Columbo

Columbo (1971)

23 mistakes in season 1

(25 votes)

Starring: Peter Falk

Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Suitable for Framing - S1-E5

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.

Short Fuse - S1-E7

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.

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

Ransom for a Dead Man - S1-E1

Character mistake: Piloting a helicopter, Leslie ends a radio conversation by saying "Over and out." "Over" means "I'm done talking; please respond." "Out" means "I'm done talking and I'm ending this communication." An experienced pilot would never say "Over and out." They are two different terms.

Steven Lee

Dead Weight - S1-E4

Continuity mistake: Helen Stewart and her mother are boating in the harbor and are about to pass a small island. A Marine colonel goes to the nearby home of a retired general to inform him that he is under investigation for cost overruns on a government contract, Fearing that the colonel will implicate him, the general shoots and kills him near a window. Helen is looking toward the home and witnesses the shooting. She tells her mother, "We have to go back." The boat is in the same position it was in five minutes earlier.

Murder by the Book - S1-E2

Continuity mistake: The witness dunks the strawberry in the white sauce while talking. We cut to a view in front of her, and the dialog continues but suddenly the strawberry is half-eaten. When did she take that bite? (00:41:40)

Ransom for a Dead Man - S1-E1

Continuity mistake: When Columbo is eating his chili in the booth at the diner, whilst talking to the daughter of the murderer, his bowl of chili moves. It is right in front of him at one point but is then away from him. And it now contains less food.

Ransom for a Dead Man - S1-E1

Continuity mistake: When Columbo and the woman have finished flying in the light aircraft, she taxis the aircraft back and shuts down the engine. There isn't much to see behind the aircraft at this point, but when Columbo and the woman get out (in the immediate next shot) there are two rather large buildings/hangars which have magically appeared right behind the aircraft. Plus the aircraft propeller has changed to a more horizontal position.

Ransom for a Dead Man - S1-E1

Character mistake: The policeman gets the bag for the ransom from the wife of the kidnapped person, grabs it with bare fingers and puts the money into it - without gloves, too. (00:23:30)

Short Fuse - S1-E7

Continuity mistake: When Buckner's car leaves the chemical plant, it's a stretch limo with three bench seats. When it explodes on the mountain road a few scenes later, it's only a two-seat limo. (Buckner, who was initially in the distant rear seat, is suddenly close enough to reach up and take the cigar box the chauffeur hands him from the front seat. The entire middle section of the limo has disappeared.) (00:13:40 - 00:15:30)

Jean G

Dead Weight - S1-E4

Plot hole: How did the revolver get into the museum after the murder? Falk said he did not see it in the packing crate.

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.

Ransom for a Dead Man - S1-E1

Continuity mistake: In the living room of their home, Lesley Williams shoots her husband in the chest. As he falls, he knocks a lamp off a small table. Lesley puts the lamp back on the table, but in all the following scenes in the living room the lamp is gone. (01:00:00)

Short Fuse - S1-E7

Continuity mistake: In the cable car climax, Roger opens the cable car door to throw out the cigars. Then while he is scrabbling on the floor, and there is dialogue, the doors are shut. Then, at the end, the doors are open again.

Suitable for Framing - S1-E5

Continuity mistake: Colombo is talking to Mr. Kingston in the building entry after the reading of the will. A girl with red and white striped sleeves walks out of the building. A minute later she walks out of the building again. (01:15:50)

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

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A Deadly State of Mind - S4-E6

Trivia: Unusually enough for a television show devoted to a homicide detective and the way he unravels the plans of cunning murderers, the fact is that Columbo has nothing to do in this episode. Doctor Collier is seriously assaulted by Carl Donner who then goes on to violently attack his wife. Use of deadly force to prevent such an attack is allowed in the United States. Collier does not commit murder; he doesn't even commit a crime. You'd think such a hightly educated man would know enough to keep his head, call the police and explain what had happened. He wouldn't even be charged.

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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.

Bishop73

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