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 »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Robert Karnes, who plays Sergeant Vernon in this episode, plays Sergeant Grover in the Season 2 episode "The Greenhouse Jungle". See more »


Haywood puts the gun in the briefcase and turns the tumblers to lock it, but later he takes the briefcase out of the safe and the briefcase is not locked. See more »


Nelson Hayward: Someone is trying to kill me. Now, that is a fact, isn't it? I don't know what the police are up to. Harry was killed driving my car in my clothes and in my garage. Do I have to get gunned down in the streets before anybody believes it?
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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

Such folks used to be executed by monarchs
30 September 2012 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Murder mystery mixes with political drama as Columbo is assigned the homicide of a campaign manager of a candidate for the US Senate. This one has Jackie Cooper as the tough law and order Senate candidate who kills his tough as nails campaign manager Ken Swofford.

Truth be told neither of these guys is any great loss to public life or the human race. Swofford's an overbearing character who might be good at his job, but really sees himself as the real power behind the throne. Such folks used to be executed by monarchs when they overstepped and candidate Cooper is following in that tradition. Especially after Swofford tells him to rid himself of newly acquired mistress Tisha Sterling and be a happily wed All American husband to Joanne Linville.

Some of Cooper's intricate plans show this was something he'd been contemplating for some time. Still Peter Falk manages to put it all together as he always does.

Vito Scotti has a memorable bit as Cooper's tailor who provides a key clue. As does the fact first noted at the scene by Falk of the existence of a broken street light. Those two small items go a long way in bringing Cooper to justice.

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