Columbo (1971–2003)
19 user 5 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.


Boris Sagal


Irv Pearlberg (teleplay by) (as Irving Pearlberg), Alvin R. Friedman (teleplay by) | 5 more credits »

On Disc

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Jackie Cooper ... Nelson Hayward
Joanne Linville ... Vickie Hayward
Tisha Sterling ... Linda Johnson
Ken Swofford ... Harry Stone
Robert Karnes ... Sgt. Vernon
Jay Varela ... Sgt. Rojas
Vito Scotti ... Chadwick
Regis Cordic ... Deputy Commissioner
Sandy Kenyon ... Harris
Jack Riley ... Director
Mario Gallo ... Dr. Perenchio
Jude Farese Jude Farese ... Highway Patrolman
Clete Roberts ... TV Anchor Man
Angelo Grisanti 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


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

4 November 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Candidat au crime See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


French title : "Candidat au crime". See more »


The plastic cover on the coat, which has been delivered to the senator's campaign office, changes position between shots. Columbo changes position as well, whilst looking at the coat. See more »


[Campaign manager Harry Stone insists that Congressional candidate Nelson Hayward leave his mistress]
Nelson Hayward: Harry, I need her!
Harry Stone: You don't need anybody but me! You can get rid of anybody but me, because I know where the bodies are buried, Nels. I buried 'em for you!
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Referenced in Columbo: Publish or Perish (1974) See more »


La Dona e Mobile
(from the opera "Rigoletto")
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Quality scripting in this Columbo story
22 August 2016 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

CANDIDATE FOR CRIME, an episode from season three of Columbo, is one of the best I've seen. The strengths of the episode lie not in anything out of the ordinary - because this is as typically-plotted an episode as you're likely to get - but in the quality of the script, which is very strong. Peter Falk gives possibly his best performance as the detective in this one, looking very crumpled, shuffling around, and appearing constantly humble. It's a tour-de-force performance and one that's matched by former child actor Jackie Cooper as the delightfully haunted guest villain, a sweaty individual who seems to spend half the time looking over his shoulder in fear.

The opening murder sequence is well handled and over with quickly, benefiting from Ken Swofford's fine acting as the victim. Joanne Linville is excellent as Cooper's drunken wife. There are the requisite number of clues and scenes of the detective doing what he does best, hounding his suspect and those who hold information. It's also one of those stories where the murderer compounds his crime by going on to do further actions, which makes for an excellent climax which had me laughing out loud in glee. CANDIDATE FOR CRIME is top-tier Columbo and one for the ages.

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