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"Burke's Law" Terror in a Tiny Town: Part 2 (1966)

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Burke's licence to kill is revoked

10/10
Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
21 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Pursued by an angry mob, Burke is helped to escape by Ann Rogers ( Lynn Loring ). The Man wants to end the investigation, until he learns that a warrant has been issued for Burke's arrest for the murder of Mr.Prince. Back in Sorrel, the secret agent quietly gives himself up, and goes on trial. The townspeople all claim to have seen Burke commit the crime.

O'Brian had discovered the secret of the mass brainwashing - it was done through subliminal messages contained in music played by the local radio station. Burke helps the locals to break the conditioning, and Congressman Jed Hawkes ( Robert Middleton ) is put under house arrest. The full horror of his plan becomes clear - he has smuggled out from the atomic power plant the components to build a bomb, which he intends setting off in New York City. The Communists will be blamed. Hawkes hopes the country will rally behind him in its hour of need ( he does not seem to have considered the prospect of a full-scale atomic war occurring as a result ). The bomb is inside a statue. Burke flies to New York to find it before it is too late...

Spy stories of the '50's and '60's by and large had the Russians as the bad guys. Some writers challenged the notion, particularly Len Deighton with 'Billion Dollar Brain'. 'Congressman Hawkes' resembles 'General Midwinter' is that he is so fanatically anti-Communist he will do literally anything to remove the threat, even atomize New York City. It was very brave of a '60's television show to do something like this, leaving it open to accusations of a liberal bias. But, as the show was to be cancelled, the producers probably thought "What the hell? Let's do it!". The result is a gripping two-parter, and a good finale to the short-lived show. With some minor rewriting, it would have made a good addition to Quinn Martin's 'The Invaders' ( substituting aliens for Communists, of course ).

Barry was reportedly unhappy at the change to 'Burke's Law', and did not appear again on television for a few years, when he headlined 'The Name Of The Game' ( along with Robert Stack and Tony Franciosa ) as millionaire publisher 'Glenn Howard'. In 1972 he crossed the Channel to appear in the best-forgotten 'The Adventurer', and in 1994 reprised the role of 'Amos Burke' in a short-lived revival of 'Burke's Law'. No mention was made of the character's time as a secret agent.

'Amos Burke Secret Agent' was repeated ( sans 'The Man With The Power' and 'A Very Important Russian Is Missing' ) in Britain on the now-defunct 'Performance' channel in 2006 and has been seen on America's retro station 'T.V. Land'. It is a far better show than its reputation would suggest, made before the genre became infected with high camp. Several of its episodes stand favourable comparison with the best of 'I Spy', 'Mission: Impossible' and 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.'. A D.V.D. release would certainly be welcome.

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Yet another lesson about those dastardly conservatives.

3/10
Author: westernone
5 July 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First, I'll add my sentiments here that though "Burke's Law" could sometimes get a little on the tongue-in-cheek side, accommodating the many guest cameos, it made a wrong turn when they changed it to a humourless, undistinguished secret agent story. It's no wonder that this incarnation was cancelled in mid-season. Perhaps they felt they could stir up interest or maybe controversy with this two-parter. It's about a seemingly thriving American town with upscale, content people. Turns out they're all mind controlled dupes being fed hateful conservative lies via subliminal radio messages. Anybody exposed to TV in the last half century knows what that entails- bigotry and paranoia for anyone "Different". In 1966 you wouldn't go full bore racist, so the lead pipe subtlety here is focused on mere out-of-towners, though unusual for it's time, especially in a silly show like this, at one point in part two "commies" are named. The town boss's goal is that of all those who show right wing tendencies on TV-He has a mad scheme to take over the country. If it weren't for the oppressive "Fairness Doctrine" in effect then, I'm sure they'd just come out and call these power crazed villains Republicans. Another easy show of bravery in the one-sided war against straw men.

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