Mission: Impossible: Season 3, Episode 17

Doomsday (16 Feb. 1969)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Crime
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Industrialist Carl Vandaam claims to have a hydrogen bomb for sale. He invites representatives from a variety of countries and factions to participate in an auction for the device at his ... See full summary »


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Title: Doomsday (16 Feb 1969)

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Episode cast overview:
Alf Kjellin ...
Carl Vandaam
Arthur Batanides ...
Wesley Lau ...
Dr. Thorgen
Philip Ahn ...
Dr. Liu
Khigh Dhiegh ...
General Wo
Scott Walker ...
Chief Security Guard
Josh Adams ...
Reception Guard


Industrialist Carl Vandaam claims to have a hydrogen bomb for sale. He invites representatives from a variety of countries and factions to participate in an auction for the device at his company's headquarters. As the bargaining goes on, Barney performs one of his tunnel-crawling assignments, climbing up and down an elevator shaft and then through some lateral access-points to get access to the room where the bomb is housed -- hoping to substitute a dummy unit for a critical part of the bomb's hardware before the sale to an enemy power is completed. Written by aldanoli

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Release Date:

16 February 1969 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jim's photo of General Castillo is a reuse of a picture of General Dominguez from the pilot. When Rollin later shows up in disguise, he looks nothing like the man in the photo. See more »

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User Reviews

another brilliant, but flawed plan...and the IMF improvises as usual!!
15 October 2007 | by (cincinnati ohio ,u.s.a.) – See all my reviews

In this episode, an industrialist has somehow managed to get hold of some weapons-grade plutonium, and other items needed to produce an H-bomb, which he plans to sell to the highest bidder, without concern for any global repercussions that might cause.

So, the IMF is called in to stop the sale and recover the plutonium. a false alliance is forged between one bidder from an enemy country and Phelps and cinnamon, in the guise of "wanting to insure that the bidders country wins if a war breaks out in the region". 3 million in "phony' money is then added to the bidders 3 million real dollars, to insure he wins the auction of the bomb. Cinnamon accompanies the bidder, as his "technical adviser", appearing to know some about the inner workings of nuclear weapons, particularly the plutonium implosion casing, or core.

At the sale, the capabilities of the weapon are demonstrated, as the fission primary core is removed and tested, and shown to contain highly-enriched plutonium. Vandaam and his associate then reveal that the expected yield of the bomb would be 2 megatons, (not a huge yield at the time, but still more than enough to destroy DC or Manhattan) that it is a "clean" bomb,(having NO "outer shell" or tamper of uranium 238, and thus, no "secondary fission", which would have probably more than DOUBLED the yield to 5MT, or even more, BUT made the bomb "dirty" with a LOT of fallout") and that a number of different types of fuses can be accommodated to the bomb. All of the bidders seem pleased with the devices capabilities.

The bidders, including Rollin, who has replaced one enemy bidder, then go to bid on the bomb. During this time, Barney, hidden in the elevator shaft, secretly sneaks in to the vault in which the bomb is stored and takes the core, replacing it with a duplicate that contains no plutonium. All appearances are that the plan was to steal the core, and at the end of bidding, surprise Vandaam with the revelation of the missing plutonium, embarrassing him in front of the bidders and insuring that he would not again pose such a threat. But the theft IS discovered, and guards begin searching for Barney and the core. However, Vandaam, desperate for the cash, continues the bidding anyway, while knowing that his once city-killer would now be lucky to have enough explosive power to blow up one house.

With Cinnamons help the bomb is won by the correct enemy agent and the cash is placed in Vandaams safe. However SOME of it is not real, and contains incendiary material to destroy all of the money on command from a remote Cinnamon has.

As per the original plan, Cinnamon suggest that they look at the bomb again before it is to be removed from the vault. Vandaam, knowing that the plutonium is missing, balks at this proposal, but relents and shows the bomb to the group. As they leave to go to the bomb vault, Cinnamon remotely destroys the money in the safe.

Once at the side of the bomb, having removed the implosion casing, Cinnamon then says that it is NOT the original they examined before and at that time Vandaam admits it has no radioactive material in it. He then tells about the theft...but NO ONE believes him, since he reveals that he KNEW of this theft and THEN went ahead and sold the useless bomb anyway. At Gunpoint, the winning bidder demands the plutonium, but Vandaam cannot produce it. He is then forced to return the money until the plutonium is recovered, but once opening his safe, all that is there are ashes!! With Vandaam unable to return the money and with no plutonium, the winning bidder figures that the "whole thing was a swindle from the beginning", and has Vandaam shot, as the IMF force leaves the building and the police are coming.

Not a bad mission, with a typical cold-war plot. Some errors, namely, the construction of the "bomb". It is HIGHLY unlikely that a fission primary core would be cylindrical,or placed in such a heavy casing, as this would make proper compression to critical mass difficult. Also, the "implosion assembly" for the core appeared to be a number of "sliding rods" evidently containing the implosion charges, but this is NOT a very workable design. And--where was the initiator? There appeared to be no connection to the core for it, for the booster, or for that matter, to the secondary assembly!!

I guess Im being too technical, and on "The Peacemaker" or such, this would not be an issue. But MI is a VERY technical show, geared toward us technical types. Such obvious errors do not go overlooked by scientific types.

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