Danger Man: Find And Destroy (1961)

Country: United Kingdom
Directed by Charles Frend
Patrick McGoohan, Peter Arne, Nadja Regin, Ronald Leigh-Hunt

Music by Edwin Astley

The confusing thing about Danger Man is that it lived in two stages. The first stage ran from 1961 till 1962 and each of the episodes ran for only twenty-five minutes. In the show, Patrick McGoohan was an American agent named John Drake. The second incarnation of Danger Man, or Secret Agent as it was known in America ran from 1964 till 1966, and these episodes ran for fifty minutes. By this time, McGoohan had decided to drop the phony American accent and played John Drake as an English agent.

Find And Destroy is the thirty-sixth episode (Season 3: Episode 2) in the original half hour series of Danger Man. John Drake has been working solidly for three years and needs a holiday. His choice of destination is Rio. As he packs his bags and prepares to leave, he receives a visit from his boss. An incident in North Korea needs his special talents. With the aid of a slug of whiskey, Drake talks a lot of over enthusiastic gibberish to his boss – just enough for him to suspect that Drake has been working too hard and is close to breaking point. He assigns another agent and Drake, his subterfuge successful, is free to continue with his travel plans.

On arrival in Rio, Drake is perturbed to find men in his hotel room. Not only men, but a canoe and scuba equipment too. The leader of this group happens to work for British Intelligence and he has a small problem – a top secret prototype of a miniature submarine has gone missing. It was being tested off the South American coast when the two man team inside it are forced to bail out. The sub was left to drift, and currents have steered it towards land. Drake’s mission is to find and destroy the submarine before any competitors do.

Naturally, in this type of show, the bad guys, who are clearly Germans (but I am not sure if they are Communist East Germans or Neo Nazis hiding out in South America), are trying to find the sub too – and their methods of obtaining information are more brutish than Drakes.
The thing about the half hour episodes is that they are so short, they have to move at a rapid clip to fit a story into their running time. As a result, characterization goes out the window, and the series does tend to fall back on stereotypes. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing – but you won’t find anything here that you haven’t seen before.

For those interested in such things, Melina, the female lead in this episode is played by Nadja Regin who would later appear in From Russia With Love and Goldfinger.

2 Comments Posted in Television
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  1. With regards to the first incarnation of John Drake. All 39 episodes were made during 1960 and none were broadcast anywhere until production was completed and the crew and cast disbanded. The project was very much a one-off exercise and certainly McGoohan moved immediately back into making movies in 1961. This method of production is very different to what developed later in the Sixties where shows might be trialed to some degree, and then continued if they proved to be a hit. The change in circumstances is seen in the production pattern of the hour-long shows, where they were still making them as they were broadcast, and the production sequences are quite confusing.

    The half-hour shows seem indeed to have been something of a slow-burner success, with some not broadcast until 1963, and whilst the return of the show in 1964 was perceived by the public and TV magazines perhaps as some kind of continuation, in reality, they were nothing of the sort. McGoohan himself in interviews in ’64, refers to Drake being three or four years older – as he was himself. He didn’t mention the accent…. :-))

  2. Thanks for your insight Moor. It is greatly appreciated.

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