The Lt. Columbo Forum

An area where fans from all over can ask each other questions and voice their own ideas and opinions on anything Columbo.

This Forum is fondly dedicated in memory of  "cassavetes45"  (Carleen Zink),
Columbo's greatest fan and a great friend to us all.
The Lt. Columbo Forum
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Closest to Getting Away With It

I've thought about this question for a while now, but never got around to posting it (forgive me if it's been posted previously)

Which criminal do you think came the closest to "getting away with it"?

I have my thoughts, but I'll wait for a while and see what everyone else thinks.


Re: Closest to Getting Away With It

I'd vote for Dr. Barry Mayfield - it seems like Columbo was genuinely ready to give up and only thought of the solution after he'd left the room!

Re: Closest to Getting Away With It

Funny thing about that one though is all they had to do was plant someone beside Dr. Mayfield during the surgery with a court order that he had to hand over the suture that he removed immediately. They had a search warrant anyway. But then we wouldn’t have had the exciting ending in Dr. Mayfield’s office would we? 😀

Re: Closest to Getting Away With It

Another thing about Mayfield, his intended victim lived. So he went through all that, including two completed murders, for nothing but to get Columbo off his back. His “almost getting away with it” always rang a little hollow for me.

Re: Closest to Getting Away With It

In a way, one of them goes to both extremes, and that's Beth Chadwick.
She's about the only one to confess to the killing (though not as a murder) at the very beginning, but she's about the only one you see being cleared in a courtroom!
So I can't help liking it when she tells Columbo to stop coming to see her. She says it very "firmly," and you can hardly blame her.

Re: Closest to Getting Away With It

I think there's two types of answer to this question. One we see on screen and one we can only speculate about.

I've often wondered how many of Columbo's cases would have collapsed in court.

In the case of Barry Mayfield for example, what would Mayfield's defence have made of the incriminating evidence turning up in Columbo's pocket?

Columbo was always good at finding means, motive and opportunity but in some cases you never actually see him prove that person carried out the murder.

Re: Closest to Getting Away With It

Even though I'm one of its defenders, there's MIND OVER MAYHEM.
In spite of all the blunders Marshall Cahill makes, what makes him confess is Columbo arresting his son on a trumped-up charge (which he later ADMITS is a trumped-up charge), so why WOULD'T Marshall confess? (A little like Ned Diamond confessing to cover for Grace Wheeler, except that it's covering for someone who's actually innocent.) And according to Columbo, he probably couldn't get Marshall any other way, as in evidence.

Re: Closest to Getting Away With It

Paul Hanlon comes to mind. He had Columbo stumped for awhile. The scene of Columbo sitting in the empty stands of the stadium is pretty iconic.