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File:Mission Impossible Season 2t 4881.jpg

Good morning, Mr./Ms. Troper.

The show you're looking at is Mission: Impossible, a unique Spy Drama based around a semi-ad hoc covert operations team employed by the US Government for dicey missions needing maximum deniability. The television series lasted from September, 1966 to March, 1973; a total of 171 episodes were filmed over the seven season run. It was the longest-surviving of the "spy-fi" genre of US and UK-made TV series of the 1960s (The Avengers aired over a 9-year period but fewer seasons and episodes were produced).

With a few rare exceptions every episode followed the same outline: First, a prerecorded briefing informs the team leader, Jim Phelps, of the target, what needs to be done to him, and why. Second, Jim assembles his team and the viewer gets to see a selected but mostly uninformative subset of their planning and briefing. Thirdly, the mission — usually a caper or con — is executed, sometimes with real or bogus crises along the way. Finally, the team reassembles in a convenient panel truck and drives off as the target confesses, turns state's evidence, or slowly cools in a spreading pool of blood.

The original cast:

  • Steven Hill as Dan Briggs, a cold, cerebral strategist who would be given the mission, formulate a plan, select a team of agents (not always the same ones in early episodes), and put everything in motion.
  • Barbara Bain as Cinnamon Carter, a glamorous Femme Fatale who could wrap men around her finger with a single raised eyebrow.
  • Greg Morris as Barney Collier, a mechanical and electronic genius and reverse Air Vent Passageway escape artist — the casting of a black actor as this highly accomplished character in 1966 was revolutionary, although the producers insisted race had nothing to do with their decision.
  • Former bodybuilder Peter Lupus as Willy Armitage, essentially a Gentle Giant. Despite being the muscle of the team, Willy displayed surprising bursts of speed on occasion, in addition to being a gifted actor and improviser.

Martin Landau played Rollin Hand, a Master of Disguise, sleight-of-hand, card sharping and many other skills, as a guest star in the pilot, but was so popular with audiences that he became the Ensemble Darkhorse and was called back for virtually every subsequent episode, always billed as a "special guest star." He was made a series regular in season two.

When Hill became increasingly difficult to work with[1], he was gradually written out of the series; when he was replaced by Peter Graves as Jim Phelps in season two, the classic cast was set. Other cast changes followed; with Landau and Bain leaving at the end of season three, Landau replaced by Leonard Nimoy, fresh from the recently cancelled Star Trek: The Original Series (which Landau turned down to do MI instead), and Bain by an assortment of leading ladies, culminating in Lesley Warren as the waif-like Dana. An ill-advised attempt at writing out Peter Lupus in favor of a medical doctor team member played by a pre-cowboy-stardom Sam Elliott, until the producers realized how popular Willy was. An attempt was eventually made to invigorate the leading lady role by casting Lynda Day George as Casey, who was both the leading lady and the Master of Disguise, but by then the series was on its last legs. One final cast tweak in the final season saw George temporarily replaced by Ironside veteran Barbara Anderson while George was on maternity leave.

Mission Impossible was a thinking man's espionage program. Gunplay was kept to a minimum (with a few notable early-series exceptions when the series was still finding its rhythm), and the focus was always on outwitting and outmaneuvering the foe, who usually didn't know he was being targeted at all. The IMF were never dispatched for ordinary tasks that a simple James Bond type could handle with a couple of explosions and a chase scene - they were called upon to accomplish their goals by outplanning and outthinking their opposition, often by playing mind games with them on such a scale that more than one may have been driven into madness. After the first season IMF operatives rarely killed anybody directly, but their targets didn't always survive as a favored outcome was usually the target being killed by his own organization.

All but invented Latex Perfection and the Master of Disguise, and originated many of its own unique tropes, not the least of which is its most famous and most parodied elements, "this tape will self-destruct in five seconds" and "if you or any member of your IM force are caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions." Interestingly, early seasons only used the self-destructing tape on occasion, with other methods such as melting vinyl records and hidden recordings being used more frequently. A growing number of episodes as the series went on omitted the tape scenes altogether, sometimes featuring missions joined in progress, or "personal missions" where an IMF member goes off-book.

The show's distinctive use of what creator Bruce Geller called "a team of specialists" to carry out a complex plan inspired numerous imitators, most notably The A-Team, but also shows such as Charlie's Angels. None did it as well, though.

There was a two-season Next Generation-style continuation of the original series filmed in Australia in the 1980s; Peter Graves returned as Jim Phelps, mentoring an all-new team (including Barney Collier's son); originally conceived as a straight-out remake in order to fill a hole in ABC's schedule created by a Hollywood writer's strike, the series ended up being a continuation of the original. An NES game was also developed. But a more successful revival occurred with a Mission Impossible film series starring Tom Cruise, although it bears little resemblance to the tone and spirit of the original series. A TV series based on the movies is possibly being developed.

Your mission, Troper, should you choose to accept it, is to describe the tropes found in the series:

  • Action Girl: Inverted usually as the female IMF agents generally use their brains more than their brawn during missions.
    • Indeed, in the 1980s version, one of the few occasions in which a female IMF agent is shown in "Action Girl" mode results in her being killed and disavowed.
  • Adolf Hitler: A number of Missions revolved around Hitler - or more specifically stopping his modern day followers - such as "The Legacy", "Echo of Yesterday", and "The Legend" in the original version and "The Fuehrer's Children" and a remake of "The Legacy" in the 80's update. Martin Landau impersonates Hitler directly in one episode.
  • Air Vent Passageway: Used so often in the series it almost qualifies as a cliche.
  • Amnesiac Liar: at least once added to...
  • Amnesia Danger
  • Applied Phlebotinum
  • Argentina Is Naziland: In "The Legend", Briggs and Cinammon impersonate a former Nazi and his daughter who are invited to attend a reunion of aged Nazi leaders at the South American home of Nazi fugitive Martin Bormann, who is planning the creation of the Fourth Reich.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Or looks like it on a sign. Since the IMF was frequently hacking into electric, gas, telephone, and other infrastructure, the Ruritania settings always featured appropriate signage.
    • In some European countries there really are utility covers that say "Gaz", a frequent example of "Gellerese".
  • Avengers Assemble: The apartment scene.
  • Banana Republic: When it isn't Ruritania.
  • Batman Gambit: The plans invariably depended on near-perfect predictions of how the victims would respond.
  • Bifauxnen: One episode of the 80's revival had the protagonists attempting to hunt down a female assassin in a ballroom, using a detector that identified her by scent. Only problem was, they were identifying only the women in the crowd, and the assassin was going undercover as a man.
  • Big Store
  • Bloodless Carnage
    • Though less so in the 1980s version, which became more violent and bloody in the second season.
  • The Boxing Episode
  • California Doubling: And, in the case of the 80s revival, Australia Doubling.
    • Although the latter averted it in three episodes ("The Cattle King" and the two-parter "The Golden Serpent"), which were set wholly or partly in Australia.
  • Camera Spoofing
  • Casting Gag: The 80's sequel series starred Greg Morris's son (Phil Morris, perhaps best known as Jackie Chiles) as Barney Collier's son.
  • The Caper
  • Caper Crew: one in every installment.
  • The Captain: Dan Briggs, initially, and Jim Phelps thereafter.
  • Catch Phrase: Pretty much all the "boilerplate" language in the tape scenes.
  • Cat Fight: Cinnamon and Crystal stage a prolonged cat fight as a distraction in "Old Man Out".
    • Shannon and a female assassin character credited only as "Big Blonde" do a catfight in a pool of water in the revival episode "The Golden Serpent".
  • Chained Heat: "The Confession", "Nerves".
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Throughout the series, when cast members departed, their characters' departures were never explained. Averted, however, by the revival series with regards to the character of Casey Randall who becomes the only regular IMF agent to be "disavowed".
  • Claustrophobia
  • Color Me Black: "Kitara".
  • Comic Book Adaptation: Dell Comics published a half-dozen issues of a Mission: Impossible-based comic book in the late 1960s. It was one of the only series of its type not to be adapted by Gold Key Comics.
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: Just about every commercial break....something unexpected would happen or a Big Bad will say "You there! What are you doing here?" the MI Force member will look worried or go for the Oh Crap moment--commercial--Everything's better, the mission goes on.
  • Commie Land
  • Compilation Movie: Mission Impossible Versus The Mob
  • The Con
  • Con Man
  • Couch Gag: Bruce Geller originally wanted each mission to be given to Briggs and Phelps in a different manner every episode (via nickelodeon, phonograph record, a card handed to him from another agent, a Drive-In Theater speaker, etc.). One of these early methods was a self-destructing reel-to-reel tape. The varying methods were continued until the third season when the tape became the standard and a Mission trademark, though the fifth season attempted to do away with the sequence until popular demand reinstated it. In the 1988 version, the spool tape is replaced with a self-destructing mini-CD player (the CD actually works like a DVD, playing audio and video, even though DVDs hadn't been introduced in real life yet).
