I didn't hear about that but that's great.
Of course Beth Chadwick is almost in a category by herself, because she's acquitted at the very beginning. So whenever she tells Columbo to stop bothering her, she's on really solid ground.
Is it ever made clear why Paul just doesn't divorce his wife and walk away? Staging a kidnapping and then a double murder would surely not be the answer however much of a hell hound his wife was?
As for the question at hand, there are a number of Columbo murderers who are only caught through self incrimination.
Paul Bremmer in Death Lends a Hand, Kay Freestone in Make me a perfect murder and Oliver Brandt for example, all needed to do nothing but sit tight and they may well have got away with murder die to lack of evidence.
In a further line of thinking, I've often wondered how many cases,had they have come to court would have been acquitted?
99% of A Stitch in Crime but the denouement is a little shaley. A defence lawyer would have a field day with the supposed vital piece of incriminating evidence having been found in the arresting officers pocket when every witness in the room saw absolutely no evidence of dissolvable thread being used.
I think a significant number of Columbo's arrests would have walked free from court.
Here's a few.
1. Brenner. He certainly had "the juice" to get away with it IF it wasn't for his timing blunder. I wonder what the director thought after he got arrested. Probably wanted to sign Columbo up for his own team.
2. Elliott Blake was boarding the plane to his new life when he was intercepted.
3. Lauren Stanton had to confess in order to be convicted. Of course had she not done that the police would have continued to harass the hell out of her daughter
4. As mentioned, Dr. Mayfield came extremely close to getting away with it. All he had to do when Columbo shut the door was remove the sutures from the pocket of the OR suit and hide them somewhere else quickly and that would have been the end of that story even when Columbo came back in the room.
Oh and one more. Eric Prince. From Ashes to Ashes. The evidence that Columbo needed was in the helicopter on its way to be spread over the ocean. If that would have occurred, Prince is home free
The way the scene is filmed, Abigail Mitchell has plenty of time to drop those car keys before Columbo approaches. Even if he saw her do that, I'm not sure if even divers could've found them.
(Of course, he would've still found that piece of the title page and the message from Edmund.)
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How about Troubled Waters, if Hayden Danziger didn't hide those gloves, which incidentally had nothing to do with the murder he would have been free.
One might think in The Most Crucial Game, Paul Hanlon can easily defend himself and walk free by simply stating he recently reset his clock. However, I never understood why they didn’t use the recordings from his office. It was already established that Ralph Dobbs bugged Eric Wagner’s home AND Paul Hanlon’s office, however they never spoke about the office recordings.
Lovely but Lethal, Viveca Scott could have said she got the poison ivy from her lab since it’s a fact that poison ivy was used to make that formula.
In many of the episodes the clues were weak, and since the murder’s were often rich and powerful many of them would have gotten off in the real world.
Just watched Forgotten Lady this week and it reminded me that she absolutely would have gotten away with it. A locked room, cadaveric spasm, a middle aged small framed woman with a notable medical ailment impairment (in regards to jumping to the tree from the balcony).... no prosecution would ever have been able to convince a jury that she did it. And as for the time unaccounted for during the film, who hasn’t fallen asleep during a movie especially after 11:00 at night after a full evening out. Or she could have been in the bathroom. Ned Diamond didn’t need to claim he did it to get her off the hook as I doubt any prosecutor would have even taken that one on.