Did The Andy Griffith Show's Mayberry Have a Serial Killer?

For reasons that are too complicated to explain, I find myself thinking about The Andy Griffith Show today and, more specifically, Andy Taylor's love life early on in the series.

Prior to meeting school teacher Helen Crump (Aneta Corsaut), the woman he would eventually marry, Andy had a revolving door full of women. Specifically, he had three serious relationships, Ellie Walker (Elinor Donahue), Mary Simpson (Julie Adams) and Peggy McMillan (Joanna Moore).

The interesting thing about each of these girlfriends is, not only did the relationships not last, the characters were never seen or spoken about again. This, in my mind, raises a question - was Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) a serial killer?

I know, on the surface, that might not seem like a legitimate question. After all, Mayberry's sheriff wouldn't even carry a gun. But many serial killers turned out to be people who were handsome and charming, so the idea of Andy having a darker side shouldn't be dismissed.

He was, after all, only human and, as his son, Opie (Ron Howard) could attest, had a temper. With his large size, an angry fit after a sudden rejection could easily result in a death. And, being sheriff, he was in a position to hide the bodies, prevent an investigation, and intimidate the townspeople into keeping their mouths shut.

I also haven't dismissed the theory that Andy himself wasn't necessarily the killer and, instead, it was someone close to him. Was it his pal/deputy Barney (Don Knotts)? Barney was known to be a bit unstable and did carry a (sometimes loaded) gun. He also had a bit of an unhealthy obsession with his friend's love life. Andy also was close enough to Barney to feel obligated to help cover up his indiscretions and assist him in getting a job in another town.

Or, perhaps it was Helen. Maybe she became obsessed with Andy and, prior to using her influence over Opie to gain his attention, took care of the competition. This would explain why she was the one woman who lasted more than a season with him and eventually got the ring.

My money would actually be on Mayberry barber Floyd Lawson (Howard McNear). His skill with sharp objects gave him a Sweeney Todd-like quality. His motivation could have either about protecting his friend or, possibly, his own failed love life made him literally insane with jealousy. He was also a Mayberry citizen I could see Andy going out of his way to protect/hide evidence for.

Regardless of who was behind the crime and why, I think the possibility of Mayberry having one (or more) murderers as part of its small population shouldn't be overlooked. The evidence is there.


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