This eerie masterpiece is what television is all about: a chamber opera with stage machinery, "transformations," etc.
A reading of it puts you on your mettle, because of its uncanny deftness and the receding (or advancing) perspectives it affords. Essentially, this is built as a fantasia on entrapment and blackmail. A motivational psychologist, Dr. Bart Keppel (Robert Culp), is conceived as financing his operations by seducing his clients (with the help of Arlene Martel as Tanya Baker) and then forcing them to pay up. This is metaphorical, if you like, but the writer (Stephen J. Cannell) is just getting warmed up. Dr. Keppel is the author of several books on his subject (The Mind String And How To Pull It, Human Values Vs. Human Motives, etc.), and generates motivational films at his research labs (these scenes were shot at the former Preview House on Sunset Blvd., a place where studios ran new films and programs for test audiences). His latest film is, coincidentally, about sales. "Historically," says its narrator, "we are a nation of salesmen." Dr. Keppel's specialty is the subliminal cut, the famous advertising technique in which single frames stimulating thirst or hunger are spliced unnoticeably into a film.