Dating while spouse is terminally ill
Columbo is unfailingly polite to a suspect as an investigation proceeds.
Class tension is often apparent between Columbo – with his working class origins – and the killer – who is usually affluent, well-positioned or naturally condescending.
This allows the story to unfold simultaneously from the point of view of Columbo and the murderer, as they play cat and mouse, rather than solely from that of the detective.
In the latter, when Columbo's investigative techniques initially appear to prove futile against a heart surgeon (Leonard Nimoy) he thinks is a murderer, Columbo drops the facade, reveals his cards, and angrily promises that if the patient dies, the body would be autopsied to collect the evidence required to put the doctor in jail. In the 1975 episode "Forgotten Lady" it is revealed that he doesn't carry his gun – he says that he keeps it "down town" and has failed to attend his semi-annual pistol practice at the department's firing range for the past ten years.
Despite his unprepossessing appearance and apparent absentmindedness, he shrewdly solves all of his cases and secures all evidence needed for indictment.
His formidable eye for detail and meticulous and dedicated approach become apparent only late in the storyline.
Bert Freed was a stocky character actor with a thatchy grey mane of hair.
His episode, "Enough Rope", was adapted by Levinson and Link from their short story "May I Come In" (originally entitled "Dear Corpus Delicti"), in which the character of Columbo did not appear.