|Ross Martin and Robert Conrad|
Secret Service agents James West (Robert Conrad) and Artemis Gordon (Ross Martin) are back for a third season in this still viable action-adventure-spy series. One change in the series is that, in general, the stories seem a little more "reasonable" than they often were in the past -- in other words, West never gets shrunk to doll-size [as he did in the second season] nor anything along those lines. Among the more memorable episodes are: "Bubbling Death," which involves the stolen Constitution and an acid bath; "The Hangman," in which the boys race to prove the innocence of a man about to be hanged; "Montezuma's Hordes," regarding a dangerous treasure hunt in Mexico; "The Cut-Throats," in which a bitter man wants to simply erase an entire town, with some good twists and fine performances from Bradford Dillman and Beverly Garland; "The Legion of Death," featuring an outstanding performance by Anthony Zerbe as the boys take on a territorial governor (Kent Smith); "Iron Fist," in which Jim tries to bring in a Russian with an iron hand for extradition; "Vipers," in which a hooded gang raids towns and robs banks; and "Underground Terror," about a group of tortured men who seek vengeance against their tormentor, with Nehemiah Persoff. Arguably the two best episodes are: "Death Masks," in which an old foe toys with Jim in a deserted town and Patty McCormack plays the villain's daughter, sort of The Bad Seed grown up; and the suspenseful "Running Death" [with Jason Evers and an excellent T. C. Jones] in which the fellows trail a notorious assassin via wagon train. Some viewers may be amused/turned on by the leather britches Conrad wears over his pants and which cover everything but his waist, crotch and backside.
Verdict: Basically maintains the quality of the first two seasons. ***.