Like Paladin of 'Have Gun - Will Travel,' Columbo (Peter Falk) is known only by his surname, but unlike Paladin—and most crime-fighters of film or television—Columbo does not present a suave, smart or imposing demeanor. In fact, on the outside, the cigar-chomping sleuth is the very antithesis of what one would expect from a detective, gunslinger or law-enforcer of any kind. Hiding his brilliance within a shabby, disheveled man in a trench coat, Columbo outfoxes everyone he encounters—especially the culprit, whom he invariably nails in the end.
Did you know?
Legendary crooner Bing Crosby was offered the role of Columbo, but he didn't want to commit to the schedule, and joked that the show's production schedule would interfere with his golf game.