I Spy

Season 1 Episode 2

A Cup of Kindness

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Sep 22, 1965 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

A Cup of Kindness

Kelly's agency instructor Russ Conway shows up in Hong Kong to touch base with his student and deliver a coded message. The message orders Kelly and Scott to kill Russ and Kelly has a hard choice to make.

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  • Funeral for a friend.

    Series co-creator and writer David Friedkin steps in front of the camera as Kelly's instructor who may be a traitor. This episode challenges the glib, devil-may-care Robinson and gives Scott a chance to show off some "MacGyver" ingenuity in constructing a makeshift bomb.

    Episodes like "A Cup of Kindness" prove again how "I Spy" set itself apart from other espionage shows. The "secret technology," the mysterious component, is barely explained; but it doesn't need to be. It's just a MacGuffin. The REAL action is the Robinson/Conway relationship. Is it making Kelly blind to the truth? Or is he the only hope his old friend has? Other 1960s TV spies never grappled with the tasks they were assigned. It makes them less than Bond, but it also makes Kelly and Scotty more human as a result.moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • On Kelly's first visit, the receptionist is wearing a light blue dress when the firecrackers go off. During Kelly's second visit, she wears a red dress. However, when the firecrackers go off, the director uses a reaction shot from the earlier scene so the receptionist's dress changes color to light blue.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Scotty: Because in college, I studied languages. It turned out that my professor of Sanskrit was a recruiter for the department.
      Russ: You're kidding.
      Scotty: No, no. What happened was: one day I got an assignment, which I thought was just something to translate for the following Tuesday. But it turned out to be a sales pitch to join the Department. And he made it sound so beautiful, too. Listen: "Short days, short hours, armed, and a Jim-dandy adventure.
      Russ: How do you say "Jim-dandy" in Sanskrit?
      Scotty: In a dead language.

    • Kelly: You weren't just a good teacher, Russ. You were something else. I've stayed alive because of what you've taught me.
      Russ: Fine.
      Kelly: Something you said once, I never forgot. "In espionage, we look upon the face of evil every day. We must all be on guard not to become corrupted."
      Russ: "By facing evil with a greater evil than our own." Have you become corrupt, Kelly?
      Kelly: Yeah, I guess I have.

    • Russ: That's all you can call it, a sell-out. I sold out to the other side.
      Scotty: In the trade, it's called treason.

    • Kelly: The safe is your baby, Russ. You still good at that?
      Russ: I soak my fingers in hot oil each night, right after I brush my teeth. I could feel your pulse through concrete.
      Scotty: That's a man of many talents.

    • Kelly: Hey, you know what?
      Scotty: What?
      Kelly: For the first time in my life, I got a chance to make me a cod fish bomb. And I can't get the cod fish out of the box.

    • Scotty: This old handy two-way prototype here.
      Kelly: It has been known to send weapons screaming into the sky.
      Scotty: Right. And open cod fish boxes.

    • Scotty: This is how far a cigarette burns in five minutes.
      Kelly: Is there no limit to the wonderfulness of your mind?

    • Russ: You must be leading a fat life to fall for a pair of shoes.
      Scotty: You know Tricky Dick?
      Kelly: Know him? He almost flunked me in Advanced Blowing Up Suspension Bridges. Meet my instructor from Indoctrination School.

  • NOTES (3)


    • Kelly: What are you going to do, Pied Piper your way out of here?
      Kelly is referencing the legendary Pied Piper of Hamelin, comparing the flutist to Scotty's apparent interest in wooden flutes. First seen on a stained glass window in the 14th century, the Pied Piper is a rat-catcher who uses his flute to draw out the the rats infesting Hamelin. When the townspeople refuse to pay his fee, the Piper uses his music to take the town's children away with him.

    • Kelly: How many hours does a man have to hold off Genghis Khan and his cavalry?
      Kelly compares the hulking Kwan Tak to another fierce Asian warrior: Genghis Khan (1162?-1227), the emperor of the Mongol Empire, who united the nomad tribes under his rule. His horde occupied much of China and Central Asia and commit brutal acts of slaughter. However, Genghis Khan also introduced the concept of religious tolerance within his empire and required his diverse tribes to use a single shared language, helping to spread culture and knowledge.

    • Russ: ...Front for every Curtain there is: from Bamboo to Silk to Iron.
      This line references the three political Communist Asia "curtains" during the time period: *Bamboo - North Korea *Silk - China *Iron - USSR

    • Quote: You know Tricky Dick?
      This line is a reference to Richard Nixon, who picked up that nickname in the 1950 campaign for his Senate seat.

    • The title is a reference to the Celtic traditional song Auld Lang Syne: "We'll take a cup of kindness yet/for days of auld lang syne." It also is a nod to Russ and Kelly's friendship, from what must seem ages ago.