Columbo: Prescription Murder (1968)

DailyView: Day 68, Movie 117

“There’s one more thing…”

One of the most iconic television detectives, Lt. Columbo, made his debut in the TV movie, Prescription Murder. The amazing Peter Falk would spend decades with his recognizable trench coat and irritating manner, harassing criminals into revealing their crimes.

Dr. Ray Flemming (Gene Barry) was having an affair with an actress (Katherine Justice) and wants to get rid of his wife (Nina Foch). He sets up an intricate plot to cover the murder of his wife, which included a trip to Mexico. When he returned, he was being questioned by a police detective who always had just one more thing to ask.

Columbo was a different type of detective story. In these cases, we, the audience, knew from the start who the murderer was. We saw the case begin and we see the murder take place. We knew each step that Dr. Flemming did and how precise the crime. The mystery in this film is not whodunnit, but how was Columbo going to catch him. Through all of the small details of the case, things begin to add up and we can see how Columbo is like the proverbial dog with a bone.

Peter Falk turned this movie into a long and illustrious career playing the police detective. The formula worked for years, showing how clever Columbo would be and how he inspired the creation of decades worth of detectives from Jessica Fletcher to Adrian Monk.

The most endearing trait about Columbo is his odd idiosyncrasies, many of which were ad-libbed by Peter Falk. These gave Columbo a real person vibe, a down to earth, blue color presence, despite his obvious brilliance. This is easily Peter Falk’s most iconic role and one of the greatest TV characters of all-time.

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