A spokesperson for the family of Peter Falk has confirmed the actor passed away Thursday night in his sleep. Falk was 83, and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease in recent years.
Falk, a hugely gifted actor, will forever be associated with Columbo, the character he played on the long-running detective series of the same name. Columbo’s format put an ingenious spin on the old detective genre: Rather than spending every episode searching for the killer, the show revealed killers up front, and the mystery to solve was in figuring out how the perpetrators committed the crimes. (In that way, it broke ground for a show like House more than it did for shows like CSI.) Falk’s character—usually unshaven and clad in a rumbled trench coat, always unassuming and disarmingly polite—belied a brilliant deductive mind at work. His catchphrase— "Just one more thing"—was enough to strike mortal fear in any killer's heart. He always got his man.
Watch this example of Lt. Columbo at work, confronting a guilty suspect with his crimes—it still holds up as great TV.
R.I.P., Peter Falk.