Man in a Suitcase: Season 1, Episode 1

Brainwash (10 May 1968)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Crime | Drama
7.9
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American McGill, a former intelligence officer back in the States, was forced to resign when he was made the scapegoat in the wake of a scientist's defection to Russia. Now he operates as a... See full summary »

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Title: Brainwash (10 May 1968)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Colin Blakely ...
John
Howard Marion-Crawford ...
Colonel Davies
Suzan Farmer ...
Judy
Edric Connor ...
Doctor Gwabe
Bill Brandon ...
First Guard
George Leech ...
Second Guard
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American McGill, a former intelligence officer back in the States, was forced to resign when he was made the scapegoat in the wake of a scientist's defection to Russia. Now he operates as a private eye in England. Duped into believing he is going to meet a client, he is knocked unconscious and awakes to find himself a prisoner of Colonel Davies and his men. Davies was head of Ikwala, an African country which was subject to a coup and Davies replaced by local man Dr. Gwabe. Davies wants McGill to sign a confession admitting his part, on behalf of the American government, in the coup, and is prepared to torture and brain-wash him into making that confession. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Action | Crime | Drama

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10 May 1968 (USA)  »

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"I'm going to shoot you, McGill!"
10 April 2009 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

'Brainwash' introduced British audiences to McGill, although in the States a different episode - 'Man From The Dead' - was chosen. McGill gets off a train somewhere in the English countryside. He is to meet a client named 'LaPorte' who wants him on a divorce case. 'John' ( Colin Blakely ) meets him, and they exchange friendly chat. But when Mac gets into a car, John knocks him out and then drugs him. When Mac awakes, he is in an unfamiliar room. The door is locked. Guards are outside. Bars are on the windows. The lovely 'Judy' ( Suzan Farmer ) brings him food. McGill has recognised LaPorte as 'Colonel Davies' ( Howard Marion-Crawford ), the former head of the newly independent African state of Ikwala. Davies was ousted in a coup he believes was backed by American Intelligence, his place taken by the academic Dr.Gwabe ( Edric Connor ). Mac is subjected to gruelling mental and physical torture - he is made to think he is about to undergo an operation, forced to watch old news reel footage of Ikwala over and over again, is repeatedly shot at by Davies, and put on trial for his life. The Colonel promises to let him go provided he first sign a statement disclosing the involvement of the Americans in the coup...

This was the nearest 'Suitcase' got to the cerebral drama of 'The Prisoner'. The trial sequence in which Mac is bombarded by weird sound effects and strobe lights would not have looked out of place in that series. The plot also resembles an episode of 'The Champions' called 'The Interrogation' - written by 'Suitcase' co-creator Dennis Spooner. Colin Blakely played the interrogator in that too. The director, Charles Crichton, was an Ealing graduate whose other television credits include 'Danger Man', 'The Avengers', and 'Space: 1999'.

Bradford said in an interview that he had McGill recite the months of the year during the brainwashing so that the character could be seen attempting to keep his sanity. Bernie Cooper and Francis Megahy wrote one more episode - 'Which Way Did He Go McGill?'.

The late Marion-Crawford was 'Dr.Petrie' in the 'Fu Manchu' films starring Christopher Lee. Suzan Farmer was in the Hammer film 'Dracula Prince Of Darkness'. Blakely, a fellow Method actor, worked so well with Bradford he was brought back to play 'Father Layola' in 'The Whisper'.

The climax has a wounded and exhausted McGill staggering out of Davies' house, before collapsing. In an era when heroes such as Simon Templar and Napoleon Solo barely got a hair out of place in a fight, it stands out as an extraordinary moment.


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