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 episodes from "Columbo Goes to College" (1990) to the most recent, "Columbo Likes the Nightlife" (2003).[1][2] In France and the Netherlands (also Region 2), however, the DVDs were released as 12 seasons.[3] In Region 1, all episodes from season 8 are grouped differently; all the episodes that were originally aired on ABC were released as the COLUMBO: The Mystery Movie Collection.[4] For the sake of clarity, all episodes in this article are arranged as they appear in the UK release.

Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
Pilots2February 20, 1968 (1968-02-20)March 1, 1971 (1971-03-01)NBC
17September 15, 1971 (1971-09-15)February 9, 1972 (1972-02-09)
28September 17, 1972 (1972-09-17)March 25, 1973 (1973-03-25)
38September 23, 1973 (1973-09-23)May 5, 1974 (1974-05-05)
46September 15, 1974 (1974-09-15)April 27, 1975 (1975-04-27)
56September 14, 1975 (1975-09-14)May 2, 1976 (1976-05-02)
63October 10, 1976 (1976-10-10)May 22, 1977 (1977-05-22)
75November 21, 1977 (1977-11-21)May 13, 1978 (1978-05-13)
84February 6, 1989 (1989-02-06)May 1, 1989 (1989-05-01)ABC
96November 25, 1989 (1989-11-25)May 14, 1990 (1990-05-14)
10 + specials14December 9, 1990 (1990-12-09)January 30, 2003 (2003-01-30)

Episodes[edit]

Pilot episodes[edit]

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, Joseph Cotten and Agnes Moorehead as Roy and Claire Flemming, and Patricia Medina as Flemming's mistress[5]).

The play was adapted to a made-for-TV movie in 1968, with Falk debuting in the role. In this made-for-TV movie, Columbo—rather than making the rumpled presentation that later became 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. He wears the raincoat in most of the scenes. He also appears somewhat more aggressive when confronting suspects.

No. in
series
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Victim played by Original air date Length
1"Prescription: Murder"Richard IrvingRichard Levinson & William Link
based on their play
Gene Barry as Ray FlemmingNina Foch as Carol FlemmingFebruary 20, 1968 (1968-02-20)94 min

Dr. Ray Flemming (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: Columbo stages the suicide of Flemming’s mistress, then urges him to confess now that the love of his life has killed herself for him. Flemming mocks Columbo's words, saying he never cared deeply for Joan and would have gotten rid of her eventually, anyway. Joan, listening in, agrees to testify against Flemming.
2"Ransom for a Dead Man"Richard IrvingS : Richard Levinson & William Link;
T : Dean Hargrove
Lee Grant as Leslie WilliamsHarlan Warde as Paul WilliamsMarch 1, 1971 (1971-03-01)92 min

Leslie Williams (Lee Grant), a brilliant and ruthless lawyer, 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: Margaret (Patricia Mattick), who hates her stepmother Leslie, tells Leslie she will go away if Leslie gives her a lot of money. When Leslie pays Margaret off with some of the ransom cash, Columbo, who had persuaded Margaret to demand money from Leslie, has the final proof he needs.

Season 1 (1971–72)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Victim(s) played by Original air date Runtime
31"Murder by the Book"Steven SpielbergSteven BochcoJack Cassidy
as Ken Franklin
Martin Milner
as Jim Ferris and
Barbara Colby
as Lilly La Sanka
September 15, 1971 (1971-09-15)76 min
42"Death Lends a Hand"Bernard KowalskiRichard Levinson
& William Link
Robert Culp
as Carl Brimmer
Patricia Crowley
as Lenore Kennicut
October 6, 1971 (1971-10-06)76 min
53"Dead Weight"Jack SmightJohn T. DuganEddie Albert
as Martin Hollister
John Kerr as
Roger Dutton
October 27, 1971 (1971-10-27)76 min
64"Suitable for Framing"Hy AverbackJackson GillisRoss Martin as
Dale Kingston and
Rosanna Huffman
as Tracy O'Connor
Robert Shayne
as Rudy Matthews
and Rosanna Huffman
as Tracy O'Connor
November 17, 1971 (1971-11-17)76 min
75"Lady in Waiting"Norman LloydS : Barney Slater;
T : Steven Bochco
Susan Clark as
Beth Chadwick
Richard Anderson
as Bryce Chadwick
December 15, 1971 (1971-12-15)75 min
86"Short Fuse"Edward M. AbromsS : Lester Pine
& Tina Pine;
S/T : Jackson Gillis
Roddy McDowall
as Roger Stanford
James Gregory
as David Buckner
and Lawrence Cook
as Quincy
January 19, 1972 (1972-01-19)75 min
97"Blueprint for Murder"Peter FalkS : William Kelley;
T : Steven Bochco
Patrick O'Neal
as Elliot Markham
Forrest Tucker
as Beau Williamson
February 9, 1972 (1972-02-09)75 min


