List of Columbo episodes

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DVD box cover for the third season.

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 ten seasons, with the tenth season covering the last 14 shows from "Columbo Goes to College" (1990) to the most recent "Columbo Likes the Nightlife" (2003).[1][2] However in France, and The Netherlands (also Region 2) the DVDs were released as twelve seasons.[3] And in Region 1, all episodes from seasons 8 are grouped differently; all the episodes that are originally aired on ABC were released as the COLUMBO: The Mystery Movie Collections.[4] For the sake of clarity, all episodes in this article are arranged as they appear in the UK release.

Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedDVD Release
Region 1Region 2Region 4
Pilots21968–1971September 7, 2004[DVD 1]September 13, 2004[DVD 1]December 3, 2004[DVD 1]
171971–1972
281972–1973March 8, 2005July 18, 2005July 13, 2005
381973–1974August 9, 2005November 14, 2005July 20, 2006
461974–1975March 14, 2006September 18, 2006September 19, 2006
561975–1976June 27, 2006February 12, 2007Unknown 2007
631976–1977November 21, 2006[DVD 2]April 30, 2007[DVD 2]May 2, 2007[DVD 2]
751977–1978
841989April 24, 2007[DVD 3]March 31, 2008June 4, 2008
961989–1990February 3, 2009[DVD 4]March 30, 2009May 6, 2009
10 and
Specials
14
[DVD 5]
1990–1993
1994–2003
February 8, 2011[DVD 6]
January 10, 2012
June 15, 2009[DVD 7]
July 27, 2009
Unknown 2009
  1. ^ a b c Both pilots are included in the Season 1 DVD.
  2. ^ a b c Both Season 6 and Season 7 were released on the same DVD.
  3. ^ The Mystery Movie Collection 1989 DVD released in Region 1 covers all the episodes that originally aired in 1989: All 4 episodes from Season 8 and the first one from Season 9.
  4. ^ The Mystery Movie Collection 1990 DVD released in Region 1 covers all the episodes that originally aired in 1990: The last 5 episodes from Season 9 and the first one from Season 10.
  5. ^ The Season 10 DVDs released in Regions 2 and 4 cover the last 14 episodes.
  6. ^ All episodes can now be found in Columbo: The Mystery Movie Collection 1991–1993, and 1994–2003.
  7. ^ In Region 2, Season 10 was released in two volumes: Of those final 14 episodes, Volume I covers the first 8 while Volume 2 contains the last 6.

Episodes[edit]

Before Peter Falk[edit]

Before Falk was cast as the character of Columbo, Bert Freed played the role in "Enough Rope," a 1960 episode of The Chevy Mystery Show, a TV anthology series. In 1962, that episode was adapted as a stage play titled "Prescription: Murder" (starring Thomas Mitchell as Columbo), which then became a made-for-TV movie in 1968, with Peter Falk debuting in the role. In this pilot episode, Columbo appears more smartly dressed, with Falk appearing in suits, shorter hair and wearing more stage makeup, rather than the shabby appearance that would later become the character's trademark. He also appears somewhat more aggressive when confronting suspects.

The NBC Years (1968–1978)[edit]

Pilot episodes[edit]

EpisodeTitleDirected byWritten byLengthAirdate
1"Prescription: Murder"Richard IrvingRichard Levinson & William Link
Based on their Play
98 minutesFebruary 20, 1968 (1968-02-20)
Dr. Ray Fleming (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. 
2"Ransom for a Dead Man"Richard IrvingTeleplay: Dean Hargrove
Story: Richard Levinson & William Link
98 minutesMarch 1, 1971 (1971-03-01)
Leslie Williams (Lee Grant), a brilliant lawyer and pilot, 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. Columbo and Leslie's step-daughter (Patricia Mattick), who hates her, successfully work together to get Leslie to implicate herself by revealing where she is keeping the money. 

Season 1[edit]

EpisodeNo. in SeasonTitleDirected byWritten byLengthAirdate
31"Murder by the Book"Steven SpielbergSteven Bochco73 minutesSeptember 15, 1971 (1971-09-15)
42"Death Lends a Hand"Bernard L. KowalskiRichard Levinson & William Link73 minutesOctober 6, 1971 (1971-10-06)
53"Dead Weight"Jack SmightJohn T. Dugan73 minutesOctober 27, 1971 (1971-10-27)
64"Suitable for Framing"Hy AverbackJackson Gillis73 minutesNovember 17, 1971 (1971-11-17)
75"Lady in Waiting"Norman LloydTeleplay: Steven Bochco
Story: Barney Slater
73 minutesDecember 15, 1971 (1971-12-15)
86"Short Fuse"Edward M. AbromsTeleplay: Jackson Gillis
Story: Lester & Tina Pine and Jackson Gillis
73 minutesJanuary 19, 1972 (1972-01-19)
97"Blueprint for Murder"Peter FalkTeleplay: Steven Bochco
Story: William Kelley
73 minutesFebruary 9, 1972 (1972-02-09)


Season 2[edit]

