There's so much going on in this episode, that it has to get right down to business within a few seconds--an airliner explodes in midair. This 30 second pre-credits sequence has got to be one of the quickest opening stingers that I have ever seen.
The airline's owner calls upon John Drake...it's not the first airplane to go down in mysterious circumstances en route to New Guinea, and it's going to take some detective work to figure out what's going on. This doesn't seem to be official spy business (for whatever organization he might be working for at this point of Season One), but more as a favor to Mrs. Jason, the widowed owner of the airline. While the viewer knows it's all the result of sabotage (we would call it terrorism today), the show's protagonists can only speculate as to the cause of the disasters; Meisener, a big-wig newspaperman, claims that the "New Republic" is shooting down the unfortunate airplanes (the "New Republic" is never actually referred to by name, but it is described as a communist regime...)
Drake figures the best way to get an inside track is by posing as a drunken pilot...and it's a joy watching McGoohan act the part of a pickled pilot, mostly because we're in on the joke. Drake's plan works; before long, we've figured out the players and the rules of the game--almost!
Naturally, part of Drake's plan goes awry (that's why it's called Danger Man!), and this is one time that Drake can't talk his way out of the mess he finds himself in. What occurs is a violent, noirish scene in which Drake is severely beaten...menacing faces, stark shadows, and a surreal soundtrack provided by a Christmas angels music box. It's an amazing sequence that transitions into next scene in a disoriented (but appropriate) way.
And, the ending has an excellent payoff for the viewer. The players are all present to account for their sins, and there are no loose ends...yet, the victory is Pyrrhic, taking place aboard a doomed airliner. But no, Drake is a step ahead of the bad guys and the viewers!
Squeezing such a complex story into a 25 minute episode is no easy task, and it was a fine job on the part of all involved.