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 1,017 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

As Columbo joins Rumsford for dinner, he is given a plate with a good-sized steak, accompanied by sweetcorn, carrots and something green, all in small neat piles. A few shots later, when the assistant cadets are excused from the table, his plate is there with the steak, but absolutely piled high with peas and green beans, but no sweetcorn at all. Then when he adds bread to his plate, it has the same ingredients as the first plate. See more »

Quotes

Col. Lyle C. Rumford: A word to the wise, Loomis: beware of a misplaced sense of justice.
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Soundtracks

Reveille
(uncredited)
Traditional army bugle call
[played by Unseen bugler]
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User Reviews

 
Crackerjack Columbo story
1 September 2005 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

A strong and decisively emotionless performance from Patrick McGoohan, a well-sustained taut atmosphere and an effectively economical script are the main assets of this gem of a Columbo story which has a military academy as its setting for the entire duration.

McGoohan deservedly won an Emmy for his performance in which he doesn't flinch at any conversation or event in the whole episode - he remains remarkably unflappable to the end. His character is a inflexible disciplinarian, something which ironically contributes to his downfall later on...

The resolution is incisive, unpredictable and totally satisfying. A vintage Columbo episode, in which the script, plot and acting are very effective and well-judged in equal amounts.


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