Mission: Impossible: Season 4, Episode 20

Terror (15 Feb. 1970)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Crime
7.0
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A notorious terrorist serving a life sentence has used a secret supporter within his nation's government to secure a pardon. The IMF must prevent his release and expose the traitor.

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(as Marvin Chomsky)

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(created by),
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Title: Terror (15 Feb 1970)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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...
...
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David Opatoshu ...
Ahmed Vassier
Joe De Santis ...
Maj. Marak (as Joe DeSantis)
...
Atheda
...
Ismet El Kabir
Ron Feinberg ...
Jenab (as Ronald Feinberg)
Makee K. Blaisdell ...
Guard (as Blaizdell MaKee)
Leland Murray ...
Rafik
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A notorious terrorist serving a life sentence has used a secret supporter within his nation's government to secure a pardon. The IMF must prevent his release and expose the traitor.

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15 February 1970 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Goofs

When Barney's fake ID card is shown to the camera, it shows his name as Ahmed Mahal and his rank as "Sargent". If a Middle Eastern army is obligingly going to print its ID cards in English rather than Arabic, they'd be sure to spell it correctly. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Middle Eastern Setting and Terrorism Plot Make This One Still Timely
15 September 2008 | by (Ukiah, California) – See all my reviews

"Terror" presents a more intricate "Mission" than some of the other fourth season episodes, with both Barney and Willy playing "inside" roles with the confederates of terrorist Ismet El Kabir (Michael Tolan), who's set to be pardoned by the nation of Suroq even as the IMF works feverishly to make sure that that doesn't happen. Unlike many of the stories dealing with Iron Curtain countries or neo-Nazis that the show provided during the first four seasons (after which, regrettably, foreign stories were phased out for domestic intrigue against "the Syndicate"), this episode's Middle Eastern setting and a plot that explicitly revolves around terrorism make this episode seem more timely than many of the shows presented during "Mission's "glory years" of 1966-1969.

Indeed, in some ways the show seems eerily prescient: although there had been acts of terrorism in the Middle East before this (and, indeed, the previous season's episode, "Nitro," had also had the same topic and setting), it was only after this show was originally broadcast, in February, 1970, that four airliners were hijacked and blown up on the tarmac in Cairo, Egypt; or 11 Israeli athletes were massacred at the 1972 Olympics; or both a TWA jet and the cruise liner Achille Lauro were hijacked in 1985 -- and all of that, of course, were merely the prologue to the events of 9/11. In short, terrorism has moved to the forefront today, and "Terror" accordingly hasn't aged nearly as much as many of its companion pieces from Season 4 (or before) in the nearly four decades since its original broadcast.

This episode also marked the last time that Tolan and David Opatoshu would appear on "Mission"; Tolan had previously been in "The Play" and "Trial by Fury," while Opatoshu had debuted all the way back in Season 1's "The Trial," and also appeared in this season's "Fool's Gold." The plotting is complex, with the two nominal allies -- terrorist El Kabir and his newly-found allies in Suroq's army and government -- being misdirected by the IMF in diametrically different ways to ensure that, by the episode's end, they will no longer trust one another.

Of course, if one thinks about it too hard, the show has its weaknesses -- once again, there's an ancient tunnel that just happens to pop up near where the IMF needs to get into El Kabir's prison; El Kabir's supporters on the outside seem surprisingly willing to accept both Barney and Willy (as Suroq Army deserters) into their ranks; and the plot hinges on El Kabir and his supporters not putting up too much of struggle when he's finally gunned down at the end. Considering that Phelps and Paris, as two "insiders" themselves with the Suroq Army are able to rescue Barney and Willy only by "taking them into custody" for "questioning" after the shooting stops, one can only imagine what might have happened had El Kabir's supporters put up more of fuss instead of surrendering. But despite these points, the show is more of a thought-piece than some of the other fourth season episodes, and therefore makes for an interesting re-visit today.


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