Blueprint for Murder

Episode 7 – Blueprint for Murder

The seventh episode of Columbo was titled Blueprint for Murder and was the final episode of the show’s first season. Columbo is tasked with finding a body before it is permanently hidden and the chance lost. In this podcast Gerry and Iain look at the battle of wits between Columbo and the killer, before reflecting on Season One as a whole.

 

 

This episode had a tighter cast than the other shows in the season, with Peter Falk and Patrick O’Neal (as killer Elliot Markham) dominating screen time. Supporting turns from Janis Paige and Pamela Austin as the current and former Mrs Williamsons offered contrast and intrigue, while Forrest Tucker shone as their husband, the billionaire Texan victim Bo Williamson.

 

The show marked Falk’s directorial debut, with Steven Bochco again credited with the teleplay. Although he would have an uncredited hand in direction of one further episode, Falk would never venture behind the camera again as the director of note.

 

We asked listeners to let us know their favourite moments from season 1 of Columbo and whether they think each killer was likely to be convicted of the crimes they committed. If you have thoughts on these or any other parts of this season then please feel free to comment here, or find us on Twitter at @columbopodcast.

 

The Columbo Podcast is widely available – on iTunes, Stitcher, tunein, Pocket Casts or pretty much wherever you choose to receive and manage your podcasts. If you enjoy the show it would be greatly appreciated if you consider leaving ratings and reviews on these sites – particularly iTunes – as that can make a big difference to growing the podcast’s audience.

 

Blueprint for Murder was released in 1972. It is 75 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.

 

The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast team develops, produces and promotes The Columbo Podcast.

  • Richard

    Ha! … Iain’s getting into this big time now – laughing at people’s reactions to Columbo, enjoying the out of context scenes.
    I like the comparisons between 1970’s and today. So much of what you talk about, I hadn’t considered and find myself nodding with agreement.
    I took a couple of photos of the scene with Elliot Markham showing ‘his’ I.D. to the motorcycle cop, thinking you wouldn’t know that it was Columbo’s I.D. … and, of course, you knew. Here’s my pics anyway (sorry for quality, but it was a pic of my TV screen)

    • I’m not seeing the pictures!!

      • Richard

        I added them to the comments, not sure why they didn’t upload … I’ll try again

        • Richard Hinton

          Trying it after signing in with Twitter …

  • hungbunny

    You might have already seen the list of probable verdicts on the big Columbo website (I won’t link to it because of potential spoilers for Iain)… I’m not sure who Nathan Sikes is or what legal qualifications he has, but he disagrees with you on a few episodes:

    3. MURDER BY THE BOOK
    California v. Kenneth Franklin
    GUILTY — Two life sentences; no parole

    4. DEATH LENDS A HAND
    California v. Robert Brimmer
    NOT GUILTY — Insufficient evidence

    5. DEAD WEIGHT
    California v. Major General Martin Hollister
    GUILTY — Life

    6. SUITABLE FOR FRAMING
    California v. Dale Kingston
    GUILTY — Life plus twenty

    7. LADY IN WAITING
    California v. Beth Chadwick
    GUILTY — Twenty years

    8. SHORT FUSE
    California v. Roger Stanford
    NOT GUILTY — Insufficient evidence

    9. BLUEPRINT FOR MURDER
    California v. Elliot Markham
    GUILTY — Death

    • Thanks hungbunny. What’s your opinion?

      • hungbunny

        I’m certainly not qualified to say, but I’d be amazed if Roger Stanford wasn’t convicted. If not for murder, then for banana smuggling!

        • Ian Baxter

          Stanford is close to admission/confession when he gives the medal to Columbo, wonder if he’d go down the insanity road?

          • hungbunny

            Fair point, and I think he probably is. It was very carefully planned though…

  • digger01

    Congratulations on completing Season One! It’s been a lot of fun and I look forward to many more.

    I enjoyed “Blueprint For Murder” quite a lot. It seems to be a bit of an under-appreciated episode, but a well-written one with a nice sleight of hand by Columbo. It’s a great example of Columbo keeping his cards close to the vest, even out of the viewer’s sight.

    Great trivia this week also. I can add a couple of small items…

    The construction site (“Williamson City”) was in reality Century City, which is a neighborhood in Los Angeles that was built on property owned by 20th Century Fox beginning in 1963. It includes Fox Studios, as well as schools, business complexes, shopping centers, and other entertainment and housing facilities. According to Wikipedia there are about 5,900 residents of Century City. The development was still being expanded when the “Blueprint For Murder” episode of Columbo was filmed. There are several photos of what Century City currently looks like on Wikipedia.

