|Created by||Glen A. Larson|
performed by Crystal Gayle
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13 (1 unaired)|
|Running time||44 minutes|
|Production companies||Renee Valente Productions|
Glen A. Larson Productions
20th Century Fox Television
|Original release||December 15, 1983 –|
April 27, 1984
Considered an amalgam of Mission: Impossible (indeed, Mission: Impossible alumnus William Read Woodfield was the series' executive story consultant) 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".
The budget was a reported $750,000 an episode.
The series debuted with a 90-minute pilot film, followed by 12 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 weak, and attempts to improve them by changing the time slot did not work either.
|Season||Episodes||Start Date||End Date||Nielsen Rank||Nielsen Rating||Tied With|
|1983-84||13||December 15, 1983||April 27, 1984||78||12.0||"NBC Friday Movie of the Week"|
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"Pilot"||Peter H. Hunt||Glen A. Larson||December 15, 1983||N/A|
|A KGB agent codenamed Wolfen (Oliver Reed) 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||December 22, 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||December 29, 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||January 5, 1984||2J04|
|A Soviet physicist wants to defect, and needs protection from a KGB death squad known as "Section 9". To throw them off the track, Lavender and his team try to make it appear as though the physicist has been killed.|
|5||"Caribbean Holiday"||Unknown||Mark Rodgers||January 12, 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||January 19, 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"||Unknown||William Read Woodfield||January 26, 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||March 30, 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||April 6, 1984||2J09|
|Lavender enlists professional gamblers to stop a casino owner from selling a military tracking device to the KGB.|
|10||"The Sleeper"||Unknown||Mark Rodgers||April 13, 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,|
|April 20, 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||April 27, 1984||2J12|
|13||"Flashpoint"||Phil Bondelli||Charles Kinbote||N/A||2J01|
- Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood (Bear Manor Media, 2010) p210-212
- "1983-84 Ratings History -- The Networks Are Awash in a Bubble Bath of Soaps".