Columbo

Columbo (1971)

16 factual errors

(23 votes)

Starring: Peter Falk

Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

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.

PEDAUNT

Ashes to Ashes - S13-E3

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.

PEDAUNT

The Conspirators - S7-E5

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."

Old Fashioned Murder - S6-E2

Factual error: In common with many other episodes, Columbo and all the other police officers at the crime scene hopelessly contaminate it - none of them wear gloves or protective clothing. Not one artifact recovered from the scene would be usable as evidence.

PEDAUNT

Undercover - S12-E3

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.

It's All in the Game - S12-E1

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.

PEDAUNT

A Trace of Murder - S13-E2

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.

Troubled Waters - S4-E4

Factual error: In common with a number of characters in numerous episodes, Columbo hopelessly contaminates crucial evidence - at the end of the episode he handles the surgical gloves used by the killer with bare hands.

PEDAUNT

The Most Crucial Game - S2-E3

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.

PEDAUNT

A Friend in Deed - S3-E8

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.

Blueprint for Murder - S1-E8

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.

Joe Brown

A Case of Immunity - S5-E2

Factual error: Rakman Habib's driver's license shows that he lives in "Beverly Hills CA 91605." That is the ZIP code for North Hollywood, not Beverly Hills.

Candidate for Crime - S3-E3

Factual error: Near the end of the episode, Jackie Cooper fires a bullet into his hotel room from the balcony using a revolver fitted with a silencer. Hayward also uses a revolver with a silencer to kill Stone. This is a classic Hollywood error, as silencers do not work on revolvers (unless noticeably modified), due to the gap between the barrel and the cylinder. They also don't make gunshots nearly as quiet as shown.

mdwalker

Show generally

Factual error: In the series, Columbo does not carry a gun, and in several episodes it is mentioned that he doesn't like guns and/or that he doesn't know very much about them. In the real world, all LAPD officers must carry guns, and they must re-qualify with them at the range six times each year. Also, due to the very nature of their work, they are knowledgeable about numerous types, makes, and models of guns.

mdwalker

Death Lends a Hand - S1-E3

Factual error: To make a call, Mr. Bremer enters a seven-digit number on a push-button telephone. The first three keys he punches are 1, 2 and 4. No telephone number in the United States begins with a 1.

A Bird in the Hand... - S11-E3

Factual error: The license plate on the automobile of Stallions football team owner Fred McBain reads STALLION1, but personalized California license plates can not have more than seven characters ( http://www.vanityplatebystate.com/alphabetical-listing-of-states/california/).

Ashes to Ashes - S13-E3

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.

PEDAUNT

More mistakes in Columbo

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

More quotes from Columbo
More trivia for Columbo

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.

Bishop73

More questions & answers from Columbo

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