The Best Episodes of Mission: Impossible
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.
#1 - The Legend
Season 1 - Episode 20
An imprisoned member of the Nazi party, Herbert Raynor, is released from prison and is being flown (along with his daughter) to Puerto Huberra in South America, along with other Nazis. All of them are being flown there by an unknown benefactor. Briggs and Cinnamon take the Raynors' place.They and the others are introduced to Martin Bormann, now a bedridden invalid. Borman's secretary, Rudd, informs them that Bormann will lead the Third Reich to new glories. Dan ducks a murder attempt, breaks into Bormann's room, and finds that he is a mannequin with a voice provided by Rudd. Rudd has recorded tapes duplicating Bormann's voice, and the last tape will turn leadership of the party over to him. To stymie Rudd, Rollin dresses up as Bormann and is suddenly not so bedridden. Of course, Rudd knows Rollin is an imposter but can't reveal it without exposing his own ploy. "Bormann" gives orders that eliminate Rudd once and for all and end the threat posed by the Nazis.
#2 - Doomsday
Season 3 - Episode 17
Carl Vandaam, a bankrupt European tycoon, is masterminding the theft of plutonium to make a hydrogen bomb and sell to the highest bidder. To keep such a bomb from falling into the wrong hands the IMF must stop Vandaam. Jim and Cinnamon get close to Kura, one of the bidders, by offering to bankroll him in return for oil rights. Vandaam demonstrates the bomb's plutonium core but afterwards Barney manages to steal the plutonium and replace it with an empty cylinder. Vandaam's aide discovers the theft and seals the building while Vanddam bluffs it out hoping they catch the thief before the bidding is over. Kura wins the bidding unaware that Cinnamon has planted a device in his money. Cinnamon insists they see the plutonium again, Vandaam is forced to reveal the theft, and Kura wants a refund. Cinnamon destroys the money by remote control. Kura has Vandaam shot while the IMF escape and summon the authorities.
#3 - The System
Season 3 - Episode 15
A gangster, Constantine Victor (aka "Mr. V") has had the last witness against him on a murder indictment killed. Johnny Costa, Victor's associates and a casino owner, is the only one with enough evidence to get Victor convicted. The IMF must con Costa into talking. Phelps as a syndicate killer warns Costa that someone has put a contract on him. Cinnamon charms Costa and has him endorse minor credit slips which the IMF then forges for bigger ones. Rollin is a bookkeeper who supposedly works for Costa, finds an unlisted $25,000 planted by Barney, and the fake credit slips. Thanks to a prerecorded call from "Victor" mimicked by Rollin, Costa is relieved of duties. Costa confronts Cinnamon and gets her to admit she is working for Victor. Fleeing from Willy as another hit man, Costa locks himself in the casino vault to protect himself until he can testify against Victor.
#4 - Live Bait
Season 3 - Episode 18
Selby, a double-agent for the U.S. within an enemy country's intelligence service, is suspected by his superior, Kellerman. The IMF must keep Selby in the clear and eliminate Kellerman. Selby complains when Marceau, a courier who knows about Selby's identity, is taken from him by Kellerman. Selby claims Kellerman is the double-agent. Rollin, as a government official, gives Kellerman 24 hours to break Marceau. Using his underling Brocke, Kellerman works with Rollin to trap Selby. Kellerman comes to believe that Agent Jim has kidnapped Brocke's girlfriend to force Brocke to give away Marceau's location to Selby. In reality, Stephanie is shown a fake split-screen of Jim conspiring with "Kellerman" (Rollin in disguise on tape!) to kill Brocke and eliminate Marceau. Brocke believes Stephanie and accuses Kellerman but she recants under pressure. Meanwhile, Marceau is wired to an explosive. When Stephanie recants the IMF break in using knockout gas and use liquid nitrogen to free Marceau. The
#5 - Charity
Season 2 - Episode 10
A husband-and-wife con team, the Hagars, rip off the wealthy for donations to charity, only to take it all for themselves. The IMF "crashes" the Hagars' get-together with a groiup of millionaires at an estate on the French-Italian border. The Hagars have converted their ill-gotten gains to platinum, and have it stored in the base of a pool table . Jim goes in as a gigolo supposedly hired by Erik Hagar to keep his wife Catherine occupied, while Cinnamon keeps Erik occupied by pretending to be a wealthy invalid. Barney tunnels into the estate and switches out the platinum bricks with an inflatable duplicate. Rollin pretends to be a hitman trying to kill Catherine, but is caught and confesses he was hired by Erik. Suspicious, Catherine hires him and then tries to flee the country. Jim fakes putting the platinum in the trunk of her car. He and she make it to the border, but Erik, follows, takes the car. Unfortunately for him, Barney and Willy have taken the real platinu, melted it down, an
#6 - The Frame
Season 1 - Episode 17
Gangster Jack Wellman is moving syndicated crime into politics, killing off certain politicians and replacing them with men more sympathetic to the Syndicate. The team goes in as caterers. Cinnamon sneaks into Wellman's room, blows a hole in the wall, and inserts a fake safe. Meanwhile, Barney and Willy break into the real vault from the rear and steal the 4 million in profits that Wellman has tucked away, and which he is to split with his fellow mobsters at a dinner that night. They open the real vault and discover the money missing. Going upstairs, they find Cinnamon who claims to be Wellman's girlfriend, tells him she knew "it" wouldn't work, and reveals the fake safe. As Cinnamon and the rest of the team depart, the other mobsters tell Wellman to open the safe or they'll kill him, and don't believe his desperate pleas that he's never seen that safe before in his life.