    Another point of trivia is that the teleplay for this episode was written by Stephen Bochco, from a story by William Kelley. Bochco is a giant of television, creating such series as Hill Street Blues, Doogie Howser, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue, and writing for countless others. “Blueprint For Murder” is the first of 7 episodes of Columbo for which Stephen Bochco wrote the teleplay.

    Gerry… I have a feeling that anytime Iain wants to end a debate with you, he’s just going to tell you to “move to the Finance Department” : )

    Thanks again for another fun episode of the podcast!

    • Thanks digger! We spotted your iTunes review as well (though it seems to have disappeared today), so thanks for that too!

      Don’t forget that Bochco also wrote Murder by the Book!

      Glad you’re still enjoying the show.

      • digger01

        I did forget that Bochco also wrote “Murder By The Book”! Thanks for that correction.

        I’m a little baffled as to why the iTunes review is no longer showing up, although I was in my settings the other day and may have accidentally deleted it. I will go post another right away.

        Best wishes!

  • Ian Baxter

    Just a little help for next time… “An étude (a French word meaning study) is an instrumental musical composition, usually short, of considerable difficulty, and designed to provide practice material for perfecting a particular musical skill.” (Wiki) Look forward to hearing your best Scottish French pronunciation!

    • Thanks Ian. We do cover this in Episode 8, so keep an eye (ear?) out on Thursday!

  • Largo

    What a wonderful podcast session for the conclusion to Columbo season one! Many congratulations to both of you, eh. Plus a special thank you for comparing that little interplay scene between Markham and his secretary with James Bond and Miss Moneypenny from the Classic Bond Era (1962-2002). Yeah — I’m a Classic James Bond fanatic.

    Patrick O’Neal always makes such a splendid villain. He sure convinces me that he’s a perfect rat-bastard. The scenes with Markham pitted against Columbo are some of the very best of the entire series, in my opinion. But all of the supporting characters are rather colorful, too, (especially Goldie) and all of this makes “Blueprint For Murder” a top-ranking Columbo episode in my book.

    Your discussion of the possible court verdicts for each case was also very interesting. I agree with Iain that Beth Chadwick would get off scott-free rather easily. But all of the others would be: “Guilty as charged!” I also agree with Gerry that the evidence in Stanford’s scary lab would do him in most definitely. This Nathan Sikes fellow doesn’t really know what he’s talking about, eh. Be seeing you!

    • Thanks Largo. Glad you enjoyed all of season 1 with us. We look forward to hearing from you after the season 2 episodes now!

  • Emrys

    Good to see the greatest detective show of all time getting some love! Found your podcasts yesterday and have already blasted through to Blueprint. Thanks.

  • Margaret

    One thing I really got a kick out of was the masseuse speaking to Columbo in Japanese. My Japanese is pretty rusty, but she says approximately “You’re lovely. I like you. Call me sometime.” It’s especially delightful because of Columbo’s popularity in Japan.

  • nivipa

    I don’t have very much to add, but I wanted to let you know that a year on, there are still people finding your podcast and enjoying it! My mother used to love watching Columbo, and eventually I grew to stay in the room when they were on and watching entire episodes with her. There are very few Columbo episodes I don’t care for, so picking a favourite is particularly difficult. For this season, I will have to select Dead Weight. It barely edges out Suitable For Framing, which has my all-time favourite “Gotcha!”, but my adoration for the character played by Suzanne Pleschette has to triumph. Poor Helen Stewart seems so dismissed by her mother and ex-husband that she is ready to believe anything the handsome and charming Col. Hollister tells her, as he seems to be the first person to find her beautiful and endearing!

    • MLCBLOG

      This is so true. I went back to episode 1 just for fun. Sometimes my Netflix is not quite “there” but I have a whole bunch of seasons to look forward to here.

    • Thanks for letting us know. Glad you found the podcast and are enjoying it. Means a lot to hear this.

    • Chi83

      Yes, my mother also loved Columbo and I have been binge watching any chance I get. I feel like she is still here when I watch and I like to see what others think.

      • Zoe Bianchi

        I love watching because it takes me back to the 70s, when I was very young! One thing I’ve noticed about these episodes is the longer scene lengths compared to today’s abrupt ones. Directors/producers now feel they have to cater to short attention spans, but this is often at the expense of nuance.

  • skydog

    One thing that made me laugh was when Goldie admits the hat was planted and Markham instantly dismisses it, saying, “Surely no crime was committed.” Of course, Columbo already has his suspicions and he ignores it. But obviously planting false evidence to influence a police investigation is a crime – obstruction of justice, evidence tampering, etc.

    Columbo suspects get away with a lot of lying and interference because of their social positions. He’s clever enough to get around it, but real policemen would hardly be so forgiving.