimeAlert. One day, he gets an unexpected visit from his rival, chain-smoking newscaster Budd Clarke (Peter Haskell), whom he blocked from becoming the CrimeAlert host. Clarke has resented how he was snubbed in favor of Anders, but now, he's got some leverage that he hopes will get Anders out of the CrimeAlert chair: a porn video Anders starred in many years ago, and Clarke plans to go public with the tape unless Anders resigns from the show. Anders decides to kill him rather than be disgraced. He palms a pack of Clarke's cigarettes, which he doctors with a few drops of alkaloid poison nicotine sulfate. Anders then pays two visits to his production office -- once that night and again the next morning -- so a surveillance tape there will show him at the office all day. Anders then drives to Clarke's house, and switches a cigarette pack for the poisoned pack. Once Clarke takes one of the poisoned cigarettes and dies, Anders makes it look like Clarke had a heart attack at his desk.

Final clue/twist: Columbo can prove that the surveillance tape was fabricated, because the trees visible in front of the office appeared to have been cut down in the morning, but had grown full length again by the evening.

Shown under the ABC Movie Special brand.[4]
58 3 "Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star" Alan J. Levi William Read Woodfield Dabney Coleman April 29, 1991 (1991-04-29)

Rock star Marcy Edwards (Cheryl Paris) has been having an affair for several years with high-priced murder lawyer Hugh Creighton (Dabney Coleman). One day, he learns that she's having an affair with someone else and throws her out of his house. However, Marcy blackmails Creighton into letting her stay, at least until he comes up with the $5 million she's demanding in exchange for not filing a palimony suit against him or exposing his unconventional methods. Creighton's response is to drug the champagne in her beach house and waits until she shows up there with her current lover. As Marcy does not drink, Creighton waits until her new lover is passed out, then he strangles her. Her lover awakens and flees the scene. Creighton enlists his associate, Trish Fairbanks (Shera Danese), to help him concoct an airtight alibi, but when she finds out what he's done, she blackmails him into a full partnership in the firm, wisely going the extra mile by creating a contingency plan to ensure that killing her is not an option for Creighton. Columbo cracks the case, despite the existence of a speeding ticket which appears to exonerate Creighton completely.

Final clue/twist: Due to different shadow angles in the picture of the speeding ticket, Columbo can prove that Creighton's face was just a flat cut-out mask.

Little Richard cameos as himself.
59 4 "Death Hits the Jackpot" Vincent McEveety Jeffrey Bloom Rip Torn December 15, 1991 (1991-12-15)

Down-on-his-luck photographer Freddy Brower (Gary Kroeger) wins a $30 million lottery. But he wants to keep the money a secret from his wife Nancy (Jamie Rose), who is divorcing him, so that she can't make a claim for the money. Freddy goes to his uncle, wealthy jeweler Leon Lamarr (Rip Torn), and convinces Lamarr to pretend that the lottery ticket is his until Freddy's divorce is finalized. Unfortunately, that's where Freddy's luck runs out: he doesn't know that his uncle has recently gone bankrupt, and is also having an affair with Nancy. Lamarr decides to kill Freddy in order to keep the lottery winnings for himself. He schedules a Halloween costume party at his house, during which he sneaks out to Freddy's apartment, knocks him out, undresses him, then drowns him in his bathtub.

Final clue/twist: Columbo's encounter with Brower's loose chimpanzee brings him the final clue. He confronts Lamarr with the fact that the ape's fingerprints are on the costume he wore (for the first time) at the time of the murder, although Lamarr claimed that he was at a party all night. Betsy Palmer co-stars as Lamarr's wife.
60 5 "No Time to Die" Alan J. Levi Story by : Ed McBain
Teleplay by : Robert van Scoyk
(No murder.  Daniel McDonald plays the would-be murderer.) February 15, 1992 (1992-02-15)

Columbo attends the wedding of his police officer nephew Andy Parma (Thomas Calabro). While Andy is showering, his new bride Melissa Hayes (Joanna Going), a fashion model, is abducted from the bridal suite. Andy enlists Columbo's help in unraveling the case. Melissa has been kidnapped by Rudy Strassa (Daniel McDonald), a sadistic psychopath who intends to kill her once he consummates "their marriage". (Based on the 87th Precinct novel So Long As You Both Shall Live by Ed McBain, although not credited as such.) Uncharacteristically dark, this is the only episode where no murder occurs and in which Columbo doesn't meet the criminal.

