Columbo: Wheelchairs

An Exercise in Fatality

The wheelchair,
made few appearances in Columbo episodes.  We’re going to list wheelchairs that were important to the story or the character.

A Stitch in Crime

From “A Stitch in Crime”, Dr. Hidemann is carried away in his wheelchair before his overdue heart surgery.  All hospital policies will be followed.  If only Dr. Mayfield was just as prudent with procedures.


In “Playback”, Elizabeth Van Wick is wheelchair bound.  Her husband, Harold, had built her house as a momentum to technology and home monitoring.  Personally charming, Elizabeth’s physical condition symbolizes the world she’s trapped in.  She may feel free roaming in a home of modern convenience but is a helpless witness to human tragedy that comes.

A Matter of Honor

Curro Rangel, from “A Matter of Honor”, recovers after being nearly trampled and gored by a bull.  While otherwise a young and healthy man, his emotional recovery is more tenuous considering he lost his father who saved his life.

The Conspirators

In “The Conspirators”, Kate O’Connell runs O’Connell Industries as a front to funnel money to terrorists.  In clever use of incongruity, the mild mannered and soft spoken matriarch keeps herself busy with home fundraisers and needlepoint. Why she is in wheelchair is never explained.  The unspoken backstory shrouds Ms. O’Connell in mystery.   Would this be her revenge for an incident that happened decades earlier?

Grand Deceptions

General Padget is a great, famous military icon heading a think tank that does little for society other than receiving million dollar contributions.  His wheelchair is a complicated part of his character.  Was it more than a symbol of impotence?  Is there deeper meaning?  Is this ironic justice to be immobilized after years of war-making and misery to others?

A Bird in the Hand

Blink and you’ll miss it.  In “A Bird in the Hand”, Dolores gathers her tools to carry out her murderous plot on Harold.  How does she move Harold’s body from one place to another?  Using a wheelchair, of course.

Did we miss any?

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