Friday, November 17, 2017



There were several murderers in the run of the show who originally killed more than one victim - Tommy Brown, Roger Stanford, and Ruth Lytton come to mind.  And there were others who later killed a second time as part of their plan to get away with the first murder - Paul Galesko, Graham McVeigh, and technically Riley Greenleaf.

But there were far too many others who had to keep killing in order to evade suspicion - Viveca Scott, Dale Kingston, Ken Franklin, Dr. Mark Collier, Dr. Bart Kepple, Max Barsini, the Paris twins, and the acting team of Frame and Stanhope and so on.  Of course, it didn't help them at all, not with the Lieutenant on the case.

And even among those who only killed one victim, there are indications that they would have done it again in a heartbeat.  (Preferably somebody else's.)  Not that they were blood-thirsty maniacs, but having committed this most heinous of crimes once, they might have found it easier to get what they wanted by disposing of somebody in their way.

My list is of those killers who didn't come right out and claim that they would kill again.  So I'm dismissing the very first killer, Dr. Ray Flemming in the pilot movie "Prescription Murder".  When he thought that Joan Hudson had committed suicide, he reveled in his hypothetical bragging to Columbo that had she not died then, surely something might have happened to her in the future.

And I'm not counting Dr. Barry Mayfield whose original victim, Dr. Edmund Hidemann, never ended up dying.  But if Columbo didn't get so close to the truth, it might still have happened.

So here are six of the 'Columbo' murderers who might have killed again if Lt. Columbo hadn't stopped them.....


Potential victim: Karen Fielding

Carsini's personal secretary had been with him for at least a dozen years and had been in love with him for almost that long.  When he learned from Columbo that she had lied for him to provide an alibi, Carsini chafed under the suggestion from Karen that they should get married even if he didn't love her back.  You can see he was almost physically repulsed from her advance to kiss him.  (It could be that he was a closeted homosexual, not that there's anything wrong with that.)  So if he played it cool and didn't start destroying all of those wine bottles, Columbo would have not been able to charge him... unless Karen spilled the beans....


Potential victim: Elizabeth Van Wyck

I never considered this one before, but the last time I watched the episode, I saw how feral Harold got when his wife suggested that she would take a stronger position in the running of the company.  Harold did not kill her mother just to see his power grab be lost to Elizabeth and her dim bulb brother Arthur.  If Columbo never noticed that evidence in the frame of the video and Van Wyck got away with the murder of Margaret Meadis, Harold might have engineered an electronics method to do away with his wife if she did try to take control of the company.


Potential victim: Victoria Hayward

Hayward was disgusted with his wife and her drinking abuses and he was bored with their marriage.  Lithe and lovely Linda Johnson wanted to replace her "boss" Vicky in Hayward's marriage bed.  But it was apparent that Vicky would not go quietly with a quiet divorce.  It would have been acrimonious and she could have dredged up the suspicions behind Harry Stone's murder again.  (I'm assuming that if Hayward never set up that second "assassination attempt" to strengthen his alibi, he could have evaded Columbo.)  And yes, I believe he did win the election, so if Vicky wanted to cause him trouble, it would have had an adverse effect on his try for a second term in the Senate.  Plus, there was that community property that I'm sure he would have much rather kept.  So when he either got too bored in the arrangement or she was hinting that she was going to start throwing the mud, Hayward might have resurrected the same plot that helped him get rid of Harry.  Perhaps he would have blown up the beach house with her inside and blamed it on the same underworld figures who he claimed killed Harry.


Potential victim: Martha Lamarr

We tap into the Rogues' Gallery of the ABC era of 'Columbo' with this selection.  If the Lieutenant had never been able to figure out the clue supplied by the chimp, and Leon had been able to evade arrest for the murder of his nephew, Leon would have begun thinking of disposing of his wife Martha in order to live openly with Freddy's widow.  And who knows?  An accident might have been arranged for Nancy Brower as well should she come to realize she was the true heir of that lottery money without the prompting from Columbo.


Potential victim: Lt. Frank Columbo!
When Columbo was getting dangerously close to identifying Halperin as the killer of his wife and as an accomplice in the murder of his friend's wife, the Police Commissioner could have called on the resources at his disposal to find a contract killer, a "disposal man", to put a hit on the rumpled investigator.  (Sid Nylund, a future member of the TVXOHOF based on only one 'McCloud' appearance, could have been consulted by the Commissioner for suggestions.)  Odds were in Columbo's favor, but Halperin was one of the most dangerous killers he ever had to face!  (There had been attempts on Columbo's life in the past, at least four I can think of; and I believe there's another killer who might have been in the same situation and with the same available options that Halperin had.  I'll leave that for you to figure out.)


Potential victim: Veronica

It pains me to list the great mystery novelist, but I can't accept that claim she made to the Lieutenant once he nailed her guilt: 

"I don't suppose you would consider making an exception in my case? 

An old woman, quite harmless, all in all."

If Columbo had never discovered Edward's dying clue (although eventually somebody would have), and Abigail had been able to continue with her ocean voyage, I think she would have committed her next murder during the trip.  What better opportunity for getting rid of her assistant Veronica?  The younger woman made it clear that she knew Abigail had murdered her late niece's husband - it was the reason she got to go on the cruise!  So getting her drunk would make Veronica more pliant and easier to push over the railing for an old lady like Abigail.

So that's my list, limited as always to my "Super Six".  But maybe I've forgotten somebody whom you think should be considered as well.

Tell me, Team Toobworld - who do you think would have killed again if Columbo had never caught them?


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