    • Early seasons also featured a ritual in which Briggs or Phelps were shown selecting the personnel for the mission. With the fifth season this was declared redundant (as he invariably chose the same people)[2]and this sequence was dropped. It made a one-time return in the first episode of the 1988 revival.
    • The "couch gag" elements were averted, however, on occasion in the early seasons when an occasional mission was given without the tape scene as it involved Phelps and his team working "off-book" in order to deal with a personal issue.
    • Nearly averted permanently in Season 5 when the production team decided to begin joining missions in progress, eliminating both the tape scene and the apartment briefing sequences. By the middle of Season 5, however, viewer demand led to these being restored. The team-choosing ritual was never reinstated, however.
  • Crazy Prepared: The IMF team had a plan, a backup plan, a backup plan for the backup plan, and sometimes one more backup plan for good measure. Even when a mission went wrong, it went right.
  • The Danza: Subverted. Bruce Geller wrote Martin Landau's part with the actor in mind, going so far as to name the character "Martin Land" in the pilot script. Landau said he was honored, but requested the name be changed, which it was to "Rollin Hand".
  • Dead Guy on Display: "The Catafalque"
  • Defictionalization: According to the book The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier the government contacted the producers to find out how they created a tiny hovercraft-like device that was (in show) controlled by remote control and sent down a shaft, somehow missing the somewhat obvious strings that were actually controlling the gizmo.
    • The self-destructing CDs seen in the 1980s revival series appear to act like DVDs - even though DVDs weren't introduced until the 1990s.
    • In the episode "Robot" Leonard Nimoy plays his part under heavy make-up. This allows Paris to rip off his face mask in one take instead of the standard 'mask actor starts to take off face, cutaway to something else, cut back to IMF agent removing last bits of latex' routine.
      • At least in the first season, Martin Landau often played (with similar amounts of make-up) the people Rollin Hand was called on to impersonate.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Peter Graves, "Kidnap".
  • Edited For F/X: When US cable channel F/X ran the series, bits with Briggs/Phelps giving counter-statements to agents in order to gain access to the recordings were removed, with the Tape Scenes beginning with Briggs or Phelps turning on the devices to hear the assignment. Other than that, episodes were presented edit free.
  • Engineered Public Confession
  • Enhance Button: Done without a computer, amazingly enough. In "The Bank", Barney is playing back a video recording of a bank vault on a black-and-white cathode ray screen. With the tape paused at a critical juncture, Jim Phelps uses a pocket telescope to zoom in on the CRT(!) and read the number of a safe-deposit box.
    • The 1988 update introduced an IMF device that could recover erased images from a VCR tape, which is a bit more realistic.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: With only a very few exceptions the episode titles are only one (ex. "Execution", "Kidnap", "Break!") or two words long (ex. "The Code", "The Legacy", "Time Bomb") describing the plan of attack or object of interest.
    • Arguably What It Doesn't Say On The Tin, since episode titles weren't shown on screen. While not unheard of for a 1960s-70s-era series, it was somewhat unusual for a program of this nature not to display episode titles on screen.
  • Fake Defector
  • Fake Guest Star: It wasn't until the second season to that Martin Landau name appeared in the show's titles. This was Landau's choice. He was impressed with Geller's pilot script, but wanted to make sure the series would be of the same high quality before committing himself to a multi-year contract. Even at that he insisted on only one-year contracts instead of the customary five-year ones.
  • Faked Rip Van Winkle: Frequently used in later seasons, sometimes combined with Fauxtastic Voyage as one of the excuses given to a mark was that the mark was involved in an accident and was unconscious for a long time.
  • Fakeout Escape: "The Crane"
  • Fauxtastic Voyage: "The Train", "Submarine"... practically an M.I. staple.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Gaslighting: A frequent tactic of the IMF is to convince the mark that he is going insane. Often involving visions of someone the mark knows to be dead.
  • Genius Ditz: King Nicolae.
  • Get Into Jail Free: "Old Man Out"
  • Ghost Story: An occasional theme in their gaslighting attempts. Played straight (!) in an early episode.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual
