Masquerade (TV series)

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Masquerade
Created by Glen A. Larson
Starring Rod Taylor
Kirstie Alley
Greg Evigan
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13 (1 unaired)
Production
Running time 44 minutes
Production company(s) 20th Century Fox Television
Glen A. Larson Productions
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Original run December 15, 1983 – April 27, 1984

Masquerade is an American espionage television series that aired for a few months on ABC in the spring of 1983.

Synopsis[edit]

Considered an amalgam of Mission: Impossible and The Love Boat, the tongue-in-cheek series starred Rod Taylor as Mr. Lavender, the leader of "Operation Masquerade", a top-secret branch of American Intelligence that conducts missions using ordinary civilians, recruited for their anonymity and their specialized skills. Two trained field agents, Casey Collins (Kirstie Alley) and Danny Doyle (Greg Evigan) are assigned to chaperone the amateur spies. This concept was essentially identical to Call to Danger, a series concept that had been attempted with three unsuccessful pilot films in the 1960s and 1970s, the last two starring Mission: Impossible's Peter Graves.

The Love Boat comparison (frequently used in contemporary reviews of this series) stemmed from the show's casting of a different ensemble of well-known actors each week, much as Love Boat populated its episodes. The first act of every episode depicted the recruitment of a new group of agents, which was invariably followed by a briefing by Mr. Lavender aboard his private plane, ending with Lavender saying, stone-faced: "Welcome to Operation Masquerade".[1]

The budget was a reported $750,000 an episode.[1]

The series debuted with a 90-minute pilot film and was followed by about a dozen episodes before the series was cancelled. This was Kirstie Alley's first television series after her debut in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan the previous year. Country singer Crystal Gayle performed the theme song.

Ratings were not strong. The show was tried in a different time slot but that did not work either.[1]

Episodes[edit]

Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date PC
1 "Pilot" Peter H. Hunt Glen A. Larson 15 December 1983 N/A
A KGB agent codenamed Wolfen is systematically killing NIA operatives. With no viable agents left and Wolfen the top candidate to become the next director of the KGB, Lavender comes up with a desperate plan to use untrained civilians to discredit Wolfen in the eyes of his Soviet superiors before the ruthless killer becomes the new KGB director.
2 "Diamonds" Peter Crane William Read Woodfield 22 December 1983 2J02
Lavender and his team go to Amsterdam, after a rogue spy who is going to sell missile frequency codes for $1 million in diamonds. Believing that the Soviets will get the codes and jam NATO defenses, they set out to stop the diamond transaction.
3 "Girls for Sale" Sidney Hayers Glen A. Larson 29 December 1983 2J03
In Hawaii, a senator's daughter is kidnapped in order to blackmail the senator into giving up information from the intelligence committee he serves on, and Lavender and his team must face ninja assassins to rescue her.
4 "The Defector" Peter Crane Andrew Schneider 5 January 1984 2J04
A Soviet physicist wants to defect, and needs protection from a KGB death squad known as "Section 9"; to throw them off their tracks, Lavender and his team try to make it appear as though the physicist has been killed.
5 "Caribbean Holiday" * Mark Rodgers 12 January 1984 2J07
An NIA agent has turned traitor, and is hired by an ousted Caribbean dictator to help him start a coup that will return him to power. Lavender and his team board a cruise ship and try to stop the traitor and a group of mercenaries who have a cache of weapons stored below decks to arm the rebels once they arrive.
6 "Five Days" John Llewellyn Moxey Mark Rodgers 19 January 1984 2J05
A Bulgarian woman working for the NIA is kept in a top-security women's prison by a corrupt commissioner in Portugal. As the woman holds information vital to saving the crew of a sunken American submarine, Casey gets arrested to contact her. Meanwhile, the team works to discredit the commissioner.
7 "Oil" * William Read Woodfield 26 January 1984 2J06
Lavender and his team race to rescue hostages a terrorist will kill if his demands are not met by his deadline.
8 "The French Connection" Peter Crane Andrew Schneider 30 March 1984 2J10
Lavender and the team try to track down a shipment of serum that was hijacked from a French airliner en route to Africa.
9 "Winnings" Sidney Hayers William Read Woodfield 6 April 1984 2J09
Lavender enlists professional gamblers to stop a casino owner from selling a military tracking device to the KGB.
10 "The Sleeper" * Mark Rodgers 13 April 1984 2J11
Lavender and his team go after an American general who is a double agent planning to sell recordings of a Middle Eastern conference to the Soviets.
11 "Spanish Gambit" Phil Bondelli Howard Berk,
Andrew Schneider
20 April 1984 2J08
Lavender and his team are up against another U.S. agent and the Soviets in recovering stolen satellite defense hardware.
12 "Spying Down to Rio" Sidney Hayers Andrew Schneider 27 April 1984 2J12
13 "Flashpoint" Phil Bondelli Charles Kinbote N/A 2J01

* Unknown

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood (Bear Manor Media, 2010) p210-212

External links[edit]