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"Mannix" was produced in an era when it was still possible to have
stories involving people who credibly could have lived through the
Second World War, and this is a rare episode involving ex-Nazis and
those who hunted them. (Interestingly, although Mike Connors was just
old enough to have served in World War II, his character of Mannix is
supposed to have served in Korea.) Intertect is hired by three Germans
supposedly to look for a missing scientist who has taken an important
formula, but Mannix has doubts that they're what they claim to be.
The positive points include a more straightforward plot than some of the other offerings of this early season, each of which until this episode became tangled in multiple complications for Mannix (in one, he's suspected of committing a murder, and so commits burglaries and kidnappings in the service of "clearing" his name!). Here, the story is far more linear: the missing man has a twenty-something daughter named Irina, played by the frail-looking Linda Marsh, and she's the only known link to him. So, swallowing a little of his humanity, Mannix romances her to take her into his confidence, knowing he'll eventually have to admit to deceiving her just to find her father. Well -- all in a day's work!
The minuses include the use of the studio's "New York" back lot, with a series of staircases supposedly leading to the apartment building where Irina lives, probably so that a night scene could be filmed more conveniently. It's doubtful that there's even one street in Los Angeles outside of a movie set with the building entrances laid out like that, and the contrast is particularly painful when Mannix goes to look for her at what is clearly a real L.A. apartment complex -- a low-rise building surrounded by grassy lawn.
Much of the last act takes place at an industrial location (we're told it's a cement factory) and it's the source for the clip used in the opening credits during the rest of the show's run of Mannix riding upward on a conveyor belt toward the camera. Based on the views in the distance, it appears both that they shot the scene at a real industrial site and that Mike Connors did his own stunt high above the ground (even clambering off the belt at a point near the top of the structure). The episode also begins with Mannix and some other Intertect employees engaged in martial arts practice, which likewise supplied a clip used in the opening montage in later years of the series.
Director John Meredyth Lucas gets a compelling performance from Ms. Marsh, in the first of four appearances on the series. She projects a believable vulnerability throughout the episode -- which makes Mannix' deception of her all the more painful to accept. This episode also features an unusual cameo by Neil Diamond as himself singing three songs, including his first big hit, "Solitary Man." Considering the kind of work Mannix had to do here, it's an appropriate anthem for this episode.
Neil Diamond apt same as used in some episodes of "Mission: Impossible"
why pay the million? Considering that WWII had ended only a couple
decades before, "The Many Deaths of Saint Christopher" isn't really
quite so far-fetched. Now I am not saying the plot is 100% believable
(more about that later), but it was a very good episode of "Mannix".
The show begins with some folks in Europe tracking down some guy--but who they are and why they did this is uncertain. In the next scene, some of these same folks are at the detective agency--and they have a somewhat silly story about needing Mannix's help tracking down an ex-employee. Mannix sees through this and pushes the guys later in the show as to why they REALLY are looking for the man. He's told they are hunting Nazi war criminals and they want Mannix to woo their target's daughter in order to flush him out of hiding. The problem is that he starts to wonder WHO are the ex-Nazis and WHO are really the Nazi hunters.
There are a few problems with the show. The most obvious one is why do they really need Mannix's help?! They are supposedly an international organization with many members...so why Mannix? Second, Mannix meets the lady by following her to a youthful coffee house (where, incidentally, Neil Diamond was playing). But, although I like Mike Connors, I had a hard time seeing a 40-something year-old actor hanging out in a place for hippie-types and other young people. This was rather funny, actually. Still, an exciting episode and one that did keep my interest throughout.
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