EpisodeNo. in SeasonTitleDirected byWritten byLengthAirdate
101"Étude in Black"Nicholas ColasantoTeleplay: Steven Bochco
Story: Richard Levinson & William Link
98 minutesSeptember 17, 1972 (1972-09-17)
112"The Greenhouse Jungle"Boris SagalJonathan Latimer73 minutesOctober 15, 1972 (1972-10-15)
123"The Most Crucial Game"Jeremy KaganJohn T. Dugan73 minutesNovember 5, 1972 (1972-11-05)
134"Dagger of the Mind"Richard QuineTeleplay: Jackson Gillis
Story: Richard Levinson & William Link
98 minutesNovember 26, 1972 (1972-11-26)
145"Requiem for a Falling Star"Richard QuineJackson Gillis73 minutesJanuary 21, 1973 (1973-01-21)
156"A Stitch in Crime"Hy AverbackShirl Hendryx73 minutesFebruary 11, 1973 (1973-02-11)
167"The Most Dangerous Match"Edward M. AbromsTeleplay: Jackson Gillis
Story: Jackson Gillis and Richard Levinson & William Link
73 minutesMarch 4, 1973 (1973-03-04)
178"Double Shock"Robert ButlerTeleplay: Steven Bochco
Story: Jackson Gillis and Richard Levinson & William Link
73 minutesMarch 25, 1973 (1973-03-25)


Season 3[edit]

EpisodeNo. in SeasonTitleDirected byWritten byLengthAirdate
181"Lovely But Lethal"Jeannot SzwarcTeleplay: Jackson Gillis
Story: Myrna Bercovici
73 minutesSeptember 23, 1973 (1973-09-23)
192"Any Old Port in a Storm"Leo PennTeleplay: Stanley Ralph Ross
Story: Larry Cohen
98 minutesOctober 7, 1973 (1973-10-07)
203"Candidate for Crime"Boris SagalTeleplay: Irving Pearlberg & Alvin R. Friedman and Roland Kibbee & Dean Hargrove
Story: Larry Cohen
98 minutesNovember 4, 1973 (1973-11-04)
214"Double Exposure"Richard QuineStephen J. Cannell73 minutesDecember 16, 1973 (1973-12-16)
225"Publish or Perish"Robert ButlerPeter S. Fischer73 minutesJanuary 18, 1974 (1974-01-18)
236"Mind Over Mayhem"Alf KjellinTeleplay: Steven Bochco and Dean Hargrove & Roland Kibbee
Story: Robert Specht
73 minutesFebruary 10, 1974 (1974-02-10)
247"Swan Song"Nicholas ColasantoTeleplay: David Rayfiel
Story: Stanley Ralph Ross
98 minutesMarch 3, 1974 (1974-03-03)
258"A Friend in Deed"Ben GazzaraPeter S. Fischer98 minutesMay 5, 1974 (1974-05-05)


Season 4[edit]

EpisodeNo. in SeasonTitleDirected byWritten byLengthAirdate
261"An Exercise in Fatality"Bernard L. KowalskiTeleplay: Peter S. Fischer
Story: Larry Cohen
98 minutesSeptember 15, 1974 (1974-09-15)
272"Negative Reaction"Alf KjellinPeter S. Fischer98 minutesOctober 6, 1974 (1974-10-06)
283"By Dawn's Early Light"Harvey HartHoward Berk98 minutesOctober 27, 1974 (1974-10-27)
294"Troubled Waters"Ben GazzaraTeleplay: William Driskill
Story: Jackson Gillis and William Driskill
98 minutesFebruary 9, 1975 (1975-02-09)
305"Playback"Bernard L. KowalskiDavid P. Lewis & Booker T. Bradshaw73 minutesMarch 2, 1975 (1975-03-02)
316"A Deadly State of Mind"Harvey HartPeter S. Fischer73 minutesApril 27, 1975 (1975-04-27)


Season 5[edit]

EpisodeNo. in SeasonTitleDirected byWritten byLengthAirdate
321"Forgotten Lady"Harvey HartBill Driskill85 minutesSeptember 14, 1975 (1975-09-14)
332"A Case of Immunity"Ted PostTeleplay: Lou Shaw
Story: James Menzies
73 minutesOctober 12, 1975 (1975-10-12)
343"Identity Crisis"Patrick McGoohanBill Driskill98 minutesNovember 2, 1975 (1975-11-02)
354"A Matter of Honor"Ted PostBrad Radnitz73 minutesFebruary 1, 1976 (1976-02-01)
365"Now You See Him..."Harvey HartMichael Sloan85 minutesFebruary 29, 1976 (1976-02-29)
376"Last Salute to the Commodore"Patrick McGoohanJackson Gillis98 minutesMay 2, 1976 (1976-05-02)


Season 6[edit]

EpisodeNo. in SeasonTitleDirected byWritten byLengthAirdate
381"Fade in to Murder"Bernard L. KowalskiTeleplay: Lou Shaw and Peter S. Feibleman
Story: Henry Garson
73 minutesOctober 10, 1976 (1976-10-10)
392"Old Fashioned Murder"Robert DouglasTeleplay: Peter S. Feibleman
Story: Lawrence Vail
73 minutesNovember 28, 1976 (1976-11-28)
403"The Bye-Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case"Sam WanamakerRobert Malcolm Young73 minutesMay 22, 1977 (1977-05-22)


