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November 26, 2014

Columbo

TV's Smartest Detectives

by AOL TV Staff, posted Nov 28th 2011 10:00AM
Magnum P.I.Ready to sharpen your armchair detective skills?

TNT is kicking off a new Mystery Movie Night, starting with Scott Turow's 'Innocent' (premieres Tues., Nov. 29, 9PM ET), starring Bill Pullman as a man charged with murdering his wife, played by Marcia Gay Harden, and Alfred Molina as his defense attorney. In honor of this series of best-selling whodunit stories brought to the small screen, we rounded up the smartest detectives in TV history.

From an OCD gumshoe-for-hire to a no-nonsense Scotland Yard sleuth, a sassy high-school snoop and a P.I. with facial hair as famous as he was, check out our gallery of the top 20 smartest TV detectives of all time.

Do your keen powers of perception tell you we've missed someone? Add your own favorites in the comments.

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Peter Falk, Star of 'Columbo,' Dead at 83

by Chris Harnick, posted Jun 24th 2011 2:00PM
Peter FalkPeter Falk, the Emmy-winning star of 'Columbo,' has died. He was 83.

CBS Radio News confirmed via a family spokesperson that Falk died on the evening of June 23.

Falk was best known to audiences as Lt. Columbo in the NBC/ABC police series. The last episode aired on ABC in 2003.

Besides the hit drama, Falk was nominated for two Academy Awards, for 1960's 'Murder, Inc.' and 1961's 'Pocketful of Miracles.' His last credited film role was the 2009 flick 'American Cowslip' opposite Cloris Leachman and Diane Ladd.

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Five Cop Shows That Should Never Be Remade

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 2nd 2010 6:24PM
Sgt. Esterhaus on 'Hill Street Blues'It's pilot time again and this season the networks have decided to turn back the clock, specifically on old cop and crime shows, to save their sinking ratings.

For instance, NBC is bringing back the mystery series 'The Rockford Files' with Dermot Mulroney in the role that James Garner turned into a classic TV crime fighter. CBS has also ordered a remake of the procedural cop classic 'Hawaii Five-O' with Scott Caan and Jean Smart.

Normally, my gut reacts to a TV remake the same way a person who just washed his car reacts to a line of dark clouds (a lot of cursing and shaking of fists at God or some other celestial being). However, if done right, anything has the chance to be good... unless it's one of the following cop serials, which should never be touched by a TV producer ever again.

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'I Spy' star Robert Culp dead at 79

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 24th 2010 6:25PM
I SpyOne half of the 'I Spy' team is gone: Robert Culp has died near his home in Hollywood at the age of 79. What's even more troubling is the way he died. Culp apparently fell and hit his head while out for a walk and was found by a jogger. He later died at a hospital.

Although Culp is probably best known for his work with Bill Cosby on 'I Spy,' he could be equally well-known to modern audiences for his work on two other classic shows. He played Agent Bill Maxwell on 'The Greatest American Hero' and also played Debra's dad on 'Everybody Loves Raymond.'

He made appearances in tons of other TV shows too: 'Columbo' (he was the murderer four times), 'Murder, She Wrote,' 'Matlock,' 'Robot Chicken,' 'The Outer Limits,' 'Police Story,' 'Dr. Kildare,' 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E., 'Combat,' 'Disneyland,' 'The Rifleman,' 'Bonanza,' 'Golden Girls,' 'Wings,' and many more shows and movies.

Oh, 'I Spy' was a fantastic show. It was shot on location around the world, which is rather rare for a TV show. It's on tonight at 9 on Retro TV. After the jump, the opening (you can also watch the show for free at SlashControl).

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TV star Gene Barry passes away at 90

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 11th 2009 2:29PM
bat_masterson_gene_barry"It's Burke's Law." That was the opening tag for one of three successful TV series that starred Gene Barry, one of the classiest actors to appear on screen. On Wednesday, TV star Gene Barry died at at 90 of undetermined causes. He was living in an L.A. rest home, but I will remember Gene Barry as the man who made Burke's Law, Bat Masterson and The Name of the Game memorable TV entertainment.

