Columbo (1971)

3 suggested corrections

(29 votes)

Starring: Peter Falk

Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

The Most Crucial Game - S2-E3

Plot hole: In the last scene Columbo convicts Hanlon of murder by playing back the recording of Hanlon's final call to the victim Wagner (the phone-box call near the crime scene is Hanlon's alibi. He is pretending to be in his VIP-box in the football stadium, which is too far away at the time he murders Wagner). The point is that the recording is missing the loud clock chimes from a little clock inside the VIP-box, which means Hanlon's alibi is "destroyed", he was not in his VIP-box, he must be somewhere else at that moment. Problem is the missing clock chimes are not hard evidence. Hanlon could say the clock was not working that day or the battery was empty and so on. Beside that it would be much easier to catch Hanlon if Columbo would check the outgoing phone calls asking the telephone company.


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Suggested correction: He very likely will. As we've seen, Columbo is very thorough. The missing clock chimes aren't meant to be definitive proof, just enough to warrant an arrest. Columbo will continue to work the case and gather evidence.

Columbo will continue to work the case and gather evidence? Well with that sentence they could stop every Columbo episode after 5 minutes. Hey guys, Columbo has nearly nothing against the murderer but he will continue to work the case outside this episode be sure.

It's the detective's job to investigate the crime and gather sufficient evidence to warrant an arrest and potential conviction. Yes, this would apply to every episode, and yes it applies to all detectives. Many of Columbo's investigations result in him using circumstantial evidence to arrest the killer. In one episode he arrests a man based on how the victim's shoes were tied. That wasn't his only evidence, however. In many cases a preponderance of circumstantial evidence is enough.

It's a TV show, Columbo was made for entertainment, not to be used as a script to prosecute a potential criminal.

No judge would allow this "evidence" to even be presented to a grand jury. Just because Hanlon wasn't in his booth at the time doesn't mean he was at the murder scene.

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Suggested correction: As a retail worker of 18 years, I know that POS (signage) mistakes happen in supermarkets, for example a product is moved and the correct POS is not replaced. This scene seems to be filmed in a real supermarket meaning this is not a mistake made by the show's producers, however if this was filmed in a studio, "Character Mistake" would be the wrong category as the mistake would have been made by the set designers.

James Ransford Premium member

While I've never seen mislabeled items I know mistakes can happen. But since the characters aren't real, every mistake they make is the fault of someone on the crew, whether it's the actor, writer, or set designer. For example, misspellings are considered character mistakes (unless intentional), even though it would have been made by the person who created it.


Negative Reaction - S4-E2

Plot hole: When Columbo presents the flipped photograph to Dick Van Dyke in the final scene, Columbo insists it is correct and proves DVD guilty. But Columbo already showed him the rejected fireplace photo, which shows the room arranged correctly. It also shows the victim's wedding ring, which would be on the wrong hand according to Columbo.

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Suggested correction: It's all part of Columbo's bluff: Galesko wants to get rid of Columbo as fast as possible and believes himself to be too smart, thus falls for it. Galesko might have forgotten about the fireplace photo or underestimated its importance. Even if Galesko points out the rejected photo: Columbo is already bluffing about the first photo, he can very well just claim the second photo never existed or is destroyed too, leaving Galesko in the same position as he is before he incriminates himself.

The Most Crucial Game - S2-E3

Factual error: Probably an in joke - the wheels of the "airliner" shown landing at LA international airport are those of a B52 bomber. They are very distinctive and look nothing like those on any airliner ever made.


More mistakes in Columbo

Columbo: Oh, I didn't come to ask any more questions. I came to arrest you.

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Show generally

Question: Why was Columbo never promoted, given that across the whole show he solves all the murders in such a spectacular fashion?

Answer: In the show, he was already a Lieutenant. A promotion would put him in the next rank up, which for the L.A.P.D. would be Captain. However, some of a Captain's duties would be overseeing other officers and ensuring they're compliant with policies, regulations, and standards. It would also most likely take him out of the field. This is something Columbo has no desire for as he rarely goes to police HQ's. Nor does he show interest in compliance and standards (for example, not going to his semi-annual evaluation at the firing range). However, he could still be assigned to a higher pay grade based on expertise, which is a form of promotion that does not include rank advancement. This would be going from Lieutenant I to Lieutenant II. I don't believe in the show it's ever started what his pay grade is. Although, in s02e01 (I believe) he mentions making $11K a year. Whether or not this was a true statement on his part, if you could find pay scale information for an LAPD Lieutenant in the 70's, it could give you an idea of his pay grade.


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