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
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 »
Columbo lights up one of his trademark cigars, then sets off in a rowboat while whistling "This Old Man" - yet he still has his cigar in his mouth while he's supposedly whistling. See more »
An offbeat (literally) episode from the original run, in which Falk and director Patrick McGoohan tried a different angle on the familiar formula. The result is a rather fey, whimsical Lieutenant - all smirks and knowing winks - on a case that twists alarmingly before he can nail the suspect. Guaranteed to either enchant...or send viewers screaming from the room.
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