Episode Guide / Opinion / Top 10

My top 10 favourite Columbo episodes

If you’re a lover of Columbo and you meet a fellow fan, the question of favourite episodes is always a good ice-breaker and guarantees a lively discussion.

I hope that an article on the subject could be a good way of encouraging debate amongst readers. There’s every chance you won’t agree with all my choices and, as always with articles of this type, there are some absolutely terrific episodes that haven’t made it on to my list.

But I make no apologies for that. Selecting the best Columbo episodes is always going to be subjective. As I said in my ‘Top 10 gotchas’ blog, you’ve got to choose from the heart, not to satisfy public demand. So the choices below are are my favourite episodes simply because they are the ones that I enjoy the most, and the ones that I come back to time and again and again when I need my Columbo fix.

Spoiler alert: It won’t surprise most people who know me to learn there are no ‘new’ episodes included within this list. I love Columbo Goes to College and Agenda for Murder from 1990, but I’m a purist at heart and nothing can beat the 70s classics.

10. A Stitch in Crime (1973)

Ace surgeon Dr Barry Mayfield has a heart as cold as glacial ice. He not only tries to bump off lovable Grandpa Walton (Will Greer) through use of dissolving suture after heart surgery – he also kills the nurse who figures it out with a tyre iron to the head. Worse follows as he slays a reformed-drug-addict-now-petting-zoo employee in one of the saddest scenarios the entire series serves up.

Little wonder, then, that Columbo can’t stand him. The friction between the two makes for delicious viewing – never more so than when the Lieutenant loses his cool when Mayfield laughs off his accusations and slams a pitcher down on his desk in a rare show of genuine emotion. It all helps make Mayfield’s ultimate downfall all the more satisfying.

Stitch in Crime

Columbo and Dr Mayfield struggle to see eye-to-eye throughout

9. Death Lends a Hand (1971)

The first episode of Season 1 to be filmed, Death Lends a Hand was ultimately bumped back from opening the series by the superior Murder by the Book, but it remains one of the show’s strongest chapters.

In the role of Investigator Brimmer, Robert Culp brings a barely contained rage to Columbo that makes for compelling viewing. He’s a superb foil to the Lieutenant and a very dangerous foe. In contrast is Ray Milland’s dignified turn as wronged media mogul Arthur Kennicut. He’s rich, powerful and used to having his way, but Milland successfully conveys his vulnerable edge and sadness at the death of his wife (at Brimmer’s furious hands). Throw in Falk’s exquisite performance and you have a Great Triumvirate at the peak of their powers.

Notable for a beautifully presented murder scene, which at once shows us everything and nothing, and some innovative editing where the aftermath of the crime is played out in a montage on Brimmer’s glasses, this is a slice of 70s TV at its most absorbing. And in catching his quarry we see Columbo employ a range of tricks and subterfuge that show just what he’s willing to do in the course of duty – a theme that will reappear time and again throughout the series.

Death Lends a Hand

Innovative editing techniques help Death Lends a Hand stand out

8. Try and Catch Me (1978)

Ruth Gordon’s charming turn as diminutive mystery writer Abigail Mitchell (the oldest Columbo killer by a stretch) elevates this episode to stellar heights. Many fans rate it amongst their very favourites and I’m no different. The murder itself (Abi traps her supposedly treacherous nephew in an air-tight safe) is first rate, the conclusion is rewarding, but it is the rapport between Abi and the Lieutenant that really makes it sing.

In a series of memorable scenes, Columbo gives away more of his real personality than we usually see in a single episode. His monologue to the ladies’ lunch, the exchange with Abi from behind the wheel of her Rolls Royce, and his sympathy with her for the loss of her niece all give good insights into his character and his past. But the real highlight is the moment at the docks when Abi tells Columbo she thinks he’s a very kind man. “Don’t count on that, Miss Mitchell. Don’t count on it,” he responds. The message is clear: he may be polite, he may be respectful. But he’s out to get her.

