Mission: Impossible (1969) – Submarine, and Mastermind

Donald James pens an exceptional episode of Mission: Impossible, Submarine, which was first broadcast on 16 November, 1969. Phelps (Peter Graves) and his IMF team are working with a ticking clock. They have to kidnap former SS officer, Kruger Schetlman (Stephen McNally), and learn the location stolen Nazi funds, before the local military police track them down and arrest/kill them all.

The plan: pose as neo-Nazis, rescue Schetlman during a prisoner transfer (ensure he loses consciousness) and have him wake up on what he believes is a submarine under the command of Phelps, and with Paris (Leonard Nimoy) posing as the modern-day neo-nazi equivalent of the SS.

Lee Merriwether returns as Tracey and poses as another prisoner, a dying one, on the sub.

The sub itself is a masterfully crafted replica run by Barney (Greg Morris) who causes it to move, angle, come under attack and more, as Phelps pretends to transport Schetlman to safety.

While this exercise is going on, all with the intention of making Schetlman reveal the location of the money, the military perimeter is growing closer and closer around them.

I like this episode quite a bit, and I love that it looks like it was all shot on the Paramount backlot, and it totally works for the story. We also see that Phelps not only uses his new usual team here, but recruits some, I’m assuming IMF and code clearance actors, to help out on the mission by posing as crew, and helping behind the scenes.

Lots of fun!!

Mastermind features the wonderful Donnelly Rhodes as the episode’s baddie. Written by Jerrold L. Ludwig from a story by Richard Morgan, this episode first debuted on 23 November, 1969.

Phelps and his crew are after Lou Merrick (Rhodes) a brilliant criminal who has gained access to highly classified material that could help the enemy outfit, The Syndicate. In fact, it could make him The Syndicate’s new leader.

The team goes undercover to use the man’s rival, and his own ego and desire for the position against him. Manipulating events and people to bring him down. All of it set in a hospital, which allows both Paris and Phelps to pose as doctors, Barney to work all the tech behind the scenes (come on man, let this guy run the show – he’s the best agent!) and Willy (Peter Lupus) pops in now and again to deliver singular lines of dialogue.

There’s a hint of ESP and other psychic abilities at work, as the team works to take him down, all properly orchestrated of course, and poor Donnelly doesn’t stand a chance as the IMF uses their resources to completely screw him over, and put a momentary stopper on The Syndicate.

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

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