Columbo: Candidate for Crime (1973)

Joanne Linville and Peter Falk in Columbo: Candidate for Crime (1973)

Columbo's on the Campaign Trail

Senatorial candidate Nelson Hayward (Jackie Cooper) has had enough of his campaign manager Harry Stone (Ken Swofford) bossing him about and knowing all his secrets including the fact he is having an affair with his secretary Linda Johnson (Tisha Sterling). It is why with the police already providing protection due to threats on his life that Nelson sneaks away and murders Harry at his beach house before heading home to his wife Vickie's (Joanne Linville) surprise party. But when Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) attends the crime scene something doesn't feel right and when something doesn't feel right he can't stop until his suspicions are confirmed.

To be honest "Columbo: Candidate for Crime" is one of my least favourite episodes of "Columbo" but even one which doesn't entertain as much as others is still good. And the reason why "Columbo: Candidate for Crime" is still good is in the detail of Columbo's sleuthing. For example he notices that the victim was wearing heavy duty clothing and shoes, the sort of clothes which last for ever but then uncharacteristically had an easy to break watch on his wrist which makes him question whether it was switched after he was killed to give a false time of death. There are a lot more of these into the mind of Columbo moments and it is these moments which make this one still entertaining.

Jackie Cooper in Columbo: Candidate for Crime (1973)

But for me "Columbo: Candidate for Crime" feels like it is out of synch starting with the moments of Columbo comedy. Usually the humour flows through out an episode but here it doesn't instead what you get suddenly is a humorous scene thrown in such as when Columbo is pulled over by traffic cops and they inspect his famous dilapidated car. You almost get a feeling that after this one has been shot someone said it wasn't as amusing as it should be and extra comical scenes were added. But it isn't just the humour feeling thrown in there is also the performance of Jackie Cooper who comes across like he is a bull in a china shop with what I can only describe as a loud performance, one which constantly feels like it is trying to steal every scene he is in.

What this all boils down to is that whilst "Columbo: Candidate for Crime" is still entertaining it just doesn't come together as well as some of the other episodes with the humour often feeling like an after thought whilst Jackie Cooper is in full scene stealing mode.