History Series / Columbo

2nd Dec '17 2:14:06 PM ThomasProofreader
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Given all this, ''Columbo'' can be easily read as an expression of class struggle within the justice system. The perps are almost always powerful, privileged, and well-educated, while Columbo is, to put it mildly, not. Then again, the series creators have said that they weren't trying to send any message, just felt that Columbo would be more interesting as a [[ExoticDetective fish out of water]].

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Given all this, ''Columbo'' can be easily read as an expression of class struggle within the justice system. The perps are almost always powerful, privileged, and well-educated, while Columbo is, to put it mildly, not. Then again, the series creators have said that they weren't trying to send any message, just felt that Columbo would be more interesting as a [[ExoticDetective [[TheExoticDetective fish out of water]].
2nd Dec '17 1:53:55 PM ThomasProofreader
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* AdaptationDistillation: Both "87th Precinct" adaptations suffer from this- both feature the same basic plot as the books but that's more or less it. Aside from the normal time compression of adapting a book to screen, practically all of the social and racial commentary is stripped out. Many detectives are dropped with Columbo filling their roles. Arthur Brown is an "in name only" version of the original detective, as all the 70s era racial content comcerning the character was done away with in part because of the decade difference(the novels being set in the 70s, the Columbo episodes in the 90s) and because Columbo wasn't a series that focused on such things. Rudy Strasse is more or less the same although a good chunk of his dialog and personality had to be cut for time.

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* AdaptationDistillation: Both "87th Precinct" adaptations suffer from this- both feature the same basic plot as the books but that's more or less it. Aside from the normal time compression of adapting a book to screen, practically all of the social and racial commentary is stripped out. Many detectives are dropped with Columbo filling their roles. Arthur Brown is an "in name only" version of the original detective, as all the 70s era racial content comcerning concerning the character was done away with in part because of the decade difference(the novels being set in the 70s, the Columbo episodes in the 90s) and because Columbo wasn't a series that focused on such things. Rudy Strasse is more or less the same although a good chunk of his dialog and personality had to be cut for time.



* AwesomeButImpractical: The ways in which Columbo can "prove" his targets' guilt are usually very subtle and, for the most part, wouldn't carry much weight in court -- the way someone tied their shoelaces, a clean lightbulb, a bottle of cider, a lighter stone, a match... A skilled lawyer would probably got all of Columbo's targets off, but that doesn't matter -- what matters is the awesomeness of his reasoning, the way he puts the puzzle together with all the neatness and order his clothes lack.\\\

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* AwesomeButImpractical: The ways in which Columbo can "prove" his targets' guilt are usually very subtle and, for the most part, wouldn't carry much weight in court -- the way someone tied their shoelaces, a clean lightbulb, light bulb, a bottle of cider, a lighter stone, a match... A skilled lawyer would probably got all of Columbo's targets off, but that doesn't matter -- what matters is the awesomeness of his reasoning, the way he puts the puzzle together with all the neatness and order his clothes lack.\\\



* ComplexityAddiction: In "How to Dial a Murder", behavioral psychologist Dr. Mason murders his colleague Charlie for fooling around with his wife (whom he is implied to also have murdered) by training his dogs to come to run to a specific phone in the house and maul to death anyone who says the word "[[Film/CitizenKane Rosebud]]", which Mason arranges by inviting Charlie round to his house on the day he is getting a physical with his doctor, unplugging the other phone in the house (so Charlie doesn't accidentally pick that one up) and phoning Charlie from his bed (while hooked up to heart monitors) and tricking him into saying "rosebud". Aside from the fact that he fails to properly cover his tracks after the fact (eg. he doesn't re-hook the first phone, he leaves evidence in his house and at the studio lot where he trained the dogs, and since his heart rate was being recorded at the time it was noted as shooting up at the ''exact time'' the murders took place), and that he is caught out lying to Colombo, the fact that the dogs were otherwise friendly and that Charlie left the phone dangling after being attacked (meaning whoever he was talking to must have heard what was happening and never reported it) makes it highly likely that the dogs were trained to kill- and if that was true, then Mason was the obvious and only suspect, because only he had the means, knowledge and opportunity to pull it off, and a simpler scheme would have been much more successful. Colombo even gives him a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech for making so many stupid mistakes and says he was ''disappointed'' that he made it so easy.
* ConvictionByContradiction: Some episodes play this straight, others toy with it a bit. Often the contradiction isn't quite the smoking gun that ends an episode, but a clue to Columbo that there's more to the murder than there appears, and he'll use the contradiction as a thread to pull on until the murderer incriminates himself.

