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?


Dean Stockwell had to drop out of The Twilight Zone: The Purple Testament (1960) due to scheduling conflicts. Two years later, he starred in this episode. Both stories are about American soldiers who have supernatural visions during the Pacific War in 1945, and both have William Shakespeare quotes as titles. 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 »


[closing narration]
Narrator: 'The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.' Shakespeare, the Merchant of Venice, but applicable to any moment in time, to any group of soldiery, to any nation on the face of the Earth - or, as in this case, to The Twilight Zone.
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Featured in For the Love of Spock (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

'Last grimy pages of a dirty torn book of war'.
7 February 2014 | by See all my reviews

An anti-war message from WW2 hero Rod Serling. Set in the Philippines where he served comes a drama of two halves about an ambitious young Lieutenant called Katell (Dean Stockwell). In the first half Katell takes over a platoon in August 1945 and clashes with his Sergeant (Albert Salmi). The war experienced Sergeant Causarano hopes his weary soldiers will not have to attack a cave where the enemy is holed up. Katell is lacks the Sergeant's battle experience and 'hasn't been shot at yet'. He wants to prove his manhood by leading an attack in the last throes of war. Sergeant Causarano hopes the necessary job of war is done without many more men having to die-on either side.

There is a 'Quantum Leap' for Dean Stockwell as he gets to see war from another perspective. If that's not TZ enough, well, Leonard Nimoy is one of the soldiers.

I think Serling is suggesting we would be better off if the whole world could see each other as humans and not see some others as a hated entity that has to die just to satisfy the ambitions of leaders. See what you think?

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