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Secret Agent aka Danger Man: The Complete Series
"Every government has it's secret service branch. America, the CIA; France, Deuxieme Bureau; England, MI5; Even NATO has it's own. A messy job? Well that's when they usually call on me or someone like me. Oh yes, my name is Drake. John Drake." Starring Patrick McGoohan from the fan favorite series, The Prisoner, in the titular role of John Drake, comes Secret Agent AKA Danger Man: The Complete Series, a less edgy, James Bond/Roger Moore-esque take on the spy genre.
For those who don't know much about this series, I will give you a brief backstory. Before Patrick McGoohan assumed his most identified role as Number Six in the groundbreaking series, The Prisoner, a role that many fans assume is a continuation of this series, he starred on a British television as a secret agent named John Drake in Danger Man (also known as Secret Agent, the title that it was broadcast under in North America). The first installment ran in half-hour installments on British television from 1960 through 1962 before McGoohan tired of the role after 39 episodes. Eventually 2 years later, the show was brought back in an hour long format clearly to cash in on the success of the cinematic adventures of James Bond, in 1964 and it ran until 1966, until McGoohan once again wanted to leave the role. This was assumed to be the end of John Drake's escapades, but McGoohan decided to return once more which only lasted for two episodes in 1968. This is the last we'd see of Drake and his espionage tales. After several releases over the years, After A&E had released the series multiple times, Timeless Video once again brings together the entire anthology of Secret Agent: AKA Danger Man to offer it in one deluxe, compact, slick looking box set.
Secret Agent: Danger Man revolves around the espionage exploits of
Bond, James Bond Drake, John Drake. A smooth talking, charismatic agent that would rather talk you down than force you to cooperate, never carrying a gun but relying on his quick wit and brain to resolve intense situations. But don't let that deter you, this is an action show, fists fly and people do get shot, and for a show nearly 55 years old, it all looks great. Each of these 86 episodes, it follows the exact same formula; John Drake is assigned a mission, he goes to some beautiful/exotic locale, follows the target, plot twist! and he wraps it up nice and neat. We follow the exact same formula through these 86 adventures, and while most shows would get tedious after doing the same thing that long, Secret Agent somehow kept it fresh thanks to it's great locales, phenomenal production designs, tight writing and of course it's star.
The entire series truly hinges on the performance of McGoohan, he has to carry the show on his back since the series is based solely around his character, with no other actor showing up for more than maybe 5 episodes throughout its 86 episode run. Thankfully the casting department got a gem, as McGoohan excels in this role with great aplomb. In the same vein as Roger Moore and his days as Bond, McGoohan is tailor made for the role, cracking puns and using his sheer charisma to carry out his job and get the women. I mentioned that McGoohan is best known for his work on The Prisoner, but to be quite honest, his work here is as every bit groundbreaking. This is the real first take of the spy genre that received success, if we're not counting the unofficial failure that was the 1957 version of Casino Royale, James Bond didn't come onto the scene until 1962.
While McGoohan had to carry the show, it wasn't without it's plethora of wonderful guest stars. Memorable guest stars include a couple of my all time favorite actors in Robert Shaw and Donald Pleasance. We also have appearances from Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Ian Hendry, Darren Nesbit, Desmond Llewelyn, Honor Blackman, Moira Redmond, Kate O'Mara, Hazel Court, Charles Gray, Anthony Dawson, William Sylvester, Barbara Shelly, Judy Geeson, Patsy Rowlands, Percy Hebert, Lisa Gastoni, Eric Pohlman, Jeanne Roland, Peter Bowles, Nigel Green, Sarah Lawson, and many many more talented performers. Secret Agent truly has an exceptional guest cast list that helped make this show a success.
Here we have all 86 episodes of John Drake's espionage escapades! If you want the specs and extras, just skip past this portion of the review. Note: The episodes are listed in the order they're on the discs, NOT production order, there's a huge difference. For example, the third episode on the first disc, titled Josetta, is actually the 28th episode of the first 39 episode series.
Volume 1 - Disc 1:
01 - View From the Villa: Drake must go to Italy to track down $5 million dollars after an American Banker is murdered.
02 - Time To Kill: A lethal assassin as been sent to take care of Drake, while Drake finds himself in a precarious situation with a school teacher.
