The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
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A Quality of Mercy 

Hot shot new Lieutanant Katell tries to make his mark on the last day of World War II in the Pacific and gets a unique perspective on his actions.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Rayford Barnes ...
Andrew Watkins
Ralph Votrian ...
Dale Ishimoto ...
Sgt. Yamazaki
Japanese Captain (as J.H. Fujikawa)


On August 6, 1945 - the last day of World War II - a forward platoon acting as artillery spotters get an eager and aggressive Lieutenant Katell. The artillery has been unable to dislodge a Japanese unit from a cave and Katell decides that the unit is going to attack. He suddenly finds himself in 1942 however, leading a Japanese unit that is about to attack Americans who are holed up in a cave. He looks into a mirror of sorts when his Japanese superior orders destroy the American stronghold. When he flashes back to 1945, he has second thoughts about the attack. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

29 December 1961 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode takes place on August 6, 1945 and May 4, 1942. See more »


Shortly after the perspective shifts to the Japanese one, the camera zooms in on an ammunition box. The casings around it are blanks. You can tell by the crimped ends with no projectile. See more »


[opening narration]
Narrator: It's August 1945, the last grimy pages of a dirty, torn book of war. The place is the Philippine Islands. The men are what's left of a platoon of American Infantry, whose dulled and tired eyes set deep in dulled and tired faces can now look toward a miracle, that moment when the nightmare appears to be coming to an end. But they've got one more battle to fight, and in a moment, we'll observe that battle. August 1945, Philippine Islands - but in reality, it's high noon - in ...
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Referenced in The Twilight Zone: Shades of Guilt (2002) See more »

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User Reviews REALLY want to see Dean Stockwell killed!!
4 October 2009 | by See all my reviews

This episode begins on August 6, 1945--just days before the peace treaty ending WWII was signed--and the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The story centers on a small platoon of American soldiers who are bogged down near a cave filled with tired and demoralized Japanese soldiers--and the American soldiers aren't doing much better. They all just want the war to end and they aren't anxious about storming the fact, they might just bypass it. However, a hot-shot new lieutenant (Dean Stockwell) comes in to take command--and he's excited by the prospect of killing and proving his manhood at the expense of his men. He's so unlikable and obnoxious that you are looking forward to seeing him die!

Oddly, before the assault, in a "Twilight Zone" twist, he suddenly finds himself in a Japanese uniform--serving with the Imperial forces in May, 1942 at Corregidor! While Stockwell doesn't look remotely Japanese, he is in the Zone, so to speak. In this new position, Lt. "Namuri" is expected to lead an assault on a group of Americans who are holed up in a cave! The tables have been turned and now Stockwell sees that killing isn't as much fun as he thought it would be. What is Namuri to do? Will he kill the American? Will he be able to return to 1945?

It's interesting to see that although Sam Rolfe and Rod Serling have compassion for the Japanese soldiers, they don't whitewash the conduct of the Japanese army at Corregidor or exactly play moral relativism. That's because the bloodthirsty behaviors of the Japanese early in the war were not forgotten--though they are still treated with dignity and respect as soldiers. The episode is a very good one from start to finish--compelling and understandably sad.

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