Season 1 Episode 24

A Free Agent

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Mar 25, 1964 on NBC
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Episode Summary

A Free Agent
When a British agent falls in love with a woman on the other side, he falls under the scrutiny of his allies and his enemies.

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  • A British spy and a Russian spy have, to the consternation of their respective "controls", fallen in love in Switzerland, and their bosses unite to break it up.

    Michael Powell, in his third and final episode for this series, is reunited with Leo Marks, the screenwriter of his 1960 masterwork "Peeping Tom". The story twists and turns ingeniously and Anthony Quayle and Sian Phillips, as the spy lovers, give fine performances. The ending, in which each admits that he/she had been ordered merely to seduce the other, but had instead fallen in love, is extremely moving. The notion that espionage work can turn people into prostitutes was far from new - Powell's old friend Hitchcock had used it as the basis for his 1946 masterpiece "Notorious" - but the point is most incisively made here. A fine finish to this most interesting series.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (2)

    • The Norman Foster who plays Max in this episode is not the American actor and director ("Davy Crockett", "Journey Into Fear"), but a famous Boston-born opera singer whose fine bass voice can be heard in another Michael Powell television movie, "Bluebeard's Castle", a version of Bartok's opera. Powell filmed that for German TV shortly before making this episode, which would seem to be Foster's only non-operatic acting performance on film.

    • This episode reunites scriptwriter Leo Marks (who was involved in real-life espionage in World War II) and director Michael Powell, who had collaborated on the extremely controversial film "Peeping Tom" in 1960. Marks was under contract to Powell at the time, and it was the latter's idea to use him as a writer for this series. Marks was also responsible for the story of a 1968 film, "Sebastian", on which Powell is credited as co-producer (along with the executive producer of "Espionage", Herbert Brodkin); Powell was replaced on this film as director, just as Marks was replaced as its writer.


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