We’re in a new golden age of television, but between rubbery pirates, ruthless family succession struggles, and dark superhero romps, nothing compares to Columbo, right? Peter Falk’s cigar-chomping LAPD lieutenant was a mainstay of television in the 1970s, a relentless but disarmingly friendly homicide detective who had an unnerving talent for solving even the trickiest of murders.

Yes, it’s the show that your parents remember fondly–and actually regained a popular following during the COVID pandemic–and it received a fresh Blu-ray release last December. If you didn’t pick it up at launch, you can take advantage of the best offer yet at Amazon and Walmart. The Columbo box set is on sale for $81.

This particular Blu-ray box set collects all the Columbo TV series that ran from 1971 to 1978, while a second box set collecting the revival TV movies that ran from 1989 to 2003 will be released at a later date. Each episode of Columbo is essentially a feature-length film, and this release has commentary tracks for each episode, archival interviews, and feature contributions from Columbo experts Mark Dawidziak and Amanda Reyes.

Columbo: The 1970s Blu-ray Collection
Columbo: The 1970s Blu-ray Collection

If you’ve never watched Columbo, then you’ve missed out on an incredibly fascinating series of detective stories that took a novel approach to the whodunnit formula. Columbo episodes typically start with each murder being committed by the guilty party, who would then attempt to cover their tracks. Once Columbo was on the scene–played by the iconic Peter Falk–he’d gradually pull the truth from the murderer, as he poked holes in their alibis, found vital clues, and generally wore them down with his unrelenting habit of being incredibly polite to the culprit while putting up a false front of a shabby and absent-minded investigator.

Another trademark of the show was that the murderers were often played by high-profile stars of the era. Actors like Dick Van Dyke, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Vera Miles, and Patrick McGoohan all attempted to outwit Columbo, but eventually, they all failed. It’s worth noting that this box set also includes the 1968 NBC TV movie, Prescription: Murder, which was adapted from the Columbo stage play, and the 1971 Columbo pilot “Ransom for a Dead Man” that helped get the series greenlit.

Select Columbo seasons and movies have received Blu-ray releases over the years, but this is the first time the entire show will be available on Blu-ray in North America. If you’re fine with DVD format, you can pick up a box set for only $32 (was $55) that comes with all episodes of the show and the 24 made-for-TV Columbo movies.


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