i guess that’s why i love him

I got on Google a few minutes ago and did a search on “Columbo + OCD.” I wanted to see if MM.com showed up anywhere near the top. I thought that it might. I didn’t think that there would be too many other websites that talked about both Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Peter Falk to the extent that I did… It didn’t occur to me, however, that there could be people out there theorizing that the character of police detective Columbo could himself suffer from OCD. Well, at least one site did just that. Here’s a clip from the article that I found:

In addition to his multiple phobias, there is evidence that Columbo may suffer from underlying mental or personality disease, including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and some Paranoid features.

Columbo’s wife complains that he is “compulsive” about his need to “tie up loose ends” (in the episode “Lady In Waiting”), and we see this behavior of Columbo in every episode. Columbo describes this compulsion in various ways, like: “It’s just one of those things that gets in my head and keeps rolling around in there like a marble” (“Double Exposure”).

“OCD” might also explain little quirks like Columbo’s eating the same thing for lunch every day, or his inability to quit cigars.

Undoubtedly, this bothers Mrs Columbo, and interferes with his enjoyment of life. “I worry,” he says. “I mean, little things bother me. I’m a worrier. I mean, little insignificant details – I lose my appetite. I can’t eat. My wife, she says to me, ‘You know, you can really be a pain’.” (“Ransom For A Dead Man”)

It’s weird, but I’ve never considered the possibility that he could have OCD, which is odd because I’ve spoken with people at length about the TV show “Monk” and the fact that the lead character on that show, another police detective (or, to be more precise, a former police detective), suffers openly from OCD.

When I think about it, a lot of the stuff does sound like OCD… his eating the same thing for lunch, his constant worrying, his wearing the same clothes, his unique way of looking at things. It makes since. It just never occurred to me.

Maybe, subconsciously, I always knew though. Maybe, at least in part, that’s why I loved him since I was a kid. Maybe without even knowing it, I was patterning myself after him, using him as an role model for my budding OCD… I didn’t have a rumpled trench coat, but I did wear the same black windbreaker every day of my high school career.

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