Columbo: Suitable For Framing

Created on December 17th, 2006

Opening Title of Suitable for Framing

Columbo: Suitable for Framing

Columbo Episode # 6
Original Air Date: November 17, 1971
Written by: Jackson Gillis
Story Editor: Steven Bocho
Created and Produced by: Richard Levinson and William Link

Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo
Ross Martin as Dale Kingston (Murderer)
Kim Hunter as Edna Matthews
Rosanna Huffman as Tracy O’Conner (Accomplice and second victim)

Murder Weapon used: Pistol
Murder Scene: Victim was playing the piano in grand hall of his home.
Time of death: About 9pm.
Alibi: Dale Kingston is at an art show at 11pm when a women burglar (trying to blame Aunt Edna) breaks into his uncles house to steal art and kills the uncle when caught in the act. They use an electric blanket to keep the body warm to confuse the time of death.

Synopsis of Suitable for Framing

An art critic and art teacher Dale Kingston (played by Ross Martin) who is about to be cut out of his uncles will, kills him and makes it looks like a burglary by taking valuable paintings. He enlists the aid of one of his students to create an alibi. While he goes to an art show for a mediocre artist Sam Franklin (played by Vic Tayback), the student waits for the security patrol, then removes an electric blanket, fires a shot, and then runs out the back door. Columbo becomes suspicious over the number of paintings stolen by only one person, the entry method of the burglar, and the defeat of the burglar alarm. When things start to turn bad, Dale Kingston tries to direct the attention to his Aunt Edna (played by Kim Hunter).

Story detail for Suitable for Framing

This episode begins with Dale Kingston shooting his uncle, Rudy Matthews, who is playing the piano in the study of his Bel Air, CA estate. Dale Kingston covers the body with an electric blanket, and then begins to choose paintings to take. Soon, his accomplice, an art student of his Tracy O’Connor (played by Rosanna Huffman) arrives and Dale leaves to go to a party at an art gallery. Shortly before the security patrol is to come by around 11pm, Tracy puts the blanket away upstairs. When the patrol arrives, she waits for the car to begin to leave, then fires a shot from a gun out the window and runs out a back sliding glass door. When the patrolman comes into his house he finds the body and hears high heels running down the stars leading away from the back door.

Columbo arrives on the scene and observes the art on the wall. When about to light his cigar, the butler Evans (played by Curt Conway) runs over and stops him. At that moment, Dale Kingston arrives and the butler tells Lt. Columbo that Mr. Kingston is the sole surviving relative of Mr. Rudy Matthews. While Evans is upset about the murder, Dale Kingston is quite cool and collected. Columbo asks Dale Kingston about some of the missing art, and thinks it’s odd that the thieves took less valuable paintings in one room, and when apparently confronted by Mr. Mathews, they take the two most valuable paintings. Also, what’s funny, is the thief broke into the house through a jimmying a sliding glass door and the alarm didn’t go off. Columbo uses a women police officer to stage a scene of someone running down the backyard stairs, and the patrolman confirms that’s what he heard. Dale’s alibi of a single women thief begins to fall apart when Columbo explains that the number of paintings stolen couldn’t have been taken by just one person.

Model In Suitable for Framing
Lt. Columbo goes to the art gallery where Dale Kingston was at during the murder and meets the gallery operator Matilda (played by Joan Shawlee). Matilda said she was surprised that Dale Kingston came to the show, and that he normally went to the galleries in Paris and London. Matilda leads Lt. Columbo into the room Mr. Franklin is painting in. Lt. Columbo is uncomfortable because the artist Sam Franklin is painting a nude model. Franklin is grumpy about being disturbed. Lt. Columbo asks what time Dale Kingston arrived at the party. Franklin said he didn’t know, but that there was something wrong with Dale’s watch because he asked what time it was. As he’s leaving the gallery with Matilda, they run into the parking attendant (played by Dennis Rucker) at the gallery. The attendant explains that when Dale Kingston arrived, they searched the trunk of the car for a cuff link, and there must have been something wrong with Dale Kingston’s watch, because he asked what time it was, which was 10:55pm. Columbo spots one of the paintings of Mr. Franklin, and buys it.

Tracy O’Connor is watching Dale Kingston on a live television show on art. As soon as the show is over, she calls him at the television studio. Kingston is angry that Tracy has called him, and when Lt. Columbo happens by, he abruptly hangs up the phone. Lt. Columbo explains that he went by the art gallery, and shows Mr. Kingston the painting he bought. Kingston vehemently describes the painting as a piece of garbage. Lt. Columbo says he doesn’t understand why Mr. Kingston would go to an art show for Sam Franklin if he thought so little of the artists work. He also wonders about the time, that Sam Franklin didn’t know what time it was, and that Mrs. Matthews didn’t even know what time she went to bed, but Dale Kingston knew exactly where he was and when. Kingston gives Lt. Columbo the keys to his apartment, and tells Columbo to search the place.

