It's great to see Lt. Columbo is finally going to make it on DVD! For those familiar with the cigar-smoking detective in the rumpled raincoat only through the specials produced in the 90s, the originial 1970s episodes show Columbo in his prime.
Most people are familiar with the Columbo formula: guest star plots murder; guest star kills victim (a series trademark - we know all along who the killer is); Columbo appears on scene; Columbo investigates - "Ahh, just one more thing, maam/sir"; just as it looks like guest star will get away with it, Columbo discovers piece of evidence that seals the case; Columbo nails guest star with evidence; guest star is led away to jail. A formula, yes, but a formula that worked incredibly well for over 40 episodes in its original run.
The first season contains two of my favorites: "Death Lends a Hand" - Robert Culp plays a private investigator who kills a client's wife, then is hired by the unknowing client to help Columbo with the investigation; and "Suitable for Framing" - an art critic murders his uncle in order to obtain two priceless paintings...this episode has one of the best endings in the series. For the possible exception of "Lady in Waiting", the other five episodes from the first season are also very strong.
And while details of the DVD haven't been released yet, I only hope this will also include the two rarely seen T.V. movies, "Prescription Murder" and "Ransom For a Dead Man", that introduced Lt. Columbo before it was decided to include the character in a rotation of Sunday night detective series on NBC.
These are a must for fans of detective dramas. Thanks, Universal, for finally releasing these!