...The One-Minute Pundit
Friday, June 24, 2011
With his tousled dark-brown hair, a cheap cigar wedged between his fingers and his lived-in tan raincoat, the endearingly likable lieutenant was as unprepossessing as the faded old Peugeot he drove.
Indeed, when Columbo brought up the subject of men's clothing and male vanity in one early episode, guest star Suzanne Pleshette, as the segment title's "Witness to a Murder," pointedly looked at the disheveled detective and remarked: "Some men, Lieutenant, do not want to look like an unmade bed."
The show often made light of Columbo's lack of fashion sense. Taking note of the detective's tatty attire, a suspect once asked him, "Are you undercover?" Replied Columbo, "No, underpaid."
In another episode, a nun at a soup kitchen where Columbo was interviewing a witness took one look at his worn raincoat, mistook him as a vagrant and insisted on finding him a better coat in the shelter's used-clothing collection.
Columbo: "Y'know, I appreciate what you're doin', I really do, but I've had this coat for seven years."
Peter Falk, like his character, is now up there with the immortals.