Columbo: Season 1, Episode 4

Suitable for Framing (17 Nov. 1971)

TV Episode  |  PG  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 1,400 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 6 critic

A wealthy art collector is murdered, and all signs point to a robbery gone wrong. But the nephew's alibi is a little too convenient, and Columbo pulls a fast one to ferret out the killer.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Frank Simpson
Edna Matthews
Rosanna Huffman ...
Tracy O'Connor
Captain Wyler
Sam Franklin
Curt Conway ...
Claude Johnson ...
Dennis Rucker ...
Parking Boy (Joe)


Lt. Columbo investigates the murder of Rudy Matthews, an art collector found shot to death in his home. The killer is the dead man's nephew, art critic Dale Kingston, who, with the help of his accomplice Tracy O'Connor, effectively masks the time of death to give himself an alibi at an art exhibit. From the outset, Columbo can't quite understand why the thief would have first selected a painting of lesser value before suddenly switching to the two most valuable paintings after the killing. Kingston tries to point Columbo in the direction of his aunt, Matthews' ex-wife Edna. The fact that Matthews left his entire art collection to her seems to support that idea. Columbo isn't buying it and sets a clever trap for him. Written by garykmcd / corrected by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

17 November 1971 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The barely-glimpsed actor playing Dale Kingston's uncle is B-movie icon Robert Shayne, who played Inspector Henderson on the "Superman" TV series. See more »


Whilst in the TV studio, after having his make-up removed, Kingston buttons up the collar of his shirt and adjusts his tie. A few seconds later he again buttons up his shirt collar and arranges his tie. See more »


[Columbo comes to the gallery to question Sam Franklin, who's painting in the next room]
Mitilda: Sam! Uh, this is the policeman who phoned. Is it all right?
Sam Franklin: [wearily] Eh, bring him in. They interrupted Rembrandt. Why shouldn't they interrupt me?
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Etude in E major op. 10 No. 3
by Frédéric Chopin
Heard during the murder sequence
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User Reviews

very entertaining
4 June 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This early season episode has an interesting twist about an art critic who murders his wealthy uncle in order to inherit an elaborate art collection, with the help of a young art student. Ross Martin portrays the snobbish nephew who devised the murderous scheme, and is questioned a few times by Columbo. Martin and Peter Falk have great chemistry, and I believe they were acquaintances many years ago as young actors, and you can tell they're both comfortable with each other in this segment also. Many familiar faces are present, like Don Ameche, Vic Tayback, and Kim Hunter and all add certain flavor in this episode as different, somewhat flamboyant characters. To me, Martin makes this episode shine, and it's especially amusing the way he knows that Columbo is after him, even though the detective plays coy as usual. Watch for some pretentious art types, and strange paintings as well.

My only qualm here is how confident and cocky the suspect acts around Columbo, and practically wears guilt on his sleeve. Many episodes make the suspect a bit too arrogant, and that's after the murder's been committed.

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