Mission: Impossible (1988-1990) -- Season 1 (1988-1989) Reviews

Copyright ©2014 by Mike Quigley. No reproduction of any kind without permission.


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S01E01. The Killer -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 23 October 1988

In this remake of S05E01 from the original series which starred Robert Conrad, John De Lancie is Matthew Drake, an unpredictable contract killer. He knocks off Tom Copperfield (Vince Martin) in the opening scenes at a swanky San Francisco party using a device which resembles a hand-held blow dart. Copperfield was Jim Phelps' protégé, so Phelps has a special interest in this case.

Phelps now takes orders via what looks like a mini CD inserted into a black player activated by a code typed on a keypad. In his San Francisco apartment, Phelps uses various electronic devices to choose the members for all of his missions (a one time event): drama teacher Nicholas Black; designer Casey Randall; muscle man Max Harte; and electronics genius Grant Collier.

The team head to London, where Drake, who works for a powerful underworld leader named Scorpio, is going to execute his next victim. Similar to the earlier show, Drake lands at the airport and Phelps and his crew have to prepare the Raeburn Hotel, complete with bugged room, so that it resembles the one that Drake chose at random from a phone book at the airport. They have limited time to do this, so various delays for Drake's taxi, driven by Blake, are put into plan which annoy Drake to no end.

At the hotel, Drake makes a call to his London contact, a blonde woman named Danielle (Virginia Hey). Drake goes out to meet her, but she is instead directed to the hotel by the IMF (Impossible Mission Force). When she arrives, Black pretends to be Drake and gets Drake's orders which call for the assassination of the president of a California-based construction union leader named Barton, who is also in London. Casey goes to the Gardens to meet with Drake, pretending to be Danielle, and gives him bogus orders to kill Barton, who will be played by Grant at the Crown Regent Hotel, where Barton is actually staying.

There is a cat-and-mouse game as Drake shows up at the Crown Regent. He detonates a bomb under Grant/Barton's room, nearly killing Grant. When he returns to the Raeburn, Casey is in his room in her capacity as Scorpio's messenger. She says that it is time for Drake to retire, but he instead "kills" her and returns to the States to seek revenge on Scorpio.

Scorpio is revealed to be big shot Alfred Chambers (Ted Hamilton), who lives in the same penthouse suite where Copperfield was killed at the beginning of the show. Drake gives Chambers the blow-dart treatment, but Chambers throws a knife at Drake which wounds him (not fatally).

As the show ends, Phelps decides to come "back to work" with his new team.

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S01E02. The System -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 30 October 1988

In this rehash of the original show's S03E15 episode, the IMF have to make Frank Marley (James Sloyan), manager of the Banyan Bay Hotel Casino in the Bahamas, testify against Bob Connors (Gus Mercurio), crime syndicate boss of the eastern U.S. seaboard. The only other witness who could have put Connors in jail is blown up during the show's teaser. Marley is like a son to Connors, who is under indictment and currently out on bail.

As in the earlier episode, the IMF engage in tampering with the daily take and also get Casey to chum up to Marley, who endorses credit slips to her which Black forges into larger amounts. Phelps plays an auditor supposedly sent by Connors, whose voice is spoofed on a tapped phone line by Black. Grant uses a telescopic-like device like Barney did to open the safe, this time to deflect laser beams while he adds money to the bags in the counting room. When the device suddenly becomes detached from the ceiling, Phelps and Black have to cut the casino's power for a few seconds to allow Grant to reposition it. As well, Black disguises himself as Marley, using a mask, to convince a blackjack dealer to let Casey win $25,000.

At the end, shots are fired at Marley, who is becoming more and more paranoid that Connors is trying to have him knocked off. He finally locks himself in the vault and calls the prosecutor in New Jersey, offering to testify against Connors if they cut him a deal.

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S01E03. Holograms -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 6 November 1988

Colonel Gregory Usher (the gravelly-voiced Gerard Kennedy, who vaguely resembles Dennis Hopper) has appointed himself president for life of his country, which is one of the world's leading producers of processed cocaine. Usher is under indictment from the US government, but is impossible to extradite, because he is well-guarded by Major Duvall (William Zappa), the chief of his secret police. At the beginning of the show, Duvall's mercenary-like forces gun down Joseph Elias, an exiled opposition leader who has returned to the country, after he has barely stepped off his plane.

Black and Collier travel to meet with Duvall, Black pretending to be a guy named Taggart, who was going to sell Duvall a large quantity of ethyl ether, used in the production of cocaine. (The real Taggart has been arrested back in the States.) Grant rigs Usher's bedroom with a hologram-generating device which they use to freak out Duvall, whose pregnant wife abandoned him years before. This device projects images of Usher's "son" (15-year-old junior IMF member Kieron, played by Gavin Harrison).

Usher suffers from intense migraine-like headaches, and Phelps pretends to be a doctor who just happens to be treating a young boy on a nearby island with what he diagnoses as a similar problem, an "arteriovenous malfunction." This boy also has the same rare AB negative blood type as Usher. When Usher hears about all this, he travels with Phelps by launch to the island where he meets the kid on the beach, believing that this boy is his long-lost child.

There is a house on this beach, and the IMF has duplicated this house on another island nearby which is an American protectorate, and the ruse is to get Usher to this island where he can be arrested by US lawmen.

When he returns back home, Usher's feelings for the boy are so overpowering, that he gets the pilot who took Phelps to the island (played by Harte) to take him back there. Of course, is the "other" island, where he is taken into custody. The gimmick is that Usher cannot tell the difference between the islands from the air.

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S01E04. The Condemned -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 20 November 1988

Mission: Impossible meets Midnight Express in this episode set in Turkey, which is based on the original series' S02E19.

