Mission: Impossible

CBS (ended 1973)
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  • show Description
  • This 7-year series chronicled the adventures of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF), a team of government spies and specialists who were offered "impossible missions" (should they decide to accept them) by the unseen "Secretary". Although the cast varied over the years, the main characters included The Team Leader (Dan Briggs the first season, then Jim Phelps the other six), The Techno-Wizard (Barney Collier), The Strongman (Willy Armitage), The Master of Disguise (first Rollin Hand, then The Amazing Paris), and The Femme Fatale (Cinnamon Carter, Dana Lambert, Casey, Mimi Davis). The series is best known for its standard (but not invariable) opening mission contact (conducted by a pre-recorded message), the theme composed by Lalo Schifrin, the leader's selection of mission agents from a dossier, the opening briefing, the intricate use of disguises and a typical "mask pulloff" scene near the end of most episodes, and the relative lack of characterization of the characters.moreless

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  • Episode Guide
  • S 7 : Ep 22


    Aired 3/30/73

  • S 7 : Ep 21

    The Western

    Aired 3/2/73

  • S 7 : Ep 20

    The Pendulum

    Aired 2/23/73

  • S 7 : Ep 19


    Aired 2/16/73

  • S 7 : Ep 18

    The Fighter

    Aired 2/9/73

  • Cast & Crew
  • Steven Hill

    Daniel Briggs

  • Greg Morris

    Barney Collier

  • Peter Lupus

    Willy Armitage

  • Martin Landau

    Rollin Hand

  • Barbara Bain

    Cinnamon Carter

  • Photos (2)
  • Top Contributor
  • Gislef

    User Score: 4932


  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (245)

    • Recorded Voice: Good morning, Mr. Briggs. General Rio Dominguez, the dictator of Santa Costa, makes his headquarters in the Hotel Nacionale. We've learned that two nuclear warheads furnished to Santa Costa by an enemy power are contained in the hotel vault. Their use is imminent. Mr. Briggs, your mission, should you decide to accept it, would be to remove both nuclear devices from Santa Costa. As always, you have carte blanche as to method and personnel, but of course should you or any member of your IM Force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. As usual, this recording will decompose one minute after the breaking of the seal. I hope it's "welcome back," Dan. It's been a while.

    • Cinnamon: My job's only doing what comes naturally.

    • Rollin: You know, uh, Dominguez has quite a reputation as a ladies' man, and, uh, as long as you're spending an hour here... why not help me develop my characterization?
      Cinnamon: We'll spend the hour rehearsing. I found Dominguez's speech. You may have to deliver it if Barney drops a transistor or something.

    • Rollin: How am I doing?
      Cinnamon: Terrible. Fine. Say, do you do Jimmy Cagney?
      Rollin: Ho ho. Not funny.

    • (Cinnamon has provided a distraction by wearing only a towel) Rollin: Cinnamon... a gorgeous performance. Cinnamon: You think so? (indicating the hostage guards in the bedroom) You should have seen it from those seats.

    • General Dominguez: What use is all this? I will never give you any information. But if you forget your plan... I will give you amnesty. And my personal guarantee that the warheads will not be used against your country. Briggs: Oh, I'll give you the same guarantee, General. You read my meaning? Those things might go off, but it won't be in my country.

    • (Dan threatens to randomly open the color-coded explosive lock)
      General Dominguez: Are you insane?
      Briggs: You leave me no choice, General.
      General Dominguez: Your chances are one in a thousand.
      Briggs: Our chances are by random choice. But I won't just guess. I think the code is your national colors--green, white and blue. Right, General? (When the General fails to indicate one way or the other, Dan starts to turn the first color wheel)
      General Dominguez: No! Not green.
      Briggs: Red, white and blue? General, you not only have sense, you have a sense of the ironic.

    • (Terry is forced to take Rollin's place of the old man in the wheelchair)
      Terry: Now this will never work!
      Cinnamon: Yes it will. Remember what Dan said. People don't look at a crippled old man. They look away.
      Terry: Yeah, but, no one looks less like Rollin than I do.
      Cinnamon: Terry, I'll be wheeling you out. If anyone looks at you, I'll quit the sisterhood of women!

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    Notes (256)

    • Martin Landau is listed here as a Guest Star. He will go on to be listed as Special Guest Star and Special Appearance by throughout the first season. This was due to Martin Landau's unwillingness to contractually commit to a starring role in the series in the first year, although for all practical purposes he was a show star and in fact appeared in more episodes than Steven Hill. To reflect this, TV.com lists him as a show star.

    • Fittingly, the first photo Briggs takes out of the IMF portfolio is of series creator Bruce Geller.

    • In the original pilot script the character of Rollin Hand (played by Martin Landau) was named Martin Land.

