[[caption-width-right:230:[-Creator/DonaldPleasence says: "''You're'' Mrs. Columbo? Sorry, not buying it."[[note]]And as he appeared alongside the actual Columbo, he's entirely justified.[[/note]]-] ]]

The SpinOff has a long and sometimes successful history. A character, usually minor, who has appeared in one show is upgraded to the central character of a new show.

But never before had a character who ''hadn't'' appeared been spun off.

After listening for about a decade to Lieutenant Series/{{Columbo}} ramble on about his never-seen wife, someone decided it would be a good idea to do a spinoff starring her as an AmateurSleuth in her own right. We suspect drugs were involved.

But who could possibly play the famous detective's [[TheGhost Ghost]] spouse? Fortunately, Lieutenant Columbo had told us quite a lot about her: she was his [[VictoriousChildhoodFriend childhood sweetheart.]] She was shortish, stoutish, raven-haired, and extremely busty.

So they cast Kate Mulgrew (later of ''Series/StarTrekVoyager''), who was middling-tall, slender in build, redheaded, ''and'' about twelve the first time Mrs. Columbo was mentioned by her husband. We suspect drugs were involved.

When ''Mrs. Columbo'' failed to perform as hoped, the show was {{retool}}ed under the new title ''Kate Columbo''. Kate divorced her husband and carried out her amateur sleuthing under the auspices of her new job as a small-town newspaper reporter. [[OverlyLongGag We suspect drugs were involved.]]

The series was eventually retitled ''Kate Loves A Mystery'', and then died. In all, only about a dozen episodes were made, possibly giving ''Mrs. Columbo'' the highest titles-to-episodes ratio in TV history.

Creator/LevinsonAndLink (creators of ''Columbo'') have [[WordOfGod emphatically maintained]] that Kate Columbo is ''[[CanonDiscontinuity not]]'' the unseen wife of their character, but the wife of some other detective of the same name (who happens to also have a beat up car and a bassett hound named "Dog"). During the filming of the first post-''Mrs. Columbo'' episode of ''Columbo'', they joked that they were considering having Columbo mention in passing that "some crazy girl" had been running around impersonating his wife.

!!''Mrs. Columbo'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* AfterShow
* TheGhost: Mr. Columbo
* MysteryOfTheWeek
* PluckyGirl
* {{Retool}}
* WheelProgram: A&E aired this show as one spoke in a Mystery Wheel package in the early 90s when they lost the rights to air episodes of its first Wheel's shows including ''Series/McMillanAndWife'', ''Series/McCloud'', ''Series/{{Banacek}}'', and ironically, ''Series/{{Columbo}}''.