03 - Josetta: A blind woman's brother was murdered in front of her, Drake must step in to help her bring the killer to justice!
04 - The Blue Veil: Drake helps a showgirl as he travels to the Arabian desert in a tale of slavery.
05 - The Lovers: Drake must help an old colleague/enemy before he ends up on the wrong end of an assassin.
06 - The Girl in Pink Pyjamas: Drake takes on the mystery surrounding an assassination attempt on the President's life with the help of a dazed girl.
07 - Position of Trust: Teaming up with the CIA, Drake must put an end to a drug ring in the middle east.
08 - The Lonely Chair: Drake impersonates a wealthy industrialist whose daughter has been kidnaped.
Volume 1 - Disc 2:
09 - The Sanctuary: Drake must go undercover as a prisoner to uncover an IRA cell.
10 - An Affair of State: After an American Economics Expert commits suicide, Drake must travel to the Caribbean's ensure there's no nefarious plot for the Island's gold reserve.
11 - The Key: Drake must find out who is leaking secret information is leaking from the American embassy. This is the pilot from the series.
12 - The Sisters: Drake must find out who is telling the truth when two women claim political asylum.
13 - The Prisoner:
A diplomat who has lived in the confines of his embassy for 5 years, recruits Drake to help win him his freedom.
14. The Traitor: Drake must sniff out a traitor, leading him to Northern India.
15. Colonel Rodriguez: Drake must free a US journalist from the grip of the evil Colonel Rodriguez.
16. The Island: Drake winds up stranded on an Island with an heiress and two assassins after a plane crash. The assassins and Drake have to convince the sole inhabitant on the island the truth about who is a prisoner and who is a guard.
Volume 1 - Disc 3:
17. Find and Return: Drake must travel to the middle east to track down a woman charged with Espionage.
18. The Girl who Liked the G.I's: Drake travels to Germany to investigate the murder of GI, suspicion falls onto his GF, who Drake must woo to find out her guilt or innocence.
19. Name, Date, and Place. Drake puts a contract out on his own life to investigate a series of murders to find out if a secret organization exists.
20. Vacation: Drake recognizes a notorious hit man while on Vacation. He must track him to find out the intended target.
21. The Conspirators: Drake is given the task of protecting the wife of a murdered diplomat.
22. The Honeymooners: Drake travels to the East to prove a man who was accused of murdering his bride on their wedding day and has been caught in the middle of a power struggle to be innocent.
23. The Gallows Tree: The finger prints of a spy thought dead surface on a car in Scotland.
24. The Relaxed Informer: Drake must contain a top level security leak at all costs.
Volume 1 - Disc 4:
25. The Brothers: Drake travels to Sicily to recover a diplomats stolen satchel.
26. The Journey Ends Halfway: Drake goes undercover as an Engineer to uncover a human trafficking ring.
27. Bury the Dead: Drake investigates the death of a NATO agent.
28. Sabotage: Drake must find out why a transport plane suddenly exploded midflight and if someone was behind it.
29. The Contessa: Drake goes undercover as a seamen to take down a drug smuggling ring.
30. The Leak: Drake investigates a radiation poisoning at a nuclear power plant.
31. The Trap: A Cipher clerk goes missing and Drake must follow the trail to find out what happened to her.
32. The Actor: Drake gets a job at a Hong Kong radio station to find out who is leaking encoded messages through the airwaves.
Volume 1 - Disc 5:
33. Hired Assassin: Drake infiltrates an organization that is planning the assassination of a Latin American President.
34. The Deputy Coyannis Story: Drake investigates a minister who may be stealing money meant for a international relief fund.
35. Find and Destroy: Drake is tasked with destroying the contents of a wrecked Submarine off the coast of South America before it falls into the enemies hands.
36. Under the Lake: Drake picks up the trail of counterfeit money and has to find out who is behind the scheme.
37. The Nurse: Drake travels to the middle east and must help a Scottish nurse protect the heir to the throne.
38. Dead Man Walks: Drake must find out why scientists whom discovered a disease are being killed.
39. Deadline: Drake travels to Africa to prevent a war from breaking out.
Volume 2 - Disc 1:
40. A Battle for the Cameras: In the French Rivera, Drake must go undercover to gain the trust of a spy informant and his associates, but doesn't know his cover has been blown!
