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 asks the female conspirator if she wants to talk to the DA, he indicates that the DA is a woman, saying that "she" is in the judge's chambers and that if "she" isn't, those in the judge's chamber would know where to find "her". A few minutes later, though, the police officer accompanying the woman to whom Columbo had said this yells across the street to Columbo that she had contacted the DA and that "he" was available and that they were going up to see "him". 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

Not bad, but the ending drags
26 December 2002 | by (San Francisco) – See all my reviews

Let me say this right off the bat: the two worst actresses in the world are Kate Capshaw and Shera Danese. Watching Danese's misplaced facial expressions, hammy acting, arm waving, and screechy voice sucks all the fun out of this Columbo film. She does absolutely nothing good with the plum role she's given. Bad director or bad acting? I tend to believe the latter.

Danese's acting aside, this is a pretty enjoyable Columbo film, well-paced and fairly involved. The joy of watching Columbo is wondering if he already knows who the killer is; in the 1970s films, you could never tell, and that was part of the fun. That sense of enigma is lost in these later films, especially in this one, where he doesn't realize it until well into the film. No matter what else he does, this is Peter Falk's signature role, and he has been a lucky actor for not getting typecast, given his variety of roles over the years.

All in all, I recommend this film as a worthy contributor to the Columbo legacy.

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