Recap / The Wild Wild West S 3 E 9 "The Night of the Circus of Death"

Faced with a possible catastrophe due to the wide-spread introduction of near-perfect counterfeit bills, West and Gordon attempt to track one which turned up in Denver back to its source. The trail leads first to Moore's Emporium and then to a murdered tightrope walker named Bronzini, an employee of the Colorado and South West Circus. When their best bet as to the source of the fakes, expert counterfeiter Harry Holmes, is confirmed to be dead, the agents concentrate their attention on the emporium and the circus; however, they soon begin to realize that someone in the U.S. Mint itself is involved.

Tropes present in this episode:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: The crooks have set up their operation in an old, abandoned winery. They even went to the trouble of hiding the door to their workroom behind the locked lid of a giant wine cask.
  • Alliterative Name: Harry Holmes.
  • Animal Assassin: While West is poking around the circus, the counterfeiters try to off him by luring him into the lion's cage.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Subverted Trope. When Artie charges into the counterfeiters' hideout, Jim is already in the middle of beating them up single-handedly.
  • Circus Episode
  • Circus of Fear: Actually not the case. The circus's tightrope walker is secretly passing Counterfeit Cash and a villain at one point locks West in a lion cage, but the circus itself is completely honest and aboveboard.
  • Counterfeit Cash: This is one of the rare episodes in which Jim and Artie are shown actually performing the real-life duty of Secret Service agents at the time - tracking down counterfeiters.
  • Death Faked for You: Harry Holmes isn't dead at all. His daughter faked his death in order to freely use his skills in setting up her own counterfeiting organization.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: When the officials at the Mint come under suspicion, Artie goes in for a surreptitious look around by pretending to be the elderly, hard-of-hearing night janitor.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: When Jim gets trapped under a large freight box in a room that's filling with poison gas, he uses his Grappling-Hook Pistol to improvise a pulley that lifts the box off of him.
  • Shout-Out: Harry Holmes is nicknamed "Rembrandt" due to his expertise at counterfeiting.
  • Southern Gentleman: Artie's "Emerson P. Gentry" guise, complete with accent, impeccable dress and manners and extreme attentiveness to women.