Mission: Impossible (1971) – Blues, and The Visitors

Barney (Greg Morris) gets to take a bit more of the spotlight in Blues. Written by Howard Berk from a story by Orville H. Hampton, this episode first aired on 20 November, 1971.

This mission isn’t quite as impossible as some, Phelps’ (Peter Graves) IMF team is set to take on a music producer, Gorman (William Windom) who has murdered a rising music star after she wanted to get out of her contract.

While Willy (Peter Lupus), Phelps, and Casey (Lynda Day George) offer some support throughout the mission, with Willy posing as a potential villain, and Phelps and Casey as cops, Barney gets the lion’s share of the work posing as a drug-addicted musician who knows the truth about what happened to the young singer.

Barney threatens to expose Gorman, but they try to use the addiction as a way to reveal what he knows. Of course, that just allows Barney to fish them in and give a fantastic performance (and allows him to belt out a tune or two as well).

The team sets up Gorman and his thug, Tanner (Alex Rocco), easily, and brings the entire episode to a successful close as they flush out all the baddies, and lets Greg Morris truly shine – something the series should have been doing since the beginning.

Outside of Greg Morris’ fantastic work in the episode, the rest of it feels fairly standard. There are no unexpected twists or turns, they are quite happy to follow their formula and not mess with it. It’s rote, but it’s fun.

Harold Livingston pens The Visitors which first aired on 27 November, 1971.

What could have been something really exceptional and a lot of fun comes across as fairly routine, as the team takes on an eccentric billionaire, Edward Granger (Steve Forrest) who has information about politicians who may be in the pocket of The Syndicate.

But his eccentricities are easily exploited. He is a believer – UFOs, aliens, all of it. So that is the venue Phelps and the team will take, making Granger believe that Phelps, Casey, and Willy are aliens and that he is Earth’s Chosen One.

If they can do that, they should be able to get the info they need from him to expose the corrupt politicians.

They con him with suggestions of advanced technology, some flashing lights, and smoke, and do everything to draw him in. But will it work? How much does he really believe?

It’s entertaining. Not quite as X-Files as it could have been, but a lot of fun nonetheless.

The missions continue next week as I explore more assignments from Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on Blu-ray, available now from Paramount Canada!

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