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* ComplexityAddiction: In "How to Dial a Murder", behavioral psychologist Dr. Mason murders his colleague Charlie for fooling around with his wife (whom he is implied to also have murdered) by training his dogs to come to run to a specific phone in the house and maul to death anyone who says the word "[[Film/CitizenKane Rosebud]]", which Mason arranges by inviting Charlie round to his house on the day he is getting a physical with his doctor, unplugging the other phone in the house (so Charlie doesn't accidentally pick that one up) and phoning Charlie from his bed (while hooked up to heart monitors) and tricking him into saying "rosebud". Aside from the fact that he fails to properly cover his tracks after the fact (eg.(e.g. he doesn't re-hook the first phone, he leaves evidence in his house and at the studio lot where he trained the dogs, and since his heart rate was being recorded at the time it was noted as shooting up at the ''exact time'' the murders took place), and that he is caught out lying to Colombo, the fact that the dogs were otherwise friendly and that Charlie left the phone dangling after being attacked (meaning whoever he was talking to must have heard what was happening and never reported it) makes it highly likely that the dogs were trained to kill- and if that was true, then Mason was the obvious and only suspect, because only he had the means, knowledge and opportunity to pull it off, and a simpler scheme would have been much more successful. Colombo even gives him a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech for making so many stupid mistakes and says he was ''disappointed'' that he made it so easy.
* ConvictionByContradiction: Some episodes play this straight, others toy with it a bit. Often the contradiction isn't quite the smoking gun that ends an episode, but a clue to Columbo that there's more to the murder than there appears, and he'll use the contradiction as a thread to pull on until the murderer incriminates himself.



** This is the trope that Paul Galesko (Creator/DickVanDyke) pulls this off brilliantly in "Negative Reaction" to murder his dominating wife Frances. [[spoiler:First, he takes Frances out to a country ranch house rented by Alvin Deschler, an ex-con and former extortionist whom Galesko has roped into helping him. Once in the house, Galesko ties his wife to a chair, then he puts a clock up on the fireplace mantle, sets the time to 2:00 PM so that he will have an alibi for himself. He then takes photos of her with the clock in the picture, then he shoots her with a P38 pistol. The next day, Galesko breaks into Deschler's motel room to plant evidence that frames him for the murder/kidnapping, then meets with Deschler at a junkyard. There, Galesko shoots and kills the unwitting Deschler with a revolver, places the pistol he used to shoot Frances in Deschler's hand, then shoots himself in the leg with that gun to make it look like self-defence.]]
** In "Strange Bedfellows": Graham [=McVeigh=], a thoroughbred horse raiser, is tired of the fact that his brother Teddy is a gambler who is in serious debt with local bookie Bruno Romano, who owns a local restaurant. [[spoiler:First, Graham makes Teddy lose a lot of money at the race track by drugging his own horse so that it loses. Then, disguised, Graham goes to Romano's restaurant, where he sets mice in the bathroom. While Romano is distracted getting rid of the mice, Graham calls Teddy from his back office phone so that it will look like Teddy was setting up a meeting with Romano. Graham and Teddy then drive out to a spot on a secluded back road, with Teddy driving. Under the pretence of getting fresh air, Graham gets out, walks around the car, steps up to Teddy's window and shoots him at point-blank range, then rides away on a folding bike stashed in the trunk. The next day, he calls Romano to come out to the ranch, ostensibly to pay Teddy's debt. When Romano looks at the briefcase containing the money, Graham shoots him, switches Romano's pistol for the identical murder weapon, and makes it look like self-defense.]]