Season 2 (1972–73)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Victim(s) played by Original air date Runtime
101"Étude in Black"Nicholas ColasantoS : Richard Levinson
& William Link;
T : Steven Bochco
John Cassavetes
as Alex Benedict
Anjanette Comer
as Jennifer Welles
September 17, 1972 (1972-09-17)97 min
112"The Greenhouse Jungle"Boris SagalJonathan LatimerRay Milland as
Jarvis Goodland
Bradford Dillman
as Tony Goodland
October 15, 1972 (1972-10-15)74 min
123"The Most Crucial Game"Jeremy KaganJohn T. DuganRobert Culp
as Paul Hanlon
Dean Stockwell
as Eric Wagner
November 5, 1972 (1972-11-05)74 min
134"Dagger of the Mind"Richard QuineS : Richard Levinson
& William Link;
T : Jackson Gillis
Richard Basehart
as Nicholas Frame
and Honor Blackman
as Lillian Stanhope
John Williams as
Sir Roger Haversham
and Wilfrid Hyde-White
as Tanner
November 26, 1972 (1972-11-26)98 min
145"Requiem for a Falling Star"Richard QuineJackson GillisAnne Baxter
as Nora Chandler
Pippa Scott as
Jean Davis and
John Colicos as
Al Cumberland
(photograph)
January 21, 1973 (1973-01-21)74 min
156"A Stitch in Crime"Hy AverbackShirl HendryxLeonard Nimoy
as Barry Mayfield
Anne Francis
as Sharon Martin
and Jared Martin
as Harry Alexander
February 11, 1973 (1973-02-11)74 min
167"The Most Dangerous Match"Edward M. AbromsS : Richard Levinson
& William Link;
S/T : Jackson Gillis
Laurence Harvey
as Emmett Clayton
Jack Kruschen
as Tomlin Dudek
March 4, 1973 (1973-03-04)74 min
178"Double Shock"Robert ButlerS : Jackson Gillis,
Richard Levinson
& William Link;
T : Steven Bochco
Martin Landau
in a dual role
as Dexter Paris
and Norman Paris
Paul Stewart
as Clifford Paris
and Julie Newmar
as Lisa Chambers
March 25, 1973 (1973-03-25)74 min


Season 3 (1973–74)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Victim(s) played by Original air date Runtime
181"Lovely but Lethal"Jeannot SzwarcS : Myrna Bercovici;
T : Jackson Gillis
Vera Miles as
Viveca Scott
Martin Sheen as
Karl Lessing and
Sian Barbara Allen
as Shirley Blaine
September 23, 1973 (1973-09-23)73 min
192"Any Old Port in a Storm"Leo PennS : Larry Cohen;
T : Stanley Ralph Ross
Donald Pleasence
as Adrian Carsini
Gary Conway
as Rick Carsini
October 7, 1973 (1973-10-07)96 min
203"Candidate for Crime"Boris SagalS : Larry Cohen;
T : Irving Pearlberg,
Alvin R. Friedman,
Roland Kibbee
& Dean Hargrove
Jackie Cooper as
Nelson Hayward
Ken Swofford
as Harry Stone
November 4, 1973 (1973-11-04)93 min
214"Double Exposure"Richard QuineStephen J. CannellRobert Culp
as Bart Keppel
Robert Middleton
as Vic Norris
and Chuck McCann
as Roger White
December 16, 1973 (1973-12-16)70 min
225"Publish or Perish"Robert ButlerPeter S. FischerJack Cassidy as
Riley Greenleaf
and John Chandler
as Eddie Kane
Mickey Spillane
as Alan Mallory
and John Chandler
as Eddie Kane
January 13, 1974 (1974-01-13)73 min
236"Mind over Mayhem"Alf KjellinS : Robert Specht;
T : Steven Bochco,
Dean Hargrove
& Roland Kibbee
José Ferrer as
Marshall Cahill
Lew Ayres as
Howard Nicholson
February 10, 1974 (1974-02-10)73 min
247"Swan Song"Nicholas ColasantoS : Stanley Ralph Ross;
T : David Rayfiel
Johnny Cash
as Tommy Brown
Ida Lupino as
Edna Brown and
Bonnie Van Dyke
as Maryann Cobb
March 3, 1974 (1974-03-03)99 min
258"A Friend in Deed"Ben GazzaraPeter S. FischerRichard Kiley
as Mark Halperin
and Michael McGuire
as Hugh Caldwell
Rosemary Murphy
as Margaret Halperin and
an uncredited actress
as Janice Caldwell
May 5, 1974 (1974-05-05)98 min


