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Columbo Pro and Con

December 30, 1990

"Columbo" has an unquestionably winsome main character, to which Peter Falk still contributes his unquestionably charismatic star. Also unquestionably, the series' plots are so contrived you wonder about Columbo's true sleuthing abilities.

Columbo is always aided in his investigating by an army of imbecilic murderers who ignore, inadvertently drop or otherwise flaunt evidence of their doings throughout each show (case in point, "Columbo Goes to College," ABC, Dec. 9). Considering the extraordinary amount of planning that goes into the murders, the ensuing stupidity of the perpetrators is simply perplexing. Or is it?

Columbo is hailed by it creators and the press as one of the world's great detectives (he even gets the TV Times cover). The truth is, the series is just another average attempt by television to make its audience feel superior to the characters in a show. Given questionable cleverness of both killers and detective, figure out what they're implying about the audience.

Valentina Verdugo, Los Angeles

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