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"I Spy" It's All Done with Mirrors (1966)

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"Make sure you own the laundry!"

9/10
Author: Yonilikka-22 from United Kingdom
15 March 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Brainwashing featured in several spy films and television series of the 1960's; 'The Ipcress File' is a good example. Richard Bradford's 'Man In A Suitcase' got the treatment in the aptly-titled 'Brainwash', while in 'The Avengers' the normally unflappable 'John Steed' ( Patrick Macnee ) faced the same predicament in 'The Wringer'.

Stephen Kandel's 'It Was All Done With Mirrors' opens with 'Kelly Robinson' ( the late Robert Culp ) and 'Alexander Scott' ( Bill Cosby ) on a fishing trip in Mexico. Of course, they're really on an assignment. A warehouse is full of crates containing anti-Amercan propaganda. Kelly gets friendly with the pretty 'Vanessa' ( Fay Spain ) and gets into a taxi with her, only to be coshed by the driver. When he awakens, he is a prisoner of 'Dr.Zoltan Karolyi' ( Carroll O'Connor ) who proceeds to brainwash Kelly into thinking Scott is a traitor. Kelly's conditioning is activated whenever Vanessa shows him her handbag mirror. The question is - can Kelly resist the treatment, or will Scotty be killed by him?

A very good episode; by this point in the series, Culp and Cosby had got their characters firmly established, and there's a fair amount of suspense as well as impressive overseas location filming ( a major strength of the series ). O'Connor is best remembered as the bigoted 'Archie Bunker' from 'All In The Family', but he cropped up in several adventure shows, such as 'The Time Tunnel' and 'Mission Impossible'. He makes Karolyi interesting without going over the top. Robert Butler's other credits include the opening episodes of Adam West's 'Batman'.

Anyone whose only knowledge of 'I Spy' is the horrendous Eddie Murphy/Owen Wilson movie owe it to themselves to check out the original series. It is vastly superior.

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