Lieutenant Colombo and colleagues. Top 5 Greatest Detectives of the 20th and 21st Century
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American actor Peter Falk played the iconic police officer – Lieutenant Colomo in the series of the same name, which ran from 1968 to 2003, and this charming character won the hearts of millions of viewers around the world. Peter Falk would have turned 95 in September 2022.
Actor Peter Falk (1927 – 2011) played in 109 films, twice nominated for an Oscar, 12 times for a TV Emmy Award (won five) and 10 times for a Golden Globe (won one), but one made him a cult the role is a Colombo police lieutenant torpedoing high society assassins. Small in stature, curly, with a sly squint and in the same wrinkled beige raincoat – in winter and summer.
Focus choose this hero a good company of four more popular serial detectives.
Lieutenant Colombo: angel of vengeance
Peter Falk came from a Jewish family. His grandparents emigrated from the Russian Empire in the 1890s, but in addition to Russian and Jewish blood, Czech and Polish also flowed in Peter's veins. A whole international!
Lieutenant Columbo squints a little because Falk has one glass eye. At the age of three, little Peter underwent a serious surgical operation: his right eye was removed due to a discovered formation – retinoblastoma. The transferred test did not affect the formation of Peter's character, his temperament and sense of humor were at a high level.
“I remember, at school, in the tenth grade, the judge sent me out at third base, and I was sure I was so angry that I pulled out my glass eye and held it out to him with the words: “Try this.” I laughed so hard, you won’t believe it, ”recalled Peter Falk.
Due to the absence of Peter Falk's eyes, they were not taken to the US Armed Forces. But he managed to enter the service of a cook on a warship. “No one cares there whether you are blind or not. The only one on the ship who should see is the captain, and in the case of the Titanic, he did not see very well,” the actor joked, recalling the army years.
< p> Peter Falk at first was an amateur actor, graduated from acting courses, began to play in professional performances. And just a few years later, already in 1962, he was nominated for an Oscar for supporting roles in the films Murder Inc. and A Fistful of Miracles.
And in 1968, Peter Falk pulled out a lucky ticket, playing Lieutenant Colombo. Falk at first refused to play a policeman – he was afraid of becoming a hostage to one role. And so it happened! Although already at the age of 78, the actor said that he had no regrets: “If people asked me if I feel irritated or tired or someone who is pursued by a sticky role, I would look at them like they are crazy . I can only be grateful that for a long time I had the opportunity to play an interesting character,” said Peter Falk.
What is Lieutenant Colombo's trick? He is not a superman, but an ordinary person, from the people (although the rank of lieutenant in the American police is much higher in status than in the Ukrainian one – he is in charge of the homicide department). American of Italian origin. Walks in the same crumpled raincoat and nondescript suit. He thinks about his wife all the time (Colombo had no children, like Peter Falk), chats about the dog and drives a tiny car that constantly breaks down. Such a character was close to millions of people – they guessed themselves in him.
But at the same time, Lieutenant Colombo is an angel of retribution. He has a steel grip, he circles around the criminal all the time, asking him dozens of questions, looking for microscopic contradictions in the testimony. He leaves, and then returns to, feigning absent-mindedness, to ask again. And his “X-ray” look more and more penetrates the villain.
This unpretentious person attacks people from the upper strata, in the series “Colombo” the criminals mainly belong to the high society – these are politicians, movie stars, generals, magnates. They are sleek, arrogant, self-confident. But this little man quickly throws off their hypocritical masks. Moreover, the viewer knows in advance who the killer is – this is the original structure of the series “Colombo”: the crime is shown at the beginning, and Colombo's task is to expose the killer, revealing his motives and setting a trap.
The image of Colombo was inspired by the authors of the story of detective Alfred Fiche from the French thriller Les Diaboliques (1954, France): a small man with a constant cigarette, whose tenacious mind immediately notices inconsistencies in a seemingly perfectly planned crime.
Since we mentioned the French, let's also remember the cult commissar. Your way out, Commissioner Maigret!
