Peter Falk subtly said goodbye directly to the camera in this Columbo episode

"This far and no further" was not exactly true.

Read to Me

If the Columbo episode "The Conspirators" feels a little different, there is a good reason. The plot of the episode — which sees the detective swept up into the world of gunrunning, Irish politics and the IRA — was originally conceived as a pilot episode for some other unnamed television series by Pat Robison. Screenwriter Howard Berk wedged Lt. Columbo into the script and the story became the intended finale for Columbo.

Yes, Peter Falk appeared as Columbo on television through 2003, but this 1978 was meant to be his farewell. That becomes quite clear when you get to the end of the episode.

In the finale scene, Columbo sits with Irish poet Joe Devlin (Clive Revill) over a bottle of whiskey. The detective marks a notch in the label of a bottle of "Full's Irish Dew" and says he will drink "this far and no further." It's a line and a practice Devlin does himself in the episode. The Irishman etches a line in the bottle with his ring and says, "This far and no further," noting how much he intends to drink.

But when Peter Falk delivers the line as Columbo, it is loaded with meaning. Falk looks directly into the camera, at his fans. He is stating his intentions to play Columbo "no further."

This was not the first time Columbo snuck in a cheeky farewell to fans. The season five finale, "Last Salute to the Commodore," saw the detective literally heading (well, rowing) off into the sunset in the final shot. It was thought that this would be the finale for the character and series.

Of course, Columbo would return for two more seasons on NBC. Yet, "The Conspirators" felt more like a true finale. Because, for a decade, it was. 

Columbo would return in 1989 on a different network, ABC, in what was essentially one of the earliest examples of a nostalgic television reboot. Falk just could not leave behind such a beloved character. We get it.

As for that line, "This far and no further," there's a fun link to the Star Trek universe, too. In the movie Star Trek: First Contact, Patrick Stewart's Jean-Luc Picard delivers the line to Lily Sloane (Alfre Woodard). "The line must be drawn here! This far and no further!" the Captain declares.

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dk66343 4 months ago
Uh. Excuse me mam. Did you say you locked the door after 3pm?
When Columbo asked a question like that, he already knew who did it.
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STukebird1024 4 months ago
Favorite Peter Falk vehicle was the movie "The In-Laws"
denny STukebird1024 3 months ago
I watch that about every 2 years or so.
My favorite quote from that movie is "Serpentine Shelly. Serpentine!".
DrBobKaraoke 4 months ago
Miss lead by the email... Waited for him to actually say "Goodbye"
DrBobKaraoke DrBobKaraoke 4 months ago
Peter Falk subtly said "goodbye" directly to the camera in this Columbo episode"
johnfrakes DrBobKaraoke 4 months ago
It said “subtly”. If he had directly said goodbye, that wouldn’t have been subtle.
Jack 4 months ago
I liked the earlier shows in the series as the series went on they stated getting stupid and stupider I realize his character is based on his fumbling antics but the longer the series went the more he acted stupidly rather than a fumbler
MarshaStapleton 4 months ago
The 2-hour Columbo TV movies don't seem to be quite as much discussed as the 90-minute episodes, but my favorite is It's All in the Game, with the marvelous Faye Dunaway guest-starring as a truly sympathetic murderess. She is my favorite actress, and I felt that she and Peter Falk had a lovely chemistry in this movie.
dangler1907 4 months ago
I draw a line on a bottle of whiskey too. And then another line. And then another one. And when the bottle is empty, I solemnly declare "This bottle, and no more!"
Until the liquor store opens the next day ... then the line-drawing starts again. :)
007 dangler1907 4 months ago
i have not drank whiskey very much, more of wine than anything else till last year when my doctor had me scheduled for ultrasound, which showed fatty liver, so i have stopped drinking. do what you like but be careful on drinking too much.
VicVega 4 months ago
He used to come to my Parents' parties and we would throw darts together. Mr. Falk, as we kids called him, also loved our pinball machine. He was a wonderful man, and a great actor - which we kids didn't know at the time : )
dangler1907 VicVega 4 months ago
I never met him of course, but one of my wife's biggest thrills was seeing him in person on a studio lot when we took a tour during our honeymoon vacation in LA. He took the time to stop, wave, grin and call out a few words to his passing fans. Some actors might have been annoyed by our intrusion on his day, but not Peter Falk. A class act.
Stephen79 4 months ago
While there are many post '78 Columbo's episodes that I love, they IMO cannot hold up to the first 7 seasons. The production values, the writing, the guest stars and supporting actors were all top rate. With that said, I'm glad he came back for "one more thing" ...
Marianne 4 months ago
And my Cher!

Love my Columbo...Peter Falk in everything he's every done. I even have Columbo shirts! I have all the DVD's and his book, too. Wish I had one of his paintings though. What a great actor and wonderful man!
madvincent Marianne 4 months ago
I have a few great pictures of him I took while filming the “ brinks job” in Boston
Peter_Falk_Fan 4 months ago
One of my favorites, and there are a few. It's hard for me to pick just one. I love this one because Columbo plays a pinball machine, one of my favorite teenage pastimes. Also, the "Limericks at 20 Paces" was great. I'm glad they gave this script to Columbo.
edpor68 4 months ago
Hi! Love METV and Columbo! When are you showing my favorite episode- Ransom for a Dead Man? 👍📺👩🏻‍🦰👓
LittleMissNoName edpor68 4 months ago
Probably be about 3 or 4 months since they are switching back to the 90min episodes starting 3/21/21.
denny edpor68 3 months ago
Get the Peacock app, it's on there and it's free.
Andybandit 4 months ago
Interesting story, I like watching Columbo on Sunday at 7pm Mountain time. It is an escape from watching American Idol on Sundays. "Oh, and just one more thing".
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Pacificsun 4 months ago
Are you a fan of the Columbophile too? You've posted here before, I believe.

What a great distinction to have been connected to such a great era in TV.

Thank you for contributing here.
Phb2 4 months ago
Hi it was the post about my father having written this episode - I accidentally erased it!
MrsPhilHarris 4 months ago
Oh no! That’s too bad.
JoeO1 4 months ago
By Dawn’s Early Light one of my all time favorites! Patrick McGoohan the best bad guy ever, also, this episode was shot in my hometown! That was big doings in 1970s Charleston SC ! I worked at The Citadel in the 80s and whenever I passed the parade grounds and barracks or any part that was featured in that episode it was a great feeling knowing those great actors once filmed there!
15inchBlackandWhite 4 months ago
Goodbye is never really goodbye. Mick Jagger taught us all that.
Hold your maned mammals!
NO ONE un-retired more and better than The Chairman.
He may even return again.
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