Aired under ABC Sunday Night Movie.[5]
61 6 "A Bird in the Hand..." Vincent McEveety Jackson Gillis Tyne Daly and Greg Evigan June 19, 1992 (1992-06-19)
Given a deadline to pay his debts, or else, chronic gambler Harold McCain (Greg Evigan) plants a bomb under the Rolls-Royce of his uncle, professional football team owner Big Fred (Steve Forrest). However, someone else gets to Big Fred before Harold's bomb does by stealing the gardener's pickup truck and running him over while he is jogging. Harold's main concern now becomes preventing the bomb exploding and possibly even killing someone, and sure enough, it does just that when the gardener tries to move the Rolls Royce out of the way of the TV camera crews. Fred's wife Dolores (Tyne Daly) is having a good time as Fred's team's owner, but after Harold tries to squeeze her for money, he is shot dead in his cabin, making it appear obvious who is responsible, but, like "Last Salute to the Commodore" many years earlier, the real killer is not revealed until nearly the end of the episode. Both murders occur off screen and both episodes were scripted by Columbo veteran Jackson Gillis (this was his final contribution to the series). The episode used footage of a Saskatchewan Roughriders vs Edmonton Eskimos CFL game.
62 7 "It's All in the Game" Vincent McEveety Peter Falk Faye Dunaway and Claudia Christian October 31, 1993 (1993-10-31)

Wealthy socialite Lauren Staton (Faye Dunaway) and her daughter Lisa Martin (Claudia Christian) conspire to murder their abusive, two-timing lover Nick Franco (Armando Pucci). Lauren does the actual murder, going to Franco's apartment and shooting him. Lisa then stays in the apartment, keeping the body warm for several hours with an electric blanket until Lauren returns with the building manager (Bill Macy). While they're knocking on the door, Lisa fires a shot into the air, then flees through the patio. Lauren takes all the heat from Columbo in order to protect Lisa, even going so far as to romance him; after he (along with the viewer) finally learns that Lisa is Lauren's daughter, he buys Lauren's confession by advising Lisa to flee to Europe.

