Columbo: Season 4, Episode 3

By Dawn's Early Light (27 Oct. 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 983 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 3 critic

The commandant of a military academy murders the chairman of the board, who wants to oust him. Lt. Columbo takes up residence in the barracks to expose the killer.

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Title: By Dawn's Early Light (27 Oct 1974)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Burr DeBenning ...
Madeleine Sherwood ...
Miss Brady (as Madeleine Thornton-Sherwood)
Tom Simcox ...
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...
Sergeant George Kramer (as Bruce Kirby Sr.)
Sidney Armus ...
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Karen Lamm ...
...
Cadet Morgan (as B. Kirby Jr.)
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Storyline

Colonel Lyle C. Rumford, the proud Commandant of a military academy, is incensed that William Haynes, the owner of the property, wants to turn it into a co-ed college. So, Rumford plots to kill Haynes with a back-firing cannon that Haynes is due to fire in a ceremony. Rumford arranges for the cannon to explode by blocking its discharge with a cleaning rag and thereby making the explosion seem an unfortunate accident caused by a clumsy attendant. Los Angeles Police Department's Lieutenant Columbo comes to the academy to investigate Haynes' death and instantly suspects that Rumford had something to do with the explosion, which Columbo believes was not accidental. Columbo unrelentingly seeks to prove that Rumford had motive and opportunity to rig the cannon. Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca>

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27 October 1974 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the only "Columbo" episode out of the four Patrick McGoohan appears in which he did not direct. See more »

Goofs

When Columbo cannot sleep in the barracks and has to make a telephone call, he gets out of bed barefoot. As he starts to walk, we hear the sound of shoes on the floor. He wears laced shoes, so he couldn't have simply slipped into them as he rose. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Columbo: You have to forgive me, it's not me, it's my mind, it's very slow, and I have to pin everything down.
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Soundtracks

Dixie
(uncredited)
Written by Daniel Decatur Emmett
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User Reviews

 
One of the best
13 March 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I am a huge fan of Columbo, and I love this episode. In fact By Dawn's Early Light is in my top 5 of the best Columbo episodes. My only slight disappointment was the opening shot which wasn't as striking as it could have been, but with everything else so good it is so easy to forget.

The photography and locations are striking once again, the music is both haunting and beautiful and the direction is tight. The story is always involving with no dull moments and a premise and final solution that delighted me on first viewing and still does with some of the interaction and the little things, and the writing is some of the best in a Columbo episode. The cast are on top-form. Peter Falk as he always is is brilliant, and Patrick McGoohan in an exceptional performance is more than a match for him.

Overall, one of the best Columbo episodes and it couldn't be a more perfect tribute to McGoohan too. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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