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** This is the trope that Paul Galesko (Creator/DickVanDyke) pulls this off brilliantly in "Negative Reaction" to murder his dominating wife Frances. [[spoiler:First, he takes Frances out to a country ranch house rented by Alvin Deschler, an ex-con and former extortionist whom Galesko has roped into helping him. Once in the house, Galesko ties his wife to a chair, then he puts a clock up on the fireplace mantle, sets the time to 2:00 PM so that he will have an alibi for himself. He then takes photos of her with the clock in the picture, then he shoots her with a P38 pistol. The next day, Galesko breaks into Deschler's motel room to plant evidence that frames him for the murder/kidnapping, then meets with Deschler at a junkyard. There, Galesko shoots and kills the unwitting Deschler with a revolver, places the pistol he used to shoot Frances in Deschler's hand, then shoots himself in the leg with that gun to make it look like self-defence.self-defense.]]
** In "Strange Bedfellows": Graham [=McVeigh=], a thoroughbred horse raiser, is tired of the fact that his brother Teddy is a gambler who is in serious debt with local bookie Bruno Romano, who owns a local restaurant. [[spoiler:First, Graham makes Teddy lose a lot of money at the race track by drugging his own horse so that it loses. Then, disguised, Graham goes to Romano's restaurant, where he sets mice in the bathroom. While Romano is distracted getting rid of the mice, Graham calls Teddy from his back office phone so that it will look like Teddy was setting up a meeting with Romano. Graham and Teddy then drive out to a spot on a secluded back road, with Teddy driving. Under the pretence pretense of getting fresh air, Graham gets out, walks around the car, steps up to Teddy's window and shoots him at point-blank range, then rides away on a folding bike stashed in the trunk. The next day, he calls Romano to come out to the ranch, ostensibly to pay Teddy's debt. When Romano looks at the briefcase containing the money, Graham shoots him, switches Romano's pistol for the identical murder weapon, and makes it look like self-defense.]]



* DoesntLikeGuns: And is a notoriously bad shot. He appears to get other cops to take his shooting qualifications ("Forgotten Lady"). He'll carry a gun when the situation absolutely calls for it, but even then... He probably doesn't have great depth-perception anyway. He seems to have no problem brandishing one on Mo Weinberg in "Undercover" though, but Weinberg does try to shoot him. In "Butterfly in Shades of Grey", the killer sees Columbo without his famous trenchcoat and notes that he doesn't carry a gun, so tries to shoot him after being exposed. Columbo calmly points out that he might not be armed, but he's not alone. He honks the horn on his car and two police officers turn up to arrest the killer.

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* DoesntLikeGuns: And is a notoriously bad shot. He appears to get other cops to take his shooting qualifications ("Forgotten Lady"). He'll carry a gun when the situation absolutely calls for it, but even then... He probably doesn't have great depth-perception anyway. He seems to have no problem brandishing one on Mo Weinberg in "Undercover" though, but Weinberg does try to shoot him. In "Butterfly in Shades of Grey", the killer sees Columbo without his famous trenchcoat trench coat and notes that he doesn't carry a gun, so tries to shoot him after being exposed. Columbo calmly points out that he might not be armed, but he's not alone. He honks the horn on his car and two police officers turn up to arrest the killer.



%%* ExoticDetective

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%%* ExoticDetective* TheExoticDetective



* GeniusSlob: Columbo has had his appearance likened to an "unmade bed" and has been confused for being homeless at least once, carries among other things hard boiled eggs in his pocket, smokes cheap green cigars, happily munches his way through any free food and wears the same raincoat everyday (despite working in L.A.) but still solves crimes commited by certified genius.

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* GeniusSlob: Columbo has had his appearance likened to an "unmade bed" and has been confused for being homeless at least once, carries among other things hard boiled eggs in his pocket, smokes cheap green cigars, happily munches his way through any free food and wears the same raincoat everyday (despite working in L.A.) but still solves crimes commited committed by certified genius.



** Hassan Salah, the killer from "A Case of Immunity", has bashed a man's skull in, clubbed another and ran his car off the road, stolen $600,000, tried to frame protestors for a terrorist attack and may have been involved in a plot to overthrow his king. His response when realizing he's about to be extradited to his home country for execution?

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** Hassan Salah, the killer from "A Case of Immunity", has bashed a man's skull in, clubbed another and ran his car off the road, stolen $600,000, tried to frame protestors protesters for a terrorist attack and may have been involved in a plot to overthrow his king. His response when realizing he's about to be extradited to his home country for execution?