Barney, who has moved to that country after retiring from the IMF, is arrested and accused of murdering an Englishman named George Stanton. It turns out that Stanton and the corrupt Turkish police captain Yusef Hamidou (Adrian Wright) had stolen a priceless Russian tsarina's necklace worth $10 million which they intended to sell. But it wasn't Stanton who was murdered. Instead, some other nameless guy's head was blown off with a shotgun. (A check of his fingerprints revealed no results.) Stanton (Steven Jacobs) is still alive, having undergone plastic surgery to disguise himself. Since he is "dead," he is about to abscond with the necklace in cahoots with Lydia Adem (Anna Maria Monticelli), who runs the cafe where Barney was arrested. Lydia seems to be Barney's girl friend, even though Barney's son Grant says this is not true.

Not only does Grant have a special interest in this case, but so does Phelps, because Barney is his old pal. In Istanbul, the IMF gets help from a Lieutenant Sirlak (Errol O'Neill), who was demoted from his management of the prison where Barney is being held because of Hamidou's promotion over the arrest. Hamidou, who is particularly slimy, has "built his career with corruption, bribery and murder," according to Phelps.

Black and Harte pay a visit to Barney, pretending to be priests, so they can snap pictures of the inside of Barney's cell which reveal exact details of the condition of the walls. They use these pictures to make long vertical latex strips like wallpaper which they use in the cell to quickly reconstruct a new wall that Barney hides behind. This is totally stupid, since you can see the joins between these strips easily and Hamidou not only cannot see these joins, but also the fact that the inside of the cell has diminished in size.

Barney then escapes with Black and Harte by becoming the hooded hangman who was going to execute him (the hangman is immobilized with some spray to the face and left in the cell). Because Barney is too weak to help the IMF team, Grant disguises himself as his father and pays a visit to Lydia. She immediately goes to Stanton (tailed by Black and Phelps, not too closely) where he stabs her to death. Stanton himself goes sailing off a building after a fight with Black.

There is seemingly no one who can clear Barney at this point, but the IMF set up Hamidou at Lydia's cafe where Barney appears in a "house of mirrors" while the desperate Hamidou incriminates himself as a video recorder rolls. At the end, Hamidou becomes the "first guest" that the restored warden Sirlak will welcome to his new prison.

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S01E05. The Legacy -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 27 November 1988

The producers of the remake originally intended to recycle 13 scripts from the old show, but only four were done, of which this is the last, based on S01E15 of the original series. Also directed by Kim Manners, it is the least interesting of the four (though the original episode had problems of its own).

Four grandsons of Nazi leaders who have never met (sons in the original show) come together in Zurich to start up the Fourth Reich using $5 billion of Nazi bullion which was hidden after the end of World War II (a mere $400 million in 1967). They are Ernst Graff (Judson Scott), Erich Wolfe (Arron Wayne Cull), Maximillian Brucker (Steven Grives) and Paul von Schau (Ivar Kants). Phelps says that they are going to "finance a new wave of hatred and bigotry in the world."

Black becomes Paul von Schau after the real von Schau arrives and is intercepted by the IMF at the Zurich airport. There is no explanation to what happens to the real von Schau. In the original show, he is punched out by Willy and presumably locked up. In this show, he is probably "detained" somewhere.

Black immediately has trouble, because each of the four men has three numbers of a 12-number Swiss bank account where the Nazis' plans are stored in a safety deposit box. Black does not know what his numbers are, which puts him at major odds with the blonde-haired Graff, who acts like the leader of the group and threatens Black with a gun.

A complicated sub-plot follows where the bank manager, Alfred Kubler (Shane Briant), is invited to a dinner party by a new customer played by Casey, pretending to be a rich baroness, administered a hypnagogic drug which makes him pass out, and convinced to give up the account number after being told he is dying, with Harte playing a priest amidst a bunch of smoke from a fog machine. This is silly, because why would the bank manager have this account number of many memorized? (A similar scenario is in the original show, though the bank manager is drugged at a large-scale party.)

Even after Black knows the number, which he receives only at the last minute via Casey acting as a maid because Graff refuses to let him leave the hotel room where the four are staying, Black has to supply further information in the form of a plastic overlay hidden in a pocket watch which, when combined with a microdot from the envelope containing some Reichsmarks from the bank and the overlays of the other three men, will tell exactly where the gold is located. Black pretends that he does not have this watch, though he actually does, and later gives it to Phelps who is Garcel, the hotel manager, investigating why the watch disappeared from Black's room.

The IMF analyze the overlay from Black's watch merged with information from the electronic microscope that was being used to combine the others by Graff in the grandsons' room (Grant has hooked them into this microscope without anyone being the wiser), and figures out that the gold is hidden in the nearby Greineau Cemetery. There they locate the crypt for A. Lois, tracked down from cemetery plots on the overlay (Alois was the name of Hitler's father). There is a coffin in this crypt which contains nothing. But by pushing the period engraved on the front of the crypt after the initial "A", a door opens in the coffin which leads to an Indiana Jones-like underground chamber where the gold is stored. How all this gold was placed in this room through the very narrow entrance in the coffin is hard to imagine.

The three grandsons eventually show up at the cemetery with Black. After Black, Graff and Brucker descend into the chamber, Wolfe, who is standing guard above, is punched out by Harte. Grant has set up a sheet of mylar which disguises the gold, though after Black (who is wearing a bulletproof vest) appears to be killed by Graff and Brucker really is shot dead, this mylar collapses, which is also silly and reminiscent of the prison wall in the previous episode.

The IMF leaves the scene, locking Graff in the crypt as the Swiss police arrive.

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S01E06. The Wall -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 11 December 1988

This episode is a bit similar to S02E04 where the head of bank in East Berlin takes money from people who want to escape to the West, but instead they end up dead. In this show, an East German doctor named Wolfgang Gerstner (Alan Cassell) arranges for people to flee in partnership with a corrupt military officer, Colonel Joseph Batz (Peter Curtin). Most of these people are caught and arrested. As well, Gerstner has kidnapped Ilse Bruck (Anya Molina), daughter of a man who is trying to negotiate a trade deal between the two Germanies. He has the girl in a medically-induced coma, and threatens to kill her unless her father abandons his efforts.

The IMF smuggle a large amount of equipment across the border in a shipment of tractors, and Grant, who has a forged passport, gets himself arrested to meet Batz. He then tells Batz that he is Rafael Cruz, a captain in the Cuban military forces whose case officer in the KGB is a Colonel Kirov in Moscow. Cruz has been sent to investigate criminal activity in Batz's organization. When Batz phones Kirov to check, Black impersonates the Soviet military big shot.

The IMF set up an elaborate deception which looks like the inside of a prison, complete with various computer and video equipment, which presumably was included in the tractor shipment. How they manage to rent space in some building which holds all of this is a good question.

Phelps pretends to be an Schonbrun, an East German banker with his daughter Martha played by Casey, who want to escape to the West immediately. They manage to convince Gerstner to help them (at a cost of 100,000 marks), but Batz smells treachery after Cruz starts snooping around and tells Gerstner to lay off his illegal activities. Fortunately, Black and Harte, in disguise as East German military officers, arrest Gerstner just as he is about to shoot Phelps and Casey.

Gerstner is put into a cell and tortured with hallucinogenic drugs, flashing lights and time-warping, as well as being able to conveniently see Phelps and "Batz" (Black in a mask) being harassed for information. He finally breaks under the strain, and is taken to the warehouse where he has Ilse, who is prepped to escape in a truck with a false wall (third show in a row for a false wall) by the IMF team.

Back in Batz's office, the real Colonel Kirov (Bill French) shows up, arrests Batz and he and his men head to the warehouse, arriving just as the IMF truck pulls out. Strangely, they do not stop the truck, which is the only vehicle in the neighborhood which is moving. Shortly after, Ilsa is united with her father back in West Berlin, and Gerstner meets a nasty end as he attempts to escape just like the people he cheated.

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S01E07. The Cattle King -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 18 December 1988

M:I finally gets a show set in Australia, where the new series was produced. Tony Hamilton’s character of Harte is also identified as being from this country when Phelps asks him “How's it feel to be home, Aussie?”

Douglas Matthews (David Bradshaw) is an entrepreneurial cattleman, gambler and ladies’ man who is involved in dealing arms that he sells to terrorist groups. He hides Stringer Mark II missiles on his land in locations like caves which are aboriginal sacred territory, though considering the number of them he is dealing with and the hassle that is expended to take just one of these weapons out of a cave near the beginning of the show, you would wonder why he wouldn’t just put them in a warehouse somewhere.

Phelps is introduced as Derek Ransom, an American involved in land speculation, and Casey is Tracy Philips, an anthropologist who is Ransom’s “friend.” She has incredible luck at race tracks and casinos due to her association with a Kurdaitcha, an aboriginal medicine man who she encountered during her research, so much so that she is banned from gambling at any of these establishments. Mulwarra, the Kurdaitcha in the show who deals with the IMF, is played by aboriginal actor Warren Owens, who later had a role in the Star Wars film Revenge of the Sith.

In order to convince Matthews his illegal trade is bad, the IMF team rig his penthouse apartment with the sounds of aboriginal chanting as well as outbursts of wind and fire and projected images to scare him into thinking him that his trespassing on the natives’ land has cursed him. When he freaks out and takes the elevator down to the main floor so he can bring back the security guard and show him what happened, the IMF threesome of Black, Harte and Collier, who are staying in the room next to Matthews, rush into his apartment and reset everything back to “normal.” You have to wonder if the smell of the flames shooting from Matthews’ balcony would linger more than a few minutes, though.

The show misses a big opportunity, however. Why bother setting up all these typical IMF deceptions when instead it could have suggested that the mystical powers of the aboriginal people alone really were capable of scaring the hell out of Matthews? Of course, if this was done, the episode would only be 15 minutes long instead of an hour.

At the end of the show, Grant, pretending to be a terrorist buyer, purchases the entire stock of Matthews’ missiles with phony money, leaving Matthews, already seriously rattled by all the witchcraft directed at him, in the middle of a field babbling incoherently as Mulwarra and several aboriginal tribesmen surround him.

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S01E08. The Pawn -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 15 January 1989

Gregor Antonov (Bryan Marshall) is a European ranking chess master and a scientist on a major Soviet defence project who wants to defect to the West after becoming disenchanted with his work in the arms race as well as the murder of his son, who was a member of the anti-nuclear movement. Antonov is playing a chess match in Prague but he is heavily guarded by several soldiers under the command of Major Natalia Zarbuskaya (Rowena Wallace), who is a major bitch (no pun intended). In the teaser, she is responsible for Antonov's son's death. Phelps says that she is also responsible for "political assassination, murder and torture."

In order to get Antonov out of the country, the IMF switches him during a magic act performed by Harte at the hotel where the chess match is being held for Black, who is made up to look like Antonov. Harte, who had some interest in magic when he was younger, becomes "Sandu," and studies under the tutelage of Joseph Rultka (Phillip Hinton), a now retired magician who was the Houdini of his day.

Antonov's young daughter Sasha (Ainsley McWhirter) joins her father and they make their escape. Antonov feeds chess moves to Black via a transmitter ring created by Grant which supposedly relays information "just like Morse code." When the Antonovs are about to cross the border, this transmission is interrupted by the guards who want to see everyone's passport, but Black makes a move which surprises everyone.

