Encounter in a Closed Room feels a little uneven, the editing and narrative a little choppy, but it’s still an enjoyable episode, and features some solid guest stars in the form of Michael Moriarty, Maureen Mueller and Jamey Sheridan.
Written by Ann Lewis Hamilton from a story by Hamilton and Schott Shepherd, this episode first aired on 14 October, 1987. Moriarty plays Peter Kapik, a Russian scientist who slips his minders in New York, and races to meet old friends, and hopefully a new life in America.
However, His old friends are under the eye of the KGB because they know where Kapik is running. Alina (Mueller) and Wayne (Sheridan) are delighted to be reunited with their friend, but the American government wants to know what he was working on for the Russians.
Alina is approached by Sarka (Liliana Komorowska) a KGB operative who reveals that Alina’s parents are being held until Alina helps the KGB find a way to eliminate Kapik.
Alina reaches out to Robert McCall (Edward Woodward) for help, and he works to do his best, even when Control (Robert Lansing) cuts off all his resources.
The story seems to bounce around a lot, and there are some questions about continuity, not to mention pacing, but overall, it’s a solid, if quieter kind of episode.
It’s a fun little spy story, and with some tighter editing, this could have been a rocker! And it will be the last time for a couple of episodes that McCall is going to be around for the whole episode, as Woodward’s heart attack required a slightly new direction for the series.
Mission: McCall Part 1 had to be written when Edward Woodward suffered a heart attack between seasons. They’d already gotten a few episodes shot, but to prevent news of his attack impacting the show’s run, and possible renewal, they worked around Woodward while he recovered, and brought in a couple of new characters to do it.
Written by Ed Waters and Shepherd, this episode was first broadcast on 28 October, 1987.
When Scott (William Zabka) discovers his father’s apartment trashed, and McCall missing, he initially turns to Control for help. Control brushes him off, throwing him a ticket for Bermuda. With some help from Mickey (Keith Szarabajka), they are able to connect with a man that McCall told Scott to track down should anything ever happen to him… Richard Dyson (Robert Mitchum).
Dyson it seems is in a bit of a similar state as McCall, he used to work for the company, but is now trying to leave that life behind. He agrees to help Scott and Mickey and brings in his own righthand man, and possible loose cannon, Harley Gage (Richard Jordan) who may or may not have been betrayed by McCall at some point in the past.
Gage flirts with a KGB agent, Francesca (Frances Fisher), whom he connected with while undercover. And the group comes to believe that the KGB have him.
Dyson quickly sees through that ruse. The KGB wants him, and it seems Control has had him all along, preparing to turn McCall over to them in order to free twelve other agents.
But the KGB have learned where McCall is and before Dyson, Scott, Mickey and Harley can get there, the agency’s men are killed, and McCall is gone.
This is a great episode, and while it would have been better to maybe eschew either Jordan or Mitchum and let just one of them pair up with Mickey and Scott, it works. The idea behind Jordan’s casting was to position him as McCall’s replacement if Woodward was unable to resume shooting, so this caused things like Mickey being pushed a little to the side.
Still, it’s a tightly-paced episode with some great moments, and some nice pick-up work with Woodward once he was well enough to return to work.
We’ll see if Scott is able to save his father next time on The Equalizer!