The Prisoner: Season 1, Episode 15

Once Upon a Time (28 Jan. 1968)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
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Because all other attempts to break Number 6 have failed, Number 2 decides to engage him in a game where one of them will end up dead.


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Episode cast overview:
Angelo Muscat ...
Peter Swanwick ...
John Cazabon ...
Umbrella Man
John Maxim ...
Number Eighty Six (scenes deleted)


Number Two conducts tests on Number Six to force him to reveal why he resigned but Number Six's iron will resists and he uses psychology to turn the tables so that his interrogator ends up grovelling to him. Still refusing to answer Number Six watches as Number Two is locked in a cage after which he requests that he sees Number One. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi





Release Date:

28 January 1968 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The characterization of Number Six in this episode is significantly different from previous episodes. During the series, Number Six's initial fury and apprehension towards the Village eventually transitioned into the manner of a suave, obstinate rebel who now carried himself with assurance and certainty in resisting the Village. However, in this episode, Number Six is edgy and tense, pacing back and forth in his kitchen without the casual ease of previous episodes, and his interactions with the Villagers have become bizarre, with his accosting the Umbrella Man who seems eager to avoid him. As "Once upon a Time" was shot sixth and held back as a potential end-season cliffhanger, it may be that plans to develop Six's characterization to this state were curtailed by the sudden cancellation. See more »


Number Six walks toward his telephone to answer it before it starts ringing. See more »


[first lines]
Number Two: [shouting at the butler] Wait! Remove it! I told you to remove it!
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References As You Like It (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

9 June 2015 | by (North America) – See all my reviews

The new(and returning) number two(played by Leo McKern) is determined to once-and-for-all break the supremely resilient will of number six(Patrick McGoohan) and learn the reasons for his resignation from service, and agrees to "degree absolute", a technique which will only see one of them emerge alive. Six is again drugged and reverted to a child-like state in a sealed room with two, who acts as a father/ teacher figure to try and learn what makes him tick by exploring his past, but finds that the same iron-willed determination persists, eventually re-emerging to successfully challenge them both in and out of a most literal prison. Brilliant episode is supremely well acted by its two stars, aided by the silent butler(Angelo Muscat). Unforgettable imagery, plot, and ideas in a most fascinating journey into the bizarre, the truth about the village, and in particular the identity of number one...

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