The IMF set up Zarbuskaya so it looks like she is trying to defect, and this, combined with the fact that she let the Antonovs escape, guarantees her a one-way ticket to Siberia.

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S01E09. The Haunting -- Disc Scene
Original broadcast date: 28 January 1989

Princess Jehan, the daughter of an oil baron, disappeared under mysterious circumstances in Hawaii and it is suspected that she was murdered by local rich boy Champ Foster (Parker Stevenson), who began his criminal career at the age of 16 and is rumoured may be a serial killer. The IMF is delegated to provide closure to the princess's father, who may pull out of an oil trade alliance with the west if this is not done.

Taking advantage of the fact that Foster's mother Victoria (Janice Paige) is interested in spiritualism and had an encounter with her late husband while on vacation in Tibet, the IMF sets up Phelps as a magician/spiritualist type named Zane Preston who performs at a party given for the princess at which her brother Abdullah ben Fatah, played by Black, is present.

Harte plays a wacko calling himself Dwight Eisenhower who messes up Champ's mind by dredging up things that happened in the killer's past, especially encounters with the psychiatric community. Casey pretends to be the princess herself, whose image is placed by some Photoshop-like method into pictures taken at the party.

After Preston passes out at the party when he connects with the princess via Abdullah's sunglasses, a séance is arranged where Champ is thrown further off balance thanks to the IMF's use of wind, lightning, a levitating table and the smell of the princess's perfume. He freaks out when there is a reference to a button from his jacket with a distinctive golden crown on it, and thinking that he dropped this button when he murdered the princess, he rushes to the beach where he buried her and starts digging up her body.

The cops, alerted by the IMF, are there to arrest him.

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S01E10. The Lions -- Disc Scene
Original broadcast date: 4 February 1989

The IMF goes international big time, this time tackling a problem in the Himalayan country of Bajan-Du.

Its progressive king has died and his young son Prince Miklos (Jeremy Angerson) by his English wife Lady Michelle Faulkner (Diane Craig ) has a challenge in the form of placing five gold lions on top of a floating platform before he can succeed his father. The lions represent certain virtues: truth, wisdom, humility, beauty and harmony. The IMF have learned that the king's brother Ki (James Shigeta), who hates the west and has been flirting with "eastern alliances," has made duplicates of the lions with weights that are different than the originals. These lions have to be placed on the platform in a certain order, but when Miklos places these forgeries, the different weights will also cause a problem -- which is that he will be stabbed to death by a mechanism under the platform.

Phelps enters the country in a vintage Rolls-Royce posing as Miklos's tutor Donovan. Harte and Casey enter in an equally vintage Humber, pretending to be journalist Cory Bennett and her photographer. For some unknown reason, Grant parachutes into Bajan-Du and Black is waiting to pick him up in a horse-driven cart while wearing a sheepskin vest similar to the local natives.

Grant and Harte get access to the temple where the ceremony with the lions is to take place. Using a very perilous rope and pulley system in a manner reminiscent of the M:I, Grant is lowered to the lions upside down from high up and replaces the forgeries with the real ones, which Black has previously removed from a safe while disguised as Jaru (John O'Brien), the high priest who has been temporarily knocked out. The transformation to Jaru is not an easy one, considering the priest is bald. Grant has previously gained access to Ki by pretending to be a representative from a company which is insuring the lions.

The prince manages to complete the ceremony with the lions successfully, and Ki is hoisted on his own petard, stabbed to death.

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S01E11. The Greek -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 11 February 1989

The IMF go after Socrates Colonnades (Cesare Danova), a Greek tycoon who uses his luxury yacht, the Argosy V, to smuggle drugs destined for Third World countries stolen from international relief organizations. Though the show begins in Southeast Asia where Colonnades murders an IMF agent, he soon meets with several men from his network of drug dealers back in Greece.

Grant impersonates the previously arrested elsewhere Joseph Salud, a West African who is the major supplier of drugs to Colonnades. Wearing an ethnic costume and sporting an earring, Grant has an accent which sounds more like a Jamaican. The only one of the other dealers to have much personality, the up tight American Woodward (Nicholas Hammond) refers to Salud as a "clown."

The Australian Patterson (Terry Gill), the "European" Alvarado (Joseph Spano), Salud and Phelps, who plays James Lawrence, replacing the "detained" Englishman Dennis Smythe, hardly act like drug kingpins -- they are all much too light-hearted, more like a group from a furniture salesmen's convention. Adding to the lack of seriousness is Colonnades' girl friend Serena. Played by the attractive Dina Panozzo, she is a bubbly airhead flirt who fancies herself an opera singer.

The IMF use a "divide and conquer" technique to convince the drug dealers that Colonnades is out to screw them as far as their payments are concerned. Grant uses some scanner-like gizmo to capture information from Colonnades' log book of payments to the dealers, then adjusts the figures (despite the fact this information is hand-written) and prints out a page which is then pasted (literally) over the old information.

They kidnap Woodward and imprison him with the "real" Patterson (Black) who tells Woodward that Colonnades is ripping them all off, based on what he saw in the transaction book. Woodward escapes and makes his way back to the yacht where he causes a lot of turmoil that ends in a shootout with presumably all of the men, including Colonnades, dead. This is kind of an extreme finale, because Phelps instructions were only to "neutralize" Colonnades.

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S01E12. The Fortune -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 18 February 1989

Barbara Luna, who appeared in the original M:I franchise, gives an above-average performance in this show as Emelia, wife of deposed dictator Luis Berezan (Michael Pate) from the Latin American country of Alcante. Obviously modelled on Fernando and Imelda Marcos, this duo are shacked up in the Florida Keys at an estate which is guarded by heavily-armed mercenary types.

