Mission: Impossible (1968) – The Mercenaries, and The Execution

The IMF head down to Central Africa to bring down a mercenary and his army for hire in The Mercenaries, written by William Read Woodfield and Allan Balter. This episode first aired on 27 October, 1968, and is the first episode up this week as I continue to explore The Complete Series on blu-ray from Paramount Pictures.

Phelps (Peter Graves), Rollin (Martin Landau), Cinnamon (Barbara Bain), Barney (Greg Morris) and Willy (Peter Lupus) travel to Africa to stop Krim (Pernell Roberts) who counts amongst his men guest stars William Lucking, Vic Tayback and Bo Svenson.

While Phelps and Cinnamon pose as gun-runners who are willing to sell their arms to Krim, Rollin goes undercover as a soldier for hire, while Barney and Willy oversee the melting and stealing of Krim’s gold, before the team sets Krim up to steal it from somewhere else, and out himself.

In typical Woodfield and Balter style, there is lots going on, and a number of moments where things look like they are going wrong, (like Rollin getting tortured) but instead, of course, it all ends up being part of the plan to convince Krim and the rest of the mercenaries along a course of action that will see them delivred to the hands of justice.

Phelps still gets in there and does his part, and even while Barney is pulling off cool tech stuff and melting the gold, I always find myself wishing he had more to do. He’s the coolest character in the show!

The Execution was penned by Woodfield and Balter as well, and first debuted on 10 November, 1968. This time, the IMF team is after organised crime. Specifically, they are assigned to take down Lewis Parma (Vincent Gardenia), who is using his methods to strong arm his way into America’s food distribution.

The team needs to find a way to take him down, and think they have a way to do it. They plan to set up Parma’s number one hitman, Duchell (Luke Askew), and send him to what he thinks is a prison (it’s actually a set created by the team) where he is led to think that he is hours away from execution.

Within that time frame the team has to convince him to turn on his boss, and give him the information he needs.

The prison set is constucted to make Duchell think he’s been there for awhile, and Rollin is posing as another prisoner on Death Row. Barney plays the wing’s security, and all of it is done to convince Duchell to talk.

All of it will lead to Phelps and his team taking down Gardenia, and once again, keeping the Western World safe from the baddies. I like this one, as the episode really took its time with the prison side of the story, and it works so well.

The assignments continue next week as I explore more of Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, available now from Paramount Canada!

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