Which famous movie director directed the first non-pilot episode of Columbo in 1971?

Question: Which famous movie director directed the first non-pilot episode of Columbo in 1971?

Show answer

Steven Spielberg.

The renowned film director who directed the first non-pilot episode of “Columbo” in 1971 was none other than Steven Spielberg. At the time, Spielberg was a budding young director, not yet the household name he would later become with mega-hits like “Jaws,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Indiana Jones,” and “Jurassic Park.”

“Columbo,” a detective television series starring Peter Falk as the titular character, Lieutenant Columbo, featured a unique format. Unlike typical whodunits, each episode of “Columbo” showcased the crime and its perpetrator at the beginning, turning the usual detective narrative on its head. The intrigue came from watching the seemingly disheveled and absent-minded detective slowly and methodically piece together the puzzle until he caught the culprit, often with his trademark phrase, “Just one more thing…”

The episode Spielberg directed, titled “Murder by the Book,” aired as the debut episode of the show’s first regular season. It’s remembered not only for its compelling story but also for Spielberg’s distinct directorial touch. His ability to create tension and his keen understanding of character dynamics were evident, providing a glimpse into the filmmaking genius that would soon emerge on the big screen.

Directing “Murder by the Book” was an important stepping stone for Spielberg. It was one of several television episodes and TV movies he directed early in his career, honing his skills before transitioning to full-length feature films. Spielberg’s time in television, including his work on “Columbo,” provided him with a foundation and a platform, proving his capabilities to the industry.

Over the years, “Columbo” had a host of talented directors and guest stars, but Spielberg’s involvement remains a noteworthy piece of the show’s history, illustrating the intersection of a young director’s rising career with a TV series that was just beginning to cement its legacy. It’s a testament to how opportunities in television can serve as a launchpad for greater things in the world of cinema.