Charlie Clay runs a ship-building business owned by his father-in-law, Commodore Otis Swanson, who is not happy with his profiteering son-in-law's shady dealings. Nor is he pleased with any of the people closest to him, including his alcoholic daughter Joanna Clay, his elderly nephew Swanny Swanson or his lawyer Kittering. Soon the Commodore is murdered, and Charlie Clay covers it up by impersonating the Commodore, taking the corpse out on the man's yawl at night and throwing the body overboard. Lt. Columbo investigates this case with the help of a veteran sergeant and a 29-year-old novice. The rumpled, redoubtable detective knows Clay covered up the crime, but his assumption that Clay committed the crime may prove premature. Written by
Did You Know?
The Commodore who was murdered is named Otis Swanson. In the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Dead Ringer", the murder victim is also named Otis Swanson. Jackson Gillis is credited as the writer in that episode as well as this one. See more
When Charles Clay drives away from Otis Swanson's house his car has wire wheels, but when he pulls up to the guard shack it has hub caps. See more
I don't think he, Charles Clay... I don't think he murdered anybody.
Really, Mr. Columbo. Charlie certainly went to a lot of trouble if he didn't murder the commodore.
Oh, I think he would have gone to twice that much trouble if he thought that his wife had murdered the commodore.
Featured in Big Daddy
This Old Man
Traditional English children's song/nursery rhyme.
On soundtrack in several variations at end as Columbo rows away See more