  • Handy Remote Control: Not only one-function remotes, but at least one episode per season depended on Barney remote-controlling a car; remote controlled elevators were also common.
  • Hard Work Montage: Complete with a signature tune called "The Plot".
  • Heroic BSOD: Occurs in the 1988 revival episode "The Fortune" to several IMF members when they learn of the death of their colleague, Casey Randall, with one agent, Max, even questioning his ability to continue with the mission.
    • Also happens to Grant Collier in the 1988 two-parter "The Golden Serpent" when he thinks his father has been killed.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Mission: Impossible had pretty much every working character actor as a guest star at some point, not to mention the working cast itself.
    • Fans of Australian TV and film can also play this game when viewing the 1980s revival, which primarily made use of Australian guest actors.
  • Hologram: The IMF has had hologram projectors since the 60s ("Phantoms", "A Ghost Story"). The 80s revival even had a episode named after the trope ("Holograms") and improved the tech to the point where it works underwater ("The Golden Serpent, Part 2", which also featured a holographic computer screen).
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: The IMF employed hot gypsy acrobat Crystal Walker in the two-parter "Old Man Out".
  • Trope Workshop:Impossible Mission: trope-namer.
  • Indy Ploy: When Bruce Geller first came up with the show's concept, he imagined every IMF plan to go wrong at some point, forcing the team to improvise from that point on. Luckily in practice this was not established as it most like would get A) repetitive, and B) Make Briggs/Phelps look like he doesn't know what he's doing. Indy ploys did appear occasionally, usually in the 'personal' episodes.
  • Insert Cameo
  • Instant Sedation
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: "Elena".
  • It's Personal: A handful of episodes have Briggs or Phelps plotting a plan to right a wrong affecting someone close to them instead of a mission given to them by the Secretary. In one episode Phelps is kidnapped and the team members are blackmailed into helping his kidnapper commit a crime. Arguably the most "personal" of these comes in the '80s version, when Casey, the new version's initial Femme Fatale, becomes the only regular in either version to be killed off. Note: not to be confused with Lynda Day George's Casey character from the original series. The "it's personal" aspect of the storylines is usually emphasized by there being no tape scene shown.
    • The '80s revival series notably opened with a personal mission - Jim's is forced out of retirement when his protegé is murdered, but getting to the killer and his employee is still an official IMF mission... at least as official as those missions got.
  • Jailbird of Panama: Strange variation - both the jailbird and the rescuing team were in the IMF.
  • Joker Jury: A fake one in "The Flight".
  • Kangaroo Court: Multiple episodes.
  • Kansas City Shuffle
  • Latex Perfection
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: Series creator Bruce Geller originally intended that the IMF would be a private group that the good guys would turn to when they couldn't handle a particular bad guy. The movies changed the IMF to an official (though secret) branch of Central Intelligence Agency.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: used by leaders of the People's Republic of Tyranny to eliminate people who have failed while avoiding the publicity of a Kangaroo Court.
  • Licensed Game: One for the NES. Notable because it apparently used a modified version of the NES Metal Gear engine. And had little or nothing to do with the series' type of story. There was also a "text adventure" game called Mission Impossible developed for the Commodore 64 and similar computers; its licensing status is unknown.
  • Literal Cliff Hanger: The end of The Falcon, Part 1
  • Mad Magazine: Mission: Ridiculous
  • Manchurian Agent: "Mindbend"
  • The Mark
  • Master of Disguise: Rollin Hand, Paris, Casey and Nicholas Black, though with the assistance of one of these four, any IMF member qualifies.
    • Inverted by Phelps, Willy, Barney, etc. Barney in particular - The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier notes that Barney's apparent ability to blend in, even in countries where a black man would stand out, was occasionally criticized.
  • The Merch: Record albums of the series[3], as well as a few 'Young Reader' type books. Near the end of the run, Paramount was considering the idea of MI branded tape recorders, but nothing came of the idea. There was a game for the NES released in time for the revival.
    • Also published was a series of original novels, and comic books by Dell Comics.
  • Mind Control: "My Friend, My Enemy".
  • Molotov Truck: "Nitro".
  • Mr. Exposition
  • Mr. Fixit
  • Nitro Express: "Nitro"
  • No Name Given: the man whose voice is heard giving Briggs and Phelps their taped instructions.
  • Non-Singing Voice: Averted by Barbara Bain in "Illusion," Lesley Ann Warren in "Flip Side" and Greg Morris in "Blues."
