Mission: Impossible

The Original Television Series

Season 5

Cast picture

Paris, Barney, Dana, Willy, Jim

Season 5, 1970/71, 23 episodes
Producer Bruce Lansbury, except where indicated
Regular Team: Jim, Paris, Dana, Barney, Willy/Doug

The opening credits for season 5 were:

Peter Graves as Jim Leonard Nimoy as Paris Lesley Ann Warren as Dana Greg Morris as Barney Peter Lupus as Willy Sam Elliott as Doug

SAM ELLIOTT appears in Peter Lupus's place in the credits of the shows he appears in, when Peter Lupus is absent. In the shows in which they both appear, only Peter Lupus's name appears in the opening credits, and Sam Elliott is shown as a guest star.

The ratings had slipped during season four, so it was decided to reintroduce a regular female character, and Lesley Ann Warren was recruited to play Dana Lambert. Dana was probably the least versatile of the regular female operatives employed by the Impossible Missions Force, and Lesley Warren, although a versatile actress, was normally given little to do apart from acting as a "romantic lure". Bruce Lansbury, the regular producer for season five, also wanted a younger and more "skilful" replacement for Willy, and Sam Elliott was brought in to play Doctor Doug Robert (aka Lang). However, Peter Lupus proved to have a much larger fan following than the producers had realised, and they were forced to bring back Willy, although Peter Lupus was initially reluctant to return. Lupus appeared in eleven shows, Elliott in ten, and they both appeared in the other two (details in the table).

Season five saw the start of IMF's bigger "domestic" role. In the first four seasons they had roamed the globe — mainly Europe and South America — but now they operated closer to home, coming up against organised crime, or "The Syndicate" as it was normally called, in the United States. This started with a few of the season five stories, becoming more pronounced in the last two seasons.

The format of the show was also changed for this season. Up to now, almost every show had opened in the same way: the IMF leader (initially Dan Briggs, later Jim Phelps) would find a hidden recording, usually a tape, but sometimes a record or even a what-the-butler-saw machine, and a packet of photographs. This would give him his mission, should he choose to accept it, and the tape, or whatever, would then self destruct or be destroyed. In the second scene, Jim or Dan would choose his team from a batch of photographs in a black folder. The third scene was set in Jim or Dan's apartment, when the chosen team would go over part of the mission. Although the second scene was often omitted as the audience grew more familiar with the show, for the fifth season, all three scenes were eliminated, and the mission was sometimes already in progress as the show opened. This removal of the "trademark" elements of the show proved a mistake, and the tape and apartment scenes were reinstated by the middle of the season.

31 Oct 1970 102 E1 7 Butterfly #
10 Oct 1970 103 E2 4 Homecoming #
28 Nov 1970 104 E3 11 The Rebel +
19 Sep 1970 105 E4 1 The Killer #
26 Sep 1970 106 E5 2 Flip Side #
25 Oct 1970 107 E6 6 My Friend, My Enemy? * +
3 Oct 1970 108 E7 3 The Innocent # +
7 Nov 1970 109 E8 8 Decoy #
17 Oct 1970 110 E9 5 Flight +
21 Nov 1970 111 E10 10 Hunted +
14 Nov 1970 112 E11 9 The Amateur * +
6 Feb 1971 113 E12 19 The Catafalque +
12 Dec 1970 114 E13 12 Squeeze Play #
17 Mar 1971 115 E14 23 The Merchant #
9 Jan 1971 116 E15 15 Cat's Paw * #
19 Dec 1970 117 E16 13 The Hostage +
2 Jan 1971 118 E17 14 Takeover * +
16 Jan 1971 119 E18 16 The Missile #
20 Feb 1971 120 E19 20 Kitara * +
23 Jan 1971 121 E20 17 The Field * +
30 Jan 1971 122 E21 18 Blast #
27 Feb 1971 123 E22 21 A Ghost Story #
6 Mar 1971 124 E23 22 The Party # +
* Producer Laurence Heath
# Willy
+ Doug

Episodes were often not broadcast in the same order that they were produced, especially at the begining of a season. I have therefore given three numbers in this table.
The episode number represents the production order over the entire series, the season number represents the episode production order within the season, and TX Order represents the original transmission order.
For example, Butterfly was the 102nd episode made, the first season five episode made, but the seventh shown.
Click on the links in the list to see a brief synopsis of the episode. (No spoilers.)

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