Phelps as T.R. Whitaker and Grant as a geologist named Carlson ingratiate themselves with Emelia, saying that they can restore her and her husband to power because of the rich oil deposits in the northern mountains of their former country. Of course, Emelia is intrigued by this. Black, portraying an actor whose name sounds like "Mahler" (the subtitles say it is "Molliner"), becomes her husband, who looks much older than she is (Pate was 19 years older than Luna in real life), and is verging on senility. He spends most of his time watching old movies like the 1956 musical Anything Goes in his home theater.

Harte also becomes friendly with Emelia, saving her from an assassination attempt. Luna, who was around 50 when this show was filmed, plays her character as a smokin' hot cougar who takes Harte's character under her wing, allowing him use of her house and pool while her husband watches from his wheelchair. You can see some pictures of Luna here: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7.

Black, impersonating Luis, makes a speech ostensibly aimed at the people in Alcante. While this pre-taped broadcast is going on, Black as Luis goes to the Berezans' attorney's office to transfer the millions of dollars in assets which they plundered back to the country's treasury.

This show begins with Casey getting knocked off, the only time an IMF character was written out of the series, either old or new. At the end she is "disavowed" as pages from her file are seen on screen. This is the first show for Casey's replacement, Shannon Reed (Jane Badler), who joins the IMF team. She has a background in broadcast journalism and was an agent for the Secret Service for five years.

This show could have been a lot better. There are plenty of problems:

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S01E13. The Fixer -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 25 February 1989

Arthur Six (Richard Romanus) is a sleazy investigative columnist and broadcaster who specializes in exposing public officials through intimidation, blackmail and bribery. At the beginning of the show he is trying to get a federal judge named Vossberg (Anthony Ingersent) to declare a mistrial on a case currently before him, or Six will expose the judge's past psychiatric history including fetishes and aberrations. The judge commits suicide in Six's penthouse apartment and Six tells his bodyguard Doyle (John Calvin), a former army lieutenant who murdered his wife in a fit of rage, to get rid of the body.

Six's main adversary is Senator Tom Oxenford (Terence Donovan), who wants Six brought before a grand jury on charges of conspiracy inasmuch as Six has defrauded the government out of more than $500 million. The IMF's task is to find and find and neutralize Six's secret files and make sure that he is indicted.

Shannon opens a flower shop on the main floor of Six's building where Harte becomes a security guard. Phelps plays Darren Wendell, a man who has a big problem and wants Six's help to keep him from going to prison: Wendell killed three teenagers while driving drunk. Wendell says he knows Oxenford who owes him "a few favors," and that this could be of mutual benefit to both him and Six.

Grant investigates the security system in Six's building and taps into video cameras which allow the IMF to see everything that is going on in Six's office. He also investigates a peculiar safe which is on vertical runners where Six's files might be stored. This safe is accessible from the main lobby of Six's building, and when Grant tries to put an envelope containing information regarding Vossberg's death into it, including revealing pages from Vossberg's diary that will put Six in a bad light, he is nearly electrocuted, even though there are no signs of what might cause this when the door to the safe is opened. If the level of security on this safe involves electricity in this manner, suggesting a very high level of paranoia on Six's part, you have to wonder how Grant could access the video cameras.

Later, Black approaches Six and Doyle, saying he was behind the envelope with the diary excerpts and wants $500,000 not to go to Oxenford's committee and spill the beans. Black meets Doyle the next day to get the money, but Doyle shoots him (Black is wearing a bulletproof vest, obviously) as Harte photographs everything. Doyle is just about to shoot Black in the head when Harte yells at him and he flees.

At a charity event called the Patriot's Ball (so named to give the finger to Oxenford's committee hearings the next day), Phelps, whose presence is difficult to explain considering he only met Six a couple of times previously, tells Doyle that Shannon -- who Doyle has become chummy with -- is on Oxenford's staff and, in fact, is one of his investigators. Doyle threatens Shannon, who is rescued by Black in disguise as Six, and Grant goes to work to find and erase Six's files which he discovers on a microchip board in Six's desk.

Shannon shows Doyle photos of Black's "assassination," saying that Six couriered these pictures to Oxenford. Phelps then plants a bug in Six's ear saying that Doyle, who has been promised immunity, will soon testify about his boss for Oxenford's committee. Doyle storms into Six's office just as Six is about to make a live broadcast of his Rush Limbaugh-like "Arthur Six Almanac." Doyle yells at Six, saying that he is not going to be the fall guy for Six's machinations, listing off several things including murders that Six ordered him to commit, just as Grant cuts the video from this confrontation into Six's live feed. Everyone at the party is mesmerized by the resulting confession on monitors which Six has set up at the party for everyone to watch, and Oxenford, who is at the party, is quick to arrive at Six's office, telling him that he just totally incriminated himself live on national TV.

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S01E14. Spy -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 18 March 1989

In this episode the IMF deal with John Christie, described by the stern-voiced message announcer as "the most dangerous adversary you've ever faced." Phelps says that Christie is "one of us" who was with MI6 for 20 years. He now lives somewhere in Central Africa in a historic hotel called Elephant House. He is building a large-scale plant to produce chemical weapons that he will sell to the highest bidder.

Grant grows a beard, dons a beret and joins Harte as the two journey to Christie's hotel. They sign up to work for Christie after Harte pounds the crap out of Carl (Lee A. Rice II), the toughest guy in Christie's retinue of mercenaries and thugs. Shannon plays a journalist who is writing the life story of Monsignor L'Éclair (Black in disguise). They visit the hotel with the intention of the priest revisiting the place where he lived years before. They plant a mike in Christie's office which is difficult to do, since they are being accompanied by Christie's hawk-eyed girl friend Heather (Francine Bell).

