The fourth episode of Columbo was titled Suitable for Framing and brought viewers back to the direct conflict between Lieutenant Columbo and a killer that had been seen in the first two episodes of the season. In this podcast Gerry and Iain consider the strengths and weaknesses of Suitable for Framing and whether returning to the earlier approach was a successful decision.
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This episode followed Dead Weight by using a bigger cast than had been seen in the two opening episodes of the season. Even at this stage of the show’s run there are a number of celebrated actors taking roles, with Academy Award winner Kim Hunter and future Academy Award winner Don Ameche playing pivotal parts in this episode as Edna Matthews – the ex-wife and surprise beneficiary of the murder victim – and Frank Simpson – the Matthews family lawyer – respectively.
The perpetrator in Suitable for Framing, Dale Kingston, is portrayed by Ross Martin – famous by this point for his work on The Wild Wild West – and his accomplice Tracy O’Connor was played by Rosanna Huffman. Their victim, the art collector Rudy Matthews, was an uncredited role for veteran Robert Shayne.
This was a much larger cast than even the previous episode, with Joan Shawlee‘s Mitilda, an art gallery owner, Vic Tayback‘s Sam Franklin, an artist exhibiting at that gallery, Mary Wickes‘ landlady and Curt Conway‘s eager-to-please servant Evans amongst the most noticeable supporting turns. Director Hy Averback was at the helm here for the first of his two Columbo episodes.
There was no trivia question this week, but if anyone would like to discuss anything covered in the podcast or related to Suitable for Framing then please feel free to comment here, or find us on Twitter at @columbopodcast.
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Suitable for Framing was released in 1971. It is 76 minutes long and originally aired on the NBC network. It can be viewed on Netflix in the United States and is available on DVD in other countries, including a comprehensive box set of all eleven seasons released by Universal.