Barry was also well-known as the original star of the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds, and when Steven Spielberg remade the film in 2005 with Tom Cruise, he gave Gene a quick cameo. In addition to being a versatile leading man -- capable of playing a bad guy, a bon vivant, cops, spies, gentlemen, gunslingers, and magazine publishers -- Gene Barry also was a song and dance man. In 1984, he was one of the toasts of Broadway in La Cage aux Folles. Currently Kelsey Grammer is about to play Gene's role in a 2010 spring revival.

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Cash for TV clunkers

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 24th 2009 10:33AM
The FlintstonesThe "Cash For Clunkers" program ends tonight at 8PM, which is probably a good thing because we won't have to hear the term "Cash For Clunkers" anymore. But what about TV cars? Which famous television autos are in such bad shape they should be traded in? TV Tango has a fun list that includes the Beverly Hillbillies car and Columbo's old Peugeot.

It's a clever list, and includes the new vanity plates each car would have.

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Jenna Fischer is producing a private eye show

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 12th 2009 7:00PM
Jenna FischerOffice star Jenna Fischer is producing TV shows now, and the first one sounds pretty good.

She's putting together a show based on the exploits of real-life private eye Charlie Parker. It would be set in San Antonio and Fischer is developing the show for her network, NBC. She describes it as an hour long comedic drama (thankfully she didn't use the term "dramedy"), a lot like Magnum, P.I. or Columbo.

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Best '70s TV Shows

by Kim Potts, posted Jun 22nd 2009 6:00AM
MASHIn AOL TV's continuing countdown of the best TV shows of each decade, we're back to break down the 1970s, a decade when the cop dramas were less gritty, the families were close-knit and the sitcoms were sprinkled with serious social commentary.

Our list of the best shows of the '70s features many of the best shows of all time (here's looking at you, 'Mary Tyler Moore Show,' 'M*A*S*H' and 'Taxi'). Take a gander and let us know if you agree.

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50 Best TV Dramas Ever

by Kim Potts, posted Mar 11th 2009 6:00AM
CSIIt's not easy winnowing more than 50 years of small-screen gems into a list of 50.

But AOL TV's picks of the top TV dramas include the most brilliant doctors and lawyers, the angst-iest teens, sci-fi series that transcend their genre molds, family dramas that both warm and break your heart, terrorist- and mobster-fighting heroes ... and a show that combined the best of family and gangster drama into one unforgettable series.

Click through to see all 50 of the best TV dramas of all time.

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New TV on DVD releases this week

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 2nd 2009 6:00PM
BewitchedHere are the new TV DVDs, in stores tomorrow.

I don't know why I haven't bought any of the Bewitched sets yet. It's one of my favorite sitcoms, but I think it has gotten so far into the releases (this week it's season 7) that I've convinced myself that there will be a complete series set and that I should wait for it. But I'm tempted to buy this set because it features an entire episode set and filmed in my hometown!

As for the Columbo movie set, well, I have to buy that now because I just bought the entire series on DVD.

  • Afro Samurai - Resurrection (regular set and special editions)
  • Becker - Season 2
  • Bewitched - Season 7
  • Columbo - Mystery Movie Collection: 1990
  • Dave's World - Season 2
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Vol. 14
  • Night Court - Season 2
  • The Partridge Family - Season 4
  • Tom and Jerry Tales - Vol. 6

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Ricardo Montalban dead at 88

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 14th 2009 6:03PM
MontalbanFirst Patrick McGoohan and now Ricardo Montalban.

Montalban died earlier today in Los Angeles. He was 88. He was best known for playing Mr. Roarke on the odd ABC show Fantasy Island. Actually, he was probably equally known for his role in Star Trek. He played Khan in a classic episode of the original series in the 60s, and later reprised the role in the big screen flick Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, arguably the best of the Trek movies. Though I also liked the one with the whales.