* {{Irony}}: In "Murder by the Book", Columbo catches out Ken Franklin because his writing partner was the creative talent behind their partnership and had written down the plot idea that Franklin based his plan from. Except, as Franklin ruefully notes, the idea that Franklin used actually ''was'' his own idea ("The only good idea I ever had..."); he just hadn't realised that his partner had written it down.
* JustForTheHeliOfIt: In "A Friend in Deed", deputy police commissioner Mark Halperin covers for his friend Hugh Caldwell's accidental killing of his wife and then demands Caldwell's help to cover up his own wife's murder. Halperin then tries to make it seem as if an unknown burglar-cum-killer is besetting his posh neighbourhood. So at one point, he rides along in a helicopter in hopes of catching this person. This helicopter ride is part of the construction of his alibi so that Caldwell can be "seen" disposing of Halperin's wife in their swimming pool, plus it made it seem like the police are putting a high priority on catching this non-existent crook, and Halperin used it in part because he had the power to do so. Before the flight, Columbo actually asks him if the helicopter was really necessary.
* JusticeByOtherLegalMeans:

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* {{Irony}}: In "Murder by the Book", Columbo catches out Ken Franklin because his writing partner was the creative talent behind their partnership and had written down the plot idea that Franklin based his plan from. Except, as Franklin ruefully notes, the idea that Franklin used actually ''was'' his own idea ("The only good idea I ever had..."); he just hadn't realised realized that his partner had written it down.
* JustForTheHeliOfIt: In "A Friend in Deed", deputy police commissioner Mark Halperin covers for his friend Hugh Caldwell's accidental killing of his wife and then demands Caldwell's help to cover up his own wife's murder. Halperin then tries to make it seem as if an unknown burglar-cum-killer is besetting his posh neighbourhood.neighborhood. So at one point, he rides along in a helicopter in hopes of catching this person. This helicopter ride is part of the construction of his alibi so that Caldwell can be "seen" disposing of Halperin's wife in their swimming pool, plus it made it seem like the police are putting a high priority on catching this non-existent crook, and Halperin used it in part because he had the power to do so. Before the flight, Columbo actually asks him if the helicopter was really necessary.
* JusticeByOtherLegalMeans: JusticeByOtherLegalMeans:



%%* MysteryOfTheWeek

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%%* * MysteryOfTheWeek



** This was also true of Susie Endicott, the material witness in the episode "Undercover", Irving Krutch's ditzy, giggling girlfriend who was his alibi for the shootings of Mo Weinberg and Geraldine Ferguson. When Columbo reveals that he has evidence that proves she's lying (thus making her liable as an accomplice to murder), Susie's previously dopey eyes turn ice cold and she turns Krutch in without remorse.

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** This was also true of Susie Endicott, the material witness in the episode "Undercover", Irving Krutch's ditzy, ditsy, giggling girlfriend who was his alibi for the shootings of Mo Weinberg and Geraldine Ferguson. When Columbo reveals that he has evidence that proves she's lying (thus making her liable as an accomplice to murder), Susie's previously dopey eyes turn ice cold and she turns Krutch in without remorse.



** "Mind over Mayhem" takes a brief detour into ScienceFiction, with a TeenGenius who has invented a robot (played by Robbie the Robot of ''Film/ForbiddenPlanet'' fame) so sophisticated that it seems to have artifical intelligence (not only does it play chess, but it gets angry when it loses).

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** "Mind over Mayhem" takes a brief detour into ScienceFiction, with a TeenGenius who has invented a robot (played by Robbie the Robot of ''Film/ForbiddenPlanet'' fame) so sophisticated that it seems to have artifical artificial intelligence (not only does it play chess, but it gets angry when it loses).



* PsychopathicManchild: Alex Bradey is a manchild running around Hollywood making brilliant movies, but when confronted with evidence that he'd been responsible for the death of a woman many years ago, he gleefully sets up a way to murder the man who can expose him, seems to enjoy the act of murder and likes to playfully manipulate those around him into doing whatever he wants. Ultimately backfires when his boss gets fed up with him and Columbo manages to manipulate his own scenario to catch the guy.

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* PsychopathicManchild: Alex Bradey is a manchild man child running around Hollywood making brilliant movies, but when confronted with evidence that he'd been responsible for the death of a woman many years ago, he gleefully sets up a way to murder the man who can expose him, seems to enjoy the act of murder and likes to playfully manipulate those around him into doing whatever he wants. Ultimately backfires when his boss gets fed up with him and Columbo manages to manipulate his own scenario to catch the guy.



