Exasperate #atozchallenge

There are hundreds of words that start with “ex-,” and of them I chose exasperate, because I knew how I would discuss the topic.

Mary and I watch reruns of Columbo every Saturday and Sunday night. We have for a couple of years now and have gotten to where we know almost all the episodes, certainly the early ones, not so much the episodes that were made in the ’90’s.

Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo

Lieutenant Columbo (rumor has it that his first name is Frank, but he never uses it) is a homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. His clothes are rumpled, particularly his trench coat, which he always wears despite the fact that it’s Los Angeles and usually too warm for an outer coat. He arrives at crime scenes, usually late, in an old Peugeot, and he always seems to be suffering from something, like allergies, a cold, dyspepsia, or lack of food or sleep. He smokes cigars and his usual lunch is chili and coffee, sometimes cream soda. His interviews and conversations with suspect and witnesses are a combination of on-topic questions and off-topic conversations about the person’s work, hobbies, the weather, and other topics. His absentmindedness and apparent lack of focus are deceptive, because they cover for a sharp mind and a highly-focused investigator determined to break the case and arrest the right person and make that person pay for what they’ve done.

You’re never quite certain when Columbo knows who the killer is, but his investigations always center around one individual, who is nearly always the murderer. As Columbo proceeds with his investigation the relationship between cop and killer goes from cordial and friendly to terse and exasperated. By the time Columbo places the suspect under arrest, the reaction is a combination of shock (that he’s made his case) and relief (that they’ll no longer have to deal with the rumpled detective and his questions).

In the US, you can see Columbo on Saturday nights on Saturday evenings at 8 PM on Cozi TV and Sunday evenings at 8 PM on MeTV. Check local listings.

42 thoughts on “Exasperate #atozchallenge

  1. I love Columbo and what a great theme for the word because he did do this to the killer…and sometimes us. Do you know that was Peter Falk real coat? It is and his style wasn’t too far off who,Peter Falk was…except he did not exasperate anyone. One of my favourite episodes is the one with..inthink it was Lana Turner ( or was it Janet Leigh)…I think it was Janet Leigh as a once famous actress but is now dealing with dementia. Sad because Peter Falk got this dreaded disease.

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    1. That was a particularly sad episode, wasn’t it? That last scene, where she’s sitting like a child, watching herself on the screen as Columbo is taking the manager, who explains what’s going on with her and taking the fall for her, downtown… and that scene where her manager is dancing with her, singing “Speak Low”…

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  2. I love this show and the Columbo character! My favorite is when he’s about to leave and the killer’s smirking because he thinks he’s outsmarted the detective, but then Columbo turns and says, “just one more thing…”

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    1. Like the episode with Leonard Nimoy, where Columbo congratulates him and walks out, only to walk back in and produce the evidence? Mary’s favorite scene is Leonard Nimoy raising one eyebrow…

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  3. We love Columbo we have seen all of them too. It’s very much as you say a clever mind hiding his light under a bushel. I remember one episode where Columbo had to go for a firearms test or a driving test ..not sure which but he kept trying to swerve it… He had a examiner on his case… He manger to side step it and solve his murder too. I also remember a series called Mrs Columbo it wasn’t a patch on the Peter Falk show , 💜

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    1. The thing where he kept avoiding the firearms test was the one with Janet Leigh as the old song-and-dance performer who kills her husband (Sam Jaffe) because he won’t finance her show. That was an especially sad one. The one with the driving test was just on last week: the driving examiner (played by the hilarious Larry Storch) was a witness he needed to interview, and he found the guy at the scene of an accident that the woman he was testing had caused, and Columbo offers to bring him back to his office, and the ride is a bit of an adventure…

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    1. He leads the suspect to believe that they’ll be able to pull the wool over his eyes, then when he shows his hand they’re stunned that he figured it out so easily.

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    1. Right, the thing was not so much “whodunit?” because you knew who did, but how Columbo was going to figure it out. You knew he would, just not how. The show was unique that way.

