Lily LA Sanka in Murder By the Book comes across as mad as a box of frogs. Some of the angles that Spielberg uses to capture her look when she is blackmailing Ken Franklin makes her look completely evil.
Even though she's both a corporate spy and a blackmailer (!), Shirley Blaine somehow manages to seem like a "fragile" person also. But Sian Barbara-Allen's characters almost always seem a little like that, so it's a little hard to tell.
There's of course that hug that she gives Viveca after the blackmail! I know some people read an obvious meaning into that, but if that ISN'T the meaning (and I don't know that it is), then it's a pretty strange moment.
In Ashes to Ashes we have Chuck Houstons wife whose elevator doesnt reach the top floor as well as being a drunk.
I also question the mental capacity of Mrs. Stafford from An Exercise in Fatality.
"Mr. Franklin, you hoo, oooover heeere!" LOL
In regard too "Suitable for Framing," not only was Edna Matthews weird, but we can't forget Tracy O'Connor. She was very insecure when it came to Dale Kingston.
Mrs. Peck is a bit obsessive-compulsive in "Double Shock". Neil Cahill is unstable in "Mind Over Mayhem" (he's seeing a psychiatrist and he lied about his scientific achievements). The entire gamut of Joan Allenby's co-workers in "Sex and the Married Detective".
Hey Fred... Fred?... FRED!!!! (one of my favorite scenes from the bizarro world of "Last Salute to the Commodore")
Yes, Fred, I agree, Mrs. Clay wasn't stable even when she wasn't drunk ("I don't know where I've been for years.")
Mrs Peck.....Your rubbing it in , your rubbing it in !! lol
Columbo: Uh-oh. Now, wait a minute. Mrs. Peck I want you to remain calm.
Mrs. Peck: Out
Columbo: This goes back on very easily
Mrs. peck: Out!
Columbo: This is part of the knob. Just tell the repairman...
Mrs. Peck: OUT!!!
LOL. Love her scenes. Revealing also about Columbo's character - it's here where he admits he's not a tidy person - a habit he's tried to break ("I've tried for many years... that's just my nature") but can't seem to do it. Wonderful scenes.
"Etude in Black" - Mrs. Benedict. In my opinion, she wasn't all there. She didn't have a very good self-esteem when it came to her husband, and herself. An example is when her mother ordered for her when she was in the restaurant. When she asked Alex why he married her.
I agree this is a good topic.
Lisa Chambers in "Double Shock" - "the lovely but not too brilliant young lady" who falls for the lawyer's trick and then falls to her death.
Marcia Dalton in "A Stitch in Crime" - Sharon Martin's roommate who is "inner directed", cures allergies with sips of water and takes quick peeks in mirrors during murder investigations.
Gloria West in "Greenhouse Jungle" - "friend" of Tony who thinks she's going to outfox both Jarvis Goodwin and Lt. Columbo
Anyone who has a problem with "New Age" type people (I don't) might find Lisa Chambers at least a little unstable just because of that.
Arlene Martel causes me to have such a thing for Gloria West that I can't be very objective about her. Though she does seem pretty vindictive toward Cathy (even if she does believe she's guilty of the murder).