a Columbo Picture
When renowned art collector Rudy Matthews (Robert Shayne) is murdered the man behind it is his own nephew, art critic Dale Kingston (Ross Martin), who not only makes it look like a robbery gone wrong but uses a heated blanket on his uncle's body to make it appear a later crime than it was. He even takes lesser value paintings whilst arranging an alibi with accomplice Tracy O'Connor (Rosanna Huffman). So when the police are called to the murder scene it just appears to be a robbery gone bad except Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) finds things all a little suspicious and sets about uncovering the truth especially as Dale seems keen to point the finger of suspicion at his uncle's ex-wife Edna (Kim Hunter) as the entire art collection was left to her in his will.
For me it was the crime solving exploits of Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher in "Murder, She Wrote" which I was hooked on in my younger years whilst for others it might have been Raymond Burr as Perry Mason or Jack Klugman as Quincy or even John Nettles as Jim Bergerac. Whilst there was other crime solvers probably one of the most famous has to Peter Falk's Lt. Columbo yet to be honest I barely watched any of his exploits growing up. The thing is, and this is the same for all these TV crime solvers, they had a formula and they tended to stick to it, relying more on the lead actor and his character along with some famous cameos to entertain.
"Columbo: Suitable for Framing" is no different as we have a murder which seems one thing for most cops but not for Lt. Columbo who in his raincoat and own quirky manner starts getting on people's nerves with his line of questioning and friendly but intrusive manner of investigating. As I said it is the combination of actor, character and formula which made the "Columbo" series and "Columbo: Suitable for Framing" has it in bucket loads. It also has the familiar faces in supporting roles such as Don Ameche, Mary Wickes, Kim Hunter and of course Ross Martin. About the only thing which really stands out when it comes to "Columbo: Suitable for Framing" is the ending which should make you smile as much as the cameos, especially Mary Wickes as a nosey busy body.
What this all boils to is that "Columbo: Suitable for Framing" is a solid episode in the collection of Columbo shows/TV movies. But as you would expect it only ever sticks to the formula which was not only the backbone of the Columbo series but many of these made for TV crime shows of the 70s, 80s and 90s.