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Trivia: Mission: Impossible

For the original television series:

  • Creator Backlash: Paul Playdon, script consultant in seasons three and four, was so ashamed of his own "Time Bomb" (as were many who worked on the episode) that he actually left the show. (While he contributed "The Catafalque" in season five and has story credit on season six's "The Tram," he never returned as a staff member.)
  • The Danza: Subverted. Bruce Geller wrote Martin Landau's part with the actor in mind, going so far as to name the character "Martin Land" in the pilot script. Landau said he was honored, but requested the name be changed, which it was to "Rollin Hand". Played straight in "The Tram," with Victor French as Vic Hatcher (although even then it was nearly averted, as French replaced originally cast Keenan Wynn).
  • Defictionalization: According to the book The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier the government contacted the producers to find out how they created a tiny hovercraft-like device that was (in show) controlled by remote control and sent down a shaft, somehow missing the somewhat obvious strings that were actually controlling the gizmo.
    • The self-destructing CDs seen in the 1980s revival series appear to act like DVDs - even though DVDs weren't introduced until the 1990s.
      • They were meant to be miniaturized laserdiscs (video discs that were read using laser like a CD, but were the size of a long-play record), which existed since the mid-80s.
    • In the episode "Robot" Leonard Nimoy plays his part under heavy make-up. This allows Paris to rip off his face mask in one take instead of the standard 'mask actor starts to take off face, cutaway to something else, cut back to IMF agent removing last bits of latex' routine.
      • At least in the first season, Martin Landau often played (with similar amounts of make-up) the people Rollin Hand was called on to impersonate.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Peter Graves, "Kidnap".
  • Edited For F/X: When US cable channel F/X ran the series, bits with Briggs/Phelps giving counter-statements to agents in order to gain access to the recordings were removed, with the Tape Scenes beginning with Briggs or Phelps turning on the devices to hear the assignment. Other than that, episodes were presented edit free.
  • Fake Nationality: Israeli-born Nehemiah Persoff played the Big Bad three times: once as an Arabian, once as a Latin American, and once as an Eastern European.
    • The team adopt numerous ones in-universe, but the What the Hell Is That Accent?-worthy "Australian" one Paris puts on in "Chico" is notable because it's meant to be fake, as part of a persona which the week's Big Bad is supposed to unmask as fake, as part of the IM Force's plan.
      • Barbara Luna (from New York City) played a Latin American and an Asian in the original series, and a Latin American Big Bad in the revival.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Mission: Impossible had pretty much every working character actor of the era as a guest star at some point, not to mention the working cast itself. Plus, the IM Force includes among its ranks Hikaru Sulu, Spock, Lucille Bluth (or Mallory Archer, for a bit of Actor Allusion), and Eric Lassard.
    • In one episode, the team has to save young King Greg; in another, his dad Mike is an evil D.A.!
    • James T. Kirk plays a villain in two episodes (both after Spock left the show, unfortunately).
    • In one episode, Mrs. C is a housekeeper who turns out to be a spy.. Her husband turns up in another episode as a Government agent undercover in the Mob - sorry, the Syndicate.
    • In "Homecoming," someone's strangling beautiful young women in Jim's hometown. And that someone is Hot Lips!
    • The agent that aids the IMF crew in the pilot of the TV series up until his hands are injured, forcing him to stay on the sidelines for the rest of the mission? Wally Cox, aka Underdog.
    • Larry Tate is an enemy agent in "Two Thousand."
    • Fans of Australian TV and film can also play this game when viewing the 1980s revival, which primarily made use of Australian guest actors.
    • Morpheus, Felicity Porter, Shaun, and Jesse Pinkman as supporting characters in the third film.
    • The fourth has Sawyer, Carmine Falcone, Mikael "Kalle" Blomkvist, Sergeant James (but you may know him with his other codename, Hawkeye), and Prem (or alternatively President Hassan). And Shaun is back.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: The Telephone guy is the Chatter Telephone from Toy Story 3 and the "Hold Still" Message ("Match: Mr. Incredible.") and the newsreel presenter from The Incredibles.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In "Encore," William Shatner plays a 60-year-old gangster who's de-aged by the IMF for several hours. The show's idea of an old William Shatner is a bit at odds with how he really turned out...
  • Non-Singing Voice: Averted by Barbara Bain in "Illusion," Lesley Ann Warren (who had musical experience before [and after] her stint on the series) in "Flip Side," Greg Morris in "Blues" and Lynda Day George in "Trapped." And by Lynn Kellogg, an actual professional singer, in "The Martyr."
  • The Pete Best: Steven Hill as Dan Briggs.
    • Possibly also Terry Markwell as the 1988 revival's Casey Randall whose character is killed off after only a dozen episodes.
  • Real-Life Relative: In the revival, Barney Collier's son Grant was played by Greg Morris's son Phil. Greg reprised his role as Barney in three episodes of the revival ("The Condemned" and "The Golden Serpent" parts 1 and 2).
  • Recycled Script: Done out of necessity in the revival series due to a writers' strike, but it was resolved early enough that only a handful of episodes ("The Killer," "The Legacy," "The Condemned" and "The System") were outright recycled from the original show.
  • Similarly Named Works: Both the original and the revival have an episode called "Submarine" - but unlike the episodes listed in Recycled Script above, the revival's "Submarine" is not a remake.
  • Un-Canceled: The 1988 ABC revival.


For the theatrical films:

  • Actor Allusion: Ethan seems familiar with the Drake Hotel in Chicago.
    • Teddy Newton, one of Brad Bird's friends and an artist at Pixar, makes a cameo as a voice over the phone that gives Ethan Mission instructions. He also voiced a literal phone in Toy Story 3.
    • Michael Nyqvist plays Hendricks, a former Swedish spy and commando. In The Millennium Trilogy, he plays Mikael Blomkwist, a journalist who tangles with a group of former Swedish spies and commandoes.
  • Disowned Adaptation: Fans and cast members of the original TV series strongly disliked the first film because it made Jim Phelps the villain.
  • Name's the Same: William Brandt vs Willy Brandt, German chancellor (funnily and for a spy film fittingly enough, that wasn't his birth name but a pseudonym to hide from the Nazis).
  • Throw It In: One of the best shots of the third film came accidentally; when Julia shoots Musgrave and he crumples to the ground dead, the briefcase containing the Rabbit's Foot was simply going to fall and open. However, the canister rolled perfectly towards the camera as it panned down and stopped with the biohazard label facing forward in dramatic fashion.

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