* {{Qurac}}: Semi-zigzagged with Suari, from "A Case of Immunity". The United States is trying to improve relations with the country, which complicates the case. The new king of the nation is considered progressive and more liberal than his father. The Suarian legation guards do carry rifles but are treated as basic security guards and nothing more. However, the protestors seem to imply that things are not all that great back home, and the ending does suggest that execution is a common criminal punishment for murder and/or treason. They were a straight example but are moving a bit away from that, it seems.
* RealSongThemeTune:

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* {{Qurac}}: Semi-zigzagged with Suari, from "A Case of Immunity". The United States is trying to improve relations with the country, which complicates the case. The new king of the nation is considered progressive and more liberal than his father. The Suarian legation guards do carry rifles but are treated as basic security guards and nothing more. However, the protestors protesters seem to imply that things are not all that great back home, and the ending does suggest that execution is a common criminal punishment for murder and/or treason. They were a straight example but are moving a bit away from that, it seems.
* RealSongThemeTune: RealSongThemeTune:



** In "Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star", Columbo takes down the top of his Peugot convertible and says it's the first time he's had the top down since buying the car. Except it ''was'' down in "Last Salute to the Commodore", and possibly other episodes. He was definitely driving around with the top down in "The Most Dangerous Match". Well, it was a long time, so he may have forgotten those past occasions.

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** In "Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star", Columbo takes down the top of his Peugot Peugeot convertible and says it's the first time he's had the top down since buying the car. Except it ''was'' down in "Last Salute to the Commodore", and possibly other episodes. He was definitely driving around with the top down in "The Most Dangerous Match". Well, it was a long time, so he may have forgotten those past occasions.



** Dr. Barry Mayfield is filled with egomania, successfully rigging Dr. Hidemann's heart valve with disolving suture to attempt to murder him. Nurse Sharon Martin confronts Barry after noticing the suture left on a tray. Mayfield mocks Sharon for her accusation and coldly dares her to notify authorities. When Sharon makes good on her threat and schedules an appointment with a suture supplier (Mayfield eavesdrops), she is murdered with a tire wrench at her car.

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** Dr. Barry Mayfield is filled with egomania, successfully rigging Dr. Hidemann's heart valve with disolving dissolving suture to attempt to murder him. Nurse Sharon Martin confronts Barry after noticing the suture left on a tray. Mayfield mocks Sharon for her accusation and coldly dares her to notify authorities. When Sharon makes good on her threat and schedules an appointment with a suture supplier (Mayfield eavesdrops), she is murdered with a tire wrench at her car.



** In "Try and Catch Me", he gives a tale to an audience of crime writing fans and says that his favourite part of his job is meeting nice people, even killers, because although what they have done is horrible, that doesn't mean they aren't genuinely nice people and he often understands their motives and sympathises with them. This was a bit manipulative since the killer of that story is Abigail Mitchell, who was ''in'' said audience and it was doubtless for her ears too (she was more or less sympathetic, for the record), but based on the evidence, there is little reason to believe that he wasn't being truthful. Also, her motivation for murdering her nephew-in-law in the first place was that he had murdered her beloved niece a few months earlier.

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** In "Try and Catch Me", he gives a tale to an audience of crime writing fans and says that his favourite favorite part of his job is meeting nice people, even killers, because although what they have done is horrible, that doesn't mean they aren't genuinely nice people and he often understands their motives and sympathises sympathizes with them. This was a bit manipulative since the killer of that story is Abigail Mitchell, who was ''in'' said audience and it was doubtless for her ears too (she was more or less sympathetic, for the record), but based on the evidence, there is little reason to believe that he wasn't being truthful. Also, her motivation for murdering her nephew-in-law in the first place was that he had murdered her beloved niece a few months earlier.
29th Nov '17 12:37:47 AM Solle
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* AmbiguouslyBi: Blake in "Columbo Goes To The Guillotine".



* BuryYourGays: Thankfully subverted. While the series did have one gay victim in "Butterfly in Shades of Gray" (the second William Shatner episode), he was murdered because [[spoiler:he was going to help Fielding Chase's adopted daughter become a published author and move out from under Chase's domineering wing.]] Although the attempted frame job at least tried to play this straight [[spoiler:Chase attempts to frame a gay actor that the victim had recently broken up with]] but is quickly found to be a ruse.

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* BuryYourGays: Thankfully subverted. While the series did have one gay victim BuryYourGays:
** Played with
in "Butterfly in Shades of Gray" (the second William Shatner episode), he where the victim was murdered because [[spoiler:he was going to help Fielding Chase's adopted daughter become a published author and move out from under Chase's domineering wing.]] Although the attempted frame job at least tried to play this straight [[spoiler:Chase attempts to frame a gay actor that the victim had recently broken up with]] but is quickly found to be a ruse.ruse.
** Played straight with Max Dyson in "Columbo Goes To The Guillotine". A little uncomfortable because Dyson is blatantly based on Creator/JamesRandi, who was still publicly in the closet at the time the episode was filmed.


