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|
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.
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.
- Kate Mulgrew as Kate Columbo / Kate Callahan
- Lili Haydn as Jenny Callahan
- Henry Jones as Josh Alden
- Don Stroud as Sergeant Mike Varrick
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 theretofore unseen wife frequently mentioned on Columbo.
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[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.
The series debuted in February 1979 as a spin-off to the successful 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.
Season 1: 1979
|1||1||"Word Games"||February 26, 1979|
|2||2||"Murder Is a Parlor Game"||March 1, 1979|
|3||3||"A Riddle for Puppets"||March 15, 1979|
|4||4||"Caviar with Everything"||March 22, 1979|
|5||5||"A Puzzle for Prophets"||March 29, 1979|
Season 2: 1979–80
|6||1||"Ladies of the Afternoon"||October 18, 1979|
|7||2||"It Goes with the Territory"||October 25, 1979|
|8||3||"Off the Record"||November 1, 1979|
|9||4||"The Valley Strangler"||November 8, 1979|
|10||5||"A Chilling Surprise"||November 22, 1979|
|11||6||"Falling Star"||November 29, 1979|
|12||7||"Feelings Can Be Murder"||December 6, 1979|
|13||8||"Love, on Instant Replay"||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.
An episode of Mrs. Columbo was included as a bonus feature in the Region 1 DVD release of the fourth season of Columbo released in August 2005.