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  4. I love Columbo too! If I remember correctly, it alternated with out great detective/police/crime shows each week. I may have that wrong, but there were several that did alternate.
    I remember two Columbo episode details in particular.
    1 – the murder weapon was ice, since it melted there was no weapon left
    2 – the murderer didn’t know that women’s undergarments have the tag on the right, so he put them on the body wrong way!
    Oh, I loved his dog, the big basset hound named… Dog!

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    1. Columbo was part of the NBC Mystery Movie, which included McMillan and Wife (Rock Hudson and Susan St. James), McCloud (Dennis Weaver), Banacek (George Peppard), Hec Ramsey (Richard Boone), and I’m thinking one or more other shows. Great stuff! The one with the ice was the one where Robert Culp ran a football team that Dean Stockwell owned and really didn’t care much about, and it was Culp that killed Stockwell. There were some other great old actors in that, Dean Jagger as Stockwell’s lawyer and James Gregory as the coach of the team. I remember the one with the lady’s undergarments, but can’t recall much else about it. Robert Culp, Patrick McGoohan, and Wiliam Shatner were the villain on more than one occasion…

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    2. I am embarrassed… I am a woman, and got it backwards! Our tags are on the LEFT!!! Or, the pants (outer pants, sweats) I have on are backwards.

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  5. Ahhhhh Columbo! I use to watch him too only because my mother liked him. She swore upside down he was a actor that use to play in the “Our Gang” series! Hey what do I know. Some day I shall look that up. Oh yes, and she swore that he was Italian so he couldn’t be all bad. My mama was full-blooded Sicilian! Let’s see now we use to watch (that I can remember of course) Gunsmoke, Combat (Dad’s), Mash, oh Lawrence Welk (especially when Gramma came over), Carol Burnett Show, oh let me see let me reach way back…. Lucky Strike, Gale Storm, Dinah Shore… oh my gosh I better stop I’m really starting to show my age here… of course I was just a baby with those last shows… hehehehe~ and I have a great memory for reaching back, but don’t ask me what happened yesterday… I haven’t a clue! hahahaha Have a great day my friend. Oh in fact, I thought it was Saturday until hubby said it’s FRIDAY! LOL

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    1. Your Mom might have been thinking of Robert Blake, who was one of Our Gang when he was very young and who bears an uncanny resemblance to Peter Falk. I think Falk is at least part Italian, but I can’t be sure. Oh well…

      There was some fantastic TV back when we were younger, wasn’t there? You see a lot of it on MeTV, which runs Westerns in the afternoon and on Saturday. I remember watching a game show called “Seven Keys,” where if you won that day’s round you got to select a key (from seven, thus the name) that would unlock a glass box in which there was a car. Remember that one?

      I think all the cool kids watched Lawrence Welk with their Grandmas. I did. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found a love for his sort of music.

      I’ll see if I can drive a little more traffic your way. How’s that?

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  6. Great, spot-on, and funny choice to illustrate the word “exasperate”, JOHN!

    I’m currently in the process of watching all the old ‘Columbo’ episodes again, and I rate him as the third greatest TV character of all time. Man, that was back when TV had shows that were both entertaining and intelligently written. I think all that ended when ‘Frasier’ closed up shop. That was probably the last of the really smart shows.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS

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    1. I agree. We see him on Cozi TV Saturday nights at 8 and MeTV on Sunday nights at 8. Is that when (and where) you’ve been watching it? I also watch a couple of episodes of The Saint on This TV after Columbo on Saturday night. That was a good series (I think the young Roger Moore would have been a better fit than Sean Connery as 007, but that’s just me).

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  7. I loved that show. We watched it as a family. Good memories. Wish I was that clever but when it comes to solving mysteries of the TV variety I’m always surprised.

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    1. They were well-written, that’s for sure, and Peter Falk was perfect for the role. He always excelled at these blue-collar characters. In contrast, the cases he examined were always among the beautiful people (actors, captains of industry etc.) who they thought they could outfox him. And he let them think that, too…

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