Mission: Impossible (1967) – The Frame, and The Trial

Dan (Steven Hill) puts his team through another trying week as I explore more of Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, now available from Paramount Pictures.

First up is The Frame, written by William Read Woodfield and Allan Balter, The Frame first aired on 21 January, 1967. Dan and his standard IMF team, Rollin Hand (Martin Landau), Cinnamon (Barbara Bain), Barney (Greg Morris) and Willy (Peter Lupus) catch an assignment that sees them infiltrating a gangland meeting, where a group of crime lords have come together to plan their businesses future, trade stories, and chat.

Dan and his team are working as a catering team, one that has been vetted by the criminal organisation, and they slowly dole out a plan that is going to land each of the crime figures in trouble, and possibly in jail. Rollin almost gets rumbled, as he is supposed to be deaf, while once again Willy is around to do a lot of the muscle work (and not so much dialogue) and Barney, while working out all the electronics still needs more to do, though he has a close run in as well.

It’s a fun episode, though it is also pretty standard fare for the series. They’re not trying anything new this week, and while entertaining, there is a threat of falling into a repeating pattern. While the dinner is going on, the team works to steal information, and set up one of the crime bosses so it all comes tumbling down, and while there’s a few tense moments, you know everything is going to work out by episode’s end.

Hill and Landau get the most opportunities with this script, while the other three seem to drift in and out to move the story along when needed.

I do like that most episodes try to use the whole team working together.

The Trial features a guest appearance by a bearded and accented Carol O’Connor as the episode’s villain. Written by Laurence Heath, it first aired on 28 January, 1967, and featured just a little bit of mask work!

Dan, Rollin and Willy (not that you’d notice him) head to an eastern bloc country to discredit a lawyer, Varsh (O’Connor) with political aspirations, who if he got into office could signify trouble for the free world. The IMF sends Dan in as an American tourist who gets himself arrested and put on trial by Varsh on some trumped up charges.

Rollin serves as his lawyer, and works to use the courtroom (the Perry Mason set) to bring out some ugly truths about Varsh, even as the team works behind the scenes to make sure the evidence and reveals fall their way.

It’s a solid episode, and once again lets Hill and Landau shine in their roles, while the rest of the cast are left behind for another week. Still, we get to see Rollin working on a mask, and then get to see it in action, which has only happened at a couple of points in the the series, but if the movies are any indication, will soon become a much used trope.

It was great seeing O’Connor in this episode, I only know him as Archie Bunker, and, of course, from In The Heat of the Night. It also featured a pair of actors that I mainly knew from Star Trek, David Opatoshu, and Micheal Strong. I love watching which guest stars pop up, and then revel in their work having only known them for other roles.

I quite enjoyed this one, and am looking forward to seeing where Paramount Canada sends me next week as I accept another Mission: Impossible as I work my way through The Complete Series on blu-ray… now available!

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