Hayward is really dumb to set off a firecracker on the porch like he did. That would have left a bunch of debris. I'm pretty sure this has been discussed on this forum before. But for a man with a reputation such as his, he made a lot of stupid mistakes.
I suppose Hayward could have thrown the firecrackers over the balcony, but overall it was a poor plan with too much risk, especially once Columbo became suspicious. I guess Harry really did do all of the thinking for Hayward, but he couldn’t ask Harry to plan his own murder, lol.
I think the scene in Hayward’s office is a little too dragged out (Officially we have nothing. Unofficially also, etc.). But I love how it ends when Hayward becomes furious that Columbo says that Harry was the intended victim all along. After Hayward screams at him refusing to believe the evidence, Columbo says: “I thought you’d be relieved. I mean if it was me, I have to admit I’d be relieved”.
It caught Hayward off guard and let Columbo know he was on the right track.
Pete, I always thought that Hayward should've thrown the firecracker over the balcony too. I just rewatched that scene on YouTube just to be sure and yeah, idiot dropped it right on the floor. He deserved to get caught!