Columbo (1971)

3 suggested corrections

(30 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.

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.

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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.


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.


More mistakes in Columbo

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

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More trivia for Columbo

Answer: "Apparent" drowning answers your question - things are not always as they seem. Drowning could be accidental, but it could also be a murder in disguise. Moreover, the actual cause of death has not yet been determined - accident, suicide, murder, or natural cause (e.g, heart attack while swimming). Columbo would be there to investigate if anything looks unusual for it to be a mere drowning or if there is evidence or suspicion of something else.


This was just on's "Aaron Carter Dead at 34" (11/05/2022): "Law enforcement sources tell TMZ... homicide detectives have been dispatched to the scene but we have no information or evidence of foul play. It's standard operating procedure for homicide detectives to investigate such [drowning] death scenes."


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