Dale is meets Tracy O’Conner in the hills above Los Angeles to retrieve the stolen paintings and the pistol. Right after he places the paintings and gun in the trunk of his car, he picks up a large rock, and strikes Tracey on the head from behind, killing her. When Dale Kingston arrives home with the satchel of paintings that evening, he finds Lt. Columbo asleep in a chair. Lt. Columbo is curious about the paintings in the satchel, and reaches in to the satchel to pull one out, but Dale won’t allow him to see it. The telephone rings, and it’s for Lt. Columbo, who needs to leave because the police have found the body of a girl in a car that went over a cliff in Malibu.

At the reading of the will Lt. Columbo runs into Edna Matthews outside, and walks into the lawyers office with her. He show Dale Kingston a painting that Tracy O’Conner had made, and asked if Dale recognizes it. Dale says he doesn’t recognize it nor know Tracy O’Connor. The two enter the lawyers private office, and the attorney, Frank Simpson (Played by Don Ameche) is reading the nuts and bolts of Rudy Matthews’ will. The will leaves the art collection and everything else to Dale Kingston. After everyone leaves, Frank Simpson explains to Lt. Columbo that there isn’t anything but the art collection. Columbo runs into Dale Kingston outside, and Dale is angry about Columbo suspecting him, since he has an alibi, doesn’t gain from his Uncle’s death, and show Columbo a letter from his Uncle Rudy Matthews that told him that he was being cut out of the will.

Lt. Columbo is meets with Tracy O’Connor’s landlady (played by Mary Wickes). She says she has a photo of a friend of Tracy’s that was older, but it turns out that it’s not Dale.

A gardner finds a gun hidden in the English ivy of the gardens at Mrs. Matthews house and shows it to a police officer.

Columbo is talking with Mrs. Matthews about the collection, and she explains that Rudy had decided to give all of the paintings away to the schools and museums. Dale Kingston arrives, and they talk about the murder weapon. Dale tries to incriminate Edna Matthew’s and tells her she needs a lawyer. Columbo tells her she has nothing to worry about and they see Edna off to go shopping. Dale then continues to try to incriminate Edna, and Lt. Columbo explains that he would suspect Edna because “that lady wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Then, a policeman searching around finds a piece of wrapping paper that had been on the paintings in the garbage can. Dale continues pressing Columbo to suspect Edna, and Columbo won’t take the bait. He baits Dale into action by saying he can’t do anything until the paintings show up. Dale tells Lt. Columbo he ought to search Edna’s house.

Dale Kingston meets the attorney Frank Simpson and tells them they need to “protect” Edna by having the police search her house. Frank Simpson is doubtful, but finally agrees. Dale explains Lt. Columbo’s reluctance to search Edna’s house, and Frank uses friends at the police department to get the home searched.

Columbo arrives at Edna’s house to find the home being searched by Captain Wyler (played by Barney Phillips) and his team. The police find a pair of paintings hidden, and Dale believes that the police will arrest Edna. Instead, the police take fingerprints from the paintings and find Lt. Columbo’s fingerprints on the paintings from when he reached into the satchel at Dale’s house the night dale killed Tracy O’Connor. Dale tries to say this is a setup and is caught when Lt. Columbo pulls his hands from his pockets and displays the gloves he is wearing. Columbo asks “If she did it, how could my fingerprints get on paintings she stole?”

Lt. Columbo Wearing Gloves

Humorous scene: When Columbo goes to the art gallery that Dale Kingston went to as part of the alibi, the artist Sam Franklin is painting a picture using a live nude model. On the canvas is a painting of a pink cactus and Sam complains about the model moving.
Painting by Artist Sam Franklin (played by Vic Tayback)

Cast of Columbo: Suitable for Framing

Peter Falk as Lt Columbo
Ross Martin as Dale Kingston [Art Critic and Murderer]
Kim Hunter as Edna Matthews [Ex-wife of Victim]
Rosanna Huffman as Tracy O’Connor [Accomplice and Second Victim]
Joan Shawlee as Matilda [Art Gallery Operator]
Barney Phillips as Captain Wyler
Mary Wickes as Landlady [Busybody landlady of Tracy O’Connor]
Vic Tayback as Sam Franklin [Artist]
Sandra Gould as Matron [at art show]
Curt Conway as Evans [Rudy Matthew’s Butler]
Claude Johnson as Policeman
Dennis Rucker as Parking Boy [Joe]

Associate Producer: Robert O’Neill
Columbo Theme Music: Henry Mancini
Filmed at: Universal Studios, Universal City, California MCA-TV Exclusive Distributor

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