Emmett Clayton was a world champion chess player who murdered his Russian rival because the man would most likely beat him in a highly publicized chess match. But Lt. Columbo was able to prove that he had committed the crime.
One thing that Columbo might have learned from Clayton (although it's more likely he already knew this) was to always be a few moves ahead of your opponent. Because of this, he may have had an alternate plan in mind when he was investigating the death of a man who was originally believed to be A.J. Henderson, but proved to be a secret agent code-named "Geronimo".
Ultimately he nailed the murderer, a double-agent named Nelson "Curtis" Brenner (known as Number 12 in "The Village"), with evidence that proved he had to be in a certain place at a certain time - which destroyed his alibi.
However, the Lieutenant may have had another option ready to play just in case Brenner found some way to weasel out of that proof.
Unlike his boss (Chief of Homicide Amos Burke) who eventually developed Alzheimer's and couldn't remember when murder cases were repeated, Columbo would have remembered one of his earlier cases, the Chadwick murder, in which Beth Chadwick killed her domineering older brother. Eventually she was undone by the testimony of the man she loved, Peter Hamilton, who proved to be more decent than she gave him credit for.
Peter Hamilton bore a strong resemblance to "Geronimo"; one might almost have assumed that they were twins.
With the blessing of Secret Agent X-9, the CIA chief at the time, Lt. Columbo might have considered using Mr. Hamilton in a ploy to convince Nelson Brenner that the victim was actually still alive, that his death was all a CIA cover-up in order to prove Brenner was a double agent also working as "Steinmetz". Hamilton's supposedly secret whereabouts would be somehow leaked to Brenner in order to draw him out - so that he would be caught red-handed trying to finish the job.
But of course, there was no need for this deception to be put into action.
This theory doesn't serve to link two series together; it's already established both episodes are connected through 'Columbo', O'Bviously. But it's just one of the Hat Squad tributes I hope to be putting up in memory of Leslie Nielsen, who played both Peter Hamilton and "Geronimo". (On Saturday and Sunday I hope to devote most of the Video Weekend to him.)
'Columbo' - "Lady In Waiting" & "Identity Crisis" & "The Most Dangerous Match"
'The Prisoner' - "Schizoid Man"
'Burke's Law' - "Who Killed Merlin The Great?" & "Who Killed Alexander The Great?"
I was tempted to make the claim that Peter Hamilton himself was the secret agent Geronimo, but where was the sport in that?