Mission: Impossible (1988–1990)
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The American submarine USS Concorde is dramatically lost at sea and the few surviving crew members report that the submarine was blown apart by a torpedo containing a sophisticated computer... See full summary »


Colin Budds


Bruce Geller (created by), Dale Duguid


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Episode credited cast:
Peter Graves ... Jim Phelps
Thaao Penghlis ... Nicholas Black
Antony Hamilton ... Max Harte (as Tony Hamilton)
Phil Morris ... Grant Collier
Jane Badler ... Shannon Reed
Mitchell Ryan ... Admiral Edgar Sheppard
Andrew Clarke ... Captain O'Neill
Jonathan Hardy ... Etienne Reynard
Noel Sheridan ... Computer Operator
Malcolm Cork Malcolm Cork ... Radio Operator
Andrew Booth Andrew Booth ... Navigator
John Eyeson-Annan John Eyeson-Annan ... African Arms Dealer
Nancy Croll Nancy Croll ... Senior Customs Officer
David E. Woodley ... Pilot (as David Woodley)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jeffery Richards ... Corporal Krull


The American submarine USS Concorde is dramatically lost at sea and the few surviving crew members report that the submarine was blown apart by a torpedo containing a sophisticated computer virus. This virus killed the submarine's computer system, leading to the underwater ship being impossible to control. Jim Phelps and his team of agents get the mission to find the virus program which sunk the Concorde, so that an antidote program can be created. They moreover have to find the virus's creators, and put them out of the virus creating business for good. Written by Anonymous

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Did You Know?


The underwater scenes of the Concord are obviously not a new nuclear sub, they appear to have been taken from Ice Station Zebra (1968). See more »


Mr. Phelps tells Admiral Sheppard that his retinas were burned due to radiation from an atomic blast. Radiation is not what burns retinas during an atomic blast; intense light does. See more »


[first lines]
Admiral Edgar Sheppard: [after dropping distress beacon with virus into the ocean] Good hunting.
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User Reviews

The Old Formula Still has Some Life
26 April 2014 | by AldanoliSee all my reviews

"Submarine," the penultimate episode of the first season of the 1988-1990 "Mission: Impossible," is credited on-screen only to Australian writer David Duguid. Anyone familiar with the original series, however, will immediately recognize one of its fondest-remembered episodes, also named "Submarine," produced during that series' fourth season and broadcast in November, 1969. As updated for the new version, it demonstrates that the formula that made the original series so enjoyable still had some life in it.

The original version was the only contribution to that series by Englishman Donald James, but his solo effort showed a deep understanding of what made that series work. Both episodes involve what became known as the "false journey" -- that is, the IMF needs information of some kind from its target, and therefore isolates that person by making him think that he's taking a trip somewhere, usually with his collaborators -- via train, aircraft, truck, or -- as hinted by the title -- submarine. Then, using the deception that became the series' hallmark, the target is tricked into revealing his most deeply held secret for what seems, at the time, the most logical of reasons. At the end, the "journey" is itself usually revealed to be a deception.

In the original, Nazi war criminal Kruger Stelman was about to be released from an East German prison after serving 25 years for war crimes. Stelman knew the location of millions of dollars in gold that could be used to spark a neo-Nazi coup, so the IMF "rescued" him and bundled him off to what appeared to be a submarine populated by his allies. The Nazi angle had little believability in 1989, so in the new version the IMF is after a man selling an underwater device that spreads a computer virus to modern ships, including those of the U.S. Navy. That their adversary, Edgar Sheppard (Mitchell Ryan), is himself a U.S. Navy admiral willing to use this device on his own men just makes him seem all the more evil.

Viewed from the perspective of an additional 25 years, the most noticeable thing about the remake is how quaint its technology seems. Sheppard's cohort carries what appears to be a late-1980s version of a laptop that looks almost as large as a manual typewriter. At one point Sheppard waives around a 1.4" floppy disc (anyone seen one of those lately?), and later the IMF captures important information on a VHS cassette. Electronics expert Grant Collier is even given a few lines to explain that a "computer virus" is not the same thing as the biological kind that infect people; there was apparently some concern the audience might not understand this in those pre-Internet days!

Those issues aside, the newer "Submarine" is still great fun today. The sets, both exterior and the false submarine, look great, Ryan is as nasty an adversary as any with whom the IMF grappled, and his descent into their trap seems logical each step of the way -- unlike some later episodes in which the villains seem to fall prey to their own stupidity as much as anything the IMF set up for them. Still, the quality of this episode undoubtedly derives as much as anything from its lineage to one of the best that the original series had to offer.

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Release Date:

29 April 1989 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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