Columbo (1971–2003)
24 user 6 critic

Suitable for Framing 

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


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 November 1971 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Aunt Edna's or Kim Hunter's voice is recognizable. Kim Hunter played Zira in the Planet of The Apes movies. See more »


When Tracy leaves the mansion, she pushes open the sliding door that had been altered to look like it was jimmied open, and left it wide open while she exited the premises. Moments later, the security guard explores that direction and the sliding doors are once again closed. See more »


[Dale Kingston's confederate recoils at the sight of the body of Dale's uncle]
Dale Kingston: Pull yourself together. There's no reason to be frightened. Just my uncle. I assure you he's far more amiable now than he ever was when he was alive.
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from Pictures at an Exhibition
by Modest Mussorgsky
Heard during the cocktail party sequence in the art gallery
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User Reviews

interesting, early Columbo
10 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Dale Kingston (Ross Martin) is a TV personality and art critic who knocks off his uncle in order to inherit his art collection. To do so, he enlists the help of a bedazzled, untalented art student, whom he promises to help with her career. The two make it look like a robbery, Kingston intending to frame his uncle's ex-wife (and heir), played by Kim Hunter. It might have worked, but guess who's assigned to the case.

This is very entertaining, and of course, the original Columbos like this one were the best. A couple of the plot points are similar to the pilot for the series, which starred Gene Barry. Dangling the prospect of marriage, Barry uses his girlfriend in a plot to kill his wife.

Ross Martin was an effective actor who died too young, and he's marvelous as the critic, and Kim Hunter is fabulous as the frail, ditsy, ex-wife. One of the posters seemed to know her from Planet of the Apes. She has a few other credits, including the role of Stella in the original "Streetcare Named Desire," which she repeated in the film version and won an Oscar. She would be blacklisted during the McCarthy era, but she overcame this and continued her career. Her testimony to the New York Supreme Court in 1962 against the publishers of "Red Channels" helped pave the way for clearance of many performers unjustly accused of Communist connections.

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