Season 7[edit]

EpisodeNo. in SeasonTitleDirected byWritten byLengthAirdate
411"Try and Catch Me"James FrawleyTeleplay: Gene Thompson & Paul Tuckahoe
Story: Gene Thompson
73 minutesNovember 21, 1977 (1977-11-21)
422"Murder Under Glass"Jonathan DemmeRobert van Scoyk73 minutesJanuary 30, 1978 (1978-01-30)
433"Make Me a Perfect Murder"James FrawleyRobert Blees98 minutesFebruary 28, 1978 (1978-02-28)
444"How to Dial a Murder"James FrawleyTeleplay: Tom Lazarus
Story: Anthony Lawrence
73 minutesApril 15, 1978 (1978-04-15)
455"The Conspirators"Leo PennHoward Berk
Based on an Idea by: Pat Robison
98 minutesMay 13, 1978 (1978-05-13)


The ABC Years (1989–2003)[edit]

Season 8[edit]

EpisodeNo. in SeasonTitleDirected byWritten byAirdate
461"Columbo Goes to the Guillotine"Leo PennWilliam Read WoodfieldFebruary 6, 1989 (1989-02-06)
472"Murder, Smoke and Shadows"James FrawleyRichard Alan SimmonsFebruary 27, 1989 (1989-02-27)
483"Sex and the Married Detective"James FrawleyJerry LudwigApril 3, 1989 (1989-04-03)
494"Grand Deceptions"Sam WanamakerSy SalkowitzMay 1, 1989 (1989-05-01)


Season 9[edit]

EpisodeNo. in SeasonTitleDirected byWritten byAirdate
501"Murder: A Self Portrait"James FrawleyRobert ShermanNovember 25, 1989 (1989-11-25)
512"Columbo Cries Wolf"Daryl DukeWilliam Read WoodfieldJanuary 20, 1990 (1990-01-20)
523"Agenda for Murder"Patrick McGoohanJeffrey BloomFebruary 10, 1990 (1990-02-10)
534"Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo"Vincent McEveetyPeter S. FischerMarch 31, 1990 (1990-03-31)
545"Uneasy Lies the Crown"Alan J. LeviSteven BochcoApril 28, 1990 (1990-04-28)
556"Murder in Malibu"Walter GraumanJackson GillisMay 14, 1990 (1990-05-14)


Season 10 and specials[edit]

EpisodeNo. in SeasonTitleDirected byWritten byAirdate
561"Columbo Goes to College"E.W. SwackhamerTeleplay: Jeffrey Bloom
Story: Jeffrey Bloom and Frederick King Keller
December 9, 1990 (1990-12-09)
572"Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health"Daryl DukeSonia Wolf, Patricia Ford and April RaynellFebruary 20, 1991 (1991-02-20)
583"Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star"Alan J. LeviWilliam Read WoodfieldApril 29, 1991 (1991-04-29)
594"Death Hits the Jackpot"Vincent McEveetyJeffrey BloomDecember 15, 1991 (1991-12-15)
605"No Time to Die"Alan J. LeviTeleplay: Robert van Scoyk
Story: Ed McBain
March 15, 1992 (1992-03-15)
616"A Bird in the Hand..."Vincent McEveetyJackson GillisNovember 22, 1992 (1992-11-22)
627"It's All in the Game"Vincent McEveetyPeter FalkOctober 31, 1993 (1993-10-31)
638"Butterfly in Shades of Grey"Dennis DuganPeter S. FischerJanuary 10, 1994 (1994-01-10)
649"Undercover"Vincent McEveetyTeleplay: Gerry Day
Story: Ed McBain
May 2, 1994 (1994-05-02)
6510"Strange Bedfellows"Vincent McEveetyLawrence VailMay 8, 1995 (1995-05-08)
6611"A Trace of Murder"Vincent McEveetyCharles KippsMay 15, 1997 (1997-05-15)
6712"Ashes to Ashes"Patrick McGoohanJeffrey HatcherOctober 8, 1998 (1998-10-08)
6813"Murder With Too Many Notes"Patrick McGoohanTeleplay: Jeffrey Cava and Patrick McGoohan
Story: Jeffrey Cava
May 12, 2000 (2000-05-12)
6914"Columbo Likes the Nightlife"Jeffrey ReinerMichael AlaimoJanuary 30, 2003 (2003-01-30)


Repeat Offenders[edit]

Here is a list of the actors who starred as murderers in more than one episode of Columbo.

Index of Killers by Episode[edit]

Pilot Episodes

Season 1 (1971–1972)

Season 2 (1972–1973)

Season 3 (1973–1974)

Season 4 (1974–1975)

Season 5 (1975–1976)

Season 6 (1976–1977)

Season 7 (1977–1978)

Season 8 (1989)

Season 9 (1989–1990)

Season 10 and specials (1990–2003)

Notes[edit]

References[edit]