Summary of Season 3

The third season of Columbo saw a tremendous influx of talent at the top. With
Edward K. Dodds as associate producer and Jackson Gills as story consultant,
Dean Hargrove had produced all eight of the second season's episodes. It was a massive chore.

Gillis helped get the third season rolling. Hargrove found a compatible partner
for the third season: Roland Kibbee. The team of Hargrove and Kibbee sat at the top of the hierarchy as executive producers. Even without Levinson , Link or Bochco and Gillis, there were producers and writers who knew the Columbo formula very well.

Two of Fischer's scripts were produced for the third season. The young writer gave the talent pool just the boost it needed. He understood the character and liked it. He had a splendid knack for clues. Link Levison and Link, had a good mind for mysteries. And Falk liked him.

Under Hargrove and Kibbee's direction, the Columbo unit actually improved on the strong second season. In fact, the third season compares very favourably with the outstanding first. Considering how entrenched the Columbo format had become in the public viewing consciousness after TV movies and two seasons, the freshness of these episodes is quite remarkable.

There is an ironic footnote to this shining season: for the second year in a row, Columbo was scheduled against Mannix, the two-fisted CBS detective series created by Levinson and Link. A top-ten show during the 1971-72 season, Mannix faded badly when forced to battle for ratings with The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie. Mike Connors' private eye would make something of a comeback during 1974-75 season, yet CBS has seen enough. The network
cancelled the violent program after its eight year.

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