The Jeopardy Room

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"The Jeopardy Room"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 29
Directed byRichard Donner
Written byRod Serling
Production code2639
Original air dateApril 17, 1964
Guest appearance(s)

Martin Landau as Major Ivan Kuchenko
John van Dreelen as Commissar Vassiloff
Robert Kelljan as Boris- Vassiloff’s assistant

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Caesar and Me"
Next →
"Stopover in a Quiet Town"
The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series) (season 5)
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"The Jeopardy Room" is episode 149 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone, which originally aired on April 17, 1964 on CBS. It is one of only four Twilight Zone episodes (the others being the very first season's first episode "Where Is Everybody?", season two's "The Silence", and season three's "The Shelter") to feature a story without any supernatural or science fiction elements. It does, however, contain one of the series' signature twist endings.

Opening narration[edit]

Plot[edit]

Major Ivan Kuchenko (Martin Landau), a KGB agent who is attempting to defect, is trapped inside a hotel room in an unnamed, politically neutral country. Commissar Vassiloff (John van Dreelen), a hitman, and Boris (Robert Kelljan), his assistant, are watching Kuchenko from a room across the street. Vassiloff, who considers himself an artist, has an elaborate plan for Kuchenko's assassination. After Vassiloff tricks Kuchenko into drinking a sleeping drug, Kuchenko awakes to find a taped recording from Vassiloff in which he explains that he has booby-trapped an object in the room. If Kuchenko finds and disarms the object within three hours, he will be allowed to live; if he tries to leave the room before then or turn out the lights, he will be shot by Boris (an expert sniper).

Vassiloff tells Boris he has hidden a lethal bomb in the telephone, but it will be triggered only by picking up an incoming call. Thus, when Kuchenko picks up the phone without it ringing, nothing happens. Kuchenko grows increasingly nervous and desperate as the ordeal continues, even begging Vassiloff to shoot him at one point. With ten minutes of time left, Vassiloff places a call to Kuchenko's room. Kuchenko puts his hand on the receiver, but hesitates. When Vassiloff tries to call him a second time, Kuchenko bolts out of the hotel room, narrowly escaping a spray of bullets from Boris. Later, Vassiloff and Boris enter the room to dispose of evidence. The telephone rings, and Boris and Vassiloff are both killed after Boris unthinkingly answers it. On the other end of the line is Ivan Kuchenko, calling from a phone booth at the airport. The operator tells him she is unable to reach his party, but Kuchenko states, "It’s alright, operator. I.. I have reached them.” He then leaves to board a plane flying to New York City, as Vassiloff and Boris are shown lying dead amidst the rubble of Kuchenko's room.

Closing Narration[edit]

References[edit]

  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0
  • Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)

See also[edit]

  • Payback, a 1999 film that features a similar booby trap as a plot device and a similar twist ending.

External links[edit]