Dunaway won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for this. This is the only episode written by Falk. Aired under ABC Sunday Night Movie.[6]
63 8 "Butterfly in Shades of Grey" Dennis Dugan Peter S. Fischer William Shatner January 10, 1994 (1994-01-10)
Domineering radio host Fielding Chase (William Shatner) faces a crisis when his ward, 25-year-old Victoria Chase (Molly Hagan), decides to spread her wings and leave for New York. Chase is a national celebrity thanks to his call-in radio show and while Victoria works as his producer, his affection for her runs deep. An ex-employee, the homosexual Gerry Winters (Jack Laufer), has been encouraging Victoria and has even found a literary agent for her book. Chase decides to kill Winters. He first instructs Winters to call him at a certain time. Exactly at that appointed hour, Chase drives to Winters' house and sneaks inside. Winters makes the phone call, unaware that Chase is actually behind him in the same room. Once the phone goes to voicemail, Chase picks up an extension in another room of Winters' house and begins speaking with him. At that point, Chase enters the next room and shoots Winters, then makes it look like Winters was shot by a gay lover. A cell phone is a key to Columbo's solution of the crime. After three unconventional episodes, Butterfly in Shades of Grey marked a return to the standard Columbo style.
64 9 "Undercover" Vincent McEveety Story by : Ed McBain
Teleplay by : Gerry Day
Ed Begley Jr. May 2, 1994 (1994-05-02)
Irving Krutch (Ed Begley, Jr.), a crooked insurance investigator, enlists the help of Columbo to solve a series of murders that starts when two men, each of whom possesses a piece of a photograph, kill each other in a burglary gone wrong. Some years back a group of four men robbed a bank, but all of them were killed by the police in a shootout after they were caught in a car accident. But before they died, they hid their loot somewhere which can only be found through the assembled photograph. Columbo must go undercover to recover some of the pieces, solve some murders to get some others, and all the while trying to figure out what Krutch might be after. This installment departs from the usual format by not revealing the culprit until the end of the show. (The episode is based upon the 87th Precinct novel Jigsaw by Ed McBain although not credited as such. Unlike the previous episode based on McBain source material, No Time To Die, this features a regular character from the 87th Precinct series, Arthur Brown, played by Harrison Page.)
65 10 "Strange Bedfellows" Vincent McEveety Lawrence Vail George Wendt April 23, 1996 (1996-04-23)
Graham McVeigh (George Wendt) is a thoroughbred ranch owner, and he is tired of his brother Teddy being in constant debt to mob bookie and restaurateur Bruno Romano. He decides to kill Teddy and frame Romano for the crime. To do so, Graham makes Teddy take a big loss at the race track by drugging his own horse so that it loses, leaving Teddy in deeper debt to Romano. Graham then disguises himself and goes to Romano's restaurant, where he sets mice loose in a bathroom. While Romano is distracted setting traps for the mice, Graham calls Teddy from a restaurant phone so that the phone records will suggest Romano called to set up a meeting. Graham and Teddy then drive out to a secluded section of road. Under the pretense of getting fresh air, Graham gets out, walks around the car, steps up to Teddy's window and shoots him, then rides home on a folding bike he stashed in the trunk. The next day, Graham invites Romano to come out to the ranch, ostensibly to pay Teddy's debt. When Romano looks at a briefcase containing the money, Graham shoots him, switches Romano's revolver for the identical murder gun, and makes it look like self-defense. Romano's boss Vincenzo Fortelli (Rod Steiger) becomes involved, exerting pressure on McVeigh. To solve the crime before Fortelli takes matters into his own hands, Columbo must work with the gangster.
66 11 "A Trace of Murder" Vincent McEveety Charles Kipps David Rasche November 4, 1997 (1997-11-04)

Cathleen Calvert (Shera Danese, in her sixth and final appearance) and her lover, crime scene investigator Patrick Kinsley (David Rasche), are weary of having to see each other on the sly. She won't divorce her husband, rich businessman Clifford Calvert (Barry Corbin), due to their prenuptial agreement. So the lovers scheme to get him out of the way by killing Howard Seltzer (Raye Birk), an investment broker who is suing him, then framing Clifford for the murder. To do so, Patrick drives to Seltzer's house and tricks Seltzer into letting him inside by claiming that his car phone has died and that he has to make an urgent phone call. Patrick then shoots Seltzer and plants evidence to suggest that Clifford was responsible. Columbo's work is cut out for him, because Patrick is on the team handling the investigation.

