Mission: Impossible (1970) – Chico, and Gitano

Ken Pettus delivers a paint-by-numbers episode with Chico, which first aired on 25 January, 1970. It features a couple of things that are hard to forget, Leonard Nimoy trotting out a truly horrible Australian accent, and Phelps (Peter Graves) recruiting from the animal division of the IMF again, this time a little trained terrier named Chico.

The plot is fairly standard, the team heads south of the border to take on a pair of rival drug dealers, Sandoval (Percy Rodrigues) and Prado (Fernando Lamas) who have obtained a microfilm listing undercover agents in their organization. Each man has part of the list, and they are dubious in dealing with one another.

Barney (Greg Morris) aids little Chico in navigating ducts and pipes to enter Prado’s vault/show room to recover his part of the microfilm, located on the back of a rare stamp, while Paris (Nimoy) and Phelps play both parties off the other, before drawing them together for a final confrontation.

And Willy (Peter Lupus) has the most lines I’ve heard him speak in quite some time!

It’s simple, predictable, but the little terrier is pretty cute and you can’t help but get a grin every time Nimoy trots out that accent. It’s fairly fast-paced, but the episode itself doesn’t contain any real surprises or twists that you don’t see coming.

Still, you have to wonder if its because the writers are running out of ideas by bringing in animals, or if they really thought this was a reflection on the idea of using dolphins and the like in real espionage.

Gitano features a young Greg Brady, I mean Barry Williams. Written by Laurence Heath, this episode first debuted on 1 February, 1970.

Williams plays King Victor, the teenaged leader of a remote nation, somewhere near Spain. He has been convinced by one of his advisers, Aragas (Peter Mark Richman), that he is being targeted by the neighboring country’s regent, but in actuality, it is Aragas who has his sights set on the young King, preparing to kill him, so he can seize power.

Paris alongside Zorka (Margarita Cordova) pose as travelling Romani, take Victor in, after the IMF stage a kidnapping, and they work to smuggle him out of the country, back to his own home, and away from Aragas and the threat he poses.

There are staged crosses, cons, and more as they work to smuggle the boy out of the country.

It’s a goofy bit of a romp, and Nimoy’s accent in this episode is much better than his one from Down Under.

There are more assignments from the IMF next week as I continue to explore Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, available now from Paramount Pictures!

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