The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
9 user 2 critic

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.


Buzz Kulik


Rod Serling (teleplay by), Sam Rolfe (based on an idea by) | 1 more credit »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Dean Stockwell ... Lt. Katell / Lt. Yamuri
Albert Salmi ... Sgt. Causarano
Rayford Barnes Rayford Barnes ... Andrew Watkins
Ralph Votrian Ralph Votrian ... Hanachek
Leonard Nimoy ... Hansen
Dale Ishimoto Dale Ishimoto ... Sgt. Yamazaki
Jerry Fujikawa ... 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) See more »

Also Known As:

A Quality of Mercy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This episode was one of four episodes to be remade for Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), though only loosely remade in this instance. The relevant segment was directed by John Landis. 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

It Falleth from the Heavens
25 November 2008 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

The Twilight Zone is all about finding yourself in a situation where you must face something that is totally alien to you. This is no exception. In war, the soldier often sees the enemy as worthless--dehumanized. They forget that they were children, had loving families, and are now thrust into the same conflicts that their adversary on the other side is. This episode was selected for the Twilight Zone movie. It's the one where Vic Morrow was killed. It is much more intense, of course, but the message is the same. Walk in the man's shoes. Understand what terror is like. If we are to fight wars, then don't romanticize them. This is certainly a memorable episode and makes one think.

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