Season 4 (1974–75)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Victim(s) played by Original air date Runtime
261"An Exercise in Fatality"Bernard KowalskiS : Larry Cohen;
T : Peter S. Fischer
Robert Conrad
as Milo Janus
Philip Bruns
as Gene Stafford
September 15, 1974 (1974-09-15)97 min
272"Negative Reaction"Alf KjellinPeter S. FischerDick Van Dyke
as Paul Galesko
Antoinette Bower
as Frances Galesko
and Don Gordon
as Alvin Deschler
October 6, 1974 (1974-10-06)95 min
283"By Dawn's Early Light"Harvey HartHoward BerkPatrick McGoohan
as Lyle Rumford
Tom Simcox as
William Haynes
October 27, 1974 (1974-10-27)98 min
294"Troubled Waters"Ben GazzaraS : Jackson Gillis;
S/T : William Driskill
Robert Vaughn as
Hayden Danzinger
Poupée Bocar as
Rosanna Wells
February 9, 1975 (1975-02-09)98 min
305"Playback"Bernard L. KowalskiDavid P. Lewis &
Booker T. Bradshaw
Oskar Werner as
Harold van Wick
Martha Scott as
Margaret Midas
March 2, 1975 (1975-03-02)73 min
316"A Deadly State of Mind"Harvey HartPeter S. FischerGeorge Hamilton
as Mark Collier
Stephen Elliott
as Carl Donner and
Lesley Ann Warren
as Nadia Donner
April 27, 1975 (1975-04-27)74 min


Season 5 (1975–76)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Victim(s) played by Original air date Runtime
321"Forgotten Lady"Harvey HartWilliam DriskillJanet Leigh as Grace WheelerSam Jaffe as Henry WillisSeptember 14, 1975 (1975-09-14)100 min
332"A Case of Immunity"Ted PostS : James Menzies;
T : Lou Shaw
Hector Elizondo as Hassan Salah and Sal Mineo as Rachman HabibAndré Lawrence as Youseff Alafa and Sal Mineo as Rachman HabibOctober 12, 1975 (1975-10-12)70 min
343"Identity Crisis"Patrick McGoohanWilliam DriskillPatrick McGoohan as Nelson BrennerLeslie Nielsen as A.J. "Geronimo" HendersonNovember 2, 1975 (1975-11-02)95 min
354"A Matter of Honor"Ted PostBrad RadnitzRicardo Montalban as Luis MontoyaRobert Carricart as Hector RangelFebruary 1, 1976 (1976-02-01)70 min
365"Now You See Him..."Harvey HartMichael SloanJack Cassidy as Stefan MuellerNehemiah Persoff as Jesse JeromeFebruary 29, 1976 (1976-02-29)85 min
376"Last Salute to the Commodore"Patrick McGoohanJackson GillisFred Draper as Swanny SwansonJohn Dehner as Otis Swanson and Robert Vaughn as Charles ClayMay 2, 1976 (1976-05-02)91 min


Season 6 (1976–77)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Victim(s) played by Original air date Runtime
381"Fade in to Murder"Bernard L. KowalskiS : Henry Garson;
T : Lou Shaw and Peter Feibleman
William Shatner as Ward FowlerLola Albright as Claire DaleyOctober 10, 1976 (1976-10-10)73 min
392"Old Fashioned Murder"Robert DouglasS : Lawrence Vail;
T : Peter S. Feibleman
Joyce Van Patten as Ruth LyttonPeter S. Feibleman as Milton Schaeffer and Tim O'Connor as Edward LyttonNovember 28, 1976 (1976-11-28)73 min
403"The Bye-Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case"Sam WanamakerRobert Malcolm YoungTheodore Bikel as Oliver BrandtSorrell Booke as Bertie HastingsMay 22, 1977 (1977-05-22)70 min


