The Best Episodes of Mission: Impossible

Last Updated: Dec 9, 2018

Elite special agents undertook top-secret assignments in crackerjack episodes, which kicked off with the team leader receiving instructions via a tape-recorded message that self-destructed in five seconds. What followed were usually breakneck spyjinks set to a pulsating Lalo Schifrin score. Martin Landau turned down the Spock role in 'Star Trek' to play IMFer Rollin Hand. When Landau left the series in 1969, his replacement was the man who built a career on Spock, Leonard Nimoy.

Kidnap

#1 - Kidnap

Season 7 - Episode 11

Crime boss Metzger determines that the IMF was responsible for the heist at the Aquarius Casino (from last season's episode "Casino") and kidnaps Jim when he and Barney are on vacation, forcing the IMF to work for him to recover evidence against him from a safe deposit box. The evidence, a letter, is being used as a bargaining chip by Metzger's former crony, Connally, to get Federal immunity for his testimony. Casey and Willy manage to steal both keys to the box and get the letter, except Metzger's subordinate Hawks steals the letter to blackmail his boss. Barney comes up with a fake letter and use it to get to Jim where the IMF takes everyone into custody.

star 9.22
23 votes
Directors: Peter Graves
Writers: Samuel Roeca, James L. Henderson
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The Submarine

#2 - The Submarine

Season 4 - Episode 7

Upon his release, a prisoner plans to fund neo-Nazis with stolen money. So a submarine voyage is simulated in order to transport him to his contact.

star 9.22
23 votes
Directors: Paul Krasny
Writers: Donald James
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The Catafalque

#3 - The Catafalque

Season 5 - Episode 19

In San Pascal Premier Miguel Fuego and his nephew Ramone have signed a secret arms treaty with a Communist power to permit nuclear weapons aimed at the U.S. into their country. The IMF must expose the treaty before the missiles are installed. The team has Paris claim that Ramone's late father was killed by Miguel and that Paris' father at the closed Madrena Prison can verify this. The IMF secretly reopen Madrena prison and have Ramone arrested for fake-killing Doug, and Paris plays his previous character's father, who claims a diary will prove his claim. Ramone escapes and rejoins the younger Paris' character, who makes him believe the diary is on his father Victorio's body, lying in state. Barney and Doug have secreted replaced the body with a wax dummy behind the backs of the guards and planted a diary "proving" Miguel had Victorio lobotomized. Upon recovering it, Ramone goes to an asylum where a braindead "Victorio" is being kept. Enraged, Ramone takes Paris to the safe containing t

star 9.20
25 votes
Directors: Barry Crane
Writers: Paul Playdon
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The Controller (2)

#4 - The Controller (2)

Season 4 - Episode 4

As Barney taints the water system with a mind-numbing drug, Jim is captured and put on trial, where he must discredit an enemy scientist.

star 9.16
25 votes
Directors: Paul Krasny
Writers: Laurence Heath
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Death Squad

#5 - Death Squad

Season 4 - Episode 24

Barney kills a man in self-defense and is marked for execution by the victim's brother, a chief of police who heads a death squad.

star 9.16
19 votes
Directors: Barry Crane
Writers: Laurence Heath
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The Train

#6 - The Train

Season 1 - Episode 24

Prime Minister Larya of Svardia is working to establish democracy, but is unaware that his personal protege, Deputy Premier Pavel, plans to set up a dictatorship. The team must persuade Larya of Pavel's plans. The IMF fakes a train ride for Larya, Pavel, and Pavel's aide Androv. They then fake a crash, put Androv and Pavel in a fake hospital, and tell them that Larya is dead. They immediately begin plans to eliminate anymemory of Larya and start arresting dissidents. Then the hospital wall slides away to reveal that Larya has heard the whole thing, and dismisses them both.

star 9.15
20 votes
Directors: Ralph Senensky
Writers: William Read Woodfield, Allan Balter
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Blast

#7 - Blast

Season 5 - Episode 18

Gregory Tolan leads an underground cell specializing in bank robberies with the money going to finance an American revolution. His mysterious sponsor is Jonathan Brace, who runs other such cells throughout the U.S. The IMF must find out Brace's identity and apprehend him. Phelps (as a demo expert) and Dana (as his insider at Tolan's next target) get recruited and has to make sure Tolan steals the money without the police knowing so he can lead them to Brace. When Jim stops Tolan from shooting Willy (disguised as a clerk), the police are alerted and Tolan's team takes refuge. Jim goes to get a (bugged) car since Brace won't come to them, Paris and IMF guest agent Grace play the homeowners, and Dana and Tolan exit with the money when Brace orders them to. Jim stops the hostages from getting killed and they follow Tolan to Brace and bring them both in.

