Columbo: Class Struggle on TV Tonight

Author: Lilian Mathieu
Translator: Pascal Bataillard
After a 35 year-long career on worldwide TV screens, Lieutenant Columbo has become one of the most famous fictional detectives. Lilian Mathieu shows that the Columbo series owes its success to its implicit but formidable political dimension, as each episode is structured as a class struggle between a rich, famous, cultured or powerful criminal and an apparently humble and blunderer police officer dressed in a crumpled raincoat and driving an antique car. Highlighting the contentious context that gave birth to the series in 1968, he shows that the sociology of culture offers intellectual tools to understand how a TV detective story can be appreciated as a joyful class revenge.

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Lilian Mathieu is a sociologist and senior researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research (École normal supérieure de Lyon, France). A specialist in social movements, he especially focuses on relations between art, contentious politics and authoritarian regimes.
Abstract
Keywords
 Introduction
 1 Class against Class
 2 A World of Distinction
 3 Superiority in Crime
 4 A Sense of Limits
 5 A Misplaced Police Officer
 6 Police Work
 7 Just One More Thing …
References
 List of Episodes
Students and teachers in film, TV and communication studies, sociology of culture and political science, amateurs of detective stories and, first of all, Columbo fans.