Columbo : a rhetoric of inquiry with resistant responders (Book, 2021) []
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Columbo : a rhetoric of inquiry with resistant responders

Author: Christyne Berzsenyi
Publisher: Bristol, UK ; Chicago, IL, USA : Intellect, 2021.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
This book is an analysis of the hit television series Columbo and the investigative methods of its eponymous main character. In the iconic detective show, which aired from 1968 to 2003, Lieutenant Columbo was known for his Socratic method of rhetorical inquiry. Feigning ignorance and employing a barrage of questions about minute details, the detective enacts a persona of "antipotency," or counter authoritativeness,  Read more...

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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Christyne Berzsenyi
ISBN: 9781789383256 1789383250 9781783209859 1783209852
OCLC Number: 1222802126
Description: xviii, 214 pages : illustrations (black and white) ; 25 cm
Contents: Part I: Understanding the lieutenant and his villains: 1. Introduction to Columbo and Columbo --
A snapshot of television and film history: Pre-Columbo --
The underestimated detective (1910) --
Scholarship and the lieutenant --
What is to come --
2. Columbo and the lieutenant: Literary influences --
The firsts in short and long detective fiction in English (1841-62) --
Fyodor Dostoevsky's lieutenant Porfiry Petrovitch: Pretenses (1886) --
Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes: genius detective --
British golden age, drawing room mysteries, the cozy (1920-40) --
3. Characterology and character-based detective TV shows --
The lieutenant with his sergeants --
4. Columbo: A blend of genres, influences, and deviations --
Columbo, the suspect charmer --
Suspects as resistant responders --
Charming the stinging villains --
Two sides of Columbo presented on a case-by-case basis --
Columbo and the ancient Greek virtue of Sophrosyne --
Looking for the right word: Antipotency --
The underestimated detective with the intelligent villains: Socrates and Columbo --
5. The Columbo killer --
Classical Greek and Christian villainy in Columbo --
Rhetoric and villainy --
Villainy embodied, villainy experienced --
Audience-villain relationships: Antipathy, ambipathy, and sympathy --
Villain types and audiences-Villain relationships examined --
6. Columbo, women of his investigations, and the equal rights movement --
Columbo's female villains: Ladylike but lethal --
Columbo-femme fatale --
Female accomplices --
Columbo plays the underestimating, traditional male chauvinist --
Part II: Columbo's method of investigation: 7. Crime scene investigation and ratiocination --
8. The working cop's habit of asking questions: A rhetoric of inquiry --
Columbo's leading and misleading questions in rhetorical inquiry --
Elenchus and Aporia are translations from the Greek --
9. Killing them softly: Irritating the suspects in seven modes --
Obligating the suspect with appeasement pressure and the extrication of any threat --
Irritating the villains: Use of excessive flattery and false modesty --
Irritating the villains: Repeated, disingenuous apologies --
Irritating the villains: Wasting the suspect's time --
Irritating the villains: Circumstantial speech and storytelling --
Irritating the villains: Doggedly hounding them for a melt down --
Irritating the villains: False exits: "Oh, and one more thing" --
When villains realize that the lieutenant is onto them --
Special cases of direct confrontation: The lieutenant gets mad --
10. Columbo closes the case: Capture the consequences --
Columbo: Virtuous or villainous? --
Columbo: The denouement --
11. Television detectives influenced by Lieutenant Columbo --
Law and Order: Criminal Intent: Detective Robert Goren --
Lieutenant Columbo's possible future --
Spoofing the lieutenant --
12. Using Columbo's method in our everyday lives --
13. "Just one more thing": Columbo and spectatorship.
Responsibility: Christyne Berzsenyi.


An analysis of the hit television series Columbo specifically looking at the famous detective's investigative method of rhetorical enquiry. Through a barrage of questions about tiny details and by  Read more...


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