This week’s IMF assignment is a two-parter that takes its time with its storytelling, and sets things up nicely for some great payoffs as I explore more of Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, now available from Paramount Pictures.
Written by William Read Woodfield and Allan Balter, part one debuted on 19 November, 1967, and sees Phelps (Peter Graves) and his team taking on the mob, specifically, Frank Wayne (Paul Stevens with a voice dub my Martin Landau, which of course means Rollin, Landau’s character will take over the role at some point), who is on the verge of causing economic ruin to the United States.
Phelps forms an intricate and involved plan, with himself and Barney (Greg Morris) posing as law enforcement, Willy (Peter Lupus) helping out wherever he can, Rollin preparing for his role, and Cinnamon (Barbara Bain) rehearsing to be a bit of a plastic surgeon to change Wayne’s appearance or rather Rollin as Wayne (with prosthetics) back to Rollin while convincing the gangsters watching that she’s operating on him.
Phelps and the team save the life of one of Wayne’s friends who did him wrong and was left for dead, and the noose slips tighter around his neck, until Rollin is able to slip into the role.
Part one ends with Barney seemingly shot, and Wayne’s fellow gangsters pressuring Wayne-now-Rollin to leave the country because he’s supposedly killed a cop.
Is this part of the plan or is there more trouble coming?
Part 2 aired on 26 November, 1967, a week later, and boasting the same writing team. Wayne/Rollin refuses to leave the country and insists on a bit of surgery to change his appearance. Enter Cinnamon, and Rollin emerging from makeup. Now, it’s all about setting up Wayne, and changing Wayne’s appearance to match Rollin’s as they foul his image with his fellows, and make it seem as if he’s breaking the code they have.
Everybody (mostly) has something to do in this episode, they have to break into Wayne’s safe, replace Wayne, frame him and then leave to that fantastic theme music as the credits roll.
Breaking the story up over two parts lets the production take its time with this one, and it works to the betterment of the episodes. Sure Willy still doesn’t have much to do, but everyone else seems to get involved. And in a dramatic ending, the IMFs team’s efforts end up with the death of Wayne by those he called his allies.
It’s a solid pair of episodes, telling a comprehensive tale, paces everything out, doesn’t rush, pays off nicely and makes me ready for my next assignment as I join the IMF and continue digging into season two as I work my way through Paramount Canada’s Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray.