Mission Impossible ran from 1966 through 1973 and then was revived with a mostly new cast from 1988-1990, when Peter Graves reprised his role of Jim Phelps. Three theatrical movies with Tom Cruise bore little connection to the series except for the "cheat" in the first one of making Jim Phelps the villain for no reason that was justified by the persona of the television character.
In this episode, Jim Phelps undergoes a surgical procedure that renders him temporarily blind in order to make the blindness of his undercover character believable. The real agent consents to having his name dragged through the mud so Jim plays a disgraced, alcoholic agent who was blinded in an accident while supposedly drunk. The accident was part of a plan to discredit the head of a company so the bad guys could put their own man in and take over the company. Lawson, head of the organization, thinks someone has been talking but they don't yet know that it's Henry.
Jim's trying to infiltrate a criminal organization to protect the cover of Henry Matula, a man who has been working for the good guys for five years. The group has to find a way to help Matula advance in the organization while bringing down his rival Karl Dietrich.
The IMF devises a plan to clear Matula while implicating Karl. To that end, Jim makes himself look like a blind former agent on the skids, broke and corruptible. Johnny Brown is Karl's man but is sent to check up on Jim. Johnny follows Jim to his boarding house. He reports back that Jim's landlady is complaining about his bouncing rent check. That sounds promising enough that they send Johnny back to rent a room and keep an eye on Jim.
Johnny is clearly as interested in the landlady (IMF agent Lisa) as in his mission. He does take his eyes off Lynda Day George long enough to see Jim crawl around the floor feeling for enough coins to buy a bottle.
But he's back to ogling the landlady as he helps her change a light bulb. While so occupied, they hear Jim screaming and rush to his room to see him apparently suffering from the DTs.
Johnny is quite amused as he tells Karl how funny a blind man with the DTs acts. When Jim is almost hit by a cab on the way home from the liquor store, Johnny guides him to safety and then makes him a proposition.
They test Jim's corruptibility by paying him to get the name of the agent who replaced him. He can only get it by breaking into the security office and computer. They have to do it for real because there's reason to believe the bad guys have an inside man. Johnny has to go along as Jim's eyes. Johnny is visibly nervous as they hack into the primitive computer with a guard making rounds.
They almost get caught, especially after Jim trips and falls down the stairs. When Lawson pays him the $500, he makes Jim a new proposition. Tell him who has been leaking information and Jim will get $10,000. Casey invites Johnny into her apartment for a drink. He's there when Jim comes to pay his back rent from the money Lawson paid him. He tells Casey, so Johnny can overhear, that he's got a job doing research. He tells her he already has the answers his employer wants but he's dragging things out to get more money. Johnny immediately alerts Karl.
That night they pay Jim a little visit and with a gun to his head, tell him he'd better tell Lawson who the information leak is. Jim claims he doesn't know but he'll tell Lawson it's Karl. If Karl kills him, that will just make him look more guilty. Karl then makes him another proposition. Finger Matula and Karl will pay Jim $10,000 on top of what Lawson is paying. Jim agrees. Shortly thereafter, Matula comes to Lawson with something interesting.
Jim is escorted to Karl's warehouse so he can tell Lawson that Matula is the source of the information leak. However, Matula is a step ahead. As soon as Jim reports that Matula is the leak, Lawson plays the tape Matula brought him. It's a tape of Karl offering Jim $10,000 to point a finger at Matula. With that double cross, Johnny appears in the rafter, gun ablaze. (Alas no Peter Brown signature drop, roll and shoot.)
Greg Morris who has infiltrated the organization by way of Matula as a hit man, takes Jim off supposedly to kill him. When Johnny tries to intersept him, Greg has to kill him. Johnny ends up in a death drop off the rafters. There was a wrap-up scene with all the IMF folks, but for us the show was over when Peter hit the floor.
NiteOwl Review: Mission Impossible was always a fast moving fun show, frequently with lots of special effects (but not in this episode). Of course, their methods wouldn't bear tight scrutiny. Too much depends on persons over whom they have no control, reacting exactly as and when expected. Peter's character was a sleazy, lowlife, vicious womanizing hoodlum. And they gave him lots of screen time. What more could his fans ask?
Original air date Sep 18, 1971
Directed by Reza S. Badiyi
Written by Bruce Geller
Peter Graves as James Phelps
Greg Morris as Barney Collier
Lynda Day George as Lisa Casey
Peter Lupus as Willy Armitage
Jason Evers as Karl Dietrich
Tom Bosley as Henry Matula
Harold J. Stone as John Lawson
Peter Brown as Johnny Brown
Official Peter Brown Fan Site