Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Kate Mulgrew in Mrs. Columbo (1979)

Before she was Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager (1995) Kate Mulgrew played Lt. Columbo's crime solving, reporter wife in this ill conceived NBC series. It lasted for only one season, much to the pleasure of Peter Falk and Columbo creators Richard Levinson and William Link. Mulgrew played Kate Columbo, who used her investigative reporter skills to solve mysteries. Columbo himself never made an appearance in the show, but in the credit sequence below, uploaded by PIMannix you'll see his car and his dog.

The series did not do well in the ratings and was heavily tinkered with during its short run. It was retitled twice, first to Kate, The Detective, and finally to Kate Loves a Mystery. The updated credit sequence featured a new theme song and all evidence of Columbo was erased - the character was renamed Kate Callahan. Below is that new credit sequence, uploaded by robatsea2009.

Needless to say, this series has never made it to DVD, though one episode of it was included as a bonus feature in the DVD releases of the Columbo series for seasons 3, 4 and 5.

Obscurity factor: 9 (hard to find, only on DVD as bonus features, credits on YouTube)


  1. I wonder if it would have had a better chance if it had started out without the burden of seeming like a "Columbo" spin-off? I've always liked Kate Mulgrew and look forward to seeing a few of those lost episodes.

  2. The equivalent in the 2000s, might have been to have a spin-off of "Frasier", called "Maris"...some oft-mentioned, unseen characters should remain a mystery.

  3. Yes, series called "Lars" or "Carlton" wouldn't really fly, would they?

  4. The 70s/80s, in particular, were the decades of spin-offs, albeit more logical than "Kate..."

    "All in the Family" wins the prize in the category (for a few decades):

    "Maude" (1972)
    "Good Times" (1974 spin-off from "Maude")
    "The Jeffersons" (1975)
    "Archie Bunker's Place" (1979 spin-off)
    "Checking In" (1981 spin-off of "The Jeffersons")
    "Gloria" (1982 spin-off)
    "704 Hauser" (1994 spin-off)

    And, several shows begat three or more..."Mary Tyler Moore" (3), "Happy Days" (3+), "Brady Bunch" (4), "Golden Girls" (3), etc. etc.

    Good grief, Ben, I just discovered the 1980 animated special..."Carlton Your Doorman"!!!!

  5. Oh, I have to look for that one! Carlton Your Doorman? Who knew?