Try and Catch Me

You’re goin’ down, Grandma…

7. A Friend in Deed (1974)

A bleak and brooding tale of police corruption, cover-up and murder, A Friend In Deed is an episode apart in many ways. If every episode was as dark and humourless as this, it’s unlikely that Columbo would have been such an enduringly popular show, but as a one-off it packs a real punch.

Its great success is the contrast between the two leads: the corrupt and morally bankrupt Commissioner Halperin set against the doughty and dependable Columbo in a battle of wits that will either see one jailed or one out of a job. Boasting one of the best scripts of any episode, some glorious action sequences (Commissioner Halperin jumping out of a helicopter into a swimming pool, anyone?), and fine examples of Columbo’s everyman appeal in his conversations with ex-con Artie Jessup, this is an entirely successful addition to the series.

Friend in Deed

Halperin’s well-established wickedness plays a big part in the success of A Friend In Deed

6. Negative Reaction (1974)

Surely the funniest of all episodes, Negative Reaction combines magical comic moments with strong performances across the board – not least from Dick Van Dyke, who plays against type as dastardly photographer-cum-wife-killer Paul Galesko. While Van Dyke plays it straight, there’s humour abound throughout: a nun mistaking Columbo for a hobo and trying to find him a new coat; Columbo asking Galesko for a photo of a cocker spaniel to ease his pining basset hound’s broken heart; and, best of all, Columbo terrorising Larry Storch’s highly strung driving instructor through his lack of attention on the road.

It all wraps up with a great gotcha moment and a poignant freeze-frame ending to effectively off-set all the fun. Mighty impressive stuff.

Negative Reaction

Falk and Van Dyke combine to great effect in Negative Reaction

5. Murder by the Book (1971)

A typewriter pounds. A Mercedes cruises through the LA streets. A writer in a high-rise is lost in a world of his own invention. As the typewriter continues to pound the car parks in an empty lot, the driver steps out and slips a gun into his jacket. So begins one of the pivotal TV experiences of our time.

From those first arresting moments, Murder by the Book grabs the viewer by the throat and never lets go. It’s still a cause of pride and joy for Columbo fans that a young Steven Spielberg was in the director’s chair for this. His touch and flair make this a visually unique outing, but he’s only one reason for its success. Peter Falk and Jack Cassidy establish an on-screen rapport that would enrich the series on three occasions, while Steven Bochco’s script and Blly Goldenberg’s score are world class. In short, it’s an A Grade cast and crew and they all bring their A Game to proceedings.

If there is a criticism it’s that the gotcha itself is relatively disappointing compared to all that’s come before it, but that almost doesn’t matter. It may not be my ultimate favourite, but Murder by the Book remains a seminal piece of TV – and is always the episode I recommend newcomers to the series cut their Columbo teeth on. After that, they’ll be hooked for life.

Murder by Book

Murder by the Book gets off to an arresting start – and it never lets up

4. Double Shock (1973)

Columbo threw a curve ball to viewers at the end of Season 2, offering up this magnificent ‘whodunnit’ mystery, with feuding identical twins Dexter and Norman Paris (both played by Martin Landau) both having motives to kill their rich uncle – and both blaming the other for the crime.

At times wickedly funny – especially when the ferocious Mrs Peck puts Columbo to the sword – and home to a handful of the most memorable Columbo moments (the famed ad-libbed ‘cookery scene’ chief amongst them), it’s arguably Peter Falk’s single best performance as the Lieutenant. By the end of Season 2 he had absolutely perfected the character and all its nuances. It really shows. As such it’s an episode that gets better with each watch, as the viewer uncovers more and more elements of Falk’s performance to treasure.