Montalban had a long career, appearing in such shows as The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Wild, Wild West, I Spy, Gunsmoke, Hawaii Five-0, Here's Lucy, Dynasty, Murder, She Wrote (which seems to show up in every obit I write here), B.L. Stryker, Chicago Hope, and many more. He was in my favorite version of Wonder Woman. His last role was on an episode of Family Guy earlier this year. He also did a ton of movies, the first one being Five Were Chosen in 1942.

Coincidentally, like McGoohan, Montalban also played a killer on Columbo. He killed a guy with a bull.

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Daughter claims Peter Falk has Alzheimer's

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 17th 2008 9:02PM
A legendary actor in the television industry, nay, the entertainment industry has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Peter Falk's daughter, Catherine, filed for conservatorship of her father's affairs. She claims the actor's condition has gotten so bad that he "requires full-time custodial care for his health and safety."

So far the family hasn't released an official statement confirming the daughter's claims and nothing has been confirmed or denied on the actor's official website. Either way, everyone here at TV Squad wishes him and his family all the best.

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Goodbye to two great ladies of the small (and big) screen

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 8th 2008 8:06AM
Nina FochSometimes a celebrity dies who wasn't just a TV star, they actually had a hand in almost every aspect of television over a very long period of time. We lost two such stars over the weekend.

For example, fans of NCIS will know Nina Foch (right) from her role as Ducky's mother on the show. But did you know she also starred in several vintage horror movies back as early as the early 40s, such as Return of the Vampire and Cry of the Werewolf? She also had the honor of being the very first murder victim on Columbo, in 1968's Prescription: Murder (done in by hubby Gene Barry). She also appeared in several other TV shows, such as Bull, Just Shoot Me, Dharma & Greg, Murder She Wrote, L.A. Law, Hunter, Lou Grant, Barnaby Jones, Hawaii Five-0, That Girl, and a ton of others. She appeared in Spartacus, The Ten Commandments, An American in Paris and others. She was even the associate director on The Diary of Anne Frank.

Foch passed away in Los Angeles on Friday at age 84.

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TV Obits: Carry, Pflug, Mooney

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 21st 2008 11:22AM
CarryA roundup of TV people from in front of the camera and behind the scenes who have passed away.

  • Julius Carry: He was probably best known for his role as Lord Bowler on The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Carry was also a regular on The District, Doctor, Doctor, and Do Over, and had recurring roles on Murphy Brown, Boy Meets World, and Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place. He also did guest spots on many other shows, including Columbo, Diagnosis Murder, Spin City, Caroline in the City, Earth 2, Grace Under Fire, Hill Street Blues, Empty Nest, Tales from the Crypt, Murder, She Wrote, Moonlighting, and many others. His last role was on an episode of The Unit. He also appeared in such movies as The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, Moving, The Last Dragon, and The Man with One Red Shoe. He died of pancreatic cancer at age 56.

I was thinking about treating myself to a Brisco County marathon this weekend, and now I think that's a definite.

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Monk: Mr. Monk and the Genius

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 26th 2008 11:28AM
gun monk(S07E02) I really thought this was going to be a superb Monk. It had all the elements of a top notch cat and mouse affair, starting with guest star David Strathairn -- so brilliant in Good Night and Good Luck as Edward R. Murrow -- as a chess grand master, Patrick Kloster. The set up was elegant; Kloster's wife hires Monk to investigate her murder because she is certain her husband will follow through on his perfect plan to kill her. Within a day, she's dead and the chess master has an airtight alibi. How did he do it? It was a Columbo gambit, and only a genius like Columbo -- or Monk -- could figure it out.

Unfortunately, this episode wasn't written by Levinson and Link. The clues to the mystery fell into place without any great surprise or twist. The wife was poisoned when she drank from a secret stash of oleander laced wine, which was never found. That was just Monk's supposition after swiping the flowers from the garden. That would be inadmissible evidence because he had no warrant to get them from Kloster's home. Then he actually tried to plant the evidence -- again, not very smart or Monk-like.


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