The eighteenth episode of Columbo was titled Candidate for Crime and was the third episode of the show’s third season. A would-be senator looks to convince Columbo that he is a victim, not a killer. In this podcast Gerry and Iain look at the schemes, slip-ups and shocks that lead the Lieutenant to his culprit.
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Jackie Cooper takes centre stage in Candidate for Crime as Nelson Hayward, a candidate in the California senatorial election. Cooper may be best remembered for his role as Perry White in the first four Superman movies, but was a child star before that, nominate for an Oscar in 1931 as a nine-year-old for his performance in Skippy. Hayward’s unfortunate victim, Harry Stone, was portrayed by the versatile Ken Swofford, perhaps best known for playing Major in 1991’s Thelma and Louise.
Tisha Sterling and Joanne Linville as Hayward’s mistress, Linda Robinson, and wife, Vickie, respectively, were compelling as two diametrically opposed characters playing critical roles in the candidate’s private and public lives. There was also an early appearance for the director’s daughter, Katey Segal, who would go on to find prominence in Married with Children and later Futurama and Sons of Anarchy.
Like Any Old Port in a Storm, the episode was written by Larry Cohen. This time the teleplay was composed by Irv Pearlberg, best known for his runs as associate producer on Dr. Kildare and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. This was the second and final Columbo show behind the camera for director Boris Sagal, who also helmed Season 2’s The Greenhouse Jungle.
We didn’t ask any particular questions during this episode, but please chip in with your thoughts on any aspect of Candidate for Crime below, or find us on Twitter at @columbopodcast.
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Candidate for Crime was released in 1973. It is 93 minutes long and originally aired on the NBC network. It can be viewed on Netflix in the United States and is available on DVD in other countries, including a comprehensive box set of all eleven seasons released by Universal.