The Prisoner: Season 1, Episode 4

The Schizoid Man (29 Oct. 1967)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Drama | Mystery
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Number Six wakes up with a new identity. Now he's Number Twelve. Worse, Number Two asks him to impersonate someone--Number Six. But the new Number Six is more like him than he is.



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Title: The Schizoid Man (29 Oct 1967)

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Episode cast overview:
Alison / Number Twenty-Four
Anton Rodgers ...
Angelo Muscat ...
Gay Cameron ...
David Nettheim ...
Pat Keen ...
Gerry Crampton ...
1st Guardian
Dinny Powell ...
2nd Guardian (as Dinney Powell)


Having helped Number Twenty-Four in a telepathy experiment The Prisoner bruises his thumb. A new Number Two has him taken to hospital and when he wakes up he has undergone a physical transformation. He is told that he is actually Number Twelve and it is task to find out why Number Six resigned. When he returns to his cottage he is confronted by a double for Number six,who engages him in various tests. However, the realization that he bruised his thumb makes him recall his true identity and resist Number Two's scheme. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Release Date:

29 October 1967 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


With Earl Cameron's appearance as the Village's Supervisor in this episode, this makes The Schizoid Man the only episode to feature a black character, as well as the only episode to feature a black character in a role of authority. See more »


The climax involves an escape attempt via helicopter. The craft acquired for this episode was a different type from those used in the main location shoot at Portmeirion. Unfortunately, a stock shot of one of those was inserted in the sequence, its clear-bubble cabin and pontooned landing gear contrasting with the paneled cabin and naked struts of its fellow in the surrounding footage. See more »


Number Twelve: Must be confusing for it, not knowing which one of us to bite.
See more »


Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Schizoid Man (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

Number Six Times Two
16 January 2009 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

Patrick McGoohan, my favourite actor, died earlier this week ( shame on B.B.C.-1's 'Six O'Clock News' and I.T.N. for failing to mention this. If it had been Russell Brand it probably would have been the lead item ), so I thought I'd pay small tribute by looking at an episode of his most famous creation - 'The Prisoner' T.V. series.

I won't spell out the plot in great detail because it would be unfair to anyone viewing it for the first time. Also, it is hard to do!

It begins in Number Six's cottage, where he is assisting a young woman called Alison ( Jane Merrow ) who has telepathic abilities. As he picks out Xener cards, she is able to correctly identify each one. She puts it down to a psychic bond between them. A accident with a soda syphon leaves him with a bruised thumbnail. We do not know it yet but that bruise - and her photograph of it - will be important later on.

As she leaves, the scene switches to The Village's control room, where Number Two ( Anton Rodgers ) commences the latest plot to break The Prisoner and learn the reason for his resignation.

A light over the sleeping Prisoner's head pulsates, and medics carry him off to the hospital. He is there for an undetermined period, long enough for him to grown a moustache anyway, also his hair is dyed black, and he undergoes electric shock treatment to make him left-handed instead of right.

When he awakens, he is not in his usual dwelling, and when he looks in a mirror sees his appearance has been altered. At the Green Dome, Number Two addresses him as 'Number Twelve', and acts as though he is on his side. Number Six is given his 'orders' - to break himself! After having his hair dyed back to its original colour and the moustache shaved, Number Six returns to his original dwelling. Who should be in residence but...Number Six? Confused? So apparently was director Pat Jackson when he read the script back in 1966. To his credit, his confusion is not apparent.

The complex plan to make The Prisoner doubt his identity almost works. Following a lengthy session with the double in which both men sword fence, shoot guns, and box, ironically it is Alison who provides the final damning proof by establishing her psychic bond with the double. It is all a put-up job though, and later she regrets her decision to co-operate with The Village.

'Schizoid Man' is one of the finest episodes of the series, intriguing throughout, boasting a tour-de-force performance from McGoohan. When the double lays in wait for Number Six with a nerve gas gun, the actor excludes the charming arrogance he would bring later to his many villainous roles, such as 'Roger Devereau' in 'Silver Streak'. The scene where Number Six makes himself right-handed again is powerful indeed.

Anton Rodgers is the youngest 'Number Two' seen in the show so far, playing him not as a ruthless interrogator but a seemingly-harmless bureaucrat: "Here I am, stuck in Admin!". However, when Number Six fails the mind-reading test with Alison, you will see Number Two smirking at The Prisoner's discomfiture. Not so nice after all.

Terence Feely's script so impressed McGoohan the writer was invited to join the board of directors at Everyman Films - the company that made the series. It is a superbly plotted show, with a strong ending, even if Number Six's carelessness is ultimately a little hard to swallow, given that earlier episodes established him as a tricky character to outwit.

The new 'Prisoner' has got an awful lot to live up to. If only one episode is half as good as this, I will be happy.

But no matter how superior the new show's special effects might or might not be, you cannot replace McGoohan. He was 'The Prisoner'. Be Seeing You, Patrick.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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