Columbo (1971–2003)
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A Trace of Murder 

A beautiful wife and her forensic expert boyfriend try to frame her very rich husband for murder.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Patrick Kinsley
Cathleen Calvert
Clifford Calvert
Howard Seltzer
Officer Will
Harry Jenkins
Alice Backes ...
Harriet Jenkins
Stuart March
Tracy Rose
District Attorney (as Kymberly S. Newberry)
Store Clerk


A millionaire's being threatened with a lawsuit by a man he did business with. When he gets into a fight with the man, his trophy wife is more embarrassed than concerned about her husband. Now she can't divorce her husband because of a pre-nuptial agreement. And if she kills him, she would be the prime suspect. So she along with her lover decides to kill the man who is suing her husband and frame her husband. Which they do. When Columbo investigates the murder, one of the forensic people helping him is the woman's lover. Written by <>

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Release Date:

15 May 1997 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When soliciting his help questioning the accomplice, Columbo says to Pat, the murder, "Three eyes are better than one." This is an inside joke reference to the fact that actor Peter Falk has a prosthetic eye whereas the character, Columbo, does not. See more »


When Columbo is showing Pat a map, he starts to lay the map out on a desk and says "This first". In the very next shot he once again says the same thing, "This first". See more »


Clifford Calvert: Am I a suspect?
Lt. Columbo: [Responding to the utterly bald Calvert] Oh no, sir, no. This is just routine. I have to file some kind of a report. So you'll just answer a couple of questions, I'll be outta your hair.
[pause, as he notices angry glare from Calvert]
Lt. Columbo: Sorry, sir.
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User Reviews

A lesser story, but one with tons of charm
15 July 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A TRACE OF MURDER is one of the last of the Columbo series, and its odd to see the detective as a much older, weather-beaten character. He still seems to be in good shape though, and Peter Falk is certainly on very good form in what turns out to be a distinctly average mystery.

The guest star this time around is Shera Danese, Falk's real-life wife. She conspires with her lover to frame her domineering husband for murder, to get him sent to prison so she can get her hands on his fortune. To complicate matters further, her lover is a forensic expert who ends up working as Columbo's assistant on the case. How long before the wily detective sees through the charade?

A TRACE OF MURDER seems to have been hastily written as the mystery isn't up too much. The bit at the end where Columbo grabs a random couple of restaurant workers to explain the intricacies of the plot is an example of writing at its most threadbare. Even so, this is still a charming story and there's plenty of humour which works really well. I love the scene where Falk is flabbergasted after a sudden realisation, and the "three eyes are better than one" gag is top notch. This is still a Columbo well worth watching if only for the character. Barry Corbin is also great fun as the short-tempered husband.

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