Double Shock cookery scene

The ad-libbed cookery scene in Double Shock never fails to delight

3. Publish or Perish (1973)

Any episode featuring Jack Cassidy is a thing of joy, but to my mind he was never better than this outing as sleazy publisher Riley Greenleaf. The early scenes, when Greenleaf establishes his alibi with his shambling faux drunk antics are priceless. He brays at a barkeep; magnificently puts down some luckless patrons in the car park; and finally challenges police officers to remove him from his vehicle when he’s illegally parked. Jack must have been having such a blast while filming, and that sense of fun and mischief is absolutely contagious.

Aside from Jack’s star turn, this is also one of the series’ most gripping stories. From its explosive start at the junkyard to its tense conclusion, Publish is packed with intrigue, clever touches, a terrific script and a memorable climax. Be warned: there’s a lot packed into the 75-minute running time, so it’s an episode that demands close attention to enjoy to the max. But viewers that give it their all will be rewarded, not least by that most magnificent of Columbo sights: Jack Cassidy in full flight.

Publish or Perish

Was Jack Cassidy at his VERY best as Riley Greenleaf? Discuss…

2. Suitable for Framing (1971)

Featuring the best Columbo ‘gotcha’ moment of all, Suitable for Framing is a truly great piece of TV, which satisfies on every level. Ross Martin is perfect as our chief protagonist, smarmy art critic Dale Kingston. He’s a velvet tuxedo wearer, who laughs uproariously at his own high-brow jokes, kills his own uncle, and is prepared to frame his lovable and dotty Aunt Edna to get his hands on a priceless art collection.

Kingston is more condescending and dismissive than the average Columbo killer, so it’s easy for the viewer to loathe him. But at the same time we are shown abundant signs of Columbo’s slyness and mental acuity. He effortlessly arranges to tap Kingston’s phone, pretends to fall asleep at Kingston’s house to unsettle him when he gets home, and, unusually, has a supportive superior officer on hand, backing him to the hilt. A magnificent Billy Goldenberg score, stellar supporting cast (including Don Ameche) and some wonderful location shooting add further gloss. The ‘gloved hand reveal’ at the end is simply the icing on the cake, leaving the viewer on the verge of spontaneous applause as credits roll.

Dale Kingston

Ross Martin excels as the slimy Dale Kingston in Suitable for Framing

1. The Bye-Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case (1977)

As a 10-year-old in the late ’80s, Bye-Bye was the first Columbo episode I ever recall watching and enjoying, and it has remained my favourite ever since. A lot of that I attribute to the splendid efforts of Theo Bikel as the pompous, yet ultimately fragile killer Oliver Brandt (read more about that here), while Peter Falk is on sparkling form as Lieutenant Columbo, adding just the right amount of whimsy to his performance as he investigates a murder at a society of geniuses.

There are flaws in this episode. For starters, it’s inconceivable that the argument between Brandt and his partner Bertie that preceded the murder wouldn’t have been heard by their fellow Sigma Society members. How did the police not find Brandt’s umbrella in the chimney when investigating the crime? And, really, Brandt is the only viable suspect whose motives are  quickly and clearly established.

But these shortcomings don’t matter because the episode as a whole is so good and so entertaining. It boasts several of the very best Columbo scenes, including, but not limited to: the Lieutenant’s rib-tickling conversations with the Sigma Society members about their views on the crime; the tense moment in the park where Brandt bins the murder weapon; a surly young waitress (Jamie Lee Curtis in her screen debut) confiscating Columbo’s donut; and Columbo cramping young accountant George’s style at a nightclub. We even see what we’ve been waiting to see since the series debuted: the Lieutenant caught in the rain without his raincoat. It’s magical stuff.

As covered in the ‘top 10 gotchas’ article, the denouement is right up there with the series’ finest, too, with simple edits between the two leads’ faces building to a frenzied climax amid lightning and thunder. And it proves to the viewer what we’ve always known deep down: that the humble, dishevelled Lieutenant has one of the great minds of his time.