Season 7 (1977–78)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Victim played by Original air date Runtime
411"Try and Catch Me"James FrawleyT : Paul Tuckahoe;
S/T : Gene Thompson
Ruth Gordon as Abigail MitchellCharles Frank as Edmund GalvinNovember 21, 1977 (1977-11-21)70 min
422"Murder Under Glass"Jonathan DemmeRobert van ScoykLouis Jourdan as Paul GerardMichael V. Gazzo as Vittorio RossiJanuary 30, 1978 (1978-01-30)73 min
433"Make Me a Perfect Murder"James FrawleyRobert BleesTrish Van Devere as Kay FreestoneLaurence Luckinbill as Mark McAndrewsFebruary 25, 1978 (1978-02-25)97 min
444"How to Dial a Murder"James FrawleyS : Anthony Lawrence;
T : Tom Lazarus
Nicol Williamson as Eric MasonJoel Fabiani as Charlie HunterApril 15, 1978 (1978-04-15)73 min
455"The Conspirators"Leo PennIdea : Pat Robison;
T : Howard Berk
Clive Revill as Joe DevlinAlbert Paulsen as Vincent PauleyMay 13, 1978 (1978-05-13)93 min


Season 8 (1989)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Victim played by Original air date Runtime
461"Columbo Goes to the Guillotine"Leo PennWilliam Read WoodfieldAnthony Andrews as Elliott BlakeAnthony Zerbe as Max DysonFebruary 6, 1989 (1989-02-06)88 min
472"Murder, Smoke and Shadows"James FrawleyRichard Alan SimmonsFisher Stevens as Alex BradyJeff Perry as Leonard FisherFebruary 27, 1989 (1989-02-27)90 min
483"Sex and the Married Detective"James FrawleyJerry LudwigLindsay Crouse as Joan AllenbyStephen Macht as David KincaidApril 3, 1989 (1989-04-03)89 min
494"Grand Deceptions"Sam WanamakerSy SalkowitzRobert Foxworth as Frank BrailieAndy Romano as Lester KeeganMay 1, 1989 (1989-05-01)68 min


Season 9 (1989–90)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer played by Victim played by Original air date Runtime
501"Murder: A Self Portrait"James FrawleyRobert ShermanPatrick Bauchau as Max BarsiniFionnula Flanagan as Louise Barsini; [unknown actor plays Barsini agent]November 25, 1989 (1989-11-25)71min
512"Columbo Cries Wolf"Daryl DukeWilliam Read WoodfieldIan Buchanan as Sean BrantleyDeidre Hall as Dian HunterJanuary 20, 1990 (1990-01-20)67min
523"Agenda for Murder"Patrick McGoohanJeffrey BloomPatrick McGoohan as Oscar FinchLouis Zorich as Frank StaplinFebruary 10, 1990 (1990-02-10)98 min
534"Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo"Vincent McEveetyPeter S. FischerHelen Shaver as Vivian DimitriEdward Winter as Charlie ChambersMarch 31, 1990 (1990-03-31)98 min
545"Uneasy Lies the Crown"Alan J. LeviSteven BochcoJames Read as Wesley CormanMarshall R. Teague as Adam EvansApril 28, 1990 (1990-04-28)92 min
556"Murder in Malibu"Walter GraumanJackson GillisAndrew Stevens as Wayne JenningsJanet Margolin as Theresa GorenMay 14, 1990 (1990-05-14)90 min


