Mission: Impossible (1970) – Lover’s Knot, and Orpheus

Paris (Leonard Nimoy) finds that more than his life is in jeopardy this week, but also his heart, in Lover’s Knot. Written by Laurence Heath, this story first debuted on 22 February, 1970.

The story finds Paris, Phelps (Peter Graves) and Barney (Greg Morris) on assignment in London (which looks a lot like Southern California), working to flush out the identity of the leader of an espionage ring. Slipping into their covers, Paris soon finds himself for an enemy agent, Cora Weston (Jane Merrow), who uses her wiles to seduce, and then blackmail agents into betraying their countries.

Paris is aware of his assignment, but is also very aware that he is falling for Cora. Can he remain focused on the assignment and on task or will he risk everything for Cora?

It’s a fast-paced plot, that feels like it has some emotional depth to it, and the repercussions of same in a world of spies. The outcome of the story hurts both Paris and Cora, but it also shows that despite his emotions, he’s committed to the service he’s joined, and determined to do the right thing, even if it breaks his heart.

I’ve really enjoyed Nimoy’s addition to the IMF team, and honestly, it seems like he’s elevated the acting game of everyone around him as the series progresses. It’s just too bad that he’s only going to be here for two seasons before moving on… Though you can’t blame him; as enjoyable as the show is, with the rare exception, it’s the same thing week to week on this series.

Orpheus sees Jessica Walter joining the IMF team in this episode written by Paul Playdon. First airing on 1 March, 1970, the team has to track down an assassin and their unknown target.

Phelps poses as a drug-addled agent who is willing to sell information to the assassin’s contact, a man named Bergman (Albert Paulsen). Meanwhile Valerie (Walter) works as in investigator hoping to flush out the traitor in Bergman’s organization, knowing all along that it’s Bergman.

Willy (Peter Lupus) is back in the loop in this episode, and Barney moves with ease through security restricted buildings running his tech game.

The episode also features Bruce Glover as Major Deiter!

There’s lots of sneaky spycraft going on in this episode, including the establishing of Phelps’ cover, a cat that almost reveals Barney to the baddies.

It’s a bit of a tense episode, especially when compared to the series’ previous entry, and it’s entertaining, even as the twists and turns become familiar and recognizable. This episode rests mainly on Graves, and Nimoy is almost nowhere to be seen, popping up now and again, perhaps Paris took some time off after the heartache, or requested a small step back in his work, after the events of the previous episode.

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

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