41. A Room in the Basement: Drake travels to Romania to free his friend whom has been kidnapped.
42. Fair Exchange: A British agent, who was captured and tortured in East Germany returns to kill the man who tortured her. John Drake, posing as her husband, follows her trail to Europe.
Volume 2 - Disc 2:
43. Fish on the Hook: Drake must rescue the controller of a network of Agents whose cover has been blown, but Drake himself must find out who he is first.
44. No Marks for Servility: Drake goes undercover as the Butler of a international extortionist and his newly wedded bride.
45. Yesterday's Enemies: A former British agent appears to have set up his own network of double-agents in Lebanon and Drake is tasked to find out who his contacts are, and who runs the organization.
46. The Professionals: Drake travels to Prague to find a missing agent, but is soon the target of a lovely black widow whose mission is to ensnare her victims.
Volume 2 - Disc 3:
47. A Date with Doris: Drake's friend is framed for murdering the General's mistress, Drake travels to Latin America to find out the truth and extract his friend.
48. The Mirror's New: Drake must help restore the memory of a diplomat.
49. Colony Three: Drake goes undercover at a spy school doubled as a British village in Soviet Russia.
50. It's up to the Lady: A communist sympathizer flees to Greece with his wife. Drake follows in an attempt to keep them from defecting to the Soviets.
Volume 2 - Disc 4:
51. Whatever Happened to George Foster? By accident Drake discovers that a new Latin-American republic is being sabotaged by a British industrialist for his own ends.
52. The Galloping Major: Undercover as an Army Major during an election, Drake must prevent an uprising from forming and stop whoever is behind it.
53. The Colonel's Daughter: Drake is tasked with investigating the death of an African Colonel's assistant, while being assisted by the local Police.
54. That's Two Of Us Sorry: Once again, Drake is sent to Scotland to investigate a set of fingerprints that belong to a spy who was long thought dead after a research lab is ransacked.
Volume 2 - Disc 5
55. Such Men are Dangerous: Drake poses as an ex-con in order to infiltrate a secret society that trains assassins to kill world leaders.
56. A Man to be Trusted: Drake travels to the West Indies in order to investigate a murder and test the reliability of the local contact for British intelligence.
57. The Affair of Castelevera: Drake is sent to a Latin American country where an heroic old revolutionary is scheduled for execution.
58. Don't Nail Him Yet: Drake poses as a schoolteacher in order to win the trust and identify the accomplices of a rogue spy.
Volume 2 - Disc 6:
59. The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove: Drake must clear himself of gambling charges, and to do so he becomes involved in the goings-on of a surreal casino populated with a femme fatale, a mysterious doorman, and death--who's posing as an insurance salesman.
60. Have a Glass of Wine: Drake follows a blackmailed Englishwoman to France to uncover her military secrets. Once there, he discovers he must go up against his Russian Counterpart.
61. You're not in Any Trouble, Are you?: Drake puts a hit out on himself to uncover the secrets of a Murder-For-Hire ring.
62. Sting in the Tail: Drake tries to get to an assassin by courting his mistress.
Volume 3 - Disc 1:
63. The Black Book: A British Embassy official is being blackmailed and Drake is sent to expose the blackmailers and eliminate their hold over the official.
64. English Lady Takes Lodgers: Posing as a writer, Drake investigates an agency in Lisbon dealing in stolen secrets and comes across a boarding house landlady dealing in stolen passports.
65. Loyalty Always Pays: Drake is sent to discredit the Chinese when M9 finds out that they're about to take over the African government.
66. Are You Going to be More Permanent?: When M9 controllers mysteriously disappear in Geneva and a traitor is identified as one of three persons, Drake takes up the position of the new controller.
Volume 3 - Disc 2:
67. Parallel Lines Sometimes Meet: Drake once again meets up with his Russian counterpart and the pair get on the trail of a pair of missing scientists.
68. A Very Dangerous Game: Drake takes the place of a defector to infiltrate the Chinese intelligence.
69. The Mercenaries: Drake, posing as a new recruit, must stop a bent Colonel from trying to overthrow the African government.
70. The Outcasts: When a member of Women's Royal Naval Service is murdered, it's up to Drake to find her missing boyfriend to find out what happened to her.