The IMF make use of an outsider, the Russian Yuri Nikolai (Shane Briant), a KGB colonel, physician and specialist in chemical weaponry. He had a confrontation with Phelps years before where Phelps spared his life. Phelps plays Hendrik Van Kueren, a Dutch diamond merchant interested in buying $20 million in stones that Christie wants to sell to finance his operation.

Despite the fact that he has been warned by Nikolai that Christie will figure out who he is, Phelps persists in his charade and is eventually found out because a camera in Christie's office links him via facial recognition to some database which includes people like spies that Christie should avoid. Phelps takes great pains not to have any alcoholic drinks, because he knows that Christie will check fingerprints on the glasses. But Phelps drinks coffee, which involves cups, which Christie does not check! Earlier in the show, Christie uses some peculiar laser device to analyze Harte's fingerprints on a glass which tell him Harte's character is a soldier of fortune who engaged in gun running in the Sudan. He finds nothing of Harte's IMF career because, as Nikolai tells Phelps, anyone who has joined the IMF in the last five years will not be in the database.

After Phelps is outed, which Shannon and Black overhear by the microphone they planted, Shannon has a clever idea of shorting out the electricity in her room which unbelievably plunges the entire hotel into darkness. Phelps attempts to get away, but is wounded. A good thing that he spared Nikolai's life during their previous encounter, because the Russian patches Phelps up, despite the fact that he says that Phelps has lost "a lot of blood" (and there is no blood for tranfusions in Nikolai's tent).

Grant and Harte, who have gotten access to Christie's lab located in an old sugar mill where there are "cooking machines" for the chemicals, are tipped off that Phelps has been wounded and the mission has been called off. The two of them make a Rambo-like escape from the plant, shooting their way past six guards and driving out of the place in a school bus. But once they have left, they then come back and spy on the place from what looks like a location very close nearby and relay information back to the rest of the team!

Nikolai figures out that the deadly gas Christie is creating involves the "Steinmetz formula," and he creates replacement labels for the 13 different chemicals used to make the weapons. (Grant previously scanned in the labels after he and Harte got access to the plant.) The team incredulously sneaks back into the plant and plasters these labels over those on the canisters of chemicals to change the formula so that it will be harmless (but still explode). They seem to be putting the labels only on the outside of stacks of the 40 kg plastic jugs, ignoring the ones in the middle. Still, there is a fantastic explosion at the end of the film, as the lab is destroyed. Christie escapes. Unfortunately, there was no reprise for his character in the next season.

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S01E15. The Devils -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 25 March 1989

After two diplomats are committed to an insane asylum and another kills himself, the IMF investigates when they learn they all three associated with Lord Holman, Third Baron of Saffron Cobden (John Stanton), a member of the English House of Lords . Holman is suspected of being a traitor who blackmails people into giving him state secrets after getting them to participate in Satanic rituals. The beginning of the show is pretty rank, with a group in black monks' outfits witnessing Holman stabbing a young woman to death on an altar in a room located under his estate.

The IMF team arrive at the estate as a group of hippies and New Age types converge there to be part of a solstice festival connected with the Druids, who have been celebrating in that location for centuries. Black and Shannon are disguised as gypsies, driving up in a horse-drawn wagon. Shannon offers to tell Holman's gamekeeper Challis (Ron Graham) his fortune, and just as she does so, she freaks out as a black Bentley pulls up to the manor house. This car contains Phelps, who is playing none other than Satan himself, with Harte as his diabolical assistant. Both of them sport weird contact lenses which make their eyes colored yellow with satanic slits instead of pupils. Holman is skeptical that this has any significance, thinking instead that the two of them, using "special effects" have come to blackmail him. However, Holman becomes nervous when the two of them leave, and Phelps burns marks in the floor which look like cloven hooves thanks to special shoes he is wearing.

Grant poses as an American cop who is investigating the disappearance of a girl who was found drowned in a lake near Holman's place. Egerton (Russell Newman), who is the local chief constable handling the case, finds Grant's attitude far too flippant. Grant later uses some blue dye to determine that the lake and the sacrificial altar room used by Holman are connected. Grant and Harte generally have access to Holman's place, especially the secret underground parts, which is far too easy. Harte rescues Lucy, a woman who is going to be the satanists' next sacrificial victim, part of an initiation ceremony for Dunston (Robin Bowering), a member of the government who has access to information from the War Office. How Harte gets Lucy out of the house without anyone seeing them is a good question.

Since Harte got Lucy out of the house and Holman wants a replacement victim, gypsy Shannon is captured by Challis when he finds her snooping around the grounds and taken to the basement room, doped up and prepared to be the cult's next victim. She is saved at the last minute by the appearance of Phelps and Harte who knock out a couple of the satanists and scare off everyone at the ceremony, plus fire erupting from the underground stream thanks to kerosene which Grant poured in from above. Holman is also seriously on edge because Black earlier appeared in disguise as him outside his house and burst into flame as Holman and Harte laughingly discussed whether or not they wanted Holman''s soul. Thoroughly rattled, Holman falls backwards into the flaming water.

This is an above-average episode despite its faults, and the first show which I would give three out of four stars to ... if I were giving stars.

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S01E16. The Plague -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 8 April 1989

The attractive Maud Adams plays Catherine Balzac, a woman of "Basque French extraction" with an ambiguous accent which is not particularly French. She is a ruthless entrepreneur who traffics in black market intelligence, including code red information on top secret developments in weaponry.

At the beginning of the show, she is seen receiving a sample of the deadly Xerxes bacteria which accelerates the aging process of human vital organs from a French general who she is blackmailing (it is never said why she was doing this). The general has stolen the virus from a top secret laboratory where he has little difficulty either getting into the lab or finding exactly what he is looking for. The bacteria is in a sealed petri dish which the general placed in a Ziploc bag, and when he hands this over to Balzac (who promptly shoots him dead), the hazmat-like electronic container she slips the dish into seems not big enough to accept it (presumably she takes the dish out of the Ziploc, though this is not seen) .