Columbo nightclub

Columbo cramps George’s style but wins crazy Suzie’s heart: just one of many terrific scenes in Bye-Bye

So there we have it. My top 10 in all its glory. I couldn’t find room for such classics as Double Exposure, Troubled WatersAny Old Port in a Storm, Etude in Black, or Now You See Him – all perennial favourites amongst the fan base – but don’t hold that against me.

What do you think are the best Columbo episodes? I’d love to hear about your own favourites, so please leave a comment below, or vote for your single favourite episode in my fan poll.

Thanks, as always, for reading, and if you’d care to share this article to stimulate further debate, I’d be delighted.

132 thoughts on “My top 10 favourite Columbo episodes

  1. Just found your site …. really enjoyed it . I have always been a big fan of Columbo . I remember watching it when it was the Saturday or Sunday night movie . It brings back great childhood memories . Thank you for putting this site up . It is a hard job to pick a favorite I have watched them all many times and even the ones that are not my favorites I enjoy . Now You See Him is probably my favorite .

  2. I am a big fan of the bye bye murder but I place try and catch me higher because of the 2 flaws at the start where as columbophuile feels the overall quality of the episode overrides these bloopers , I prefer try and catch me and negative reaction as its almost perfect also I cannot forgive drawing a line halfway on a dictionary recreating the sound of the body falling and it being left on the floor , Oliver Brandt might aswell have just left a note saying columbo I murdered bertie and signed it.

  3. what does surprise me a little bit is the lack of identity crisis isn’t on many peoples list , I watched it again last Sunday and its a real blockbuster , Patrick mcgoohan is brilliant, it has a lot of twists and turns and memorable scenes such bas the amusement park the CIA following columbo and side-tracking him at the railway centre , the scene at nelsons Brenner’s house where they both take an afternoon off and also has its funny scenes as well , the petrol station , the ironic Chinese pulling out of the Olympics and re entering , vito scotti who plays nelsons secretary also is good , always a favourite of mine , it is a little drawn out is my only criticism what is your take on this columbophile.

  4. i find it easier to list my least favorite of the 70s run than the best so heres a rough quide to the poorest of the 70s
    1) a matter of honor
    2) dagger of the mind
    3)last salute
    4)murder under glass
    5)dead weight
    6)lovely but lethal
    7)old fashioned murder
    8)short fuse
    9)requiem for a falling star
    10) the conspirators
    mind over mayhem and a case of immunity narrowly miss out

    • Again, the accent is on the negative. What is important to know is what your values are and to be able to rationally validate them. Only knowing what you do not value is to make ‘evil’ metaphysically superior.

  5. I appreciate your enthusiasm and desire to keep the Columbo series alive to fans! I’m a devotee of the original series (not the revived series from the 80s-90s), having loved the series since watching on broadcast Tv when it was originally aired.
    So it saddens me to say that I’m afraid your number one episode (bye bye sky high etc, a completely corny title) is, unfortunately, my second-worst episode, surpassed in awfulness only by Last Salute to the Commodore (the absolute worst one, nearly unwatchable) and a bit more awful than the one with the restaurant critic villain (some good scenes, interesting method of killing, but the villain is wooden and Columbo’s attempts at Italian were surprisingly terrible. Falk clearly had no ear for foreign languages.) Columbo became too ponderous, sage-like and obviously clever in many episodes of the last season of the original series.
    I still love him, however. Even the dud episodes (in my opinion) are far better than most shows of that time and miles above today’s shows.

    • I completely disagree with all three of your opinions. Like Columbophile, I think that The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case is one of the best episodes. I disagree with him and you that Last Salute to the Commodore is a terrible episode and I think that Murder Under Glass is a good episode. As I’ve said before, I think that anyone who expresses such extreme opinions is not displaying the correct degree of objectivity but is allowing some subjective factor to distort their view of reality. If you didn’t just express negative views of specific episodes but at least said what your favorite episodes were and why, that would at least be a more balanced approach.

