Columbo does a CSI
Cathleen Calvert (Shera Danese) has had enough of her marriage to millionaire businessman Clifford (Barry Corbin) but knows that thanks to a pre-nup if they got divorced she would end up with nothing. But with Clifford in conflict with a businessman who is threatening to sue him Cathleen and her lover Patrick (David Rasche) come up with a cunning plan to murder the businessman suing her husband and then frame Clifford for his killing to get him out of the way. Of course a case of homicide brings Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) to the scene and in contact with Patrick who just happens to be part of the forensics team.
Lieutenant walks in to a crime scene with a brown bag full of bananas. Nope it's not the opening line to a joke but the way in which Lieutenant Columbo makes his entry in "Columbo: A Trace of Murder" and seeing this is a 90s Columbo TV movie you could say well it is an opening line to a joke due to the use of humour in these TV movies. But of course before we get the arrival of Columbo we get the murder and of course initially you think this is going to be a play on "Body Heat" with the wife getting her lover to murder her wealthy husband but instead it gives us a twist on that and instead we have the husband being set up for a murder. It is a strange idea but one which works because of what comes next.
What comes next is the major twist in "Columbo: A Trace of Murder" which sees the murderer actually being part of the forensics team. Whilst I haven't watched all the episodes of "Columbo" I have never come across this before either in the realms of "Columbo" or any other cop series and it makes you smile. Of course you can imagine how this will play out as we are talking "Columbo" but it still makes you smile especially as the writing is full of funny lines none more so when Columbo tells the bald Clifford he will be out of his hair soon. It is again a case that the humour which makes this episode and that includes some over the top acting.
What this all boils down to is that "Columbo: A Trace of Murder" is a typical 90s episode of "Columbo" which means it is filled with humour from visual gags to some great lines. But we also have the fun set up of the killer actually being part of the investigating team which makes for some amusing interactions full of those great lines.