star 9.12
26 votes
Directors: Sutton Roley
Writers: James L. Henderson, Samuel Roeca
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The Rebel

#8 - The Rebel

Season 5 - Episode 11

The IMF must rescue three scientists in a dictatorial country and destroy their notes. They rescue two but the third one, Khora refuses to leave and is executed. Jim and Dana meet with his son Alex (a rebel leader) to get his notes and Dana is captured by the militia along with Alex's girlfriend, who has memorized the doctor's notes. Barney and Doiug parachute in with a giant hollow religious statue that Jim uses to get close enough to dig into the prison while Paris, pretending to be an Intelligence officer, plays the militia leader, Bakram, against the people. When Bakram discovers that the prisoners have escaped he destroys the statue, further enraging the country's people against him while the team make his escape.

star 9.08
26 votes
Writers: Ken Pettus
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Takeover

#9 - Takeover

Season 5 - Episode 14

Phelps must stop Charles Peck from using violence, created by professional provocateur Billy Walsh, to elevate his puppet, Mayor Steven Tallman to the governorship. Dana is a provocateur herself, arrested by Barney the current governor's representative. Walsh gets Dana out, and Paris is a blackmailer who convinces Tallman that Dana is his previously-unknown illegitimate daughter. Peck is concerned that Tallman (actually Paris in disguise) will confess their plans to save his "daughter", and orders Walsh to kill Barney and Dana. Barney stops Walsh on TV before he can blow up a crowd of demonstrators and police during a protest, and Paris-as-Tallman confesses to Peck's involvement.

star 9.04
24 votes
Writers: Jerry Thomas, Arthur Weiss
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Bag Woman

#10 - Bag Woman

Season 6 - Episode 19

The Syndicate is bribing a major politician, codenamed "C6", through their operatives Harry fife and his chief killer Jenkins. The IMF must find out who C6 is and get the evidence against him. Fearing a IMF man he had killed got too close, Jenkins recommends someone new, Jean Royce, to make deliveries. Barney takes Jenkins place while Casey becomes Royce. Fife gives Casey a bag of explosives to deliver to C6 to silence his payoff demands for good. Barney finds out but is exposed and wounded, but warns Jim and Willy...but an accident destroyed the tracer. Jim allows Jenkins to escape and return to his boss, then visits Fife himself as a Syndicate head and tells him that C6 must stay alive. Fife sends Jenkins to warn C6 and reveal Casey is a cop, and Jim traces the call and Willy saves Casey just in time.

star 9.04
25 votes
Directors: Paul Krasny
Writers: Ed Adamson, Norman Katkov
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A Ghost Story

#11 - A Ghost Story

Season 5 - Episode 21

Howard Bainbridge, a chemical warfare expert who defected to East, was contaminated by his own experiments and then returned back to the U.S. and his family manor, where his father (a paranoid arch-conservative) had him killed and the body buried. Since Howard destroyed the records before defecting, the IMF must recover the body to get a sample of the chemicals. The elder Bainbridge, Justin, is unaware that his head of security is an enemy agent also trying to find Howard' sbody. The IMF gain access to a air-raid shelter on the grounds and start "haunting" Justin with a secretly-implanted microphone and holographic projectors. Plagued by visions only he can see of his son and his dead wife Janette (played by Dana), Justin calls in physician Paris, who recommends he assauge his guilt conscience and Justin ends up digging up his son's body, which the IMF take.

star 9.00
26 votes
Writers: Ken Pettus, Ed Adamson
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The Brothers

#12 - The Brothers

Season 4 - Episode 11

A Middle Eastern king needs to be restored to the throne. So a medical operation is replicated where he will seemingly donate his kidney to his murderous brother.

star 8.95
22 votes
Writers: Leigh Vance
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Trapped

#13 - Trapped

Season 6 - Episode 22

An $8 million army payroll has been stolen from a base in SE Asia by the Stafford family, Syndicate drug smugglers. The IMF must recover the money. Jim and Barney steal a Stafford truck and then offer to sell it back to the family if they pay "protection." Jim meets with brother Doug to convince him brother Art has ordered a hit on Doug - however, Art has put a hit on Jim and he is ambushed and gets amnesia. Meanwhile, lounge-singer Casey meets with Doug and sets it up so he thinks Art is trying to kill him. Doug makes a deal with Barney for protection from his brother in return for $2 million and leads the IMF to the money - they arrest everyone and convince Art to tell them about his plan to kill Jim. Meanwhile Art's killers are on Jim's trail and when Barney gets hold of him, he manages to recover his memory just in time to thwart them.

