Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Barney (Greg Morris)  and Willy (Peter Lupus) with a suspect

In the sixth season of the popular show the villains were usually members of the syndicate as the IMF said good-bye to accented dictators in exotic mythical locations around the world, although they were still called in when "conventional law enforcement" supposedly couldn't handle matters. The original theme music arrangement was back, but the scripts were often sloppy, with the characters not doing enough research to perfect their impersonations. Peter Graves as Phelps gives his best performance pretending to be a blind alcoholic agent in the first episode, "Blind."  Among the better episodes were "Tram," with more syndicate bosses on the loose; "Encounter," with guest-star Elizabeth Ashley offering an excellent performance as an alcoholic wife; "Mindbend," in which the group takes on the trainers of brainwashed assassins; "Nerves," with Christopher George and Tyne Daly involved in the theft of nerve gas; "Casino," which features Jack Cassidy and an amazing machine that sucks cash out of a vault; and "Double Dead," in which Willy (Peter Lupus) is captured during an attempt to get money back from loan sharks. "Connection," The Bride" and "Stone Pillow" were also good, while the best episode, arguably, was "Bag Woman," in which the mission is to learn the identity of a syndicate bigwig and Barney's (Greg Morris) mask is pulled off at an inopportune moment.

Verdict: Showing its age, but still entertaining. ***.

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