  • Obstacle Exposition
  • Oh Crap: The Mark's standard expression when they realize they have been had and the plan is shot/there's a visit to the clink in the offing/they're meeting The Grim Reaper.
    • Would also be used in almost every episode by our heroes before a commercial break when something seemingly goes wrong or it looks like someone has discovered them. After we'd come back from the commercial we'd find it was a just part of the plan and the fake 'Oh Crap' just acting to fool the bad guys, or a deus-ex machina comes in to distract the mark. At worst we see the heroes quickly resolve it through Xanatos Speed Chess.
    • One example is in “The Crane”. Junta leader General Yuri Kozani agrees to execute his second in command, Colonel Alex Strabo. He is then deceived into further explaining Strabo’s treachery and unreliable character traits to a disguised Strabo (Strabo is wearing the mask of the rebel leader). Strabo removes his mask and Kozani is barely able to speak before Strabo kills him. This is also an example of Hoist by His Own Petard since Strabo quotes Kozani’s earlier words on the need to execute enemies of the state. [1]
  • Once an Episode: "This tape will self-destruct in five seconds." (At least, that is the stereotype. In fact there are many episodes in which this is not actually heard, especially in early seasons when another method of messaging is used, or in episodes in which Briggs or Phelps are instructed to destroy the tape themselves.)
    • Also seen above, when the mark appears to be close to discovering The Masquerade or something appears to have went wrong, right before a major commercial break.
  • One Name Only: Paris and Casey in the original series; however, due to the presence (and recent death) of another character named Casey in the revival series, when Lynda Day George guest starred as Casey, her character was belatedly given a first name, Lisa.
  • The Pete Best: Steven Hill as Dan Briggs.
    • Possibly also Terry Markwell as the 1988 revival's Casey Randall ( whose character is killed off after only a dozen episodes)
  • Pseudo Crisis
  • Qurac
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Barbara Bain shared Cinnamon's one weakness: Claustrophobia.
  • Recycled Script: Done out of necessity in the revival series due to a writers' strike, but it was resolved early enough that only a handful of episodes were outright recycled from the original show.
  • Royal Brat: One episode centered around an attempt to assassinate one that Phelps & Co. must thwart.
  • Rule of Three: The 'Tape Scene/Dossier Scene/Meeting Scene' format. Averted permanently as of Season 5 when the dossier scene is retired.
  • Ruritania: When it isn't a Banana Republic.
  • The Sadistic Choice: "The Ransom".
  • Sequel Series: The 1988 Revival.
  • Shoe Phone
  • Shout-Out: The rejected IM Force photos were often cast and crew of the show, as well as one of show creator Bruce Geller that is frequently seen in the early episodes.
  • Shown Their Work: When the US cable channel F/X aired Mission in the mid-90s, hosts would provide episode specific trivia at commercial breaks, all of which were gleaned from the book The Complete Mission Impossible Dossier, sometimes read directly from the book.
  • Showy Invincible Hero: An entire team of them.
  • Spy Drama
  • Spy Speak: At the start of every episode, Dan Briggs and later Jim Phelps would hold a seemingly innocuous conversation that provided the signs/countersigns to be given the mission briefing.
  • Staged Shooting
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: Since both shows shared the Desilu/Paramount soundstages, and some production personel too, it should come as no surprise that William Shatner guest starred twice as a Big Bad and George Takei as an IMF member. Leonard Nimoy became an Suspiciously Similar Substitute of Martin Landau's character — four years after Landau had turned down the role of Mr Spock for Star Trek's first pilot "The Cage" in 1965. Herb Solow was production manager for both shows.
    • In at least one case, some alien artwork featured in an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series was actually the discarded protective styofoam piece that housed an MI prop tape recorder spraypainted orange and green.
    • One of Star Trek's infamous gag reels makes use of the Mission: Impossible theme music.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: There were changes to the team almost every season, with the exception of between Seasons 2 and 3 where stability was maintained.
  • Swiss Bank Account: In "The Council" episode, the mobsters are using a Swiss bank account.
  • Take That: When Briggs pulls into the Drive-In Theater in the first season episode "The Psychic", the marquee reads, "Geller and Solow in Spend the Money". This was an in-joke reference to the producers' tendency to go over-budget as seen by Desilu/Paramount.
  • Temporary Blindness: Cinnamon in "The Heir Apparent" and Jim in, appropriately enough, "Blind."
  • Theme Tune: arguably one of the most recognizable TV spy themes ever
