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?
This is the only Columbo episode, in which the audience does not know the murderer from the start. Contrary to the normal Columbo "howcatchem" plot it has a classic "whodunit" ending scene with all suspects gathered in a room to be revealed the perpetrator. Very much in the same way as Hercule Poirot gathers the suspects. This could be a nod to the great mystery writer and Queen of "whodunnits" Agatha Christi, however, having died just two months before this episode aired it seems coincidental rather than planned. See more
Columbo sprawls out on the pier with his left leg extended beneath him, and his right leg up and bent. Then he instantly switches to having his right leg extended below, and his left leg up - then switches back again. 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