Columbo: 5 things you may have missed watching “Mind Over Mayhem”

The Cybernetic Research Institute,
is a place where death happens.  War games simulate the clash of super powers to entertain the intellectual and military elite.  Human experiments with illicit drugs justified under a different name.  Intelligent robots taught to lash out and murder fill these halls of science.  The towers combating superstition and fear has been rotting on the inside.  Discover more dark secrets of the macabre with Columbo.  Here are 5 things you may have missed watching “Mind Over Mayhem”.

#1: Dr. Nicholson dies thinking his wife killed him

“Margaret?” – Dr. Howard Nicholson.

We kick off the list with probably the most dark of theories.  Before Nicholson’s death, we see Margaret climb into the white car belonging to the institute.  What is the last thing the poor doctor sees?  He sees a white car belonging to the institute as it runs him over.  There would be no one else he would expect in an institute car.  There would be no one else to call him by horn.  Even his last word is testimony who he thought of last.

#2: Dr. Cahill takes a break from crime for a cigar

There are many things wrong with Dr. Cahill’s idea to rummage the Nicholson’s living room.  For starters, he places the glasses of brandy on the table after he moves the glass top.  The gloves would leave the glasses spotless and without prints.  Many would argue that his cigar and burnt match was deliberately thought out.  I say why would we leave purposely leave evidence linking him to last visit?  A man must have his priorities.  Dr. Cahill needed a smoke break and took out his most favorite Cuban to enjoy the moment.

#3: Margaret Nicholson hesitates and her husband dies

“If Neil himself does not confess, there is no power on Earth could induce me to keep the lid on this.” – Dr. Howard Nicholson.

Things would have been different if they waited for Nicholson’s threat to carry out.  It turns out Neil did confess and the murder didn’t have to happen.  Worse, Neil’s confession would have happened sooner had Margaret Nicholson urged and prescribed the confession earlier.   Much earlier.

“Would you have done it if I’d told you to?” – Dr. Margaret Nicholson.
“Yes.” – Neil Cahill.

She will never know her hesitation dealing with Neil would make her a widow.


#4: Dr. Nicholson was notoriously irresponsible with illicit drugs

Problem number one, Dr. Nicholson carelessly stores heroin in his garage.  It’s not hidden or put behind lock and key, but on shelf.  He probably has a million dollars worth in a tin, collecting dust.  Problem number two, Dr. Nicholson is practicing off-the-books experiments with them.  Knowing who are the clients of “The Institute”, who knows what dark arts he is practicing.  Soothing his conscience, he names the drug C21H23NO5.  In case you’re wondering what sits next to the Hydrogen Peroxide, C22H25NO6, is Colchicine, an anti-inflammatory drug.  What were you doing, doctor?  What were you doing!

#5: The episode teases an affair between Margaret and Neil

“I did have a motive, you know. … What I mean is, someone could think I had a motive if Nicholson knew, and I think he did. ” – Neil Cahill.

The hints just keep on coming.  Dr. Marshal Cahill makes an early dig on Dr. Nicholson over his wife spending too much time with his young son.  A husband over 30 years older than his wife.  Columbo’s prying about the Nicholson’s marriage.    Even Neil drops a surprising confession before he corrects himself.  While some may think its all just a set up for the final act, I think an affair could have happened.  (And so did his father.)  They may not have met at the Shangri-la Motel in Palm Springs that day, but there was something more going on all night during those all night therapies.

Bonus: Boy genius, Steve Spelberg, is dangerously intelligent

Paying tribute to Steven Spielberg, is boy-genius Steve Spelberg.  Sitting along idols of military strategists and renown chemists, Steve weaves together artificial intelligence with robotic automatons.  With skills beyond a chess master, he defeats super computers who are “unbeatable”.  Take the following discussion between Cahill and Steve.  We quickly assess Spelberg’s humility is only equal to his dangerous potential.

“He was more impressive when he was unbeatable.” – Dr. Marshall Cahill.

“He still is, Doctor.” – Steve

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