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 »

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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 girlfriend, Linda Johnson, is shown in many scenes wearing a red dress with a pattern of the "Scarlet Letter" clearly shown on it. See more »


Columbo's drawing of the crime scene changes between shots. The most noticeable difference is the X marking the position of the body, which switches between having diagonal lines and vertical/horizontal lines. See more »


Lt. Columbo: You know, isn't it funny the way people react under the stress of a situation?
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La Dona e Mobile
(from the opera "Rigoletto")
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi
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User Reviews

One of the best
18 March 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Columbo has always been one of my favourites, and while Candidate for Crime is not quite in my top 10 favourite episodes of the series, but it is for me in the top end. Like with all Columbos it is beautifully filmed with striking locations and slick photography, with an atmospheric score. The writing is witty and intelligent, with the comedy well-judged and delivered without feeling too padded out, and Candidate for Crime has one of the cleverest and most interesting story- lines of any Columbo episode. The pacing is fine, it is not fast-paced strictly speaking but the quality of the story made that not matter at all. Peter Falk is exceptional as Columbo, the role that I will always remember him most for, and Jackie Cooper is wonderfully stern and smarmy. The two of them work really well together. The support cast are solid, and the ending left me satisfied. Overall, one of the better episodes of one of the best detective series of all time. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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