he never finished one bowl of chili.
too early on the scene;
grew seasick on the piers...
couldn't stand the sound of guns.
(his ruse of all ruses) got
sneezing behind the drawing room curtains or
and just when they think it's over and they're off the hook
there he is again, snooping in the shrubbery,
no matter how hard they wished he'd just disappear
but oh dear he's come back
and still on the same tack
"Boy, this is some place!" he'd gush in Bel Air
putting them at ease and then:
(perhaps he's giving you clues in dog language...)
your unpaid bills wadded in one pocket
the actor's inimitable performance
This intensified the way the actors played off of each other in an often very touching way.
The most supreme example of this (as it was reflected in the response of the actor portraying the criminal)was in the episode with the very fine actor Ricardo Montalban as a Spanish matador who presented in the final scene his cape and his sword to Columbo in such a profound way it was incredible, as if acknowledging Columbo himself as a kind of matador pf the truth, but there are many other examples where a lot more is going on than a simple plot line.
As fine as the scripts were this kind of thing could not be written into the script. It all lay in the interpretation and the interpretive power of the actor and the exquisitely humanly vivid interpretations of Peter Falk seemed to draw out unseen dimensions of the well known actors playing the scenes with him.
It is said that Peter Falk worked hard at investing his character with even many of his own personal qualities and quirks, even background. I think it would be hard if not impossible to find another character created by an actor with so much attention to detail, that is, in the parlance of artists, with love.
For anyone interested he wrote an autobiography "Just One More Thing" still available at abebooks.com or possibly Amazon. (or in your library perhaps) It came out in 2006 just 5 years before he passed away.