There really are no Columbo stories I haven’t enjoyed watching and I think I‘ve probably seen them all. It was hard to choose, but here are a few of my favorites:
“Lovely But Lethal”, Season 3, 1973 co-starring Vera Miles and Martin Sheen.
The Beauty Mark cosmetic empire is run by Viveca Scott an extremely well respected executive in the cosmetic industry. David Lang is her toughest competitor. Viveca hopes to one up him with a new formula cream that really will help remove wrinkles.
The chief chemist at Beauty Mark has stated the new product tests are very hopeful. Unfortunately, Viveca learns the formula has been pirated by the chief chemist’s assistant who plans to sell the formula to the rival David Lang.
To make everything even more convoluted, Beauty Mark itself has a spy planted in David Lang’s operation – his private secretary.
The chemists assistant who was also Viveca’s ex-lover is found murdered and it’s up to Lt. Columbo to solve the mystery.
“Murder Can Be Hazardous to Your Health”, Season 10, 1991 co-starring George Hamilton, Peter Haskell and Penny Johnson
Crime Alert is a TV show which broadcasts crimes and asks viewers to help track down the criminal. (Much like “America’s Most Wanted” today) The program is hosted by Wade Anders, a self proclaimed security expert. He is thrilled with the success of the show and hopes for a long run.
Bud Clark is a long time TV news person who was in competition with Wade for the job as spokesperson on Crime Alert. Bud accuses Wade of smearing him with the head of the network by saying Bud’s drinking could be a problem.
Bud then reveals he has a copy of a porno movie Wade made as a much younger man and he plans to use it on his program.
The two men agree to meet that evening to discuss the problems. Bud who is a smoker inhales a poison cigarette and dies. The viewers know that Wade is the one who doctored the cigarette. However, Lt. Columbo does not have this insight and must come up with the solution to the murder.
“Murder by the Book”, Season 1, 1971 co-starring Jack Cassidy and Martin Milner
The Mrs. Melville mystery novels co-authored by Franklin and Ferris are bestsellers among American readers. The books are supposed to be written by both James Ferris and Ken Franklin.
In fact, James Ferris does the writing while Ken Franklin handles the personal appearances, book signings, and talk shows The novels have made both men wealthy.
James decides he wants to branch out and do serious writing. Of course, since Ken is unable to write a decent novel this would leave him out in the cold. Ken decides to murder James and collect the insurance money.
When Columbo comes to investigate smug, arrogant Ken is very condescending toward him. Of course, in the end Columbo triumphs.
To relax for a few enjoyable hours you might want to go back and view some of these old programs.