The Lt. Columbo Forum

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Re: Ken Franklin's Dumping of Jim's Body

He alluded to it when speaking to Columbo. Franklin dumped the body on his own lawn so he could say it was done to send a message to him - meaning if he talked, he would end up like his partner. He then uses that to claim an alibi ("The ironic thing is, that was Jim's baby." (writing about/investigating organized crime).)

Columbo realizes that the strangeness of Franklin driving back rather than flying from San Diego must have been due to having the body in his trunk - and that does help Columbo convict him as it gives him a scent to follow. And we all know how tenacious Columbo is with even the slightest clue.

Re: Ken Franklin's Dumping of Jim's Body

The one thing that makes the "why didn't you fly?" suspicion weak is that given how air travel is today, I suspect it would have taken him *less* time to drive. But back in 1971 I suppose, you could probably still board a plane on short notice, and of course they were barely starting to put in security features.

Re: Ken Franklin's Dumping of Jim's Body

Eric Paddon
The one thing that makes the "why didn't you fly?" suspicion weak is that given how air travel is today, I suspect it would have taken him *less* time to drive. But back in 1971 I suppose, you could probably still board a plane on short notice, and of course they were barely starting to put in security features.
Here's the thing about Ken driving vs. flying. In the real world, Ken's cabin is at Big Bear Lake which is east of Los Angeles. In the Columboverse, all we know is that they have to "skirt San Diego." We don't know the exact location. Drive time from San Diego to LA is about 2 1/2 hrs. For the sake of argument, let's say that the drive time from Ken's cabin to LA is 3 hrs. That's to LA, not to the Ferris house, which would add more time. According to Flightsphere.com, the average flight time from San Diego to LA is 58 minutes. That includes time taxiing to the runway in San Diego and taxiing to the terminal in LA. In order for Ken to fly, he would have to drive into San Diego and make his way to the airport. An undisclosed amount of time since we don't know the exact location of Ken's cabin. He would have to park his car in a secured lot (I know I wouldn't park my classic Mercedes in a regular lot) and make his way to the terminal. Suppose he gets to the terminal and the next flight is booked solid and he can't get on. He has to wait 30 minutes for the next flight. Why would the flight be booked solid? We know that it would probably be midday by the time Ken gets to the airport since he picks up Ferris in the morning and spends about 3 hours driving to his cabin plus whatever time he spends in Lilly's store plus whatever time he spends killing Ferris, wrapping up his body and talking to Joanna before driving into San Diego and heading to the airport. So far, he's up to about 2 - 2+ hours before he lands in LA. He doesn't have any luggage, so he doesn't wait at baggage claim, but he needs to rent a car and anybody that has tried to rent a car at the airport without a reservation knows that this isn't a quick task. Let's say this takes about 30 minutes since he won't be the only person in line getting a car. Now he's up to about 2 1/2 hrs, give or take. Now he has to leave the airport, one of the busiest airports in the world and notoriously a pain to get out of and drive to the Ferris house, wherever it may be. I doubt the Ferris' live near the airport so let's say it takes another 30 minutes to get from the airport to the Ferris house. He's now at 3 hours. So, as Ken Franklin said, "How much time do you really save?"

Re: Ken Franklin's Dumping of Jim's Body

I agree that driving or flying back from SD may not make much of a difference. There is always a chance of traffic or bad weather on the roads but there's an equal chance of traffic/delays at the airport. The problem with Franklin driving back (at least in Columbo's mind) is that it makes him seem suspicious, as it comes across (again, to Columbo) as less than concerned AND it gives Columbo reason to suspect that Franklin drove back not to save time, but to transport the body so as to dump it on his front lawn ("There he, there IT was..."). Columbo is suspicious because of the fact that Franklin shows no real emotion - his comment above, the opening of the mail and the driving back instead of flying back all point to him as a guy who seems rather cold and calculating rather than being upset about his partner of 15 years being murdered.

Re: Ken Franklin's Dumping of Jim's Body

Flying to L.A. from San Diego, whatever the real world drawbacks may be, was a better option in the Columbo-verse. By dumping the body on his own lawn Ken was trying to reinforce the idea that the motive for the killing was due to Jim’s mafia research. As mentioned above, bringing police attention on his own home gave the already suspicious Columbo an opportunity to poke around. That’s when he noticed the opened mail, confirming his suspicions. Great episode.

Btw, how geeky am I to write: “a better option in the Columbo-verse”, lol