star 8.95
22 votes
Writers: Samuel Roeca, James L. Henderson
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The Controller (1)

#14 - The Controller (1)

Season 4 - Episode 3

Jim and a female agent pose as scientists who have invented a new drug in order to replace a real drug that turns people into willing slaves.

star 8.94
31 votes
Directors: Paul Krasny
Writers: Laurence Heath
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The Field

#15 - The Field

Season 5 - Episode 17

An enemy power has launched a satellite containing a thermonuclear bomb and the IMF must destroy it. The control center on an island in the Adriatic Sea is surrounded by an impenetrable minefield designed by an American defector, Norris. Barney secretly sets off some of the mines - without an explanation, the facility security call in Norris, whom they haven't seen. Paris takes Norris' place and using plans that Jim stole earlier, shuts down part of the field, and Barney gets in to program the system to drop the satellite out of orbit. Unfortunately, on the mainland the real Norris kills his girlfriend, a government spy, and Paris-as-Norris is arrested for the murder! This also leaves Barney trapped in the middle of the minefield. Jim and Doug manage to extract a confession and the location of the murder weapon from Norris before Inspector Koder (who knows the real Norris) can spot Paris. Dana comes in and manages to covertly slip Paris the information they've set up to make it look li

star 8.93
27 votes
Writers: Wesley Lau
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The Puppet

#16 - The Puppet

Season 7 - Episode 13

Paul Ostro is the head of the Ostro family and a Syndicate member - after a hunting accident leaving him heavily bandaged he announces a new $100 million Syndicate plan and the IMF must find out what it is. It turns out brother Leo had Paul killed and has a substitute placed which he uses to convince four mobsters to contribute a million each into "Paul's" mystery scheme. Jim and Casey get Leo involved in an oil deal with a corrupt minister (IMF guest agent Khalid) while Barney as a cook gives "Paul" a fake heart attack - Leo has to play along and Willy gets the fake Paul out and they replace him with their own IMF agent Hank and steal the $4 million from the other gangsters. Leo's rival Gault finds the money and a ticket, and when Leo tries to get "Paul" to clear him, the IMF agent tells a different story. Leo has to reveal his plan to use the $4 million as the basis for a massive counterfeiting operation and take Gault and the others to his printing presses - the IMF move in and capt

star 8.91
22 votes
Writers: Leigh Vance
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Squeeze Play (aka Sicily)

#17 - Squeeze Play (aka Sicily)

Season 5 - Episode 12

Albert Zembra, head of the Mediterranean branch of the Syndicate, is dying of cancer and plans on passing his list of opium farms to his chosen successor. He plans on turning power over to Carlos Empori, engaged to his granddaughter. Paris poses as a mobster and old friend of Eve's and "renews" his friendship with her, while Phelps, as Zembra's rival, warns Carlos that Paris plans to take over. Barney stages a fake assassination on Zembra, thwarting Carlos' security and making him look incompetent, then Paris and Paris-as-Zembra stage a conversation to make Carlos believe Zembra will give power to Paris. Carlos helps Jim kidnap Eve, but the plan goes awry when Eve reveals she knows Paris is a fake. Paris puts his life on the line by counting on her silence to complete the plot. Eve stays silent, Carlos is set up as a traitor to Zembra, and the dying mobster turns the information over to Paris.

star 8.89
28 votes
Writers: David Moessinger
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The Question

#18 - The Question

Season 7 - Episode 16

Nicholas Varsi, an enemy assassin, has been captured but claims to be a defector who will reveal his mission to a government agency, the FIS...when he is guaranteed safe asylum. But the FIS may have been infiltrated by a deep-cover operative and Varsi may be selling fake information, so the IMF must verify if he really wants to defector. Jim and Willy break Varsi out and Jim claims to be an agent for Varsi's former government and demands to know why he is defecting. Varsi says nothing and shoots FIS agent Andrea (actually a guest IMF agent) with an empty gun. They let him and Andrea go - he'll turn Andrea back to the FIS if he's a true defector, but instead Varsi goes to a hotel to meet with his former superior, Colonel Kremmer, and the IMF must figure things out before Varsi and Andrea are both killed.

star 8.85
27 votes
Writers: Stephen Kandel
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Image

