She wasn't really the Lieutenant's wife. She couldn't be. Continuity-wise, virtually nothing worked. MRS. COLUMBO was invented when Peter Falk was having behind-the-scenes issues with his legendary series. Actress Kate Mulgrew, whom I had never before seen, played the role and was absolutely nothing like one would have expected from Columbo's mentions of his unseen wife over the years. It was a good show. It really was, hampered only by its forced attempt at an association with a better show. The fans just couldn't accept her as Falk's life partner, either, so the name was changed to downplay the connection. In fact, the name was changed several times as seen below. This didn't exactly help viewers keep up with the show either. After a suitable period to forget this exercise in ridiculous marketing, Mulgrew was given a chance to redeem herself as Captain Janeway of the starship Voyager...which she did admirably.