There are only a handful of television characters who become unforgettable icons and whose fame lasts beyond the expiry of their programs.

Like Ralph Kramden, Sheriff Andy Taylor, Mister Spock, Tony Soprano and Archie Bunker, Lt. Columbo was a legendary figure from TV.

Peter Falk, who played the rumpled detective, died Thursday night in Los Angeles at the age of 83.

“Columbo” was a very unique crime-detective series in that it eschewed violence and said little or nothing about the main character’s personal life – in fact, Columbo’s first name was never made clear. Although he sometime spoke about his wife, she was never seen nor did we ever learn her name.

Another odd twist in the show was that it took the whole “murder mystery” convention and turned it upside down. In “Columbo” there was no such “mystery” -- for the viewer knew exactly who the killer was.

The fun was in watching the Lieutenant demolish the suspect’s alibis and build his case piece-by-piece.

Columbo also wore a crummy raincoat, smoked cheap stogies, and didn’t seem very bright, But all that was a deception – he was brilliant and always figured out how and why a murder was committed.

Here are some pictures of this TV icon.