Columbo (1971–2003)
13 user 7 critic

Blueprint for Murder 

Elliot Markham, a brilliant architect and con-man, murders a Texas millionaire and hides his body in order to keep his visionary construction project financed.



(teleplay by), (story by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Elliot Markham
Goldie Williamson
Jennifer Williamson
Bo Williamson
Bettye Ackerman ...
Miss Sherman
Nick Dennis ...
Robert Gibbons ...
Cliff Carnell ...
Officer Wilson
Jimmy Joyce ...


Millionaire Bo Williamson returns from two months in Europe and finds an unpleasant surprise: his second wife, Jennifer, has financed a new town construction project. Incensed, Bo confronts Elliot Markham, the architect with the original idea. Shortly thereafter, Bo disappears again, and it looks as if he's off on another European trip, but his first wife, Goldie, doesn't think so and - despite the lack of a body - gets Lt. Columbo to look into it for her. It doesn't take the detective long to sense something is indeed amiss, but where's the corpse? Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

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Release Date:

9 February 1972 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is one of the very few episodes where viewers do not see the murder being committed. See more »


Bo's body language says he'll hit Elliot with his right hand, but when the scene jumps to a different camera, Bo slaps Elliot's face with his left hand instead. See more »


Doctor: Are you looking for something?
Columbo: Uh, do you have a lighter?
Doctor: You won't find one here, Lieutenant. And let me give you some free medical advise: stop smoking those things.
Columbo: Well, I-I've been trying.
Doctor: Trying isn't good enough. Remember, I deal in pacemakers.
See more »

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User Reviews

Extremely well-constructed and well-sustained Columbo adventure
4 June 2003 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

The penultimate Columbo episode to be filmed for Season 1, but actually shown as that Season's finale and one that I cannot speak of highly enough.

This story was the only one in the original series to be be officially directed by Peter Falk (after he allegedly demanded to have this privilege) and was filmed on an actual building site in Century City, California. It is an absorbing tale that deals with a architect (Patrick O'Neal) who "bumps off" a no-nonsense tycoon (Forrest Tucker in great temperamental form for 10 minutes)after the latter refuses to fund a potentially prosperous,large-scale building development.

Unlike the preceding episodes and many of the subsequent ones, Columbo is investigating a "murder" with no body (until the finale), but that doesn't detract from the enjoyment.

O'Neal is wonderfully arrogant in his performance as the murderer; he remains one of the most quietly confident, unflappable murderers in the show's history.

The episode builds to a classic resolution which is kick-started from the moment Columbo steps into the planning department to get permission to dig up one of the piles of the building - things balance distinctly on the edge as we think Columbo has uncharacteristically made a mistake....

One slight minus point - Falk seems compromised by the fact that he is required to stand both infront of and behind the camera: Columbo's harassment in trying to trap the murderer is almost mirrored in Falk's intermittently stiff and stern performance as the detective. Perhaps this is why he never took on the director's mantle in the series again!

Nevertheless, a decidedly high-standard, well-developed addition to the series with characteristically strong sequences of banter between hero and villain.

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