Colonel Lyle C. Rumford, the proud Commandant of a military academy, is incensed that William Haynes, the owner of the property, wants to turn it into a co-ed college. So, Rumford plots to kill Haynes with a back-firing cannon that Haynes is due to fire in a ceremony. Rumford arranges for the cannon to explode by blocking its discharge with a cleaning rag and thereby making the explosion seem an unfortunate accident caused by a clumsy attendant. Los Angeles Police Department's Lieutenant Columbo comes to the academy to investigate Haynes' death and instantly suspects that Rumford had something to do with the explosion, which Columbo believes was not accidental. Columbo unrelentingly seeks to prove that Rumford had motive and opportunity to rig the cannon.Written by
Kevin McCorry <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The campus scenes were filmed at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. See more »
When Haynes walks into the Commandant's office, in the long shot, there is a solid red furled flag with white stars (it is unclear of whether or not it is a General Officer's flag which would also be in error) over the Commandant's left shoulder but in all other shots, this flag has been replaced with the California State Flag. See more »
Col. Lyle C. Rumford:
Officer, you may wish to, uh, detain this man. He refuses to leave the area.
This man is Lt. Columbo, sir. He's in charge of the investigation.
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A strong and decisively emotionless performance from Patrick McGoohan, a well-sustained taut atmosphere and an effectively economical script are the main assets of this gem of a Columbo story which has a military academy as its setting for the entire duration.
McGoohan deservedly won an Emmy for his performance in which he doesn't flinch at any conversation or event in the whole episode - he remains remarkably unflappable to the end. His character is a inflexible disciplinarian, something which ironically contributes to his downfall later on...
The resolution is incisive, unpredictable and totally satisfying. A vintage Columbo episode, in which the script, plot and acting are very effective and well-judged in equal amounts.
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