It Takes a Thief: Season 1, Episode 1

A Thief Is a Thief (9 Jan. 1968)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Crime | Drama
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Master thief Alexander Mundy is paroled from prison by SIA special agent Noah Bain in order to steal for the United States government on special occasions.


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Title: A Thief Is a Thief (09 Jan 1968)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Claire Vickers
Dead Man
Stewardess Anne Edwards
Anita Eubank ...
Hilary Dickensen
Willi Koopman ...
Jessica Hals
Prison Chaplain
Airline Captain (as Donald Barry)
S.I.A. Bureau Chief
Les Crane
Mr. Clifton, Ticket Agent


Master thief Alexander Mundy is paroled from prison by SIA special agent Noah Bain in order to steal for the United States government on special occasions.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

expo 67 | world's fair | See All (2) »


Adventure | Crime | Drama




Release Date:

9 January 1968 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The approximately 75-minute pilot was subsequently expanded to 99 minutes and released as a movie under the title "Magnificent Thief." See more »


The enemy agents frequently refer to a collection of photos as a "cachet". This is a common mispronunciation of "cache" - which is correctly pronounced the same as "cash". See more »

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User Reviews

"We don't want you to spy...we want you to steal!"
3 May 2008 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

In a hotel in Lisbon, two sinister looking men enter an elevator, one with a briefcase chained to his wrist. When the doors open, a third man

  • wearing a mask and carrying a gun - backs out, the briefcase now in

his possession. Another man, also armed, approaches him from behind. The would-be thief hands the case over before trying to make a break for it. He falls down the elevator shaft.

Four S.I.A. agents have died while attempting to discover what is in the diplomatic pouch of a foreign power. Noah Bain decides to recruit from outside the organisation; as a cop, he arrested notorious cat burglar Alexander Mundy, so he paroles him and installs him in a lavish house with three beautiful girls for company. There's just one catch - each room is fitted out with cameras and microphones, making sex impossible for Mundy unless he wants an audience.

Aboard a plane, Mundy poses as a loud tourist. He douses the lights long enough for him to switch cases with the Embassy officials. They come after him, and, with guns blazing, chase him across the airfield. Mundy escapes by clinging onto the undercarriage of a landing plane.

The pouch held photographs of S.I.A. agents; obviously someone in the organisation has gone bad. Noah is more interested in the fact that Mundy's actions have triggered an international incident. He tries to have Mundy returned to jail, but with the help of glamorous S.I.A. agent Clare Vickers, the thief escapes and sets out to discover who the traitor is...

Produced under the title 'Magnificent Thief', this is the pilot to the popular thriller series 'It Takes A Thief', which starred Robert Wagner as burglar turned reluctant spy 'Alexander Mundy' and Malachi Throne as spy chief 'Noah Bain'. It is one of those shows which although successful at the time appears to have been virtually forgotten here in the U.K. While 'Batman' and 'Star Trek' have been endlessly repeated since the 1960's, this has been left to gather dust on a shelf. One could be forgiven for assuming that the reason for this is that the show itself is not terribly good, but a viewing of the pilot immediately shoots down that theory.

Directed by Leslie Stevens ( creator of 'The Outer Limits' ), with a script by him and Roland Kibbee, this is a stylish T.V. movie, rather like 'Mission: Impossible' only more fun. Robert Wagner brings charm to the role of 'Mundy', an incorrigible rogue in the mold of Roger Moore's 'The Saint'. As his boss, Malachi Throne is equally impressive. John Saxon is as menacing as ever as the ( disfigured ) villain. 'Clare Vickers' ( if this had been a British film, just imagine what fun the hero could have had with a name like that! ) is played by sex-bomb Senta Berger, whose other contributions to the genre include 'The Quiller Memorandum' and the Matt Helm picture 'The Ambushers'. In cameo guest roles are James Drury and Doug McClure ( stars of the Western series 'The Virginian' ) as airport ticket officers, while a pre 'Airplane!' Leslie Neilsen deadpans as an S.I.A. security officer. Susan Saint James ( future 'MacMillan & Wife' co-star ) is seen as a stewardess.

Some good set-pieces include the briefcase theft, airport chase, and climactic shoot-out at Expo 68. Its surprisingly violent for a T.V. movie too, with one of the bad-guys getting a javelin in the chest. But its Wagner's laid-back performance which makes the whole thing such enjoyable viewing. This was made as just the television spy craze ( which began with 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E' ) was winding down, which meant that thriller shows were edging their way back to reality.

The ingredients for a hit television show were put in place, and 'It Takes A Thief' did not disappoint, running for three seasons.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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