Season 10 and specials (1990–2003)[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Murderer(s) played by Victim(s) played by Original air date Runtime
561"Columbo Goes to College"E.W. SwackhamerS : Frederick King Keller
S/T : Jeffrey Bloom
Stephen Caffrey as Justin Rowe and Gary Hershberger as Cooper RedmanJames Sutorius as D.E. RuskDecember 9, 1990 (1990-12-09)98 min
572"Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health"Daryl DukeSonia Wolf & Patricia Ford & April RaynellGeorge Hamilton as Wade AndersPeter Haskell as Budd ClarkeFebruary 20, 1991 (1991-02-20)98 min
583"Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star"Alan J. LeviWilliam Read WoodfieldDabney Coleman as Hugh CreightonCheryl Paris as Marcy EdwardsApril 29, 1991 (1991-04-29)98 min
594"Death Hits the Jackpot"Vincent McEveetyJeffrey BloomRip Torn as Leon Lamarr and Jamie Rose as Nancy BrowerGary Kroeger as Freddy BrowerDecember 15, 1991 (1991-12-15)98 min
605"No Time to Die"Alan J. LeviS : Ed McBain;
T : Robert van Scoyk
(No murder.  Daniel McDonald plays the would-be murderer.)(None)February 15, 1992 (1992-02-15)93 min
616"A Bird in the Hand ..."Vincent McEveetyJackson GillisTyne Daly as Dolores McCain and Greg Evigan as Harold McCainSteve Forrest as Fred McCain, León Singer as Fernando and Greg Evigan as Harold McCainNovember 22, 1992 (1992-11-22)98 min
627"It's All in the Game"Vincent McEveetyPeter FalkFaye Dunaway as Lauren Staton and Claudia Christian as Lisa MartinArmando Pucci as Nick FrancoOctober 31, 1993 (1993-10-31)98 min
638"Butterfly in Shades of Grey"Dennis DuganPeter S. FischerWilliam Shatner as Fielding ChaseJack Laufer as Gerry WintersJanuary 10, 1994 (1994-01-10)98 min
649"Undercover"Vincent McEveetyS : Ed McBain;
T : Gerry Day
Ed Begley Jr. as Irving Krutch (Jon Beshara and an uncredited actor also portray two characters who kill each other)Burt Young as Mo Weinberg and Shera Danese as Geraldine FergusonMay 2, 1994 (1994-05-02)98 min
6510"Strange Bedfellows"Vincent McEveetyLawrence VailGeorge Wendt as Graham McVeighJeff Yagher as Teddy McVeigh and Jay Acovone as Bruno RomanoMay 8, 1995 (1995-05-08)89 min
6611"A Trace of Murder"Vincent McEveetyCharles KippsDavid Rasche as Patrick Kinsley and Shera Danese as Cathleen CalvertRaye Birk as Howard SeltzerMay 15, 1997 (1997-05-15)98 min
6712"Ashes to Ashes"Patrick McGoohanJeffrey HatcherPatrick McGoohan as Eric PrinceRue McClanahan as Verity ChandlerOctober 8, 1998 (1998-10-08)90 min
6813"Murder with Too Many Notes"Patrick McGoohanT : Patrick McGoohan;
S/T : Jeffrey Cava
Billy Connolly as Findlay CrawfordChad Willett as Gabriel McEneryMarch 12, 2001 (2001-03-12)98 min
6914"Columbo Likes the Nightlife"Jeffrey ReinerMichael AlaimoMatthew Rhys as Justin Price and Jennifer Sky as Vanessa FarrowCarmine Giovinazzo as Tony Galper and Douglas Roberts as Linwood CobenJanuary 30, 2003 (2003-01-30)88 min


Repeat offenders[edit]

Here is a list of the actors who starred as more than one murderer:

  • Patrick McGoohan starred in four episodes as the murderer: By Dawn's Early Light (Emmy Award) (1974), Identity Crisis (also directed) (1975), Agenda for Murder (Emmy Award) (also directed) (1990), and Ashes to Ashes (also directed (and co-wrote - uncredited)) (1998). He also directed two additional episodes: "Last Salute to the Commodore" (1976) and "Murder With Too Many Notes" (also co-wrote) (2001).
  • 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, filmed at Marion Davies estate), The Most Crucial Game (1972), and Double Exposure (1973). He 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).
  • Tyne Daly starred in A Bird in the Hand as Dolores McCain (1992) and Undercover as Gloria (1994).
  • Martin Landau starred in one episode in a double role as identical twin brothers who committed murder together: Double Shock (1973).

Very few actors starred as the murder in one episode and played supporting roles in other episodes:

  • Though not a repeat murderer, Robert Vaughn starred in two episodes: once as the murderer in Troubled Waters (1975), and once as the victim in Last Salute to the Commodore (1976).
  • Similarly, Ray Milland appeared as a murderer in The Greenhouse Jungle (1972) and the husband of the victim in Death Lends a Hand (1971).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Columbo - Complete Series DVD UK". Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  2. ^ UK DVD Cover shows the complete collection
  3. ^ "Columbo, saison 12 Fr". Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  4. ^ "COLUMBO US DVD release at Universal Studio". Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  5. ^ Lachman, Marvin (2014). The villainous stage : crime plays on Broadway and in the West End. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-9534-4. OCLC 903807427.

Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]