Billed as the "25th Anniversary Movie", it aired under ABC Thursday Night Movie.[7]
67 12 "Ashes to Ashes" Patrick McGoohan Jeffrey Hatcher Patrick McGoohan October 8, 1998 (1998-10-08)
Patrick McGoohan stars in and directs his final appearance, his fourth time playing the murderer. As funeral director to the stars Eric Prince, he murders gossip columnist Verity Chandler (Rue McClanahan) when she attends his latest funeral, that of actor and war hero Chuck Houston. Chandler threatens Prince that her next exposé will be about him. (Two decades earlier, he stole a valuable diamond from the body of a deceased silent film star.) Prince bludgeons Chandler with a tool in his storage room, then hides the body in a compartment used for corpses. After the funeral, Prince takes the casket containing Houston's body to the preparation room, where he puts Chandler's body into the casket in its place. It next enters the cremation oven, and afterwards, the ashes are scattered by helicopter over the Hollywood hills. Prince then goes to Chandler's house and fakes evidence of her abduction. So no one will become suspicious, he cremates Houston's body by piggybacking him onto another corpse scheduled to be cremated. Sally Kellerman plays the dead man's widow, Liz Houston, and Catherine McGoohan, the real-life daughter of Patrick McGoohan, plays Rita, Prince's assistant.
68 13 "Murder With Too Many Notes" Patrick McGoohan Story by : Jeffrey Cava
Teleplay by : Jeffrey Cava and Patrick McGoohan
Billy Connolly March 12, 2001 (2001-03-12)

Hollywood film composer and conductor Findlay Crawford (Billy Connolly) has been mentor to a talented young composer, Gabriel McEnery (Chad Willett), who has been ghostwriting most of Crawford's work for the last few years. Gabe even penned Crawford's last movie score, which won an Oscar. Crawford realizes he will be ruined and ridiculed if it ever becomes known. Aware that Gabe practices on the roof of a studio building, Crawford plots his murder. He promises Gabe will get to conduct the orchestra during a concert based on Crawford's "own" movie scores. While giving a toast, Crawford drugs Gabe, then takes his body up to his rooftop rehearsal place, which happens to be atop a trapdoor to a freight elevator. He makes it look like Gabe was there rehearsing, With the concert about to begin, Crawford starts the freight elevator, then makes it into the concert hall in time to begin conducting before the elevator reaches the top. When the elevator doors open, Gabe's unconscious body is pushed over the side and falls to his death, landing in front of a late-arriving couple.

Aired under Monday Night Movie.[8]
69 14 "Columbo Likes the Nightlife" Jeffrey Reiner Michael Alaimo Jennifer Sky and Matthew Rhys January 30, 2003 (2003-01-30)

Los Angeles rave promoter Justin Price (Matthew Rhys) helps his girlfriend Vanessa (Jennifer Sky) get rid of the corpse of her ex-husband, mobster Tony Galper, who was backing Price's new club, after he drops dead in Vanessa's apartment. He disposes of the body for her but unknown to him, tabloid photographer Linwood Coben secretly photographs him getting rid of the body. He tells Price he can have the negatives and prints for $250,000 and Price agrees to pay him. They meet that evening but Price instead kills him and makes it look like a suicide. (The club scenes use two tracks from the album Tweekend by The Crystal Method.)

This was the final episode of Columbo. It aired under ABC Thursday Night At The Movies.[9]


  1. ^ "Columbo - Complete Series DVD UK". Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  2. ^ UK DVD Cover shows the complete collection,; accessed June 28, 2017.
  3. ^ There is a Wikipedia article in Danish about him that can be translated automatically by Google Translate.
  4. ^ "COLUMBO: CAUTION: MURDER CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH {ABC MOVIE SPECIAL} (TV)". The Paley Center For Media. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  5. ^ "ABC SUNDAY NIGHT MOVIE: COLUMBO: NO TIME TO DIE (TV)". The Paley Center For Media. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ "ABC SUNDAY NIGHT MOVIE: COLUMBO: IT'S ALL IN THE GAME (TV)". The Paley Center For Media. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  7. ^ "ABC THURSDAY NIGHT MOVIE: COLUMBO: TRACE OF MURDER (TV)". The Paley Center For Media. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  8. ^ "MONDAY NIGHT MOVIE: COLUMBO: MURDER WITH TOO MANY NOTES {TAPE 1 OF 2} (TV)". The Paley Center For Media. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  9. ^ "ABC THURSDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: COLUMBO: COLUMBO LIKES THE NIGHTLIFE (TV)". The Paley Center For Media. Retrieved September 10, 2013.