      • Gary lad, take it easy boy. It’s a television show. You like or love a given episode, someone else doesn’t. But I do completely disagree with your complete disagreement, both objectively and subjectively, yet without the extremity of opinion, lack of contact with reality, or distortion of mental process reflected in your comment. Cheers though!
        Do you also completely disagree with my opinion that this website is a good thing for keeping Columbo alive?
        I have so many “favorite episodes” from the original series, it’s hard to say which single one is the best in my view. I already said I’m a Columbo devotee and love the series, or weren’t you reading carefully? Not positive enough for you? You must be pretty young to be so triggered by a “negative” comment. Learn tolerance for other’s opinions without insulting or attacking.

        • I am not a lad, I am not a boy, I am not young; I started watching Columbo in junior high school. Nor am I ‘triggered’, intolerant, insulting or attacking; you are projecting. If you can be specific about your three least favorite episodes but not about your favorite episodes, then I am just saying that you emphasize the negative over the positive.

            • I am not being disrespectful, engaging in ad hominem attacks, I am disagreeing and expressing an opinion in a calm and objective manner. As I’ve said before, I don’t think that a true Columbo fan would say that any episode is terrible. There are episodes that I don’t think are very good, but certainly not terrible. That’s what I mean about expressing extreme opinions not showing objectivity. If you just want your or others’ opinions rubber stamped, you might as well just look in the mirror or disband the website or comments.

              • I am a real and true Columbo fan. And sometimes I disagree with others when they don’t like my some of my favourite episodes. But there is nothing wrong with that, because we are all different people with different tastes. And, being a real and true Columbo fan, I still think some episodes were actually terrible (for me Undercover, No time to die and most of Strange Bedfellows), because they digressed from and even damaged, in different ways, aspects of the show that I love about Columbo. So it’s because, not despite me being such a fan, that I can express some negativity as well. Objectively or subjectively, I think that shouldn’t matter at all.

                • There is a big difference between terrible and not very good. If it was terrible, I wouldn’t even watch it.

  6. here is my top 10
    1- try and catch me
    2- negative reaction
    3- the bye bye sky high IQ murder
    4- identity crisis
    5- troubled waters
    6- prescription murder
    7- playback
    8- a stitch in crime
    9- make me a perfect murder
    10 – swansong