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: Most probably the Trope Maker.
  • Those Wacky Nazis
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: in theory, from about Season 2 onwards. In Season 1 the IMF were occasionally seen using direct deadly force. "In theory" because while the IMF rarely kills anyone directly, their actions often result in the Big Bad being killed by a third party. One episode from the early seasons unambiguously states that the team is undertaking a form of assassination.
    • The revival series tended to follow this "in theory" pattern too, though the season 2 two-parter "The Golden Serpent" averts the trope by having an IMF member kill a thug, and the fact the team orchestrates the assassination of a villain is made non-ambiguous; lastly, the team actually consciously leaves the Big Bad to die rather than attempt to rescue him from an exploding cave.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The Town.
  • Tricksters
  • Trojan Prisoner
  • Trouble Magnet Gambit: A mob boss uses a variant of this to get revenge on his girlfriend for turning him in: he cuts her brake line, lets all the fluid drain out, and sends her to "pick up five grand".
  • Uncanceled: The 1988 ABC revival.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee
  • Vehicle Vanish: Deliberately invoked in "Leona" to convince a mobster he is going crazy.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: In the episode "The Missile", a psychotic mechanic tampers with the brakes in Dana's car.
  • Villainous Breakdown
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Regularly, particularly in cons that need to take place at the mark's residence. The crew will plant hidden surveillance cameras all over the mark's residence and/or wear a camera brooch and two way radio, and a one of the members (usually Barney in the original or Grant in the revival) will monitor the cameras and conversations the other members have with the marks, and provide assistance remotely through two-way radio.
  • The Voice: Two, in fact. Any disembodied voice you hear that isn't telling Mr. Phelps about the mission is probably professional announcer Vic Perrin.
  • We Do the Impossible: Rather appropriately.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: in the series the team was often sent to the vaguely named People's Republic of Tyranny. Other locations included the nation of "San X" in South America or the Caribbean Sea. Whenever the mission was in the United States, the city or state was rarely named beyond "Western" or "Central". Any named nation, used for a mission in Africa, was never a real nation. Finally, Western Europe was referred to as a friendly or neutral nation.
    • Averted several times in the revival when Australia unambiguously appears as Australia.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: How the team survives being captured.
    • Subverted in one episode of the 1988 remake when one of the regular agents IS killed to help allow a casting change.
  • Worthy Opponent: In "The Mind of Stefan Miklos", Miklos remarks that he views his unknown opponent (Jim Phelps) to be this. Tellingly, he says it when he thinks Jim's plan has failed to fool him, when it's actually succeeded in tricking him completely.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: One of the ways used by the writers to resolve a Commercial Break Cliffhanger.
  • You Look Familiar: Guest stars and actors were recycled constantly. Sig Haig, for example, was in the show no fewer than nine times, ranging from "Driver #1" to The Dragon to the Big Bad.
  • Zeerust: The ersatz future in "The Freeze"; also, the slide rule in Barney's publicity photo from "Collier Electronics".
    • Lampshaded in the pilot of the remake. Phelps takes a moment to marvel at the mini optical disc player that replaced the trademark tape recorder of the original series, remarking to himself "Time does march on". A few moments later he is similarly impressed when he uses a computer instead of the traditional printed dossier to choose his agents.
    • Both Main Logo typefaces.... A typewriter style font for the 60s series, and a blocky computer style font for the 80s.
    • One first season episode, "A Spool There Was", featured a recording method that was pretty much already on the way of becoming zeerust even at the first broadcast.

 As always, should you or any of your IM Force be caught or killed, The Secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions.




  1. As one of the few Orthodox Jewish actors in Hollywood, Hill was unwilling to abide by the show's production schedule, as it stipulated that he work on the Sabbath and after sundown of Friday when he was committed to being in prayer. (Source: The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier by Patrick White.)
  2. Although its been suggested by fans that it is possible that Briggs/Phelps DO use other people on missions that don't require our team's skills, we just don't see those episodes.
  3. although actual music from the show, as opposed to re-recorded versions, would not be released until 1992