Mission: Impossible (1971/1972) – The Connection, and The Bride

Anthony Zerbe returns for a fourth time to Mission: Impossible as a drug dealer named Dolan in The Connection. Written by Edward J. Lasko and Ken Pettus from a story by Lasko. It first aired on 18 December, 1971.

Phelps (Peter Graves) and his team are going after a group of drug dealers by setting up a heroin lab to use while working to convince them they are on a remote island instead of within the continental United States.

Casey (Lynda Day George) poses as a well-placed connection, offering her mansion with Phelps as showrunner for Dolan and his process. It all looks like it’s going to go off without a hitch, but when Barney (Greg Morris) flies them all in (gassing the passengers so they don’t realize where they really are) there’s a stowaway (Bruce Watson) meant to keep an eye on Dolan and remove any issues that arrive… permanently.

I don’t know if I’m getting tired of the television series, or the television series is getting tired, but even with the curveballs the stowaway’s presence brings to the mission it still plays out by the numbers, and everything gets tidied up in the episode’s fifty-minute runtime.

I understand that it’s episodic television so nothing can really change by show’s end, that’s the way they were crafted back in the day, but it really doesn’t feel like anything has grown. In some of these missions they don’t really come off as impossible, it’s just the way the IMF pulls them off that makes them that way.

And also, not enough Barney in this episode.

The Bride was written by Jackson Gillis and sees the IMF attempting to foil more of The Syndicate’s plans. Originally airing on 1 January, 1972 Phelps and his team go after Joe Corvin (James Gregory) who is smuggling illicit funds out of the country, laundering it, and then reinvesting it.

Casey goes undercover as a mail-order bride for Corvin, but her cover includes her being an addict being supplied by Phelps, who reveals he has international connections that Corvin may want to exploit. At the same time, Barney poses as a runner looking to take over some of Corvin’s transporting.

All of this is the frame to get Corvin into serious trouble with The Syndicate, especially when Casey appears to overdose and Corvin begins to think about using her sealed diplomatic coffin to not only move drugs but transport his cash.

It’s tightly paced and is solidly written, and George is quite good in this episode hinting at just a touch of an Irish lilt to match Gregory’s Corvin. There’s still nothing new here, but it’s still a fairly well-done episode.

The assignments will continue next week as I continue delving into Paramount Canada’s blu-ray release of Mision: Impossible: The Complete Series, available now!

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