Commissioner Maigret: a systematic approach
Commissioner Maigret is the hero of 76 novels and 26 short stories by the writer Georges Simenon. When the monument was erected in 1966, Georges Simenon was given a comic birth certificate, which says: “Maigret Jules, was born in Delfzijl on February 20, 1929 … at the age of 44. Father – Georges Simenon, mother unknown.”
< p> Maigret, unlike Colombo, made a brilliant career: rose from an ordinary inspector to the position of divisional commissioner. Physically, he is also unlike his American counterpart: he is huge, broad-shouldered.
It is impossible to imagine Commissar Maigret without a smoking pipe, he has a whole collection of them, but he does not look like Sherlock Holmes at all. Rather, he is the anti-Holmes. Briton Sherlock is a lone aristocrat, and Maigret with her article and simple manners looks like a peasant. As for work, he is a system person. Like the author of the Maigret books, Simenon is known to have befriended two high-ranking Parisian police officers and even traveled with them to crime scenes to learn real investigative techniques.
Of the habits of Commissioner Maigret, it is mentioned that he did not like to drive a car himself, because he often thinks and cannot concentrate on the road. Several times he was on business trips in England and America, and his ignorance of English regularly infuriated him, although it did not prevent him from solving crimes there.
Several dozen TV series and films were shot about Commissar Maigret. We recommend the French-Swiss-Belgian series “Maigre” (1991 – 2005), where the main role was played by the actor Bruno Kremer, known to many viewers for his role as a murderous steward in the film “Private Investigator” with Jean-Paul Belmondo.
< h2>Nero Wolfe: gourmet and aesthete
In terms of eccentricity among the detective characters, Nero Wolfe, created by the American writer Rex Stout, stands out – his books have been translated into 35 languages and have been published in a total circulation of 70 million copies. Novels about Nero Wolfe are his main work.
Detective Nero Wolfe is from Montenegro. He does not like women, but loves orchids and appreciates classy cuisine, fancy dishes are his passion. To solve the case, he does not leave the house, for this he has an assistant – Archie Goodwin. He collects information, and Nero Wolf solves crimes, sitting in a chair – only with the help of intellect. In 33 novels and 39 stories.
The most famous film adaptation of stories about the famous detective is the series “Secrets of Nero Wolfe” (2001 – 2002), where actor Maury Chaykin played him.
Detective Mac Taylor: a cop with compassion
Mac is a police officer, the protagonist of the series “C.S.I.: Crime Scene New York” (2004 – 2013), played by actor Gary Sinise. He leads a team of detectives. Here, too, there is systemic work. Detective Stella Bonaceira helps Mac the most.
What's the point of the Mac? Despite the hard work of solving murders, he is shown as a subtle person who worries about the fate of criminals. Indulges in moral conversations with them, trying to pull the human strings. With her huge, hypnotic eyes, Taylor looks at them (and not only them) with compassion. This is not often seen in American cinema.
This subtlety of his nature is reflected by the fact that sometimes Mac even plays in a jazz band.
< h2>Castle: Cheerful Scribbler
Who wants not only to enjoy the tension of the detective, but also to laugh – we recommend the adventures of the author of detectives – Castle – the hero of the American comedy-drama series “Castle” (2009 – 2016).
The plot is centered on Richard Castle, played by Nathan Fillion, famous mystery writer. Rick lives in the same house with his mother and daughter. Experiencing a creative crisis. When Castle suddenly learns that the real criminal began to imitate the murder scenes from his novels. Castle is interrogated by a very pretty 12th NYPD detective, Kate Beckett (Stana Katic).
As a result, Castle cannot help but intervene in the course of the investigation, using his connections, which begins to annoy Beckett. But the writer manages to informally enter the group of police investigators, and – things have gone: there is material for a new book! And at the same time, of course, there is also a difficult developing romantic relationship with Kate.
Richard Castle is charming, witty, even foolish in places, but not a coward, a sincere and not stupid enough investigator – with excessive imagination, which is quite understandable A: He's a writer. When Castle gets too carried away, Beckett backs him down.
Each episode of Castle is a new and interesting case.