Columbo (1971–2003)
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Last Salute to the Commodore 

Charlie Clay runs the ship building business of his father-in-law, Commodore Swanson, who turns up murdered; Lt. Columbo is on the case.


Patrick McGoohan


Jackson Gillis, Richard Levinson (created by) | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Robert Vaughn ... Charles 'Charlie' Clay
Wilfrid Hyde-White ... Kittering, Esq.
John Dehner ... Commodore Otis Swanson
Dennis Dugan ... Sergeant Theodore "Mac" Albinsky
Diane Baker ... Joanna Clay
Bruce Kirby ... Sergeant George Kramer
Joshua Bryant ... Wayne Taylor
Susan Foster Susan Foster ... Lisa King
Fred Draper ... Swanny Swanson
Rod McCary ... Coast Guard Officer
John Finnegan ... Guard (as J. P. Finnegan)
Joseph Roman Joseph Roman ... Shop Foreman
Hanna Hertelendy Hanna Hertelendy ... Woman
Jerry Crews Jerry Crews ... Watchman


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 J. Spurlin

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TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

2 March 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der alte Mann und der Tod See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Dennis Dugan, who played Sergeant Theodore 'Mac' Albinsky also appeared a half year later as young P.I. Richard 'Richie' Brockleman in a TV movie called "Richie Brockleman: The Missing 24 Hours" (released in October following the Columbo episode in March). The Brockleman character later spring-boarded off The Rockford Files in February of '78 to launch into its own series, "Richie Brockleman, Private Eye," which was enjoyable but short-lived. Many Columbo fans confused his modest but memorable appearance as 'Mac' with the later Richie Brockleman, since the two characters were both investigators, disarmingly personable, and brandishing unusual 3-syllable last names. See more »


As Columbo wraps up his phone call with Ensign O'Connor aboard Charles Clay's yacht, three people can be seen on the adjacent yacht "Cameo", peering through the windows in the background. They're clearly not extras, since they stare at the camera nearly constantly, only occasionally turning to discuss what they're seeing with each other. See more »


[the lieutenant has been saddled with an apprentice]
Columbo: Now, what do I call you? Theodore?
Sergeant Theodore "Mac" Albinsky: Uh, no, sir. You call me Mac.
Columbo: Mac.
Sergeant Theodore "Mac" Albinsky: Yeah, Mac.
Columbo: And do you have any Scotch or Irish in you?
Sergeant Theodore "Mac" Albinsky: Oh, no, sir.
Columbo: All right, Mac. Welcome aboard.
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Featured in Big Daddy (1999) See more »


This Old Man
Traditional English children's song/nursery rhyme.
On soundtrack in several variations at end as Columbo rows away
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User Reviews

The Worst Columbo I've Seen
19 November 2008 | by dgcrowSee all my reviews

I love the Columbo series, have seen at least 80 percent of the show's episodes, and hope to eventually see them all. So far, this one is by far the worst. What makes it so disappointing is that it has a wonderful supporting cast: John Dehner, Diane Baker, Robert Vaughn, Wilfrid Hyde-White, and Dennis Dugan, among others. But what a waste of talent. And what terrible pacing and staging. Patrick McGoohan is a fine actor, and his performances as the murderer in this series are outstanding. But his directing in this episode is simply awful. If you're a Columbo fan, skip this one. If you're not a Columbo fan, all the more reason to skip it as well!

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