Columbo (1971–2003)
25 user 4 critic

A Trace of Murder 

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


Vincent McEveety


Richard Levinson (created by), William Link (created by) | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
David Rasche ... Patrick Kinsley
Shera Danese ... Cathleen Calvert
Barry Corbin ... Clifford Calvert
Raye Birk ... Howard Seltzer
Will Nye ... Officer Will
John Finnegan ... Barney
Franklin Cover ... Harry Jenkins
Alice Backes Alice Backes ... Harriet Jenkins
Dion Anderson ... Stuart March
Donna Bullock ... Tracy Rose
John F. O'Donohue ... Doherty
Dyana Ortelli ... Colenari
Kymberly Newberry ... District Attorney (as Kymberly S. Newberry)
Maury Sterling ... 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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 May 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El rastro de un crimen See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


David Rasche also appeared in an episode of Mrs. Columbo (1979) (Mrs. Columbo: Falling Star (1979)). There he also played the murderer. The character's name is William Gardner. Later he appeared in All My Children (1970) (2008) as Robert Gardner, also a murderer. It's a small world. See more »


Near the end when Columbo is at Barney's, he's seen smoking his cigar yet there's a no smoking sticker on the door. See more »


Cathleen Calvert: Instead of killing Clifford and framing Howard, what if we killed Howard and framed Clifford?
See more »


References Escape from L.A. (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Three eyes are better than one!
17 November 2008 | by Boba_Fett1138See all my reviews

I liked watching this Columbo movie. It follows the usual formula but has a story with some twists to it, in which 2 lovers are trying to frame the wife's husband for a murder in order to get the husband out of the way. The man and murderer also happens to work for the police as a forensics expert and therefore starts to work directly with Lt. Columbo on the case. At first he really seriously doesn't suspect him (which is almost un-Columbo like) and it isn't until halve way through that the good old lieutenant starts to figure out the truth.

It's a nice concept, that is also rather well written, though the movie gets a bit weaker as the movie progresses and it starts to drag a bit with its concept. Also the seemingly 'perfect' plan seems actually more and more stupendous and not thought out well enough. It has too many holes and clues in it for Lt. Columbo to figure that something fishy is going on here. So even though it's well written and original within its usual framework, it just isn't the most watertight script, plot-wise.

What also mostly makes this movie such a fine and fun Columbo movie to watch is its nice comedy. There some real fine and subtle comedy within this movie, which made me enjoy this movie even more than the usual average Columbo movie entry.

It was the last movie Vincent McEveety directed for the Columbo series. He directed a total of 7 Columbo movies in the '90's. All of them are special Columbo movie entries in their own way and they are each original. I think this is why he got asked so many times back to direct another Columbo movie. No, not all of his Columbo movies work out but at least you can always say that it's different than usual, which already is a big thing for a Columbo movie. Fore lets face it, in essence every Columbo movie is of course the same.

The cast was also good. Normally the later Columbo movies don't have a too good or impressive cast but in this movie all actors do a good job. Even though the movie doesn't feature the biggest names in the business this really doesn't harm this Columbo entry in the way it had harmed some of the other later Columbo movies. Even Shera Danese is good in this one. Danese at the time (and still is) married to Peter Falk, which had landed her some roles in more than a few Columbo movies. Normally she isn't much good but in this movie she plays her role simply well.

A Columbo movie I simply enjoyed watching, despite its plot flaws and problems.


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