Added DiffLines:

** Max Dyson, the murder victim from "Columbo Goes To The Guillotine", is a very thinly disguised James Randi.
19th Nov '17 9:24:53 PM whateveryousay21
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** Riley Greenleaf's lawyer in "Publish or Perish" is named [[Series/TheSopranos David Chase]].
4th Nov '17 1:38:02 PM Laurus
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Added DiffLines:

** Talk radio host Fielding Chase from "Butterfly in Shades of Gray" is clearly Creator/RushLimbaugh.
27th Oct '17 1:09:27 PM DoctorNemesis
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Added DiffLines:

* {{Irony}}: In "Murder by the Book", Columbo catches out Ken Franklin because his writing partner was the creative talent behind their partnership and had written down the plot idea that Franklin based his plan from. Except, as Franklin ruefully notes, the idea that Franklin used actually ''was'' his own idea ("The only good idea I ever had..."); he just hadn't realised that his partner had written it down.
26th Oct '17 4:42:37 AM jormis29
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** Prior to Janet Leigh's appearance, Vera Miles, who played Lila Crane alongside her in "Psycho" played the killer in "Lovely but Lethal". At one point she indicates she couldn't be the killer because she "wouldn't hurt a fly" -- which was the same thing that "mother" said about herself at the end of "Psycho".

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** Prior to Janet Leigh's appearance, Vera Miles, Creator/VeraMiles, who played Lila Crane alongside her in "Psycho" played the killer in "Lovely but Lethal". At one point she indicates she couldn't be the killer because she "wouldn't hurt a fly" -- which was the same thing that "mother" said about herself at the end of "Psycho".
11th Oct '17 2:49:39 AM jormis29
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** Actually rather rare for the celebrity killers, but Johnny Cash, Janet Leigh and William Shatner all did this with their characters.

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** Actually rather rare for the celebrity killers, but Johnny Cash, Janet Leigh Music/JohnnyCash, Creator/JanetLeigh and William Shatner Creator/WilliamShatner all did this with their characters.



** Likewise, Janet Leigh did the same -- one of her character Grace Wheeler's favorite starring roles was an old Janet Leigh picture.

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** Likewise, Janet Leigh Creator/JanetLeigh did the same -- one of her character Grace Wheeler's favorite starring roles was an old Janet Leigh picture.



** "Forgotten Lady" also features Janet Leigh's character, Grace Wheeler, watching the old film ''Walking My Baby Back Home'', in which Leigh starred.

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** "Forgotten Lady" also features Janet Leigh's Creator/JanetLeigh's character, Grace Wheeler, watching the old film ''Walking My Baby Back Home'', in which Leigh starred.
4th Sep '17 3:06:41 AM AdamC
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Added DiffLines:

* AssholeVictim: About half the time or so the episode'll feature one. Funnily, the show didn't ''always'' have it used to establish a sympathetic killer; plenty of times the murderer is just as bad (if not worse) than their victim.
27th Aug '17 9:09:36 PM maximsk
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Columbo was the master of PerpSweating (i.e. shredding the Constitution, albeit totally under the RuleOfCool at all times). Though he generally settles on his horse from the outset, he never lets on, instead worming his way into their confidence via fawning adulation, begging their assistance as he "solves" the case. Usually he forces them to weave a huge web of lies until he can finally PullTheThread -- justified because he's always right. (Interestingly, while the Lieutenant is clearly over-the-top, he's arguably using a more true-to-life interview technique than the angry, confrontational interviews common in straight police dramas; flattery and interest in the other person's concerns are a more effective way of obtaining information-- which is also why they have been ruled unonconstitutional in Supreme Court case-law due to their also being unreliable.)

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Columbo was the master of PerpSweating (i.e. shredding the Constitution, albeit totally under the RuleOfCool at all times). Though he generally settles on his horse from the outset, he never lets on, instead worming his way into their confidence via fawning adulation, begging their assistance as he "solves" the case. Usually he forces them to weave a huge web of lies until he can finally PullTheThread -- justified because he's always right. (Interestingly, while the Lieutenant is clearly over-the-top, he's arguably using a more true-to-life interview technique than the angry, confrontational interviews common in straight police dramas; flattery and interest in the other person's concerns are a more effective way of obtaining information-- which is also why they have been ruled unonconstitutional unconstitutional in Supreme Court case-law due to their also being unreliable.)
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