  7. Pingback: Episode review: Columbo By Dawn’s Early Light | The Columbophile

  8. Trying to do this is absolutely brutal … and fun. So much to choose from, but here goes:

    1. Death Lends a Hand — You feel Columbo is almost toying with Robert Culp, slowly pushing him. Great how Culp starts the episode with the air of superiority and then it gradually evaporates. You see different aspects of Columbo, playing the clown, playing the aggressor, flattering, using. And the glasses montage is one of the best things I saw on TV when I was young. Ray Milland, too, is at the top of his game.
    2. Now You See Him — Like many on here, impacted by one of the first Columbo episodes I watched and remembered (original airing). Any episode with Jack Cassidy is going to be good TV, but he to me is at his smarmiest in this one. I also have a soft spot for the murder sequence in this one, loving the way he uses his magic act as the cover.
    3. Suitable for Framing — Many, not all, of the criminals look down upon Columbo at the start. But Ross Martin’s contempt is some of the best in the series. He is at his condescending best here, only one-upped by the look on his face in the final scene.
    4. Make Me a Perfect Murder — Another that I remember watching when it first aired. One of the best scenes was when Columbo and Trish Van Der Vere’s character are in the elevator and she sees the silhouette of the gun. So much tension.
    5. Stitch in Crime — So much for the emotionless Spock. Leonard Nimoy is, as far as I can remember, the easiest villain to dislike, even more than Robert Conrad. Cold and heartless. The way he gets his comeuppance is almost … almost … up there with Ross Martin. A couple of twists where the intended original victims lives and where both the villain and Columbo blow their fuses (though with Columbo, it’s hard to tell if he really did or if he planned it). One of the murderers that Columbo seems to genuinely not only dislike — but outright loath — makes this even better.
    6. The Conspirators — “We will go this far and no farther.” Clive Revil is one of the few likable murderers in the series. He doesn’t talk down to Columbo and lays the Irish blarney on thick. In the end, when he thinks he will be cornered as the murderer, he still believes the shipment will get through and his mission still will be accomplished, which would satisfy him. Even when Columbo triumphs, Revil is good-natured about his defeat, and Columbo doesn’t mind sharing a final drink with him.
    7. Murder By the Book — OK, guilty. I absolutely LOVE Jack Cassidy as a villain. So he makes my list twice. There are so many good reasons to love this episode that already have been mentioned, but I will say while Cassidy plays the smarmy villain well in Now You See Him, he is at his best all around in this episode. Great honesty from Columbo, too, as at the end he admits that he was worried he would never catch Cassidy.
    8. Try and Catch Me — A terribly bittersweet episode. Ruth Gordon is, like Clive Revil in the same season, a likable killer. Even worse, she portrays a sympathetic character and had a good reason (likely) to do what she did. The banter between her and Columbo is outstanding, with the tough ending where she tells him that if he had been the one to investigate her niece’s death, this likely would never have happened. Crushing, even though Columbo gets his murderer.
    9. How to Dial a Murder — So you can see that Columbo’s final season had an impact on me. While I know this one is not on many lists, I love it. Nicol Williamson is a solid villain and one of the rare ones that does not get his own hands dirty. Also overlooked is that he is one of the few to actually try and off Columbo (again, not getting his hands dirty). Animal lovers triumph and, this will sound strange, but for someone who grew up in the 70s, the quick cuts and scenes with Columbo and the dog trainer are quintessential 70s TV from the music and the feel. A lot of reasons why it has a spot on my list.
    10. Etude in Black — This was difficult, as I really considered a Patrick McGoohan spot on my list. But I love the interplay between John Cassavetes and Columbo and even between Cassavetes and Blythe Danner. Columbo seems to admire Cassavetes’ character’s talent and the admiration is reciprocated (though not always appreciated). I think, because Cassavetes was so good behind the camera as well, he plays this role to the hilt. As someone who could easily do a Top 10 list of McGoohan’s Prisoner episodes or tell you which order I believe they should be aired, it’s high praise that he beats him for the last spot (Identity Crisis would be the one) in my Top 10.

    I do understand the poll love for Any Port … though it would probably be 12-15 for me. As for the love for Bye-Bye Sky High IQ, Bikel is great, the plot sound, the final scene is great, but it just misses the Top 11 for me.

    Just found the site. It’s outstanding. Look forward to more.

  9. Absolutely spot on for the No 1….. The Bye-Bye sky high IQ murder case. For me Peter Falk and Theo Bikel give compelling performances……..and talking of endings, this has to be the finest of them all too.

  10. I have no qualms with no’s 3 and 5-10, each of which is an absolute gem. But Double Shock doesn’t even come close for me, because Martin Landau is just average as the killer, too much attention goes to the perfect twin identification and battles, and the detective work and ending are only so-so. Not bad, but nowhere near the top. Suitable for Framing is held back by an average Ross Martin (no subtlety or nuance whatsoever), and poor acting by his cohort and his aunt. And while a great gotcha ending, the best has got to be in A Friend in Need, both for its utter shock and unexpectedness, and the satisfaction both from Columbo and Val Avery against the commissioner. As for your No. 1, as I already noted in my comment regarding the fan favorites list, it is definitely one of the greatest endings, Bikel is superb, and the direction and music is great, but not much happens for most of the show to keep you glued to the screen. Thanks for this very interesting Columbo site, which I just discovered, and for pointing out the new YouTube site, which will hopefully upload the rest and not be removed for violating any rights.

