You are Dick Van Dyke.
You’re taller, more polished, better dressed, and have better diction than the investigating detective assigned to your late wife’s case, and yet you know he’s the better man.
You have carefully groomed facial hair.
You are either a highly paid psychiatrist, a world-renowned composer, a high-ranking naval officer, or a mystery novelist with a pilot’s license.
You are either brusque and indifferent or overly affectionate to dogs.
You have offered Lieutenant Columbo a higher-paying job, an expensive glass of scotch, or a better brand of cigar than the one he is currently smoking.
You are wearing a turtleneck under a camel-hair sportcoat.
Columbo has asked you a serious of innocuous questions about the value of your home. You are outwardly composed while answering him, but your smile does not reach your eyes.
Your patience is wearing thinner than your mustache.
Your wife and your mistress have either never met, or they are best friends. One either has no idea you are about to murder the other, or she is your willing accomplice.
Your cravats, like your alibis, become increasingly elaborate.
You are Robert Culp or Jack Cassidy. Failing that, you are Patrick McGoohan.
Columbo has earnestly asked your opinion on more than one occasion about fine dining, wine, art, and what kind of shoes to buy.
Your step-daughter hates you.
You are shocked, shocked to learn that you could possibly be considered a suspect, but your shock is polite and amused and you are perfectly willing to entertain the detective’s theories as long as they don’t make you late for lunch.
No matter how long you leave your yacht cap on, it never seems to muss up your hairstyle.
Although you are a native of Los Angeles, you speak with a flawless Mid-Atlantic accent. Your consonants could cut glass.
You are a member of Mensa, Phi Beta Kappa, the DAR, or the Trilateral Commission.
You have a manicure, get a massage, or play tennis while being interviewed by the police.
You become 20% less genial toward the police every ten minutes.
You thought you were the cat in this particular game; in fact you have always been the mouse.
When they finally take you away, a part of you is relieved, even grateful to have been beaten by so worthy an opponent. You smile a small, wry smile, and at least it reaches your eyes.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.