Columbo (1971–2003)
37 user 5 critic

By Dawn's Early Light 

The commandant of a military academy murders the chairman of the board, who wants to oust him. Lt. Columbo takes up residence in the barracks to expose the killer.


Harvey Hart


Howard Berk, Richard Levinson (created by) | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Patrick McGoohan ... Col. Lyle C. Rumford
Burr DeBenning ... Capt. Loomis
Madeleine Sherwood ... Miss Brady (as Madeleine Thornton-Sherwood)
Tom Simcox ... William Haynes
Mark Wheeler ... Cadet Roy Springer
Bruce Kirby ... Sergeant George Kramer (as Bruce Kirby Sr.)
Sidney Armus Sidney Armus ... Officer Corso
Robert Clotworthy ... Boodle Boy / Jonathan B. Miller
Karen Lamm ... Susan Gerard
Bruno Kirby ... Cadet Morgan (as B. Kirby Jr.)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This is the second of three episodes where the murderer is a military man. The others include Dead Weight and Grand Deceptions. See more »


Col. Rumford wears his cover (hat) indoors several times in the episode. Military hats are not to be worn indoors except in very special circumstances. See more »


Col. Lyle C. Rumford: This country is going to have the best damn army in the world!
See more »


Arranged by Daniel Butterfield
Played by unseen bugler
See more »

User Reviews

Excellent Acting! Excellent!! Excellent!! Excellent!!
21 April 2003 | by warlock162See all my reviews

This is one of the few Columbo's in which the acting quality is so outstanding, it makes the detective element that much better.

I did not know much about Patrick McGoohan as an actor before seeing him in this episode as Colonel Lyle C. Rumford. While I was watching this mystery, I found myself more in awe with his acting than with the actual detective element. Watching him made me look into his work more and more. As a matter of fact, I learned that McGoohan won an Emmy Award in 1974 for "Best Guest Star on a TV Series", for this episode.

If you want to see acting at its best, watch this episode the next time it shows up on the Bravo! Channel.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 37 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

27 October 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alle prime luci dell'alba See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color | Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed