Factual error: An important plot point is that diamonds do not burn and can be recovered from the ashes of a cremated body. This is completely wrong - diamonds would combust freely at cremation temperatures, and since they are pure carbon they don't even leave any residue.
Factual error: Devlin proclaims himself to be a staunch Irish Republican but he refers to the Northern Irish city of Derry as "Londonderry." This is the name imposed upon the place by the British and is despised and rejected by Republicans. Devlin would refer to the city as "Derry."
Character mistake: Columbo explains to Hayward (the killer) how the accepted version of events is impossible, because when he was shot Harry Stone was standing in a dark garage and the killer could not have angled the headlights of his car in such a way that he was made visible (in order to be shot). But neither he nor Hayward even consider the possibility that the killer could have been carrying a torch, which would not only have illuminated the scene, it would have dazzled the victim and hidden the shooter.
Factual error: At the crime scene, the landlady of the dead man is brought into the room in order to identify one of the dead men. This is never, ever done - she could contaminate the crime scene in a dozen different ways. She would be asked to identify the corpse at the morgue after the scene had been cleared by forensic examiners.
Factual error: Despite the fact that other officers are doing so, Columbo does not wear gloves while examining the crime scene. He also eats and drinks in the room - both absolutely forbidden - leaving eggshells scattered about the place. The crime scene is now totally compromised and nothing found can be used as evidence.
Factual error: In common with many other episodes neither Columbo, the attending police officers or forensic investigators wear gloves or other sterile gear while examining the murder victim's body or the crime scene. Columbo hands out bananas to other people on the scene which they happily eat. The senior crime scene forensics officer, Kingsley, hands out coffee and doughnuts! Eating and drinking are absolutely forbidden on a sterile crime scene, which has been hopelessly contaminated with fingerprints anyway.
Factual error: In the middle of summer in southern California, water spread thinly on an outdoor ceramic surface would start evaporating immediately and would be gone in about fifteen minutes. The surrounds of the pool would be bone dry by the time Columbo arrived at the scene, nearly an hour after the murderer sprayed the water there.
Character mistake: Art expert Dale Kingston describes Goya as 'the penultimate artist'. "Penultimate" has nothing to do with greatness or artistry, it means second to last, and nowhere during his speech does he indicate that Goya is 'second to last' in anything to do with the discussion. In the context he uses it the word is completely meaningless.
Plot hole: Columbo is in the Pauley's hotel room trying to figure out how the bottle landed upright next to his body after he was shot. Devlin - the murderer - turns up unannounced and uninvited. How did Devlin explain that he knew where the victim was staying when he was murdered? Media reports might have mentioned the name of the hotel but there is no way they would have included the room number.
Other mistake: In the home of a murder victim, Columbo presses the telephone's "redial" button to see who was called most recently. A seven-digit number is displayed but only six beeps are heard as the number is redialed. Later, attorney Oscar Finch places a call by dialing only five numbers.
Factual error: Columbo parks across the street from a house where a murder has occurred. The address is given as 1278 Fairfax Drive. Columbo investigates and returns to his car. A house number, 400, is painted on the curb. The house across the street from 1278 would have an odd number, probably 1277 or 1279. It would not be 400.
Character mistake: Columbo discusses the murder of Jennifer Welles with Alex Benedict - who killed her - and he reveals that the odometer reading of Benedict's car showed an extra nine miles despite the fact that it was supposedly immobilised in a garage on the night of the murder. Benedict challenges Columbo, saying that he assumes that he has established the distance between the garage and Jennifer's apartment. "Yes, sir." says Columbo. "Exactly nine miles." Since the murderer would have had to have driven to and from the garage to the scene of the murder - the car was back in the garage when the police searched it the next day - shouldn't he have said "Exactly four and a half miles."?
Continuity mistake: While riding in a chauffeur-driven car, Mr. Buckner wants to smoke a cigar. He picks up a wooden cigar box. The lid is secured by two pieces of black tape. He peels up one piece of tape. After a close-up of his face is shown, he peels up the second piece of tape and the first piece is now back in its original position across the lid.
Factual error: When Columbo initially latches onto the radio dilemma (which ultimately solves the case) the dial is tuned all the way to the left. He later tells someone that the radio is set to 'Classical 52', but an AM radio starts at 54, meaning 540KHz. There is no 52.
Continuity mistake: Columbo is eating with the commandant of a military academy. Columbo has carrots on his plate, among other things. A few shots later, the carrots have been replaced with beans. The next time the plate is seen, it has carrots on it again. Later on in the same scene, the beans are back. Finally, at the end of the scene, there is a longer shot as the commandant is leaving the table, and where the vegetables were there is now something that looks like meat. (00:36:05 - 00:42:45)