1 9 8 3 – 1 9 8 4 (USA)
13 x 60 minute episodes
In something of a twist on Mission: Impossible – with a dash of The Love Boat thrown in – a US government spy program called “Operation Masquerade” would bring in new operatives each week to accomplish specific tasks during a top-secret mission.
Instead of highly-trained agents, though, they would find ordinary civilians who were experts in the required field – from plumbers and conmen to bank tellers and coal miners – and compensate them with one year’s salary.
Two notable exceptions were in ‘Girls for Sale’ when Fifi Parker (Sudie Bond) was offered her driving licence back with a clean record in addition to the money, and former LA Dodgers star Steve Garvey (playing himself) volunteered because master-spy Mr Lavender (Rod Taylor) couldn’t secure funding to match his annual salary.
The new recruits were assisted by freshly graduated agents Casey Collins (Kirstie Alley) and Danny Doyle (Greg Evigan).
A top-notch collection of guest stars included Oliver Reed, Susan George, Ernest Borgnine, David Hemmings, Robert Morse, Richard Roundtree, Clu Gulager, Dick Gautier, Robert Clary, Cybill Shepherd, Anthony Franciosa, Dick Van Patten, Eve Arden, Ruth Buzzi and Claude Akins.
This short-lived ABC series had a silly premise, but it was great fun, and veteran Australian actor Rod Taylor was superb. The theme song was sung by American country music singer Crystal Gayle.
Kirstie Alley died in December 2022 from recently diagnosed cancer. She was 71.
Pilot | Diamonds | Girls for Sale | The Defector | Caribbean Holiday | Five Days | Oil | The French Correction | Winnings | Sleeper | Spanish Gambit | Spying Down to Rio | Flashpoint