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
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?


Near the end of the episode when Barney is watching TV, a calendar for Escape from LA is seen, which was released one year earlier. 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 »


Lt. Columbo: Gee, I've got a dozen stops to make. You know, the first day of a homicide investigation, you wouldn't believe it. It's murder.
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User Reviews

The good, the bad and the ugly
17 November 2004 | by (Honolulu, HI) – See all my reviews

Overall this is a pretty good Columbo, in my opinion, though it does have some glaring weaknesses.

Barry Corbin is very good as the loud husband who gets framed by Shera Danese. Danese turns in her usual performance; she's lovely and interesting but seems to play essentially the same character in every episode.

The criminologist "bad guy" does a pretty sloppy job for a supposed expert -- that may be the biggest plot weakness; it's hard to believe he was that dumb. A long way from CSI.

The other weakness is the ending - the twist is good enough, I suppose, but the scene in which he reveals it is contrived and overplayed.

All in all, a good story. If they'd redone the ending and let the villain be a little more clever it would have been a great one. As it is, it's just good.


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