Columbo (1971–2003)
29 user 9 critic

Suitable for Framing 

A wealthy art collector is murdered, and all signs point to a robbery gone wrong. But the nephew's alibi is a little too convenient, and Columbo pulls a fast one to ferret out the killer.


Hy Averback


Jackson Gillis, Richard Levinson (created by) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

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Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Ross Martin ... Dale Kingston
Don Ameche ... Frank Simpson
Kim Hunter ... Edna Matthews
Rosanna Huffman Rosanna Huffman ... Tracy O'Connor
Joan Shawlee ... Mitilda
Barney Phillips ... Captain Wyler
Mary Wickes ... Landlady
Vic Tayback ... Sam Franklin
Sandra Gould ... Matron
Curt Conway Curt Conway ... Evans
Claude Johnson Claude Johnson ... Policeman
Dennis Rucker Dennis Rucker ... Parking Boy (Joe)


Lt. Columbo investigates the murder of Rudy Matthews, an art collector found shot to death in his home. The killer is the dead man's nephew, art critic Dale Kingston, who, with the help of his accomplice Tracy O'Connor, effectively masks the time of death to give himself an alibi at an art exhibit. From the outset, Columbo can't quite understand why the thief would have first selected a painting of lesser value before suddenly switching to the two most valuable paintings after the killing. Kingston tries to point Columbo in the direction of his aunt, Matthews' ex-wife Edna. The fact that Matthews left his entire art collection to her seems to support that idea. Columbo isn't buying it and sets a clever trap for him. Written by garykmcd / corrected by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 November 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mord in Pastell See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The barely-glimpsed actor playing Dale Kingston's uncle is B-movie icon Robert Shayne, who played Inspector Henderson on the "Superman" TV series. See more »


At 5min 30 in the beginning, when Dale Kingston answers the door, the shadow of the boom microphone moves on the door. See more »


Lt. Columbo: Oh, listen, one more thing...
[Kingston groans in exasperation]
Lt. Columbo: It'll just... it'll just take a second. I stopped by your apartment a few times.
Dale Kingston: Why, do you want to search my place?
Lt. Columbo: No. Just to ask you something about art. You said you had some books and things there that I could see.
Dale Kingston: You may look at anything you wish. You can snoop in all of my closets. You can peek under the beds. You won't find any stolen paintings.
Lt. Columbo: Oh, really, I've never said anything about...
Dale Kingston: [removes key from key ring] Here...
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Etude in E major op. 10 No. 3
by Frédéric Chopin
Heard during the murder sequence
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User Reviews

interesting, early Columbo
10 December 2005 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Dale Kingston (Ross Martin) is a TV personality and art critic who knocks off his uncle in order to inherit his art collection. To do so, he enlists the help of a bedazzled, untalented art student, whom he promises to help with her career. The two make it look like a robbery, Kingston intending to frame his uncle's ex-wife (and heir), played by Kim Hunter. It might have worked, but guess who's assigned to the case.

This is very entertaining, and of course, the original Columbos like this one were the best. A couple of the plot points are similar to the pilot for the series, which starred Gene Barry. Dangling the prospect of marriage, Barry uses his girlfriend in a plot to kill his wife.

Ross Martin was an effective actor who died too young, and he's marvelous as the critic, and Kim Hunter is fabulous as the frail, ditsy, ex-wife. One of the posters seemed to know her from Planet of the Apes. She has a few other credits, including the role of Stella in the original "Streetcare Named Desire," which she repeated in the film version and won an Oscar. She would be blacklisted during the McCarthy era, but she overcame this and continued her career. Her testimony to the New York Supreme Court in 1962 against the publishers of "Red Channels" helped pave the way for clearance of many performers unjustly accused of Communist connections.

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