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
After identifying the body, Columbo puts his arm around Clay's shoulder to lead him out of the morgue. As they turn, the scene cuts to a rear view and Columbo's hand is grasping Clay's elbow (he then raises it up to his shoulder). See more
Charles 'Charlie' Clay
Listen, are the police always called in when there's any possibility of an accident?
Accident... Oh, I'm sure this is an accident. Don't worry just because I'm from Homicide. Didn't I mention that? Well, never mind.
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