Volume 3 - Disc 3:
71. Judgment Day: Drake id sent to the Middle East to bring back a German scientist accused of war crimes and has to defend him against Israeli agents when their charter comes under attack.
72. To Our Best Friend: Drake must investigate a very close friend when he is accused of leaking intelligence.
73. Say it with Flowers: When money is drawn from the account of a dead agent, Drake is sent to the clinic in Switzerland where the man had died three months earlier.
74. The Man on the Beach: Drake is sent to Jamaica to identify a M9 double agent, though soon finds himself under the spotlight when he's accused of treason and murder.
Volume 3 - Disc 4:
75. The Man Who Wouldn't Talk: When the M9 regional controller is captured in Bulgaria, Drake must effect a rescue before he talks under torture.
76. Someone is Liable to get Hurt: Drake goes undercover as a weapons dealer in order to get close to a suspicious figure with political aspirations.
77. Dangerous Secret: A paranoid scientist who has created a lethal virus, not trusting the government who he believes are out to get him, flees to France pursued by Drake and other interested parties wanting the virus.
78. I Can Only Offer You Sherry: Drake, posing as a journalist, must uncover a recent leak at the British Embassy, meanwhile befriending a secretary whom was taken advantage of by the perpetrators.
Volume 3 - Disc 5:
79. The Hunting Party: Drake poses as a butler to a wealthy couple, suspected of leaking information to the newspaper. It seems Drake has met his match as the couple quickly realize what Drake is up to and plan to silence him.
80. Two Birds with One Bullet: Drake finds himself imprisoned when he's framed for plotting to assassinate a party official.
81. I'm Afraid you have the Wrong Number: Drake's cover is blown when he travels to Switzerland to uncover the mystery of a fellow agent's death.
82. The Man with the Foot: While on vacation, Drake goes one on one with a fellow agent whom holds appears to hold a vendetta.
Volume 3 - Disc 6:
83. The Paper Chase: Drake has 48 hours to recover stolen documents from a diplomat's car in Rome.
84. The Not-So-Jolly Roger: An agent working for a pirate radio station suspects that they are broadcasting secret messages, but is killed before he can verify his theory. Drake takes his place and must discover the truth while making sure he doesn't meet the same fate as his predecessor.
85. Koroshi: The first episode filmed in color! Part of a 2 part special, Drake travels to Japan to uncover the mystery of a local operatives death, soon connecting it a deadly cult.
86. Shinda Shima: The final episode of Secret Agent follows the events of the previous episode as Drake track the cult to a remote island where he plans to infiltrate the group and shut it down from the inside.
+ Patrick McGoohan is excellent in the lead role.
+ Fantastic guest cast!
+ If you're a James Bond fan, then this show is right up your alley.
+ Has aged very well.
+ With an over saturation of procedural shows, Secret Agent is a breath of fresh air on the genre.
- The writers repeat the same episode premise multiple times.
- The video and audio aren't anything to write home about.
- 86 episodes of the same formula can be tedious.
Video and Audio:
The video and audio tracks are the exact same as the previous releases, which are just fine. The video is presented in a 1:33.1 television broadcast format. Outside of the final 2 episodes, the series is in black and white. Some grain and aliasing is a given due to how old the series is, and the only thing that really bothered me was the constant picture shimmering, but for the most part, the product looks quite solid.
The audio is presented in an English Dolby Digital Mono track that works well for the show. I noticed there were some spots where the dialogue had some distortions, but overall it was decent.
- Commentary on 3 episodes, "View From a Villa", "The Affair of State", and "The Nurse" with writer Brian Clemens and Director Peter Graham Scott.
- Interview with Catherine McGoohan, the daughter of the series' star.
Secret Agent: Danger Man is a fantastic show. Honestly it was one of the easiest shows I've ever watched, it was such a fun experience and is a wonderful addition to the spy genre. The crux of the series is Patrick McGoohan, he slips right into the role like a glove and delivers an excellent performance with great charisma that can be likened to Roger Moore or even Pierce Brosnan from their James Bond days.
Those who bought the earlier releases individually can rest easy as this new collection changes almost nothing, it has identical transfers and the only real new extra is a glossy chipboard box for the series to be housed in. So if you're looking for a treasure trove of new extras or a remaster to upgrade you're set, I'd skip this, though if you're a new fan to the series, there's no better time than the present.Highly recommended.