I know what you mean about Alvin, but Don Gordon always makes me like him. And again, even if he is scamming Paul Galesko a little himself, he's such a "babe in the woods" when it comes to Paul that you feel bad for him for that reason.
Sometimes I wonder if that detail about Alvin scamming Galesko was put in to be a clue to Columbo that Galesko just picked an easy sap for his own purposes instead of somebody who was truly reformed/reformable...along the lines of Dale Kingston in “Suitable for Framing” attending and reviewing the art show featuring Sam Franklin’s inferior work. That provided Dale an alibi, but under normal circumstances, Dale never would have wasted his time there. Maybe it’s similar with Galesko? If Galesko were sincerely interested in helping a convict turn his life around, he never would have picked Alvin?