Mission: Impossible (1967) – The Seal, and Sweet Charity

Phelps (Peter Graves) and his IMF team take part in some high tech theft in The Seal, the first episode up this week, as I continue to explore The Complete Series on blu-ray from Paramount Pictures. Written by the team of William Read Woodfield and Allan Balter, this episode was first broadcast on 5 November, 1967, and boasts Darren McGavin and perhaps the best trained cat turned spy to every be put to film.

Diplomatic relations are in danger between the U.S. and a Far East country when a businessman, J. Richard Taggart (McGavin) comes into possession of a jade seal which belongs to the country, and is a treasured part of its history. But Taggart refuses to turn it over.

So the team, which, as always, includes Rollin (Martin Landau), Barney (Greg Morris), Cinnamon (Barbara Bain) and Willy (Peter Lupus) and this time, a cat come up with a plan to break into Taggart’s vault, and use the cat to lift the seal and escape with it all before Taggart realises.

Spinning a tale of a curse, Cinnamon, posing as a news reporter, and Rollin, posing as a bit of a psychic, they keep Taggart distracted while Phelps, Barney and the cat find a way into the vault and steal the seal back with intentions to return it to its proper owner, and maintain the fragile peace that exists.

I think the biggest, most improbable thing is that the cat seems so willing to help (the episode actually used about a dozen of them, each trained to do a different part of the mission)! A fun episode, and it’s cool to see McGavin playing a villain.

Sweet Charity features Fritz Weaver as the guest star. Barney Slater penned this episode that was first aired on 12 November, 1967.

It seems the Hagars, Erik (Weaver) and Catherine (Hazel Court) are a pair of con artists who fleece people by running charities, the IMF team is commissioned to stop them once and for all. So the team digs in to find a way to take the couple apart and make sure they don’t rob any other people.

Phelps goes undercover, and seduces Catherine, while Rollin poses as a hitman to convince Erik that Catherine hired Rollin to murder him. Barney gets to do some tech stuff, and Willy (Peter Lupus) drives a truck and serves as a driver, while Cinnamon poses as a wheelchair bound heiress.

While not as fun as the previous episode I love seeing the team take people down, though two episodes in a row dealing with theft, though one of them had global repercussions, feels like they are just going after run of the mill criminals.

Having said that I do like the fact that both episodes had very recognisable guest stars, and it seems like Woodfield and Balter are the writing team that really understand the series and keep the team in action.

There are more assignments coming next week when I dig into more of Paramount Canada’s Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, available now!

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