Mission: Impossible (1969) – The Code, and The Numbers Game

Season Four of Mission: Impossible got underway on 28 September, 1969 with The Code, written by Ken Pettus. Right away, there are changes going on with the series, and the IMF team, there’s a more swinging score, and a new member has joined the team, master of disguise, Paris (Leonard Nimoy, fresh off his three year run on Star Trek).

Gone are Rollin and Cinnamon, in fact, their departure isn’t even mentioned, Phelps (Peter Graves) and his team just carry on as per usual. This time, he, Barney (Greg Morris) Willy (Peter Lupus) and Paris, with the aid of Lynn (Alexandra Hay) have to stop an invasion of San Cristobal by a neighboring country and its co-conspirator.

Paris poses as a revolutionary leader, who inserts himself into the drama, demanding that the conspirators support him and his claim to the presidency of the two countries post-invasion, while Barney works an ROV to scan a microdot (delivered by Lynn) as it is transferred into a photo overlay.

They have thirty minutes to break the code, and stop the invasion.

Nimoy seems quite at home slipping into the cast work of the show, but I don’t think he’ll find it quite as challenging as his work on Trek. Still, it as an absolute delight to see him in disguises, and working on spycraft with Phelps and the IMF team.

Hay is completely underused, and only has a couple of scenes, while the series works to find a new female lead. Will that happen, or will we begin to see a revolving door for cast members?

The Numbers Game sees Lee Meriwether joining the IMF team, though she had already appeared on the series in the two-parter The Bunker. Written by Leigh Vance, this instalment first debuted on 5 October, 1969.

General Gollan (Torin Thatcher) has six hundred million dollars hidden away in a vault safe in a bunker, which he plans to use to finance his invasion plans, and help lead him to world domination, unless the IMF can stop him. The best way to do that is make sure they get their hands on the money. And the best way to do that? Have the IMF make Gollan think his money is worthless by making him believe a nuclear holocaust is underway.

There wasn’t an easier way? This one ends up being a convoluted plan, that like all IMF missions seems to come off without a hitch, but makes you wonder if they couldn’t have found a less drastic method, something a little sneakier.

Meriwether, as Tracey, works as Gollan’s nurse, keeping him under until the team can get into position, and create a believable broadcast and scenario to convince Gollan of what is happening, and learn the location of the cash.

There are more missions to come, and I can’t wait to see more of Nimoy as he begins his run with the series. So I’ll catch up with the IMF next week as I delver further into Paramount Canada’s release of Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, available now!

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