That's one of my big reasons as well. Those things you can see in a hundred other police stories.
A lot of people make exceptions of "Night Life" and "Goes To College," because they like seeing that arrogant "yuppie" couple led away in handcuffs in the one and seeing those arrogant "young punks" led away in handcuffs in the other.
This might be stirring things up a little, but to me there ARE no exceptions! So those two moments are real sore thumb moments for me.
Two episodes I saw the other night. One was the undertaker and I think the episode title was Ashes to Ashes. The subject at the end walks away from Columbo after he is told he is under arrest for murder. Columbo says, where are you going. The guy says, to the police car (there was a marked PD car a little bit away from where Columbo and the guy was standing. Simply great ending!
The other was a family member of a famous California winery. Killed someone, put them in the wine vault, Columbo solves it. Ending was Columbo during with the guy in his front seat, Columbo explains the facts and the guy realizes he was caught. Columbo hands the guy a very expensive bottle of a special reserve. Columbo says something along the lines of, thought you would like this now. Ends as the guy takes the bottle. Can only assume Columbo was going to drive him to the station, no handcuffs of course.
Another part of this is the question of which ones look like they're about to resist arrest, even if they aren't.
Maybe the most obvious one is Harald Van Wyck. He gives that quick outburst, but then he gestures to Columbo and the other police that he's under control. It looks like a genuine close call when it comes to handcuffs, unlike any other arrest scene. Or at least the closest the show comes to one.
There's also Neil Cahill, who actually does resist arrest for a moment, but of course he's in a whole other category.
Although it wasn’t Columbo throwing the cuffs on the guy and the lady at the end, it was two uniformed LAPD cops that did. It was a great episode about a New York City connected mob guy, that came up missing, whom was the X husband of an actress that eventually became involved with a new wave rock club and the investment money came from the mob connected guy. Columbo began the investigation with the apparent suicide of the tabloid photographer reporter who was thrown out of his office window by the rock clubs owner, etc. Columbo eventually discovered the body of the missing NYC mob guy buried below the Koi aquarium in the dance floor of the club. Lots of great scenes in that episode IMO!!
But handcuffs at the end, no-“there’s no need for those”.
The episode was a Special: "Columbo Like the Nightlife" (2003).