Just One More Thing . . .

Any regular viewer of ‘Columbo’ waited for that moment, those words: ‘Just one more thing . . .’. The moment you knew the scruffy, shambling, diffident detective was about to nail his suspect to the wall with a damning piece of evidence.
It normally came after a drawn-out process, as the murderer went from being dismissive of this rumpled, insignificant little man, to experiencing a sense of dread that this flat-foot was a lot smarter than he seemed.
It was great television.
About two weeks ago, Peter Falk, the actor who played the detective, died at the age of 83. He played a whole range of roles in films and television, including the storytelling grandad in the brilliant ‘The Princess Bride’ – but it was ‘Columbo’ that made him immortal. And it was his character that made it work. We were riveted, not by a ‘whodunnit’, but by a ‘howdhecatchem’.
There are certain stories I wish I’d been present for when they were pitched to the publishers or producers. Imagine what it must have been like to try and sell the ideas for films like ‘Oh Brother Where Art Thou?’, ‘Delicatessen’, or ‘Twelve Angry Men’. ‘Columbo’ falls into that category. Picture the scene:
‘Hang on, hang on a minute. You’re telling me, we start by seeing the criminal carrying out the act. We know who it is and how they did it from the very start? And what . . . then we watch this scruffy little guy with a perplexed expression, a rumpled coat and a glass eye, try to figure it out? No good-looking leading man? No gorgeous, feisty female sidekick? No perpetual sexual tension? What are you, nuts?’
It’s amazing it ever got made. And yet every episode was an engrossing mystery story, carried by an iconic character.
Rest in peace, Peter, and thanks for the entertainment.