Shannon goes undercover as a singer in Balzac's Red Hand Club which is her headquarters that includes a large laboratory in its back room. It is never established how Shannon gets her job in this place. Although Shannon said that she used to sing professionally 8 years ago (Jane Badler is a real singer), she has help from Grant who takes some spoken phrases she records and somehow uses this to make her singing voice ... or make it better. The science behind this makes no sense whatsoever: "We take [your spoken words] and bring it down to white noise as we raise the orchestration. It's what's known as a subliminal implant. It won't be detected under the music. ... You can only hear the implant on a subconscious level."

Phelps becomes Chandler, the American scientist who created the bacteria, research on which was abandoned because of its lethality. He tries to get Harte, posing as Barton Milton, the son of a "colonel" from Atlanta who is a frequent customer at Balzac's club, to investigate, but Balzac sees through this ruse (and, no doubt, Harte's southern US accent, which is bad), leading to an exciting chase on the streets of "Paris" with Harte on a motorcycle. Chandler is captured by Balzac's thugs and when brought back to the club, he warns her of how dangerous the bacteria is. She acts as if she doesn't know what he is talking about.

Black becomes Professor Franz Lotte of the Potsdam Institute who has been sent by sinister foreign government types to make sure the bacteria is worth buying. The real professor is "detained." When Black/Lotte arrives at the club, Balzac tells him he can only have a tiny amount of the bacteria to test; the rest of it is hidden somewhere. Black has to transfer the sample which is in an airlock into a special container provided to him by Grant (which does not look particularly airtight). Using mechanical arms in the airlock to do this, he shatters the glass, then drops the dish. Grant says that he has only 15 seconds before the bacteria becomes virulent. But it actually takes a minute and three seconds for Black to transfer the sample!

More stupid science is used to convince Catherine that she is affected by the bacteria, which involves Shannon singing, creating more "subliminal" sounds, this time reaching Catherine through her fancy earrings which Shannon has a lot of difficulty exchanging for those created by Grant for this purpose. Somehow affecting Catherine's balance by interfering with her middle ears, this causes Catherine to think she is going to faint, something Chandler warned her would happen.

To find out where the rest of the bacteria is hidden, Black pretends to have dissolved the small sample in some water which he says is "perfectly safe in solution," but then he spills some on both Balzac and her manager Laroux (Gary Day), whose accent is also pretty bad, considering he's supposed to be French. Black then gets Catherine and Laroux to wash themselves off in this sink where the tap contains a chemical previously planted by Harte that will give their arms a disease-like look as a result of being in contact with the bacteria.

Phelps as Chandler suddenly shows up, having escaped from the Americans. Grant, acting tough in a role as a U.S. government negotiator, previously told Catherine Chandler had been captured by them. Phelps offers to make an antidote to the bacteria, but only if Catherine tells him where the rest of the bacteria is so it can be destroyed. She finally relents over Laroux' objections. Black and Shannon overhear this conversation via a microphone on Phelps and grab the rest of the bacteria which is hidden in Catherine's office. Chandler then makes only enough antidote for one person, so Catherine and Laroux fight over it, and a fire conveniently starts while this is going on. Phelps makes his way out of the lab, locking the door. The IMF leave as the Paris fire department are on their way, with Phelps saying "A plague on both their [Catherine and Laroux] houses."

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S01E17. Reprisal -- Disc Scene
Original Broadcast Date: 15 April 1989

Phelps and the IMF have a very disturbing adversary in this episode: a former IMF agent named Russell Acker (David Cameron), a genius who invented the latex mixtures used to make masks (presumably a later version of the masks than the ones used by Rollin Hand et al) and the chemical sodium diazonol used to knock people out, among other things.

Several years ago Acker suffered extensive injuries in a car accident which resulted in serious personality changes -- basically he became a psychotic killer known to have murdered at least 8 women. He is currently housed at the Bay City Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

The show begins as Acker murders Laura Ann Wilson, one of three women IMF agents who testified against him in court. He is disguised as his mortal enemy Phelps who also testified against him. Acker gets out of his cell at the hospital with the help of one of the guards, Charles Talbot (Marshall Napier),

Phelps somehow guesses that Acker is behind Laura Ann's death because the date of her killing is the same as the one when Acker was committed 12 years before. He visits Acker, who taunts him, calling him "Jimbo." Acker is similar to some of the nutty killers seen on The X-Files only a few years later, acting twitchy, scratching his head and speaking with a creepy voice, though actor Cameron seems to be channeling Jack Nicholson in The Shining rather than Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.

Acker uses a mask of Talbot to get out of the hospital. He has promised Talbot a lot of money for his assistance, which he earned from his research lab after he left the IMF. Acker also has some kind of setup in his cell where he projects an image on to the closed circuit camera, making it look like he is sleeping, whereas he is actually outside the hospital up to no good. The science behind this, as explained by Grant, makes no sense at all. When Talbot pushes Acker too much for money, Acker kills him too.

Acker calls Phelps and tells him that woman number two, Marilyn (Paula Goodman), is going to meet him at the Saint Mark Hotel. Acker listened to Marilyn's answering machine (she lives in Oregon) where Phelps left his phone number of 555-6262 (kind of a dumb move) and convinced her to meet him (actually Acker) at the hotel. Acker in disguise as Phelps garrotes Marilyn who falls in a pool as horrified hotel guests look on. When the real Phelps shows up a few minutes later, everyone points him out to the cops as the killer, and he narrowly escapes.

The third potential victim of Acker's is Lisa Casey (Lynda Day George from the original M:I show). She is currently in charge of some musical production, and agrees to help the IMF catch Acker, even though this will be very risky.