#7 - 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.
#8 - 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.
#10 - Shock
Season 1 - Episode 25
Enemy operative Kiri has kidnapped U.S. envoy Carl Wilson and has an imposter, Gort, who is impersonating him to discredit a U.S. trade agreement. The team have to rescue Wilson and foil the impersonation before Kiri kills Wilson. Cinnamon impersonates Wilson's niece while Willy kidnaps Gort and Briggs-as-Wilson takes Gort's place, pretending to be Gort. The team put Gort in an asylum and give him electro-shock to scramble his memories, then claim he is is a delusional accountant. Under the threat of more electro-shock, Gort tells them the full details of his delusion: that he's to kill an American official and leave Wilson to take the blame. Barney and Willy replace the unconscious Wilson at the reception with a drugged Gort set to look like a suicide, then Briggs-as-Gort-as-Wilson takes a shot at the official. Briggs returns and reveals that "Wilson" is actually Gort, who was in Keri's employ.
#11 - The Psychic
Season 1 - Episode 28
American businessman Alex Lowell has gained control of Sud-Aero, a manufacturer of defense hardware, and absconded to South America to sell its top-secret patents to an enemy power. The IMF is tasked with wresting control of Sud-Aero from Lowell by recovering his stock documents worth $80 million. Cinnamon gets close to Lowell as a psychic who manages to prove herself accurate with her predictions thanks to IMF assistance. She then "predicts" that Rollin (as a gangster) will play against him, try to cheat, and lose. Lowell finds the fake cards that the IMF has planted. He goes through with the game, intending on cheating Rollin. He succeeds, but as Rollin is tossed out he secretly switches the stock documents with phonies thanks to a automated feeder arm, leaving Lowell with nothing but an unendorsed check for $80 milliion.
#13 - The Bunker (2)
Season 3 - Episode 20
With Cinnamon-as-Anna in place, she is taken to her "husband" and tells Dr. Rojak to be near an air vent. Jim as a security officer has placed a small remote-control flying disk in the bunker's air vent system and it holds a hypo. Barney steers it to Rojak's monitored cell and he uses the hypo to induce a heart attack. Jim summons Rollin (as a heart specialist) who advises surgery and instructs that "Anna" be at her husband's side. Ventlos the assassin plans to disrupt the operation by taking Rollin's place in disguise and the IMF quickly has to readjust when Ventlos tries to kill Rojak and destroy the installation.
