Columbo (1971–2003)
43 user 6 critic

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 »




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 Landy ... Woman (as Hanna Hertelendy)
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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The yacht identified in the episode as belonging to Charles Clay is in fact the Dittmar Donaldson-designed 85-foot superyacht Mojo, built in 1969 and owned by Los Angeles businessman Frank Muller. Over the decades, Mojo has played host to many celebrities, including Michael Jackson (for the ceremonial scattering of Barry White's ashes), as well as Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Stiller, and members of the band 311. She was also a favorite of US President Richard Nixon, who sailed on Mojo no less than two dozen times.

Perhaps her most notorious celebrity guests, however, were George C. Scott and his wife, Trish Van Devere. Having paid US$10,000 to charter Mojo for ten days in late January, 1978, and keen to be underway to Pebble Beach for the Crosby Pro-Am Golf Tournament, Scott encouraged the yacht's captain Norm Catton to exit Morro Bay harbor into heavy 20-foot seas against the advice of both Harbor Patrol and the Coast Guard. Mojo was overwhelmed by a massive breaker, shattering the wheelhouse windows and injuring both the captain and Van Devere, and causing damage totaling US$85,000 (~US$310,000 in 2016 dollars).

Following the incident, Mojo was rebuilt and lengthened to 100 feet. A subsequent refit in the 1990s changed her styling almost unrecognizably, but she remains in service to this day with Hornblower Cruises & Events in her long-time home of Newport Beach, CA. See more »


When Charles Clay drives away from Otis Swanson's house his car has wire wheels, but when he pulls up to the guard shack it has hub caps. See more »


Columbo: Have a nice meditation.
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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
See more »

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User Reviews

A Columbo original
24 November 2000 | by scarlett-30See all my reviews

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.

32 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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