The Lt. Columbo Forum

An area where fans from all over can ask each other questions and voice their own ideas and opinions on anything Columbo.

This Forum is fondly dedicated in memory of  "cassavetes45"  (Carleen Zink),
Columbo's greatest fan and a great friend to us all.
The Lt. Columbo Forum
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I'm interested to hear how fans view Columbo's transition since 1968. In Prescription: Murder we were given this detective character that was as intriguing as the cases he was investigating. For me that is the attraction. A wonderful character coupled with wonderful scripts. In the 70's barriers were there to be broken and scripts often tackled sensitive issues (as we recently discussed). The 80's and 90's came along where political correctness had to be, unfortunately, acknowledged (I'm from the old school). Scripts and movies suddently weren't as daring, thus losing some interest for me. I think this happened with some of the Columbo's. Writers, producers, directors, had restrictions, more guidelines to follow, thus hampering artistic license. I liked Columbo when he was handling religious, political and controversial subjects such as Candidate for Crime, The Conspirators, A Case of Immunity and Make Me a Perfect Murder. In the 24 episodes since The Conspirators we have witnessed Columbo investigate subject matter that could have had more potential but were diluted due to lack of quality in script writing, restrictions, 2 hour TV formats, and run-of-the-mill passionless producing and directing. Don't get me wrong, there were some classic moments from the post '78 Columbo catalogue, but non fit to the lace the boots of the 70's. I believe Columbo needs a swan song (pardon the pun). Universal should work on one final series of 70 minutes episodes, involving as many people as possible that worked on the 70's series. I kind of nostalgic epitaph. Idle ramblings on a rare, damp Texas morning. Please share me yours on how the character of Columbo and Universal has evolved over the past 37 years.


Not sure that I agree entirely with your premise. You say that after the 70s political correctness prevented Columbo covering certains topics.

I would actually disagree. An episode like I think it's 'Make me a perfect murder' is hamstrung by the fact the writers cannot make explicit the lesbian relationship presumebly because it was not something that you could tackle on US tv in the 70s. US tv still has trouble tackling it now, but were that episode to be filmed now the writers and directors would have more latitude.

The term political correctness has got something of a bad reputation, but lets not forget what is actually at the heart of it. At its core it was a movement which tried to end the patronising and offensive attitudes which existed towards women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities etc.

A Case of Immunity for example has never sat comfortably with me. The portrayal of the fictional members of an Arab Republic borrows from stereotypes that would have seemed thick-eared in the 1930s.

I think that television and films today are infinitely more daring than their predecessors. Would for instance a film like The Woodsman (I think it's called with Kevin Bacon) have been made 30 years ago?


Heady stuff.
I pretty much agree with what Rob said. There wasn't a thing called political correctness in the 70's but there was a thing called censorship. Now in the case of Make Me A Perfect Murder, with it's lesbian undertones and also The Conspirators with a possible gay relationship between Devlin and Kerry Malone, that was not political correctness which prevented the writers and producers to be more was censorship. Then the 80's&90's came along and that is when all the PC stuff came about. And of course, as in all things in life it started as a very good premise, as you pointed out Jilted...but....then it was taken too far and it all got so out of hand that you were afraid to open your freakin mouth about anyone or anything. But now I think we have come full circle, with the added extra that there is not the strict constraints of heavy censorship.


Ya know, Jilted, I visit your site every so often and it is really cool and interesting. I posted a few times there but you totally ignored me!!!


Interesting...the lesbian undertones in "Perfect Murder" were obvious to me but I never picked up on any kind of gay undertones in "The Conspirators."

In Dawidziak's (sp?) book, he mentions that none of the Columbo killers were black, yet there were some actors that would have made excellent murderers but perhaps producers were too afraid of going there (James Earl Jones was mentioned in the book as great potential). However, they tossed aside political correctness in "Identity Crisis" when Brenner frames a person whose race Columbo immediately mentions, perhaps the most politically incorrect statement in the series, aside from all those minority actors used to play servants ("Lady in Waiting," "Etude in Black").

Ëven though I know everyone hates talking about the 90's episodes, I just watched "Butterfly in Shades of Grey." I kept expecting Columbo to mention that he or his wife was a fan of Fielding's conservative radio talk show, but the writers obviously didn't want to paint Columbo as a conservative (although he had a relative that was a big fan). Speaking of "Butterfly" and gay characters, we see the first openly gay character as a victim, and the killer framing the boyfriend. Well, okay, I've prattled enough....

Re: COLUMBO, PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE could never prattle enough!!! Prattle on!!