Columbo's ID Badge

Columbo generally does not make a habit of showing his badge or police ID to identify himself as a cop. 

Usually he just appears at the door and says something like "My name is Columbo, I'm a Lieutenant,"... or "I'm with LAPD, Homicide" and despite his unconventional appearance, people believe it maybe because the idea seems too preposterous to be made up.

Troubled Waters

Troubled Waters

Etude In Black

Etude In Black

Murder Smoke and Shadows

Murder, Smoke, And Shadows

Lady in Waiting

Lady In Waiting

As of 1975, Columbo says it has been 10 years since he last got a new photo for his police ID.Forgotten Lady.  So in all the NBC shows,  his ID has a blurry black and white picture where you can see he has much shorter hair and a somewhat bewildered look.

A Matter of Honor

A Matter Of Honor

In a rare close-up of Columbo's badge, it appears that Columbo's badge number is 416

Exercise Exercise


An Exercise In Fatality

Dead Weight

Dead Weight

Here is an "almost clear" look at Columbo's ID, as seen in the uncut version of Dead Weight.

Is that Columbo's signature?  Is the first name Frank?  or Joseph? or something else? Is the last name even Columbo???

For a close-up look, and for a chance to vote on the name, see the section called Columbo's First Name

Soon after the Ultimate Columbo Site revealed this evidence captured from
"Dead Weight",  A&E edited out this ID shot, and has never shown it again.

Fake ID Badge

Here is an interesting picture from a UK TV Guide magazine article, which
appears to be a version of Columbo's ID, including his name clearly typed.

Because this ID does not resemble anything shown in the TV series, regretfully
we must conclude that this was a prop created just to illustrate the article.  Still, an interesting Columbo artifact.  And how the name Frank was chosen, remains unknown.

When Columbo comes to ABC in 1989, he finally has a new ID with a color
photo, and it appears that he has not changed the ID photo since then. 

Murder of a Rock Star Murder of a Rock Star

Murder of a Rock Star

Columbo And The Murder Of A Rock Star


Agenda For Murder

Cry Wolf ID Cry Wolf ID

Columbo Cries Wolf


Death Hits The Jackpot

Columbo's new ID does not feature any large, legible name or signature. 
Perhaps this is because the "Columbo" producers were well aware that VCRs
and freeze-frame were common by 1989. (In the 1970s series, we are told that
a VCR costs three thousand dollars - Fade In To Murder.) 

So it is most unlikely we will ever get another view of Columbo's name.

Jackpot Jackpot

The latest version of Columbo's ID comes from the FoxFamily Channel, which created this whimsical wallet for its "Columbo" logo.

Clearly it's not the one Columbo carries -- for one thing, his badge should be above the photo, not below it -- but for viewers curious about Columbo's first name, it appears to be handwritten as part of Columbo's signature.

And the first name is:

"Lt." Of course.

At least that's what it looks like. Or maybe it's an "F". Or...?

If you're interested in exactly why we know it's a joke (besides the fact that it appears to give the first name "Lt" -- I think):

Well there a few visible discrepancies, but the most basic one, which is also true of the book-cover ID, is that the ID is "upside down". That is, on "Columbo", when Columbo's picture is right-side-up, the badge is on top -- Columbo's chin is toward the wallet's outside edge.

Whereas in the book-cover and the FoxFam versions, the badge is below the picture and Columbo's chin is toward the wallet's center fold.

ssea.jpg (3840 bytes)The Family channel is located in VA Beach Virginia. When they mocked up the latest Columbo ID they basically copied the Virgina Driver license to include two picture images and the Virginia state seal in the corner. The only real difference is they removed the "Commonwealth of Virginia and added LAPD. - Sent to us by: Thomas Edgerton

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