Purdey is kidnapped and Steed is given instructions to copy some top secret documents in order to get her back. Unable to tell anyone what he's doing, the Ministry begins to suspect Steed ... See full summary »





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Episode complete credited cast:
Gareth Hunt ...
William Franklyn ...
Simon Oates ...
Anna Palk ...
Richard Ireson ...
George Lane Cooper ...
Marvin (as George Lane-Cooper)


Purdey is kidnapped and Steed is given instructions to copy some top secret documents in order to get her back. Unable to tell anyone what he's doing, the Ministry begins to suspect Steed has switched sides and Gambit is ordered to follow him. Written by The TV Archaeologist

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Release Date:

8 December 1978 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The character of Steed seldom used a gun, a character trait developed largely due to 'Patrick McNee''s dislike of them due to his combat experiences with the Royal Navy during World War 2. However he does occasionally employ them and kills 2 men with a handgun during this eps final shootout and 'Dead men are dangerous' See more »


Crewmember visible in reflection on Telephone Box as Steed goes to answer it the first time. See more »


Purdey: You mean you were prepared to hand these over for me?
John Steed: It's only paper. You're Purdey.
See more »

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User Reviews

"Outstanding New Avengers."
22 January 2007 | by (Poole, Dorset) – See all my reviews

Spelman (Simon Oates) is the traitor that the Ministry Of Defence fears may be lurking at their headquarters. He plans to steal the Allied Attack Plans in a plot to frame Steed as a double agent in order to have the whole of Britain's security intelligence doubting each other, he arranges to have Purdey kidnapped to force Steed's hand. The agent breaks into McKay's safe and photographs the plans. Unknown to Steed, McKay (William Franklyn) has ordered Gambit to follow Steed and their trust and friendship is put under question. However, Steed arrives to rescue Purdey and expose Spelman as the traitor but not before Gambit has put two and two together and realises that Steed wasn't the double agent after all...

Another of the outstanding episodes of The New Avengers series, which features some of the strongest chemistry between Steed, Gambit and Purdey and who better to have written it than Brian Clemens, one of the key writers and producers of the show? It is one of the first episodes where we are forced to question Steed's loyalty to his department as we are nearly forced to believe that Steed will actually hand over the papers to the enemy in order to save Purdey and risk his job and his friendship with Gambit at the same time. This is neatly devised in the opening scene where Steed and Gambit are all dressed up to go to some elaborate junket thrown by the ambassador. Steed is wearing his military cross and Gambit asks "What did you get that for?" "Devotion to duty" Steed replies blandly. "I bet if it was a choice between getting the job done over your grandmother's soul, I'd bet it would be goodbye to granny" Gambit remarks. But the action that follows seems completely contrary to this even at the end we still have to question would Steed have risked his life for Purdey whom he is clearly extremely fond of. For instance in the last scene Purdey is free and she opens up the envelope containing the documents. "Steed these are actually the real article and you were prepared to hand these over for me?" she gasps. "But its only paper" replies Steed. At the end we are left thinking did Steed intend to kill two birds with one stone, rescue the "damsel in distress" or do both with a cunning ruse up his sleeve to knock out the bad guys and protect the nation's interests at the same time, which we know would have been totally in his character in the original series with Emma Peel or Tara King. We'll never know as Gambit intervened at the last minute and we are left somewhat in the dark as to what may have happened. This isn't a criticism in the slightest as Steed's background and character have only ever been suggested throughout the entire series (even the original) and he has always been portrayed as something of a mystery man.

Performances are excellent throughout with Macnee giving perhaps one of his most touching and most detailed performances as Steed and there's an improbable but nevertheless funny moment at the end where Steed and Purdey dive for cover behind an old sofa to shield themselves from the bullets of Spelman and his minions. Would an old sofa really be an ideal shield for a spray of bullets! I think not, but what the hell, if everything was lifelike it wouldn't be fun and totally out of character for The Avengers.

Another delight is the old hands from the original series who crop up such as director Sidney Hayers who directed several of the best Diana Rigg episodes and William Franklyn appeared in "Silent Dust" way back in 1966 and Simon Oates made appearances in the classic Diana Rigg episode "You Have Just Been Murdered" (1967) and the amusing Tara King installment, "Super Secret Cypher Snatch" (1969).

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