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?
Dennis Dugan, who played Sergeant Theodore 'Mac' Albinsky also appeared a half year later as young P.I. Richard 'Richie' Brockleman in a TV movie called "Richie Brockleman: The Missing 24 Hours" (released in October following the Columbo episode in March). The Brockleman character later spring-boarded off The Rockford Files in February of '78 to launch into its own series, "Richie Brockleman, Private Eye," which was enjoyable but short-lived. Many Columbo fans confused his modest but memorable appearance as 'Mac' with the later Richie Brockleman, since the two characters were both investigators, disarmingly personable, and brandishing unusual 3-syllable last names. 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