Later, Phelps and Harte go to Talbot's apartment where Acker has a hidden room full of things which could be used as evidence against him (this does not make sense, why would it be at Talbot's place?). Parodying the typical instructions to Phelps, Acker tells him that the room will self destruct in five seconds, and there is a huge explosion.

Phelps then goes to his apartment where Acker has supposedly placed something else that he says Phelps will want to see before he is convicted of murdering the three women. Acker has placed the knockout chemical on Phelps' computer keys, but Black has neutralized this, with the result that they follow Acker to the theater where Lisa and the rest of the team await. The real Phelps shows up and Acker is literally "unmasked," trying to unsuccessfully escape from the theater where a "hall of mirrors" has been set up.

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S01E18. Submarine -- Disc Scene
Original broadcast date: 29 April 1989

This show has some similarities to S04E07 of the original series in that an elaborate deception is perpetrated on a villain. In this new show, however, the deception is so elaborate, you have to wonder how the IMF could get the funding to pull it off and how the members of the team could play so many multiple roles.

US Navy Admiral Edgar Gene Sheppard (Mitchell Ryan) has developed a distress beacon that plants a virus in the computer systems of ships or submarines that attempt to investigate it. At the beginning of the show, he tests this beacon, which causes the nuclear submarine USS Concord to explode, killing almost all of the men on board. Sheppard is head of digital warfare with the Navy as well as a strong opponent of the "East-West accord on virus weapons." In other words, he is a BAD guy.

Having demonstrated the power of his virus, Sheppard assembles several politically correct representatives from evil foreign countries (white, black, Asian, Arab) at his house near Hong Kong to bid on this technology. There are a lot of very heavily armed guards outside the place. While the auction is happening, there is a report on TV by Shannon, playing the part of a news announcer, directed to the house's satellite dish thanks to Grant, that two ships laden with chemicals have collided nearby and the resulting toxic fumes are moving in Sheppard's direction. These two ships were responding to a distress beacon, and they ran into each other because their computer systems were messed up thanks to Sheppard's invention.

Despite all the guards at Sheppard's, Grant and Harte manage to slip into the place and connect a cannister of anesthetic gas to its sprinkler system, which knocks everyone out. This is a gas, but what emerges from the sprinkler system is a liquid.

Sheppard is rescued by men ostensibly from the USS Detroit submarine, which is attempting to deal with the tanker collision, and taken there, where he is put under medical observation by Phelps, pretending to be Captain Cartwright, "head of toxicology at weapons research." Grant replaces Sheppard's contact lenses with a pair where the opaqueness can be controlled, making Sheppard temporarily blind.

While at the submarine, Sheppard witnesses the aftermath of the crash of a Soviet helicopter and a nuclear explosion when the Russian aircraft carrier Leningrad, which is dealing with the chemical disaster, explodes, all because of his computer virus. None of this is real, obviously. The nuclear blast is created with a projector on a large screen and this mock-up USS Detroit is located in some giant warehouse.

Explosions erupt along with water spraying everywhere as the virus gets transferred to the Detroit. Sheppard freaks out, saying that he knows how to fix things, and he rushes to a computer terminal where he inputs data in a stereotypical fast-typing way. Of course, this "antidote" to the virus is captured by Grant and Sheppard's confession as he thinks he is going down with the ship is videotaped.

The deception winds down as Sheppard discovers mannequins replacing people inside the sub as well as the projector outside, among other things, and as he emerges from the IMF's elaborate deception, the US Navy is there to arrest him.

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S01E19. Bayou -- Disc Scene
Original broadcast date: 6 May 1989

In response to a request from a Houston industrialist whose daughter Diane Martin went missing while in New Orleans, the IMF investigate the kidnapping of young women by an international white slavery ring which sells its victims to Asia and Africa. The boss behind this organization is Jake Morgan, played by veteran Australian character actor Frank Thring in the second last role of his career. An overweight "big daddy" type reminiscent of Burl Ives in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or Orson Welles in The Long Hot Summer, Thring overacts shamelessly.

Pepper Leveau (Paula Kelly), Morgan's "right hand lady," is also involved in his dirty business and manages the Jambalaya Jazz Club which he owns in New Orleans. Grant gets a job there as a trumpet player and Shannon plays a woman into Tarot cards who also has an interest in voodoo. Leveau is taken by Phelps, playing Sam Kane, a private investigator investigating Diane's disappearance, to a voodoo ceremony where Grant has a snake draped around his neck. Most of this ceremony is just a film projected on a screen, which is hard to believe.

When Leveau sees her boss Morgan (actually Black in disguise) at the ceremony, she calls him a "traitor." She goes to Morgan's house and knocks out one of his guards. Black, appearing as himself, but playing Aristotle Naxos, who wants to buy the 10 girls that Morgan is selling for $3 million rather than the $2 million someone else has offered, says he will take care of Leveau. He puts her and Shannon on a "boat" bound for slavery in Asia (another Submarine-like deception) and manages to extract the girls' location from Leveau, which so far has been a secret.

Grant gets into Morgan's house using a secret tunnel which conveniently runs under the place. Years ago, it was part of the Underground Railroad. It comes out exactly in Morgan's office where Grant paints voodoo symbols on the walls and leaves things like dead chickens lying around, all of which totally freaks Morgan out.

After the girls are rescued, Phelps puts Leveau, who he wants to give the impression survived the sinking of the slave ship, on a beach close to Morgan's plantation. When she returns there, various scary things are going on like a hologram of herself in Morgan's office and zombie Grant rising from the dead out of the ground. Leveau pursues Morgan with a machete. He falls off a dock into a pond where his pet alligators (who chewed off his leg years before) have a tasty meal.

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