|Here are a few clues to
how Columbo goes about his job, and what he thinks
and feels about it:
"I can't think of a time when I wasn't working" The Bye Bye Sky-High I.Q. Murder Case
"When I began, there were lots of smarter detectives,...but I figured maybe I
could make detective if I worked harder, read all the books, kept my eyes open,
put in more time,...maybe I could make it happen -- and I did. And I really love
my work, Sir." He has never considered any other line of work. The Bye Bye Sky-High I.Q. Murder Case
In Death Lends A Hand Columbo says he has the feeling he became a cop to make up for all the jokes he played with his buddies as a kid like jamming potatoes up tailpipes.
Columbo claims he has to write everything down because he has a bad memory
but he doesn't just use the notebook.
Sometimes he writes little notes to himself on index cards, and pastes them
on his bathroom mirror or on the inside of his car windshield Double Exposure, Murder Under Glass
He has also tried dictating notes on portable dictating machine, because
he kept losing his pencil -- but he tended to record himself talking to the dog in the middle of his investigative memos Playback
As of An Exercise In Fatality Columbo says he's "usually at The Main Precinct
in the mornings." But by Forgotten Lady he admits he's rarely in the office down at Homicide -- none of the murders take place there, you know.
Hates guns, can't stand the noise,...and he's a bad shot. Troubled Waters, Playback.
In The Bye Bye Sky-High I.Q. Murder Case says he "never" carries a gun
When they find out he hadn't taken his police firearms test in 10 years, the LAPD threatens to lift his badge. So Columbo pays a sergeant 5 bucks to take the test for him ("Gimme a break,...I can't hit the target") Forgotten Lady
However, he does fire a gun in Playback.
And he draws a gun in No Time To Die during the police rescue of his kidnapped
niece -- then looks VERY relieved when he doesn't have to use it. (Stares at it like he can't believe he was holding it, then lets it fall upside-down on his finger)
He also goes 10 years without getting a new photo for his police ID Forgotten Lady.
"I like my job...Some of the murderers I meet, I even like them too....Not for what they did, but for that part of them which is intelligent, or funny,...or just nice." Try And Catch Me
Why Columbo likes working in Homicide: "Why not? It's nice, clean work...Now, the Robbery boys, you won't believe the miserable places they gotta go into..." Murder, A Self Portrait
Why he wouldn't want to be a doctor: He has an uncle who's a doctor, and "Nobody came to see him but sick people,...sick people with complaints. People got better, he never heard from them,...not even a post-card. What kind of life is that?" Murder, A Self Portrait
"I follow my nose,...and when I get the scent, there's very little that I wouldn't
do in order to solve the case." Columbo Goes To College
Advice to young detectives: "Don't talk too much...You don't have to blab everything right away....Wait, who knows what will happen...Timing, that's important...And luck!...You gotta be lucky." Columbo Goes To College
"From my experience, I've discovered that people don't usually forget
to do that-which-they-usually-do." Forgotten Lady
In The Conspirators Columbo compares his working style to a pinball game:
"The way I keep steering and pushing and pulling at things, someday the whole
sky is gonna light up and say TILT!!!"
"I'm very big on motive." Double Shock
Above all, Columbo is persistent: He once worked on a case for 9 years, 4 months It's All In The Game