There are plenty you're supposed to like - never for the murder itself, as Columbo says in that one scene - and ones that you don't like even apart from the murder, but sometimes it goes the opposite way. I can't help liking Milo Janus and Paul Gerard a little, and of course Leslie Williams. There are even some victims I'm more fond of than you're meant to be, like Ric Carsini, and when it comes to would-be victims, Jerry Parks.
At the other extreme, some people here have said they're not really able to like Abigail Mitchell or Adrian Carsini as much as the story wants you to.
Are there some "sympathetic" ones that you don't sympathize with, or the opposite?
Max Barsini is on my hate list. 3-timing womanizer who kills out of fear. Of course his harem falls apart at the rnd which pleased me to no end.
Nora Chandler. To me she was likeable even though she was a killer.
I liked Col. Rumford -- maybe im partial because i really love all P. McGoohans episodes
Tommy Brown. Yes he,killed 2 ppl but i really liked him too
I also liked Patrick McGoohan (Col. Rumford). I felt sorry for him because he worked so hard at the academy and William Haynes was going to take it away.
I realize Dick Van **** (Paul Galesko) was a rotten man but I still see him in "Mary Poppins" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." How can Paul Galesko be that mean?
Paul Gerard and Dale Kingston I found them to be super creeps.
One character that seemed widely liked by fans (and in the script itself) is Tommy Brown from Swan Song, played by Johnny Cash. I think it's Cash's charm and identity that blurs the real truth - that he is perhaps the most vile of the whole bunch.
In the episode, he is seen not only killing the religious leader who secured his release from prison, but also the quite innocent underage girl he was repeatedly victimizing. Double murderer. Serial rapist. Even finds time to de-fund a charitable undertaking + sought out a fresh, new young victim while plotting it all. Yet he's considered one of the most likable ones. I always find that funny.
Is there a more despicable Columbo killer I'm forgetting?
These three ladies are just all class and I would vote to acquit them if I were a member of the jury.