    • I’ll respectfully disagree on Ross Martin, but I’m in absolute agreement with your number one episode. I think Richard Kiley is the ultimate challenge for Columbo; he’s practically his boss. Yes, it’s a dark episode, but then again, the stakes in this one for Columbo are the highest than any case he’s been in before or since. As an inspector he has the law on his side; here, the power is reversed. Kiley has the authority to wipe out Columbo’s career in a moment’s notice if he stumbles. It takes the ultimate setup, with witnesses, to pull this off. I’m also very fond of Val Avery in this episode. Once again, a study in power; Artie Jessup is a nothing, he’s not even a con anymore, and “owned” by his wife. Yet Columbo treats him with the ultimate in respect, even to the point of getting his help to pull off the setup. I can’t wait till you come around and review this one!

  11. I’m a big Columbo fan from Denmark…I just voted for my favourite – The most crucial game – which does not seem to among the most popular. I must say I have seen this episode so many times, and I love it. Culp is so brilliant, and the way he is broken down by Columbo is perfect. I do agree the above episodes are among the best. I also have one episode I consider being the worst, namely – The most dangerous match…

  12. I like Death Lends a Hand. Columbo gathered all the information and evidence to solve the crime at hise first meeting with Brimmer and Kennicut. Ring, golf clubs, investigative private matter, rust on chrome. Culp and Milland are two of my favorite Columbo actors.

  13. I LOVE Columbo, and I am thrilled to find others who do as well, but I found “bye bye sky high” to be absolute rubbish. I have watched it half a dozen times to see if I’ve perhaps misjudged it and every time I walk away thinking, why do people like this episode so much? (No offense to anyone who does like it: Different strokes for different folks, I say!)

    OK! So now I’m gonna do MY top ten list:

    1. A friend indeed
    2. Candidate for crime
    3. How to dial murder
    4. Murder under glass
    5. Try and catch me
    6. Exercise in fatality
    7. Blueprint for murder
    8. Murder by the book
    9. Suitable for framing
    10. Any old port in a storm

    I also like a few of the “newer” episodes, “sex and the married detective” and “Murder, a self portrait”. The rest are mostly rubbish. They just aren’t the same as classic Columbo.

    Could you maybe tell me why you like “Bye bye sky high” episode so much? Maybe I am just not getting something that I should be. Because seems like a bunch of folks like it!

    • I would say that the best episodes of Columbo are the ones that offer him the most competition, just as the best sports competitions are between evenly-matched teams. In Bye-Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case, it is intelligence vs. intelligence, if you consider passing Mensa type tests as a measure of intelligence. It is one of my favorite episodes, and to say that it is ‘rubbish’ is not very specific. I do like all of your top ten episodes, with the exception of Exercise in Fatality, which I rate as one of the worst from the original series. I would agree with the two episodes that you cited from the newer episodes as being among the better, but I would include a few more, and again I would say that ‘rubbish’ is too extreme in evaluating the rest.

    • Hi Charlotte, welcome to the site and thanks for commenting. Lots of quality in your top 10, too.

      As for Bye-Bye, I’ll save my full love for the episode until I review it on here, but to summarise, I love the confrontation between Columbo and Oliver Brandt from a high IQ perspective; I think the gotcha moment is marvellous and wonderfully edited; Theo Bikel is awesome as Brandt; and it’s got 5-6 of what I consider to be the best-ever Columbo scenes packed into one episode; and has great humour throughout, giving Falk a chance to flex his excellent comedy timing. SO MUCH TO LIKE! I never tire of it, and I’ve noticed that a number of people I converse on Columbo with on a regular basis also rate this one very highly. In case you haven’t yet seen it, you can vote for your favourite Columbo episode on a poll on this site: https://columbophile.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/whats-your-ultimate-favourite-columbo-episode/

      Bye-Bye Sky High currently sitting 2nd in the overall standings!

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