#19 - Image

Season 6 - Episode 17

Emil Gadsen has controlled the Syndicate's vice operation in the Northeast U.S. - now he plans to flee the country to avoid an indictment, leading his underling Thor Coffin in charge. Gadsen has a list of officials he pays off that he'll be taking with him - the IMF must get the list. Barney plays a psychic who visits believer Gadsen and warns of someone coming who is "closer then a brother" (although Gadsen has no brother), then drugs Gadsen to react in pain to someone showing him the Death tarot card. Then Gadsen and his son Tony meet "Professor Gadaradz," who is Gadsen's lookalike (actually IMF guest-agent Scott). When Gadaradz has a heart attack, the IMF show Gadsen a Death card and he feels sympathetic pains. Barney convinces Gadsen that Coffin kidnapped and is now torturing Gadaradz - Gadsen breaks into Coffin's estate where Willy has snuck in and is fake-torturing Gadaradz. When Gadaradz "dies," and Gadsen collapses in pain, he gives the list (hidden in his watch) to his son Ton

star 8.83
24 votes
Directors: Don McDougall
Writers: James L. Henderson, Samuel Roeca
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The Hostage

#20 - The Hostage

Season 5 - Episode 13

After completing a mission Paris is undercover as an American businessman and still in disguise when he is kidnapped by Latin American revolutionaries led by terrorist Robert Siomney - they ask for the release of three prisoners in return for Paris' life. Paris fakes a disease forcing the government to drop medication, which the IMF has planted a tracking device in. Once they know where the revolutionaries' compound is, Jim fakes the exceution of two of the prisoners, putting pressure on the revolutionary leader Jorge Cabal since his son Luis is the third prisoner. Dana poses as Luis' girlfriend to get close to Jorge so Siomney orders her covert death to keep Jorge on track - Barney takes the killer's place and rescues Dana. Then Jim fakes Luis' death as well - Barney fake-kills Paris and then they reveal that Luis got a last-minute reprieve. With nothing else to bargain with, Jorge turns over Siomney, Barney in disguise, and the "dead" Paris in return for the government commuting his

star 8.83
29 votes
Directors: Barry Crane
Writers: Harold Livingston
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Mastermind

#21 - Mastermind

Season 4 - Episode 8

As Barney attempts to break into a safe that contains an incriminating file, Paris convinces a mob figure that he can read the mind of his double-crossing boss.

star 8.83
23 votes
Writers: Jerry Ludwig
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The Party

#22 - The Party

Season 5 - Episode 22

Alexander Vanin, arrested and convicted for espionage, hid a list of agents operating in the U.S. His control, Mishenko of the EEPR, has been ordered to get the list but Vanin refuses to give in because then Mishenko would cut him loose. The IMF must get the list. Vanin hypnotized himself to forget the list's location and only his wife Olga can give the trigger command to let him remember. Jim gets Olga to the U.S. while Barney and the others clear out the EEPR Consulate with a bomb ruse and then take it over and stage a party where the reunited couple meet (while Mishenko waits across the street for Barney to defuse the bomb). The IMF fake partygoers sneak out and Mishenko shows up to find Vanin there. To prove his loyalty and that he didn't talk, Vanin has his wife give the trigger, unaware that the IMF are listening in and get to the bus where Vanin hid the list before Mishenko can.

star 8.82
28 votes
Directors: Murray Golden
Writers: Harold Livingston
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Decoy

#23 - Decoy

Season 5 - Episode 8

Anna Kerkoska plans to defect with a list of American agents given to her by her father, the late Premier. Her brother Alexi also plans to defect, but it's actually a plan to grab the list, turn it over to Police Chief Petrovitch, and sell out his sister. Jim and Dana pretend to be a publisher brother-and-sister team and Paris kidnaps Dana to fake-force Jim to kidnap Anna for the Americans. Petrovitch and Alexi let the plan go ahead, while Jim becomes romantically involved with Anna. The bad guys overhear Jim "confess" how he is going to smuggle Anna out of the country, unaware its a ploy to draw them away from the real means of escape via a mini-race car in the back of the hearse - Jim and Anna use it to bypass the mined security gate and exit the country.

star 8.81
31 votes
Directors: Seymour Robbie
Writers: John D.F. Black
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The Amnesiac

#24 - The Amnesiac

Season 4 - Episode 13

Jim poses as an amnesia victim in order to retrieve a stolen isotope, one that could make nuclear weapons affordable to any country.

star 8.79
24 votes
Writers: Ken Pettus, Robert Malcolm Young
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Phantoms

#25 - Phantoms

Season 4 - Episode 19

A murderous dictator's belief in ghosts is used against him when Barney fashions a clever system that projects spirits of his dead victims before his eyes.

star 8.79
19 votes
Directors: Marvin Chomsky
Writers: Laurence Heath
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