Four players played in the studio (in the opening credits, the exterior appeared to be an airplane hangar), and four more played along at home over the telephone, one of several shows on GSN to do this. Each round consisted of approximately 20 - 25 questions, depending on the time available. Each question had three possible answers, "C" of which was almost always "None of the above." The contestants had three seconds to lock in an answer by pressing one of the buttons on their podiums, and only the "Inquizitor" (and viewing audience) would see their choices. A correct answer scored a point, a wrong answer incurred no gain and no loss.
Sometimes midway during the round, the Inquizitor would break away from the questioning and announce who was in last place, prodding that player to perform better, lest they be left behind. This was the only clue the players ever got during play as to the scores, they were only seen on screen, though the Inquizitor would sometimes indicate that a certain player had missed a question or was the only one to answer it correctly. When the bell rang to end the round, the player in last place was eliminated, and told either "Please leave now.", "Goodbye.", "Ta-ta." or "You're finished!...Get out!" by the Inquizitor. That player would turn around, and the camera would fade to white. The scores would reset for the next round, and play would continue until one player remained. This player then claimed a cash prize (USD$250 in the first season, USD$500 from the second and on) and his "papers." Contestants playing over the phone were eliminated the same way. In the case of a tie in the telephone game, an additional question was asked during the commercial break to the players who had the same score to break the tie. Telephone contestants played for the same cash prize, sometimes including online gift certificates. (Possibilities of what the "papers" were for the winning in-studio contestant include similar gift certificates and symbolic "papers" commemorating the contestant's victory, analogous to certificates of achievement.)
The show was probably most famous for its mysterious host. The "Inquizitor" never showed his face during the entire run of the show, and to this day his identity is unknown, due to one of the terms of his contract being that his identity shall never be revealed, though the most prominent of rumors states that he was Bob Stewart, the father of Inquizition's executive producer Sande Stewart. On the GSN message boards, however, his name is sometimes given as Brent Williams. Crew members of the production identify the "Inquizitor" as actor William Bassett who was fed his lines and insults by Sande Stewart. In any case, he was also known for being the forerunner for the anti-host persona made famous by Anne Robinson, as he would always let the players know what he thought of their play, for good or for bad. (Typically the latter.)
Inquizition was one of two GSN originals that used eggcrate displays. The other was WinTuition.