Columbo (1971–2003)
16 user 4 critic

Candidate for Crime 

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.



(teleplay by) (as Irving Pearlberg), (teleplay by) | 5 more credits »

On Disc

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Vickie Hayward
Linda Johnson
Harry Stone
Sgt. Vernon
Jay Varela ...
Sgt. Rojas
Deputy Commissioner
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

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Release Date:

4 November 1973 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The children's song "This Old Man" appears in almost every episode of the Columbo series, sometimes as background music, but most often with Lt. Columbo singing, humming, or whistling the tune. "Candidate for Crime" is the only episode where the murderer (Jackie Cooper as political candidate 'Nelson Hayward') is heard using it, in this case whistling it as he prepares to film a campaign commercial. See more »


When Columbo speaks to Linda Johnson to introduce himself, a woman with a white woollen hat with holes in passes in front of them. In the next shot the same woman is having a conversation with someone behind Columbo and Miss Johnson. 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.
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This Old Man
Traditional children's song hummed by Jackie Cooper before TV commercial.
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User Reviews

Simply Columbo
26 June 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This Columbo episode is one of the best episodes of this popular long running series. It is based on a California Senate campaign. I loved to watch this one to see Katey Sagal as the candidate's secretary, years before her Married with Children fame. I enjoy watching Joanna Linville's performance as the drunken candidate's wife. Columbo is at his greatest in these classic episodes. The plot is well written and sensible to understanding the motives and actions of the murder. One of the best scenes is when Columbo goes to an exclusive tailor in Beverly Hills and ask about buying a suit. They recommend Sears or some mainstream department store. After all, Columbo can't afford a tailor made suit on a detective's salary.

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