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The Twilight Zone: The Jeopardy Room

A KGB agent plays games with a defector, whose life he's been ordered to take, by giving him three hours to find and defuse a bomb he has hidden in his room.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 5x29
Production Number: 2639
Airdate: Friday April 17th, 1964

Director: Richard Donner
Writer: Rod Serling

Guest Stars
Martin LandauMartin Landau
As Major Ivan Kuchenko
John van DreelenJohn van Dreelen
As Commisar Vassiloff

Co-Guest Stars
Main Cast
Rod SerlingRod Serling
As Narrator/Host


Major Ivan Kuchenko, a Russian defector, is sleeping in a cheap hotel in a neutral European city when the phone rings. He answers it and the man at the other end talks to him by name and says that he’s contacting Kuchenko on behalf of his “friends.” The man asks Kuchenko to stay in the hotel room and prepare for a visitor. Kuchenko is unaware that the man, Commissar Vassiloff, is in a darkened room across the alleyway and is watching his every move along with his henchman Boris. Boris wonders why they’re waiting to kill Kuchenko and Vassiloff tells him that Kuchenko’s death will be a work of art...

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Episode Notes
Martin Landau was also in "Mr. Denton on Doomsday." He was also in a 1985 episode of The Twilight Zone. He also won an Academy Award portraying Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood.

One of the few TZ episodes with no fantastical or supernatural elements.

Episode Quotes
Boris: Tell me when.
Vassiloff: A good death is the death of art. A bad one is the death of a butcher. You, Boris, are a butch. I am an artist.

Opening Narration
Narrator: The cast of characters: a cat and a mouse. This is the latter, the intended victim who may or may not know that he is to die, be it by butchery or ballet. His name is Major Ivan Kuchenko. He has, if events go according to certain plans, perhaps three or four more hours of living. But an ignorance shared by both himself and his executioner is of the fact that both of them have taken a first step into the Twilight Zone.

Vassiloff: Well, it’s quite a place you have here. Who occupied it before you? A rat?
Kuchenko: I had no luxury of choices.
Vassiloff: No, indeed, you have not. In that respect you are a very poor man, Major.

Closing Narration
Narrator: Major Ivan Kuchenko, on his way west, on his way to freedom, a freedom bought and paid for by a most stunning ingenuity. And exit one Commissar Vassiloff, who forgot that there are two sides to an argument--and two parties on the line. This has been the Twilight Zone.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorRod Serling
Executive ProducerRod Serling
ProducerWilliam Froug
EditorRichard W. Farrell
CastingLarry Stewart
Set DesignerHenry Grace
Set DecoratorFrank R. McKelvy
Director of PhotographyGeorge T. Clemens
Art DirectorEddie Imazu  |  George W. Davis
Production ManagerRalph Nelson
Sound EditorFranklin Milton  |  Joe Edmondson
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
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