Columbo owes its success as much to the cavalcade of wonderfully cast and charismatic killers as it does to the enduring greatness of Peter Falk in the title role.
And that makes sense. Each episode more about the killer than it is about the Lieutenant, after all. Over the course of an episode we usually spend more time with the killer than we do with Columbo, placing a great importance on making sure the actors and actresses draw a strong emotional connection with the audience – for good or bad.
From the endearing cheekiness of Abigail Mitchell and the downright wickedness of Barry Mayfield to the tomfooling antics of Roger Stanford and the vengeance-driven Vivian Dimitri, the collection of Columbo killers make for fascinating viewing. But which of the 71 confirmed murderers is the ultimate fan favourite? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Interestingly, in the opening months of 2019 I ran a 70s’ Columbo killers knock-out competition via Instagram Stories. Over the course of 6 weeks or so I’d conservatively estimate that 25,000 votes were cast, with Adrian Carsini the overall winner, besting The Great Santini in the final, and Abigail Mitchell and Ken Franklin taking third and fourth respectively.
Brilliant fun as this was, the nature of a draw means that perhaps the results were slightly skewed. As an example, a second round clash saw Dale Kingston go head to head with Paul Hanlon – a heavyweight clash indeed – which resulted in the luckless Dale being eliminated early. A tough break when I know he’s got a strong fan base.
This poll will keep it simple. Just place your vote for your single favourite Columbo killer from the list below. And remember, choose your favourite character, not your favourite actor. So if you adore Robert Culp above all others, consider whether your vote goes to Investigator Brimmer, Paul Hanlon or Bart Keppell. Kapisch?
“From the endearing cheekiness of Abigail Mitchell to the downright wickedness of Barry Mayfield, the collection of Columbo killers make for fascinating viewing.”
Struggling to whittle it down? Then don’t get caught up in the cleverest murder method, or who Columbo likes most or least. Just consider which baddie you get the most pleasure from watching and your heart will guide you.
NB – I haven’t included Hugh Caldwell from A Friend in Deed because the murder took place off-screen before the episode began. I also haven’t included Lisa Martin from It’s All in the Game, even though she was directly involved in the set-up to kill Nick Franco. If either are your favourite, I authorise WAYNE JENNINGS to receive your vote.
So get voting gang, and let’s see who the crown of ‘Most Popular Columbo Killer of Them All‘ ends up with. The poll will stay open in perpetuity, but once there’s a clear indication of favourites in a few months I’ll piece together a sweet article. NOW VOTE!
Of course, you’re very welcome to leave a comment below, so do share your favourite and why you heart them so!
Thanks for taking the time to read and to vote, and let’s all play again soon.