Mission: Impossible (1969) – Nicole, and The Vault

Well, if Joan Collins was good enough for for Captain Kirk, then the IMF’s Jim Phelps (Peter Graves) should be so lucky…

Nicole was written by Paul Playdon, and first aired on 30 March, 1969, and tries, within the confines of the tropes of the Mission: Impossible format, to tell a different kind of story. Phelps and Rollin (Martin Landau) accept an assignment to slip into a foreign country to steal back a list of undercover agents from Anton Valdas (Logan Ramsey), a high ranking intelligence agent.

When things go sideways for the duo, Rollin is able to get away, while Phelps finds unexpected aid, and more in an undercover enemy agent, Nicole Vedette (Collins), with whom he begins to fall for. She helps him with his escape, or does she? Is there more going here than Jim knows about, and he, of all people, should know not to rely on trust and anyone not on his team while in the field.

Will Rollin be able to help Jim? And how will events play out for Phelps and Nicole?

Unfortunately, this episode isn’t quite as captivating as The Guardian of Forever, the Star Trek episode in which Collins appeared, and I’m not sure it would have held the attention of all of the show’s viewers when it aired, though Rollin’s actions, and disguise do provide some entertainment.

Without being too harsh to Peter Graves, I’m just not that invested in his character to care about what happens to him. He’s the guy who issues the orders, loyal to his team, and runs the game, but beyond that, he doesn’t have a lot of definable characteristics because like the rest of the team, he’s always assuming other identities. Maybe that’s why this story doesn’t work as well as it could have.

The Vault was written by Judy Burns from a story by John T. Dugan, and it first aired on 6 April, 1969. The whole team is brought in on this assignment that sees Phelps’ IMF team heading south of the border to remove a problem.

It seems Presidente Miguel De Varo (Rodolfo Acosta) is a liberal leader, and hoping to bring his country a more democratic way of ruling, by using the money he has raised and has to better the entire country. It’s all looked away in a vault, under the control of the Presidente’s closest friend and confidant, Phillipe Pereda (Nehemiah Persoff), the country’s finance minister.

Unfortunately Pereda is not to be trusted, he has his own plans, and is intent on removing De Varo, and plans on doing so by having the money disappeared. Phelps and Cinnamon (Barbara Bain) go undercover to present Pereda with such an opportunity, while Barney (Greg Morris) runs his tech game.

Rollin is undercover, using his voice and disguises to keep the con rolling, while Willy (Peter Lupus) is on hand should any muscle be needed.

They have an additional obstacle to overcome, De Varo completely trusts Pereda, so they have to destroy that trust to show what is really going on!

Next week, we finish Season Three and prepare for some cast changes as I continue to take assignments from Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, available now from Paramount Canada!

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