Mission: Impossible (1972) – Ultimatum, and Kidnap

Murray Hamilton (the beaches will be open!) guest stars in Ultimatum. Written by Harold Livington from a story by Shirl Hendryx and Livingston, the episode all guests Donnelly Rhodes!

First airing on 18 November, 1972, the episode sees the IMF on familiar ground. Phelps (Peter Graves) and his team are after a nuclear physicist, Cooper (Hamilton). It seems Cooper has placed a nuclear bomb in a city in the continental United States. It’s set to blow unless Cooper’s demands are met, demands which include a step down of a number of members of congress as well as changes in foreign policy.

Phelps briefs his team, Barney (Greg Morris), Willy (Peter Lupus), and Mimi (Barbara Anderson back for another go-round) and they go to work on discovering who the members of Cooper’s group are, the location of the bomb, and defusing it before it has a chance to go off, or before the government has to respond to the scientist’s demands.

Once again a convoluted plan is put into action, even as a ticking clock counts down. Phelps and Mimi pose as a pair of escapees who have stolen a payroll, and Cooper gets tangled up with. Unfortunately, Cooper isn’t the only one calling the shots regarding the bomb.

Calling the shots on the other side, and determined to see the bomb go off is Adele (Madelyn Rhue) who is using Morgan (Rhodes) to make sure that Cooper doesn’t get a chance to back down.

The IMF pulls out all the stops on this mission, bringing on the local police, and setting up a ‘high-tech’ command center.

Of course, they are able to find the bomb just in time, but this one ended up being a lot of fun, and as always an episode that isn’t organized crime focused is a welcome relief.

Kidnap is something the series hasn’t done before… a sequel to an earlier episode. A direct sequel to the season six episode, Casino.

Written by Samuel Roeca and James L. Henderson, Kidnap debuted on 2 December, 1972. It also saw Graves settling into the director’s chair.

Phelps and Barney are hanging out on vacation when Phelps is recognized by one of the baddies from the previous episode. Phelps is grabbed by the villains, and Barney, Willy, and Casey (Lynda Day George) are given a mission in exchange for Phelps’ release: break into a safety deposit box and retrieve an incriminating letter.

The team agrees but also begins to concoct a plan to trap the villains and rescue Phelps. The mob is never ready to take on the IMF, and the team easily handles any curveballs the mob thinks they’re throwing the IMF’s way.

Removing Phelps from a lot of the story allowed Phelps the chance to get comfortable behind the camera and tell a solid story, and let his co-stars shine.

And I was delighted to see Geoffrey Lewis (sporting a mustache) pop up as one of the baddies.

The assignments continue as I race through the final season of Paramount Canada’s blu-ray release of Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series.

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