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
Raye Birk ...
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?


The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was one of the primary locations used for filming. "Columbo" was visiting a mortician's convention. Sitting in an adjacent lobby-hallway, outside the ballroom was a vintage Cadillac Hearse. The Construction Coordinator, Doug Vlaming and his "hammer tones" had to pull the hotel's Hollywood Boulevard Entrance double-doorways, in order to drive the hearse into the hotel's hallway. Replacing the entrance for filming, afterwards removing the entry, again, to back the Hearse out of the hotel, and re-installing everything that they had removed. The Hotel Management, approved any production request, because management was familiar with the "Columbo" Art Department team, (Hub Braden, Mary Dodson, Bill Gregory, and Doug Vlaming). They had been the same staff on the "Murder, She Wote" production crew which had used the hotel facility for many repeat location filming for the MSW yearly series schedule. 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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Followed by Columbo: Murder with Too Many Notes (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the more watchable later episodes
10 April 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

By all means A Trace of Murder is not quite one of the best of the later episodes, but it is a more than watchable and worthy one. I wasn't too crazy about the ending though, I liked the twist, but the reveal itself too too dragged-out and contrived for my liking. Still, it is like all the Columbos a well made episode, with a score that fits well with the atmosphere and tension. The writing also convinces, especially in the pleasingly subtle comedy, and the story is diverting with a good mix of tense, charming and humorous scenes. Peter Falk is still excellent as Columbo, was there anything this man could not do, and while Shera Danese is solid in her most interesting role of the series I found Barry Corbin as the volatile framed husband even better. All in all, very watchable, and while not one of the best A Trace of Murder is a worthy episode still. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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