The Best Episodes of Mission: Impossible
Last Updated: Jun 7, 2019
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 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
#5 - 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.
#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.
#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 - 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.
#9 - 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.
#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.
#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.
#12 - 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.
#13 - 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.
#14 - 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
#15 - 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.
#16 - 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.
#18 - 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.
#19 - Imitation
Season 7 - Episode 22
The Marnsburg Crown Jewels were brought to the U.S. and stolen from the UN Building - Jena Cole, a thief, is believed responsible but have no leads on the location of the jewels. The IMF must recover the jewels before the hostile Marnsburg government makes a case out of it. Jena is to turn the jewels over to the Syndicate, which financed the theft. Barney manage to get close to Jena and she finds he has plans to the Marnsburg Consulate. Meanwhile, the IMF return the "real" jewels, claiming the first ones were fake and confirming it throuigh her diamond fence (a IMF replacement). Jena and Barney team up to get into the consulate and steal the "real" jewels and turns them over to Jim the creditor, so Jena tries to fake him out for substituting her supposedly fake gems for the "real" ones, then sneak out. The Syndicate shows up and figures out which gems are which, and the police take everyone, including Jena, into custody.
#20 - 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.
#21 - 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
#23 - The Hunted
Season 5 - Episode 10
A mission to rescue a South African dissident goes awry when Doug and his white assistant get the man out of the hospital, but the assistant is shot in the leg. Separated from the rest of the IMF team, the assistant staggers into a shop where a deaf girl discovers the man is Barney in a mask. The rest of the team gets the dissident out of the country and then goes back for Barney. To draw off the police, Paris pretends to be a limping white man, but is injured for real by two men trying to capture him. Meanwhile, the wounded Barney discovers the girl, Maryana, was rendered psychosomatically deaf when her father, one of the dissident's co-workers, was shot by the government. Pretending to be policeman, Doug and Jim manage to track down Barney, and with the girl make a run for a helicopter to escape over the border. Before they can do so, they need to rendezvous with the wounded Paris and rescue him too.
#24 - The Innocent
Season 5 - Episode 3
In the Middle East Willy and Barney infiltrate a chemical plant to gain access to Dehominant-B, a quick-acting lethal gas. Barney is exposed to Dehominant-A while trying to get to the computer and crippled - Willy escapes and Barney is captured. Barney is interrogated and only has four hours to live. The team find out that Dr. Jerry Carlin, a dropout, is the only other person with the skills to access the computer. When Carlin rejects the team's appeal for help, Jim and Paris frame Carlin's girlfriend and threaten to keep her in jail unless he helps them. Dana provides a distract and Paris takes the head scientist Vazan's place and have Barney first fake a confession implicating the technicians and then his own death - they get Barney to the autopsy room where Doug revives him in the nick of time. Jim and Carlin take the incriminated technicians' place and Carlin manages to ruin the Dehominant and erase the computer, then everyone escapes with Vazan.