    • Filming location: Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles, CA

    • When GoodTimes Home Video released this episode on VHS in the mid-1990s, they titled it "Butcher of Balkins," which is wrong in multiple ways. Aside from the fact that the title is actually "Memory", this phrase, the nickname of the IMF's target, would be properly rendered "The Butcher of the Balkans." Unlike all other video releases of Mission: Impossible (the Columbia Home Video Library VHS subscription, "The Best of Mission: Impossible" in 12 VHS volumes from Paramount Home Video, and the current DVD season-by-season box sets), this included "bumpers" and the preview of the "next" episode ("Operation Rogosh").

    • Injoke: Willy shares the same birthplace as the actor who plays him: Indiana.

    • Rollin Hand makes a "special guest appearance" in this episode to assist the IMF.

    • This episode won writer Jerome Ross a Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

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    Trivia (213)

    • Trivia: The IMF voice notes at the end of the briefing "I hope it's welcome back, Dan. It's been a while." implying that Briggs has been away. This comment, and any other background on Briggs, is never explained.

    • Dominguez hooking up the warheads to the lock on their case and set to detonate seems like overkill. The presence of the warheads is supposed to be a secret, so any prospective thieves wouldn't be deterred by the threat of a nuclear explosion. So if someone tries to open the case and fails... they'd destroy a good part of Santa Costa. Why Dominguez would risk his death and the destruction of his country isn't clear.

    • There was something that Dan apparently did not take into account when he laid his plans. In the original scenario, the 120-pound Terry Targo was expected to heave two two-hundred pound warheads from their cases to the suitcases. Dan had a hard enough time shifting them himself, and Terry gave no indication of being exceptionally strong.

    • When Terry Targo gets his fingers slammed into the door and thus breaking them, if you pause the DVD and play the sequence frame by frame you can see the actor, Wally Cox, actually holding the fake hands by their "wrists" when the door opens slightly after the door hits his "fingers."

    • While packing the equipment to go into the projectile, Barney dictates an accompanying note for Baresh, which is typed by Cinnamon. Problem is, the note is typed exactly as we, the audience, hear it, skipping vital information about the contents that Barney must have spoken after the camera cut to the next scene, and picking up where the camera cuts back to Barney. The finished note reads: "Joseph, follow these instructions precisely. Inside this projectile.. .work up rage...." which should have been utterly confusing to Baresh.

    • Trivia: On-screen dialogue establishes that Willy was almost certainly born in Indiana.

    • Trivia: Instead of a taped message, Briggs is handed a card on the street with a short mission briefing on it, which he then destroys.

    • When Briggs looks at Willy's picture at the beginning of the episode, he tosses it onto the discarded pile even though Willy is used on this mission. After Briggs looks at Rollin's photo, Willy's picture is now in the accepted pile. Also, after Rollin's photo there is a man without glasses whom Briggs rejects. After accepting Baresh's picture, there is photo of a man wearing glasses on the reject pile we didn't see before.

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    Allusions (5)

    • Cinnamon: You wouldn't cut off Sarah Bernhardt.
      Referencing the legendary stage actress Sarah Bernhardt. Born in France, Bernhardt achieved fame in both Europe and North America, and was lauded as the greatest actress of her day. Called "The Divine Sarah" she was celebrated for her skills a dramatic performer and her ability to evoke emotion.

    • A Doll's House Cinnamon's film clip features her performing a scene from Henrick Ibsen's A Doll's House (1879). Henrick Ibsen, with his emphasis on reality and then radical issues, is considered by many to be the first truly modern playwright. A Doll's House was considered scandalous upon its debut since it portrayed an independent woman who was willing to abandon her family rather than stay in a demeaning marriage.

    • Photo session The first photo session with David Redding and his model is a copy of similar scenes from Michelangelo Antonioni's celebrated film Blow-Up (1966) which is also a thriller featuring a fashion photographer. There is also a similarity between the name of the photographer in this episode (David Redding) and the name of the movie's star (David Hemmings).

    • Jason Redding Writers Woodfield and Balter deliberately created a situation similar to that of convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed for treason in 1953 after they were tried and sentenced for providing atomic secrets to the Communists. Woodfield & Balter started with the idea of "What if the Rosenbergs had a son?" To make the allusion complete, note the shared initials of Redding's father and Rosenberg.

    • Peter Cordel: I was expecting a man. Leslie: My parents are to blame.

  • Fan Reviews (35)
  • Wonderful Show!

    By nancybania, Dec 13, 2014

  • Poking Holes In The Plot Was Half The Fun.

    By RabbitEars54, Nov 02, 2014

  • Wished it was better

    By anastasia1243, Feb 08, 2014


    By william08, Jan 16, 2013

  • Clever thought provoking show, great theme song too.

    By MichaelSander2, Mar 08, 2012