Columbo: Season 3, Episode 3

Candidate for Crime (4 Nov. 1973)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 937 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 4 critic

Senatorial candidate Nelson Hayward murders his domineering campaign manager, staging it to appear that Hayward himself was the intended victim of a mob hit gone wrong. Columbo hits the campaign trail to catch the killer.



(teleplay) (as Irving Pearlberg) , (teleplay), 5 more credits »
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Title: Candidate for Crime (04 Nov 1973)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Vickie Hayward
Tisha Sterling ...
Linda Johnson
Harry Stone
Robert Karnes ...
Sgt. Vernon
Jay Varela ...
Sgt. Rojas
Regis Cordic ...
Deputy Commissioner
Sandy Kenyon ...
Mario Gallo ...
Dr. Perenchio
Jude Farese ...
Highway Patrolman
Clete Roberts ...
TV Anchor Man
Angelo Grisanti ...
1st Detective


Nelson Hayward is running for the senate as a man tough on crime. His dictatorial campaign manager, Harry Stone, orders the candidate dump his mistress, backing up his demand with threats to expose the politician's shady past. Stone little guesses that his own publicity-minded lie about anonymous killers threatening the politician's life will lead Hayward to murder him and blame it on the invented assailants. Hayward sets up a tricky alibi for himself around a surprise birthday party for his wife. No one suspects the clever deception except that annoyingly observant Italian-American cop in the rumpled raincoat - the redoubtable Lt. Columbo. Written by J. Spurlin / revised by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

4 November 1973 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Released on French television (TF1) on 18-12-1976 under the title of "COLUMBO. Candidat au crime". See more »


Although Columbo takes the suspicious bullet out of the drywall, the hole is still no bigger than the size of the entrance hole. See more »


Harris: You ever, uh, consider getting another car?
Lt. Columbo: I got another car. My wife drives it, but that's nothin' special. Just transportation.
See more »


La Dona e Mobile
(from the opera "Rigoletto")
composed by Giuseppe Verdi
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User Reviews

Candidate for one of the best in the series!
6 December 2004 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

A vintage Columbo episode that pits him against a candidate for the US senate (played by Jackie Cooper) who murders his domineering, heavy-handed campaign manager.

On reflection, this is a highly effective addition to the series. The tension is efficiently created and maintained through excellent pacing: Columbo's progressive unbalancing of all of the people involved in the love-triangle (murderer, murderer's wife and murderer's lover) is effectively interwoven with the tension evoked by a soon-to-be-decided election.

There is plenty of wonderful interplay between Columbo and murderer: the balance of power see-saws intermittently, as the murderer offers one or two sharp answers to Columbo's questions before Columbo's intuitive nature proves too difficult to overcome.

Jackie Cooper gives an excellently stern-faced performance as the murderer, perfectly exhibiting the dubious sincerity that often riddles the image of politicians. In the end, the script-writer cleverly convinces the viewer that the murderer's desire to be become a US senator has been overtaken by the need to expel Columbo's suspicions about the whole case.

Undoubtedly, Columbo is handed to the case by a a somewhat impetuous act, but this a credible resolution given the desperation that the murderer feels, in order to revitalise the theory that he has been the murder target all along.

In conclusion, a decisively scripted, superlative Columbo story which is strong in all departments and is certainly one of the best in the long-running series.

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