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There's just one more thing

June 24, 2011 - Steve Murch
They don't make TV detectives like Columbo anymore. They all have to have sex appeal, drive fast cars, beat up anyone who crosses them and have all the gadgets and high-tech equipment. Columbo, not so much.

In this day of Hollywood remaking every TV show that ever was — or at least it seems — I've always said they should remake Columbo. But in reality they couldn't because his charm was the slow, almost snail-like, pace in which he solved crimes. In other words, closer to reality than today's crime shows. Don't believe me, ask someone in law enforcement. They will tell you solving crime doesn't happen in real life like it does on TV.

Peter Falk, who played Columbo, died Thursday at the age of 83. The Associated Press story on Falk's death has the perfect Columbo description:

“But Columbo lives on as the ideal of anyone with a smudge on his tie, whose car isn't the sportiest, who typically seems clueless, who gets dissed by fancy people. “As a police detective, Columbo's interview technique was famously disjointed, with his inevitable awkward after-thought ("Ahhh, there's just one more thing...") trying the patience of his suspect when he was already halfway out the door. “Columbo was underestimated, patronized or simply overlooked by nearly everyone he met — especially the culprit. “And yet Columbo, drawing on inner pluck for only he (and an actor as skilled as Falk) could have accounted, always prevailed. Contrary to all evidence (that is, until he nailed the bad guy), Columbo always knew what he was doing.”

When Falk first started playing Columbo he was 43, yet he seemed to be close to retirement. He just carried himself like he should have one foot out the door. His signature wrinkled raincoat is one of the best props ever in television (and it has its own Facebook page).

Maybe some day they'll still make that Columbo movie. I just hope it isn't all high-tech and car chases.

Rest in peace, Peter Falk.


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