Columbo popularize the inverted detective story format which begins by showing the audience the commission of the crime and the perpetrator, the audience then gets to see how the detective goes about solving the case and securing all evidence needed for a conviction. There’s a not-so subtle class warfare in every episode of Columbo. You never see him trying to solve a double homicide committed by a bunch of gangbangers, or drug dealers killing each other in a turf war. The perpetrator is always rich, suave, good looking and did I say rich? Inevitably these One Percenters are always looking down at this working class bumbler type detective, who refuses to go away. Watching these rich fools come to the realization that this ‘inconsequential’ and ‘scruffy little man’ has them by the balls by simply being smarter than they thought he was is pure delight.
*The famous guest star kills someone (Jack Cassidy played a murderer in three Columbo episodes, brilliantly)
*Columbo arrives in his dirty car
*The killer thinks they can get away with it because Columbo is clearly a fucking moron
*Columbo just won’t leave the killer alone and you start to feel sorry for them
*Columbo gets his man and takes him/ her down without much fanfare.
Columbo (Peter Falk) says things like:
“I worry. I mean, little things bother me. I’m a worrier. I mean, little insignificant details — I lose my appetite. I can’t eat. My wife, she says to me, “You know, you can really be a pain.”
“Watch my hand, it’s full of grease. This is my dinner. Would you like a piece of chicken?”
Columbo asks one villain “How much does a home like this cost?” and when he finds out, he says “Oh, sir, I could never afford that on a policeman’s salary.”
Don’t you love this guy already? With his disheveled trench coat, his beat-up1959 Peugeot convertible, and his cigar chomping ways this sleuth is the antithesis of what anyone would expect from a Los Angeles Homicide Detective, yet in the end, this ‘uncouth’ man outfoxes the smug monied gentry and takes them down much to the delight of the cheering audience. He loves animals, the wife—we never get to see, and cigars.
Oh uh, just one more thing… I sincerely hope that Hollywood doesn’t do a re-boot of this classic TV show.