Everything gets rebooted these days, but there’s one property that has so far gone unsullied: Columbo, the peerless and unique detective show that gave Peter Falk arguably (well, almost arguably) his greatest role. But if you’re going to remake it (and that’s debatable), at least we have two possible stars: Mark Ruffalo and Natasha Lyonne. The internet has been talking up this dream project — which, we should stress, is in no serious stage of development — with some on Team Ruffalo and some on Team Lyonne. And word found its way back to the stars. And now they’re duking it out online.
This was caught by ComicBook.com, who first caught wind of rumors (which is mostly to say people online hoping that their dream will somehow become a reality) in 2014. Possibly due to everyone quarantining — and maybe because a few seasons of Columbo are streaming on Amazon Prime — that talk came back, stronger than ever. Eventually Lyonne noticed.
I’ll fight Ruffalo for it if I have to. Me and you, after class, Warriors style for Columbo. @MarkRuffalo Seems like the only reasonable way to settle this hypothetical. https://t.co/rooiodGjUQ
— natasha lyonne (@nlyonne) April 2, 2020
“I’ll fight Ruffalo for it if I have to,” Lyonne tweeted. “Me and you, after class, Warriors style for Columbo. @MarkRuffalo Seems the only reasonable way to settle this hypothetically.”
Alas, it didn’t seem like Ruffalo was putting up much of a fight.
Natasha, I think Colombo is so great a part we should all be able to play it. I want to play Agatha Christie too! https://t.co/mNX0e68PfL
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) April 5, 2020
“Natasha, I think Columbo is a great part we should all be able to play it,” Ruffalo responded. “I want to play Agatha Christie too!”
So which team are you? Although perhaps a bit more conventionally handsome than Falk (maybe), Ruffalo certainly has the right disheveled, mumbly vibe that would make him right for Lt. Frank Columbo of the LAPD. He also probably looks great in beige raincoats. However, Lyonne possesses one of Falk’s greatest qualities: His ability to throw other actors off through eccentric line readings and body language — and in turn to make his frequently super-famous prey think they’re smarter than him, in turn letting down their guard. (And, like Falk, she’s an actress one wants to watch in anything.)
But once again, there is no official Columbo reboot! And while Ruffalo and Lyonne are both worthy successors, it would be hard for anyone to top Falk, who won four Emmys for the role from 1970 through 1990, all the while balancing an illustrious film career. It’s one of the few shows entirely tailor-made around its star, who only did it when he wanted to, and even took an 11-year break after seven seasons. If we never get Ruffalo or Lyonne as television’s greatest homicide detective, we’ll always have 69 great episodes, well worth endless revisits.