#14 - The Vault
Season 3 - Episode 23
Phillipe Pereda, finance minister of Costa Mateo has stolen $40 million from the vault of the country's president, De Varo. De Caro plans to announce the money will be used for an industrialization process. Pereda plans to frame the president for embezzlement when it is found the money is missing from the supposedly impenetrable vault, then take over the country. The IMF must stop him. Willy sneaks Barney into the vault and he gets it open and makes it look like it was robbed before setting off the alarm. Rollin (as an auditor) lets a guard see Barney before knocking him out, then knocking himself out. Pereda realizes that with this new robbery, he won't be able to frame De Caro. Cinnamon and Jim (as representatives trying to cut a deal with Pereda to buy land once he is in power) suggest he temporarily replace the stolen money with Treasury cash before De Caro confirms the theft. Pereda sneaks into the vault using an audio tape of De Varo's perfectly pitched code, he puts in the money
#16 - The Council (2)
Season 2 - Episode 12
Rollin-as-Wayne orders the death of Jim, who is impersonating a federal investigator, without getting the approval of the Syndicate Council. With Jim's killing a a distraction, Rollin breaks into the safe at Syndicate HQ and duplicates the financial records. The Council, unhappy with "Wayne's" independence and the fact that the murder is attracting headlines, condemn him to death. Rollin runs, but at the last moment switches place with the real Wayne, who has received plastic surgeon to make him look like Rollin. Wayne is killed by the hitman, Johnny, and the records are used to bust the Syndicate.
#17 - The Phoenix
Season 2 - Episode 23
Former internal security director Stefan Prohosh has been demoted to director of a museum. He has stolen an experimental metal alloy and concealed it in a modern sculpture at his museum, and plans to sell it to a foreign power to get them to back his bid for power. The IMF must recover the metal and stop Prohosh. Rollin fakes an attempt on Prohosh and his call is interecepted by Barney, who sends Jim, Barney, and Willy. Jim reveals Cinnamon as Rollin's accomplice, and Prohosh is obliged to interrogate the two of them. This is a distraction that lets Barney and Willy secretly dismantle the sculpture, remove the alloy, and replace it with explosives. Jim slips a detonator into Prohosh's pocket and then detonates the explosive himself to make it look as if the chairman was responsible. No one is harmed in the ensuing blast but the chairman finds the detonator in the unwitting Prohosh's pocket and has him arrested.
#20 - The Council (1)
Season 2 - Episode 11
Frank Wayne is the head of the Syndicate, and by putting the Mob's ill-gotten gains in a Swiss bank account, he threatens to ruin the U.S. gold reserve. The IMF must recover the funds and put Wayne away. Jim harasses Wayne, forcing the gangster to move his records to the Syndicate's office HQ. Then Jim and Barney subpoena and grill Wayne, while Rollin studies Wayne to impersonate his mannerisms. They fake an escape for Wayne long enough for him to call his henchman, but Rollin then takes his place. "Wayne" then orders Barney's death. With "Wayne" on the lam, the Syndicate insist that he leave town, but Rollin sells them on the idea of plastic surgery...to make "Wayne" look like Rollin!
#21 - The Interrogator
Season 3 - Episode 25
Agent Norvan Kruger knows about his country's plans to launch some kind of attack which will devastate the world. he's been captured by a second country unfriendly to the U.S. Kruger's interrogator, Spindler, hasn't broken the agent but even if he does the U.S. needs the plans. The IMF capture Spindler and Kruger during transport and lock Spindler up. To convince them he's who he is he tells them of Kruger's knowledge of the plan to launch nuclear missiles from submarines against the U.S. The IMF use drugs to scramble Kruger's memories and convince him he is an interrogator assigned to break a prisoner (Rollin). He's told he must get the information from Rollin or his superior Kutzof will have him shot. Rollin claims to have the same submarine-location knowledge Kruger does. Kruger grows steadily more confused, particularly when he can't hear what Rollin is saying. Jim as a psychiatirst tells Kruger he's blocking out the words. When "Kutzof" shows up, under pressure Kruger blurts out h
#23 - 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
#24 - The Elixir
Season 3 - Episode 7
Riva Santel is the recent widow of the President of San Cordova. Deputy Premier Avilla plans to announce free elections but Riva will declare herself dictator in a coup. The IMF must stop her. Pretending to be a film crew, the IMF team gets in. Hostess Cinnamon fakes a collapse and the guys comment on her age. Rollin as a plastic surgeon comes in and Riva finds out Cinnamon is actually seventy years old. She insists on surgery for herself. Since the surgery can only be done on the night of the speech, she has herself taped by her own camera crew. Barney and Willy get hold of the tape footage, reedit it, and switch the IMF tape for Riva's. Riva is sedated during the speech and so her men use the tape. When she awakens, her face in bandages, she is shocked to hear "herself" announcing her retirement. While Cinnamon disguised as old-Riva conspicuously leaves the country, Riva takes off the bandages to find she has her wish: she is now a younger woman...with a totally different face.