Mission: Impossible (1972) – Movie, and Hit

Guest stars John Vernon and William Smith are back for another round as baddies in Movie. Written by Anthony Bowers, Arthur Weiss, and Stephen Kandel from a story by Bowers, it first aired on 4 November, 1972.

It seems members of the Syndicate are infiltrating the entertainment industry and Phelps (Peter Graves) and his IMF team have to come up with a way to bring them down (again). Mimi (Barbara Anderson) is back to help out on the mission, portraying a recently discovered actress, and the plan kicks into high gear.

Norman Shields (Vernon) is the crime boss pushing his way into the film industry, taking over Pantheon Studios, He’s working with John Brent (Smith) who has taken over as the head of the studio.

The IMF plan has Phelps stepping in to take on the role of Shields’ Syndicate financier, Theo Dane, a man Shields has never met. Barney (Greg Morris) is a director, working on a new film, with Mimi, and Willy (Peter Lupus) – it’s a true crime film and seems to be recreating a murder that Shields committed.

This pushes Shields to the breaking point so that it looks like he kills Phelps’ version of Theo Dane, which draws the attention of Theo’s Syndicate brother to attend to things, and bring Shields down. Letting the IMF count this as a win.

The tale moves fast, but if done today, it would have been a bit more meta I think. Though it is cool to see one of the background extras on the studio set wandering around in a Star Trek red shirt!

Hit sees Phelps and his team going after the mob again. This time, their target is Sam Dexter (Dane Clark). He’s been arrested for tax evasion, and killed the person who informed on him, his girlfriend. He’s about to serve a year in prison on the charge, but the IMF is intent on proving he’s guilty of the murder, flushing out Dexter’s partner, a man simply known as The General (Jan Peters), and anything else they can find on him.

Written by Douglas Weir, this episode first debuted on 11 November, 1972.

Barney goes undercover in the prison as Dexter’s cellmate, working to develop a rapport, and also help him escape. Willy is undercover in the prison with him, as well as the county D.A, who is working the case, while Phelps poses as the District Attorney.

Meanwhile, Dexter’s lawyer, Arthur Reynolds (played by Mike Brady himself Robert Reed) goes after Mimi who is standing in as a witness to Dexter’s crimes. She’s bait for an attack, to prove once and for all Dexter is guilty.

But will it work?

While not as much fun as the previous episode, it’s definitely cool to see Willy and Barney at work in the prison yard, and what looks like Phelps delivering a vulcan nerve punch to take out a hitman!

There are more assignments coming next week as I continue to explore Paramount Canada’s blu-ray release of Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series.

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